Geek Trivia

Long Before Virtual Game Achievements Were A Thing, Activision Would Mail Gamers?

The First Large Mammals Sent To Space That Survived Were?

Answer: Patches

With the advent of digital game networks like Xbox Live and Steam, the age of digital achievements is fully upon us. For years now, we’ve had all manner of digital achievements in games that range from the serious (like breaking an extremely high score threshold) to the silly (many achievements are in-jokes and light-hearted references to other games).

Long before there was anything even close to the modern game networks and their digital achievements though, one game company was handing out achievements in the form of… patches. In the early 1980s, Activision had a pretty great analog system going: when you achieved a high score, you’d snap a photo of your television screen and mail it in to Activision for confirmation. In turn, they’d send you a jacket patch. The patch seen here is for scoring at least 3,800 points in the game Starmaster, but there were also patches for Tennis, Pitfall!, Chopper Command, and more. Today, these patches are highly collectible.

Image courtesy of Atari Age.