Acclaim artifacts up for auction

Games that marked the rise and fall of once-proud publisher collect mostly dust in auctioneer's bin.

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It has come down to this: Arch Rivals Basket-Brawl, Battle Monsters, Bart's Nightmare, Fortress of Fear, Adventures of Mary Kate & Ashley, all up for grabs to the highest bidder--if there are any bidders, that is.

Such is the situation in Oceanside, New York, where a court-appointed trustee opened the files on these and almost 300 other Acclaim games. Parties interested in bidding on a piece of history--the remaining dribs and drabs of value once connected with Acclaim Entertainment--are welcome to do so, although what they will actually walk away with isn't clear.

The trustee, Allan B. Mendelsohn, appointed by the Long Island Bankruptcy Court to liquidate remaining Acclaim assets, has put Acclaim's rights, title, and interest--"if any," he told GameSpot--on the auction block. Today is the second of two days of inspection, which translates to opening the physical business files of Acclaim to interested parties. But as to the values of the games, Mendelsohn advocates that the buyer beware.

"We're not making any warranties," Mendelsohn told GameSpot.

Acclaim filed for bankruptcy on September 1, 2004, leaving debts that exceeded $100 million. The US Bankruptcy Court in Central Islip, New York, put Mendelsohn in charge of taking what assets remained of the company, converting those assets' value into cash, and conveying that cash to Acclaim creditors who came up empty-handed when the game publisher spiraled into arrears and insolvency.

The sale of these nearly 300 games isn't exactly a clean-room operation, Mendelsohn added. "There are so many components and licensing rights and publishing rights attached to each game that it would be virtually impossible for me to go through the 300 games [and unravel the rights]."

It will be up to the buyer to do his or her own due diligence to see if a valid license travels with the sale. If, for example, a wrestling game uses the likenesses of 20 wrestlers, the buyer will need to research the status of the contracts previously signed by then-Acclaim representatives and third parties. Royalties could still be owed and elements of the contract may no longer be in effect.

"The books and records [of Acclaim] weren't the cleanest when we got there," Mendelsohn said.

A few current high bids include $5,000 for Crazy Taxi, $40,000 for the Re-Volt series, $25,000 for Mr. Domino, and $75,000 for XGRA: Extreme G Racing, Extreme G, and Extreme G2.

Auctioneer David R. Maltz has the full list of game rights up for auction.

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