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LJN was an American toy company and video game publisher in operation from 1970 to 1994. They created many toy lines and published video games that were based on popular movies, television shows, and celebrities.
LJN was founded in 1970 by Jack Friedman (who would go on to found video game publisher THQ and toy company Jakks Pacific). The name was inspired by reversing the initials of Norman J. Lewis Associates, a toy company where Friedman was employed in the 1960s before leaving to form LJN.
In 1986, LJN was acquired by MCA through their Universal subsidiary. LJN ventured for the first time into the video game market and published several titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, often based on popular franchises such as movie and cartoon licenses. In late 1988, Acclaim Entertainment acquired LJN from MCA/Universal.
Acclaim got rid of LJN's toy division and refocused LJN solely on publishing video games, while keeping the same direction - movies and cartoons. During the 8-bit gaming era, Nintendo, as a form of quality control and to prevent flooding the market with product, regulated the number of titles an individual publisher could license for the NES each year. As a result, companies like Acclaim used separate divisions such as LJN to produce more products than Nintendo would have allowed. Other companies that utilized such tactics included Konami with their division Ultra; however, unlike Ultra, which was just a brand name of Konami, LJN was operated as a legally-independent company with separate headquarters. Even after Nintendo dropped its rule in the early 1990s, LJN published several titles for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There is no game known to have been developed by LJN themselves even though many of their video games, especially the pre-Acclaim ones, did not disclose the developer.
LJN, along with the Flying Edge and Arena Entertainment labels (the latter two published Acclaim's games for Sega consoles) were folded into Acclaim in 1994. In 2000, LJN made a return in name only when Acclaim used the brand to publish Spirit of Speed 1937, a title for the Dreamcast.
List of Published Games
- Gotcha!, NES (1987)
- Jaws, NES (1987)
- The Karate Kid, NES (1987)
- Major League Baseball, NES (1988)
- Back to the Future, NES (1989)
- Friday the 13th, NES (1989)
- Marvel's X-Men, NES (1989)
- NFL Football, NES (1989)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street, NES (1989)
- Uncanny X-Men, NES (1989)
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, NES (1989)
- Back to the Future II & III, NES (1990)
- Bigfoot, NES (1990)
- Pictionary, NES (1990)
- WWF WrestleMania Challenge, NES (1990)
- Beetlejuice, NES (1991)
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure, NES (1991)
- Punisher, NES (1991)
- Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball, NES (1991)
- T&C Surf Designs: Thrilla's Surfari, NES (1991)
- Wolverine, NES (1991)
- Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, NES (1992)
- T2: Judgment Day, NES (1992)
- WWF WrestleMania Steel Cage Challenge, NES (1992)
- NBA All-Star Challenge, SNES (1992)
- Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball, SNES (1992)
- WWF King of the Ring, NES (1993)
- WWF Royal Rumble, SNES (1993)
- WWF Raw, SNES (1994)
- Sterling Sharpe: End 2 End, SNES (1995)
- Warlock, SNES (1995)
- WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game, SNES (1995)
- Spirit of Speed 1937, Dreamcast (2000)
- LJN Video Art (1987)