It's fashionable these days to hate Activision. But those over the age of, say, 30-35 may be old enough to remember the time the company went above and beyond the call of duty to keep its fans happy with all kinds of touching gestures.
The coolest of which, by far, was the company's practice of sending out actual patches to gamers to sew onto their jackets. All you needed to do was take a photo of your TV set showing a score or achievement, send it away to Activision and the publisher would send you a patch to show off your accomplishments to friends.
Rather than simply reward the "best" players at each game on things like a high score table, Activision wanted to acknowledge people who had passed a certain milestone in a title. In Robot Tank, for example, you could get a patch sent out if you took a photo proving you'd destroyed 48 or more enemy tanks. But if you blew up 60, you'd get a better patch, and an even better one still for killing 72 or more.
In a way, then, they were proto-achievements, only instead of having them sit on a console dashboard where few people will ever see it, you could sew it next to the Anthrax patch on your jacket to show just how badass you were.
These great shots from Art of the Arcade (via Geek Art) show some of the better patches in all their glory, though for a more comprehensive listing (with images) you should try the collection at Digital Press.
Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.