This Day in Video Game History
Infocom published Release 56 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an interactive fiction game based on the Douglas Adams novel of the same title, for IBM-compatible computers. It was the company’s fourteenth game.
Infocom published Release 57 of Beyond Zork for IBM-compatible computers. The game, Infocom’s twenty-ninth, introduced a number of new innovations to Infocom’s interactive fiction games, including an character statistics, on-screen map, and what would later be considered standard roleplaying game combat elements.
Nintendo released the flight simulator Pilotwings for the Super Famicom in Japan.
The Village Voice of New York published an article entitled “Rape in Cyberspace or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society” by Julian Dibbell. In it, Dibbel described an incident that had occurred between two game avatars in the Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) LambdaMOO, which he dubbed a “cyberrape.” The “cyberrape” occurred when one user ran a subprogram allowing him to falsely attribute acts to other game characters. These act, which would be signified with text, included sexual acts that, in the incident discussed in the article, went far beyond the game’s community norms and continued hours.
Rather than being viewed as a software hack, they were interpreted by members of the community as a sexual violation of the characters whose names were falsely used. The incident incited a disproportionate amount of outrage among the LambdaMOO users, and raised involved ethical questions regarding the line dividing real-life and virtual life throughout the internet. The essay would later be dubbed “one of the most frequently cited essays about cloaked identity in cyberspace.”
Apogee Software, Ltd. released the first-person shooter Rise of the Triad for Windows in the U.S. (ESRB: M)
Nintendo, in partnership with the St.Giga cable service provider, announced the coming launch of Satellaview, a service that, beginning in April, would allow Super Famicom owners to download game titles via cable. Price: 14,000 yen
Capcom released the Final Fight 3 beat ‘em up game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Capcom released the Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior’s Dreams versus fighting game for the PlayStation in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Ocean released Waterworld, based on the 1995 film of the same name, for the Virtual Boy in the U.S. The game was criticized as the worst of the twenty-two games released in the course of the Virtual Boy’s brief lifecycle. (ESRB: KA)
Nintendo released the Yoshi’s Story platform game for the Nintendo 64 in Japan.
id Software programmer John Carmack released the source code for the Quake game engine online under a GNU General Public License for other programmers to modify.
Acclaim released the Vanishing Point racing game for the PlayStation in U.S. (ESRB: E)
Version 3.19 of the source code for the first-person shooter Quake II was released on id Software’s FTP server under a GNU General Public License.
Nintendo announced that sales of its Nintendo DS had exceeded one million units in both Japan and the U.S.
Ubisoft released Prince of Persia: Warrior Within for mobile phones in North America. (ESRB: M)
Valve Corporation released the Half-Life 2 first-person shooter (FPS) for Windows, the PlayStation 3, Xbox, and Xbox 360 in Australia. (OFLC: MA 15+)
A U.S. District Court ruled that the California law restricting minors from buying a “violent video games” was unconstitutional. The judge granted the Entertainment Software Association a preliminary injunction baring the law’s enforcement.
Empire Interactive released the Ghost Master puzzle game for Windows via Steam. (ESRB: T)
Konami released the Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops stealth game for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in Japan. (CERO: C)
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) announced that it had granted permission for a judicial review of RockStar’s appeal to its own Video Appeals Committee regarding the classification of the game Manhunt 2. Pending the review, courts had granted the BBFC permission to stay the game’s classification and therefore RockStar’s ability to distribute the game in Britain.
The first user-created content for the PlayStation 3 version of Unreal Tournament III was released to the the internet. The Deathmatch map, “DM-Shrine,” was a small map for between two to six players and was posted to FileFront. It was created using the PC Unreal Editor by a twenty-three year-old graphic designer from England. It would be the first, but far from the last, user-generated content released for the game, which would pioneer its use among console titles.
Rockstar makes its entire catalogue of games for computers available online through the IGN Direct2Drive service as downloads, including the company’s popular Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne.