This Day in Video Game History
Midway released the ground-breaking Pac-Man arcade game in Japan. It was released in North America one year later. Pac-Man was developed by Toru Iwatani at Namco over the course of eighteen months. Its original Japanese title was the onomatopoeic phrase pronounced pakku-man, which is a reference to the phrase paku-paku taberu, which the Japanese use to describe the sound of a mouth opening widely and snapping shut repeatedly in rapid succession. Yeah, they actually have a word for that. The maze game will go on to become wildly popular and will be enormously influential in the development of future games.
Midway released the Pac-Man arcade game in North America to a fanatically positive response. Over nintey-six thousand arcade machines will be produced in North America alone, and the game’s main character will become an icon that pervades the decade’s culture.
Atari sponsors an arcade tournament open to the public in Manhattan, New York. Frank Cretella won the tournament by scoring a record-setting 118,740 on Asteroids.
Phillips Media released the single-player side-scrolling games Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon for the CD-i game console. The two games are widely regarded as the pale imitations of Nintendo’s franchise.
GT Interactive released the Doom II first-person shooter for Windows in North America. The game was fundamentally unchanged from its best-selling predecessor. What improvements were made were all relatively superficial and included new, more expansive levels featuring far more complex topographies. (ESRB: M)
Bandai released the Tamagotchi pet simulation game, based on portable keychain game of the same name, for the Game Boy in Japan and the United States.
Western Digital publicly announced that it had been contracted to supply hard drives for Microsoft’s Xbox video game system.
EA Games released the hybrid racing/massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) Motor City Online for Windows in North America. (ESRB: E)
Microsoft released a press release confirming reports that the Xbox would ship with an 8 GB hard drive rather than the 10 GB hard drive detailed in early system specs. The announcement is met with public criticism and speculations that the company might be struggling to make the console profitable at its promised price.
Microsoft Game Studios released the Halo: Combat Evolved first-person shooter for Windows in Europe.
Buena Vista Games released the single-player game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge, based on the animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, for PlayStation 2 in the U.S. (ESRB: E10+)
Capcom released Catan turn-based game for the Nokia N-Gage in the U.S. (ESRB: E)
Midway Games released the L.A. Rush driving game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in North America. It was the fourth installment in the Rush series. (ESRB: T)
Microsoft hosted an event in San Francisco, California for select members of the press to unveil it new Xbox 360 video game console and twelve of the system’s anticipated launch titles.
CNet published an article on a gamer named Mike Everest of Durango, Colorado who helped put two of his siblings through college with twelve thousand dollars earned playing the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Entropia Universe. Everest, a home-schooled high school senior known as “Ogulak Da Basher” in game, tells CNet that the money was only a portion of the thirty-five thousand dollar in profit he made trading goods inside the game. Everest reportedly spent an average of three hours a day playing the game. He told CNet that now that his two older siblings are in college, he plans to begin saving for his own education ”and maybe a car.”
Sierra Entertainment released The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning platform game for the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox in North America. The game is far more action-oriented than its predecessors, limiting Spyro’s gliding ability but offering a wider variety of attack maneuvers. In this installment, Spyro has four different types of breath (earth, electricity, fire, and ice) that he can use for long and short range attacks. The game also features fewer levels than previous Spyro games, with only six levels. (ESRB: E10+)
Nintendo announced that it would release its Wii Fitness system in Japan on December 1st. Price: ¥8,800