This Day in Video Game History
In the first match ever held between two computers, a chess program running on an M-20 at the Moscow Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) in the USSR entered into a match via correspondence with the Kotok-McCarthy chess program at M.I.T., which ran on a IBM 7090. The historic match would take place over the course of nine months, and the victory would eventually fall to the Soviet computer, three games to one. The Kotok-McCarthy, which took between five and twenty minutes to calculate each move, was estimated to play chess at a level comparable to that of an amateur with roughly one hundred games of experience.
Al Hokeness scored a record high score of 5,205,000 points playing the Atari arcade classic Battlezone after four hours and thirty minutes of gameplay at University Game Room in Madison, Wisconsin.
Release 79 of the Infocom interactive fiction game A Mind Forever Voyaging was released for IBM-compatible computers
Sega released its Sega Saturn video game console in Japan, featuring two 28.6 MHz 32-bit Hitachi processors, two video display processors, a Motorola 68EC000 sound processor, a processor-controlled CD-ROM drive, QSound surround sound, 2 MB main memory, and 1.5 MB video memory. Among the system’s launch titles was the Virtua Fighter fighting game. Price: ¥44,800
The original Tamagotchi virtual pets were first released in Japan by Bandai in six different color combinations. The small devices, which were designed to be carried on a keychain, would become wildly popular, not just in Ja
pan, but around the world. Eventually, the original version of the device would sell over ten million units before Bandai released new version of the device and ported the virtual pet to handheld game systems, including the Game Boy. The devices’ popularity would eventually raise controversy. Because the virtual pet demanded constant attention, requiring users to feed and care for it, and it would "die" in less than half a day, many users, particularly school children, took to carrying the device with them everywhere. The was widely criticized by educators who complained that the devices were distractions in the classroom and law enforcement officials who reported a number of Tamagotchi-related traffic accidents over the coming years. The device’s name was a portmanteau of the Japanese word for "egg," “tamago” and the English word “watch.” Price: ¥1,980
Nintendo announced that, according to the console’s first six weeks’ sales figures, the Nintendo 64 had a sixty-two percent market share of the next generation game market in North America. However, industry analysts criticize the claim for the company’s numbers, as its data doesn’t include the Super Nintendo’s marketshare.
Nintendo released the Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! platform game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in North America. (ESRB: KA)
Eidos Interactive releases the third-person shooter Tomb Raider II for the PlayStation in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
America Online (AOL) and Electronic Arts (EA) announced a five-year strategic partnership under which the two companies would develop online interactive content for AOL subscribers. Microsoft also announced an agreement to provide AOL with DirectX 7.0 game components.
Sega announced that its Dreamcast console had sole one million units to date in North America.
Natsume Co., Ltd releases the Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland simulation game for the PlayStation 2 in the US. (ESRB: E)
Bethesda Softworks released the role-playing game (RPG) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind for the Xbox in Europe. The game would be well-received commercially and critically, selling over four million copies and win more than sixty awards. (ESRB: T)
Midway releases the Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance versus fighting game for the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox in the U.S. Midway declared the title’s launch day “Fatality Friday” in its promotional campaign. It was the fifth game in the Mortal Kombat series.
Tecmo releases the Fatal Frame survival game for Xbox in the U.S. ESRB: (T) Teen
Turbine Entertainment Software released the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Asheron’s Call 2: Fallen Kings for Windows in the U.S. The game failed to achieve the popularity of its predecessor, and only three years later, the game’s servers closed down. (ESRB: M)
Electronic Arts releases the Need for Speed: Most Wanted racing game for the Xbox 360 in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 video game console in four versions across North America, featuring an IBM PowerPC processor with three 3.2 GHz cores, along with a 500 MHz ATI graphics card and 512 MB RAM. It was the first console to come equipped with wireless controllers out of the box. The systems versions included: a “Core” version for $249, a “Premium” Version with a 20 GB hard drive for $349, an “Elite” version with a 120GB hard drive and HDMI for $449, and a Halo 3 limited edition with the Elite’s features and a limited edition case for $399. Along with the console, Microsoft released eighteen launch titles, the Xbox Live Arcade, and a line of accessories sold separately, including: a 20 GB Hard Drive ($99.99), a 64 MB Memory Unit ($39.99), Component HD AV Cables ($39.99), Controllers ($39.99), Faceplates ($19.99), a Headset ($19.99), the Play and Charge kit ($19.99), a Rechargeable Battery Pack ($11.99), S-Video AV Cables ($29.99), Universal Media Remote ($29.99), VGA HD AV Cable ($39.99), a Wireless Controller ($49.99), and a Wireless Networking Adapter ($99.99). Code-name: Xenon
Ubisoft released Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, based on the film, for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Electronic Arts released Superman Returns for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 in the U.S. (ESRB: T)