On This Day In History: Notable Business, Film, Game and Media Events In and Related to the Video Game Industry

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On this day in history…


After three failures, Cyrus West Field finally manages to complete the first underwater telegraph cable spanning 1,686 miles of the Atlantic Ocean between Valentia, Ireland and Heart’s Content, Newfoundland. The cable will be used for nearly a century before being decommission, and many historians will mark its inauguration as the dawn of the information age.


Release 17 of the Infocom interactive fiction game Zork III is released for IBM-compatible computers. It’s Infocom’s fourth game, and the last release of Zork III.


Radio Shack announces the Tandy 1000 SL computer, which will become the most popular gaming computer of the eighties and arguably one of the single most import video game hardware milestones in history. The system, which roughly clones the IBM PCjr, features an 8 MHz Intel 8086, 384K of RAM, a proprietary keyboard port, two joystick ports, a digital monitor connector, a 5.25-inch floppy drive, an expansion bay, and version 2.11 of the MS-DOS operating system. The SL also features enhanced graphics and sound capabilities built into the motherboard which will make it wildly popular among gamers. Specifically, it is capable of a 16-color 640×200 video resolution and 8-bit mono sound that can sample frequencies up to 48KHz - a higher rate than Creative’s industry standard 8-bit Sound Blaster cards. Over three hundred titles that specifically make use of the 1000 SL’s extended capabilities will be released in the eighties, marking the beginning of the widespread use of soundtracks in computer games. IBM, with its vastly more popular PC series, will take notice and begin making Tandy’s features standard.


Nintendo releases the single-player console roleplaying game (RPG) Mother for the Nintendo Famicom in Japan.


Nintendo releases the racing game Knight Rider for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in Europe. The game is only loosely based on the popular television series of the same name, despite its heavy marketing ties. Despite the series dedication to non-violent family content, the game is considered unusually violent.


U.S. Gold releases the Jaguar version of Atari Flashback dedicated video game console. Price: US$59.99


Acclaim Entertainment releases the first-person shooter (FPS) Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion for the Game Boy Color in North America. The game will draw some critical acclaim for its creative arsenal, though many fans of the franchise will be left less-than-enthusiastic by the game’s departure from its predecessors’ gameplay and storyline. It will, however, go on to become one of the most popular games released for the Nintendo 64 (for which it will be released in August), largely due to the system’s narrow selection of alternative first-person shooters. (ESRB: M)

Microsoft announces that its upcoming Xbox video game console will be back by a US$500 million marketing budget over the first eighteen months of its release. Microsoft also announces that about thirty games are currently in development for the systems.


Nokia releases the N-Gage QD handheld video game system in the US, featuring a 104MHz ARM processor, a 176×208 resolution color screen, a game pad, Bluetooth connectivity, MMC game card slots, and the Symbian 6.0 operating system. The system the successor to Nokia’s previous handheld system, the N-Gage. The QD, which takes its name from the latin quaque die (”every day”), addresses several general criticisms on its predecessor. It is generally smaller for improved portability. It’s case is rounder so that it is easier to hold for prolonged periods. It also features a bottom-mounted card slot for convenience. Price: US$199


Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) releases the first major update to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game system, via internet download in Japan. Version 2.00 of the system’s firmware includes additional multimedia support, an integrated web browser, and photo transmission via Wi-Fi.


At Canada’s largest LAN party, the annual Fragapalooza gaming festival in Edmonton, Canada, Intel unveils a line of Core 2 Duo 64-bit processors and boldly projects that ninety percent of its laptops will be carry the Core 2 processors by the second quarter of 2007. The company’s first processors to bear the “Core 2 Duo” brand are comprised of several categories of processors: the Solo (single-core), Duo (dual-core), Quad (quad-core), and the Extreme. Intel boasts that they will provide as much as a forty percent increase in performance over their predecessors, the Pentium D processors, while consuming forty percent less power. Models E6300, E6400, and E6600 all feature 1066MHz front-side buses. Models E6300 and E6400 feature 2MB cache, the E6600 4MB. The processors’ clock speeds are 1.86 GHz, 2.13 GHz, and 2.4 GHz, respectively. The E6700 processor, featuring dual processing cores features 4MB shared L2 caches, a 2.66GHz clock speed, and a 1066MHz front-side bus. The Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor, features dual processing cores, 4MB shared L2 cache, a 2.93 GHz clock speed, a 1066MHz 128-bit front side bus, and up to 8GB of addressable memory. Price: US$183, US$224, and US$316, US$530, and US$999 respectively. Code name: Conroe


Hudson Soft releases Battle Lode Runner, Bonk’s Revenge, and Shockman platform games for the Wii Virtual Console. The games were originally released for the TurboGrafx-16 video game console in the early nineties. Price: 600 Points

Nintendo releases the console roleplaying game (RPG) Pokémon Diamond and Pearl for the Nintendo DS in Europe. (PEGI: 3+)