This Day in Video Game History
The radio series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century premiered. The show, based on two novellas published in Amazing Stories by Philip Francis Nowlan, would be largely responsible for popularizing the science fiction genre in the thirties and forties and making way for its rise to further prominence in the televised mediums of the fifties and sixties. Buck Rogers and the successors it prepared the way for were vital in inspiring the video game industry, and in fact, many of the earliest hits in video games were space-related.
In New York City, the first coin-operated television, the Tradio-Vision, was publicly exhibited. When a quarter was inserted, it played test patterns and a clip featuring Felix the Cat.
Release 15 of the Infocom interactive fiction game Enchanter was released for IBM-compatible computers. It was Infocom’s ninth game.
Atari holds its initial public offering (IPO). Four and a half million shares of the company are offered at an initial price of $11.25 each, raising a total of $50.6 million. Atari used the proceeds of its sales to settle its debts with Warner Communications.
Microsoft released Flight Simulator 95 for Windows 95. It is the seventh game in the fourteen year-old series but the first to be released for Windows.
Sega released the Sonic 3D Blast platform game for the Genesis and Saturn in the U.S. In January, Archie comics published a comic series based on the game. The game is frequently noted as the least popular game in Sega’s Sonic series. It was criticized as being a repetitive game with an awkward control system. (ESRB: KA)
Hasbro released the first-person shooter Nerf Arena Blast for personal computers in the U.S. The game was marketed as a "family-friendly alternative to Unreal Tournament." (ESRB: T)
Hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technology announced that it would supply the drives for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox video game console.
DreamCatcher released The Final Scene mystery game for Windows in the U.S. It was a fifth game in the Nancy Drew series. (ESRB: E)
NCsoft released the fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Lineage: The Blood Pledge for personal computers in the U.S. The game is based on the comic book series of the same name, and its servers are named after the series’ characters. The game would have over a million subscribers by April 2008, making it the second most popular MMORPG online next to World of Warcraft as well as one of the longest-running MMORPGs ever. (ESRB: T)
Microsoft released the MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries vehicular combat game for Windows in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Nintendo released the single-player psychological horror game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, inspired b the works of H.P. Lovecraft, for the GameCube in Australia.
Capcom released the single-player Dino Crisis 3 survival horror game for the Xbox in PAL regions. (PEGI: 16+)
Codemasters released the American Idol music game, based on the Fox Network series of the same name, for personal computers, the Game Boy Advance, and PlayStation 2 in PAL regions. (ESRB: E)
LucasArts released the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Star Wars Galaxies for personal computers in Europe. The events of the game are set between Episode IV and Episode V of the original Star Wars film trilogy. (ESRB: T)
THQ released the wrestling game WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain for the PlayStation 2 in the UK. (PEGI: 16+)
Microsoft Game Studios released Kameo: Elements of Power for the Xbox 360 in the US. (ESRB: T)
Nintendo released the Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! platform game for the Game Boy Advance in North America. (ESRB: KA)
Nintendo released the game compilation Mario Party 7 for the GameCube in North America. It featured eighty-six minigames which can be played by up to eight players simultaneously. (ESRB: E)
Take-Two Interactive, best known for its Grand Theft Auto series, acquired Firaxis Games, best known for their Civilization series.
Activision released the first-person shooter Call of Duty 3 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 in the U.S. Despite being the first game in the series not released for personal computers, its popularity surpassed that of its predecessors. (ESRB: T)
Activision released the Tony Hawk’s Project 8 (THP8) skating game for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 in North America. (ESRB: T)
Bandai released Digimon World DS for the Nintendo DS in the U.S. (ESRB: E10+)
Buena Vista Games released the Lumines II puzzle game for the PlayStation Portable in North America. (ESRB: E10+)
Crave Entertainment released the Dave Mirra BMX Challenge for the PlayStation Portable in the U.S. (ESRB: E)
Microsoft announced that it would release over one thousand hours of films and television episodes for download to the Xbox 360.
Microsoft Game Studios released the Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania expansion pack for the Zoo Tycoon 2 simulation game for Windows in Australia. It was the third expansion pack for the game.
Microsoft Game Studios released the third-person tactical shooter Gears of War for the Xbox 360 in North America. In under ten weeks. it would sell over three million copies and go on to become the fastest-selling game of 2006. (ESRB: M)
Microsoft released the external Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player in the U.S. Price: $199.99
Red Octane released Guitar Hero II for the Playstation 2 in North America bundled with a game controller shaped like a cherry red Gibson SG. In the game, a player uses the guitar-shaped controller to music as notes scroll across the screen in a manner identical to that of the original game, with the notable addition note combinations. This installment in the series included sixty-four playable songs, including: “Free Bird,” “War Pigs,” and “You Really Got Me.” Though it was one of the most expensive games ever released for the PlayStation 2, Guitar Hero II was a commercial success, selling 1.3 million copies by year’s end. (ESRB: T) Price: $79.99
Sony Computer Entertainment released the third-person shooter SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2 for the PlayStation Portable in North America. (ESRB: T)
Ubisoft released the stealth-based game Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent for the Windows in the U.S. It was the fourth installment in the Splinter Cell series. (ESRB: M)
Valve Corporation released the RoboBlitz puzzle game for Windows. (ESRB: E)
Destineer Publishing Corp announced that it had licensed the Unreal Engine 3 game engine from Epic to develop an unannounced game.
Koei released the single-player Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War real-time tactics game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America. The game’s storyline is loosely based on the Hundred Years’ War between England and France in medieval Europe. (ESRB: T)
Microsoft announced that its Xbox 360 would be getting a family timer in December. The timer would allow parents to determine how many hours their children can play games before the console deactivates.