PC and Video Game History: On This Day in Video Game History, August 1

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On this day in history, August 1st…


According to Twin Galaxies, Eric Smith, age 14, scores 1,379,450 points on Atari’s Dig Dug at Spectrum Entertainment in Mammoth Lakes, California.


The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) creates its Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida. The division will go on to create the IBM PC, the forerunner of the company’s PC-compatible hardware platform, under the code-name “chess.”


Nintendo releases the game compilation Super Mario All-Stars for theSuper Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in North America. The compilation includes revised version of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3. (ESRB: E)


A New York Federal District jury awards US$208 million in damages to Alpex Computer, finding Nintendo guilty of infringing on US patent number 4,026,555 for a “Television display Control Apparatus” used to produce video signals for standard television receivers using random access memory (RAM).


General Electric’s GEnie online service cancels a nine year contract with Atari which names their service as the “official” site for the online support of Atari products.Nintendo releases a port of the arcade game Killer Instinct for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in the US.


Acclaim Entertainment and Fox Interactive releases the 3D first person shooter Alien Trilogy, based on the Alien film franchise, for the Sega Saturn in the US. (ESRB: M, USK: 16+)Virgin Interactive releases the survival horror game Resident Evil for the PlayStation in Europe. The game is the first to be branded a “survival horror” game by its developer, adapted from the term “ambient survival horror,” which was first coined for the game Alone in the Dark. However, as the industry refines the genre and it rises to popularity, many will argue that the game places more emphasis on horror than on survival, failing to meet later, more narrow definitions of the genre. The game will spawn a long series of popular games, beginning with its sequel, the 1998 hit Resident Evil 2. (BBFC: 15)


GT Interactive releases the third-person shooter Duke Nukem: Zero Hour for the Nintendo 64 in the US. (ESRB: M)

Konami releases the survival horror game Silent Hill for the PlayStation in Europe. Released a year after Resident Evil, Silent Hill is very clearly a survival horror game, putting the emphasis on survival rather than blurring the line with between genres like the earlier, popular Resident Evil, which many argue was closer to a zombie shoot ‘em up. While technically not the first survival horror game (being preceded by Splatterhouse and Sweet Home), Silent Hill marks the beginning of the genre’s mainstream popularity, and it is the first is a line games with will establish the genre’s popularity in an industry grown tired of the arcade games and platformers of the eighties. The game, which follows Harry Mason as he searches for his wife and adopted daughter through the haunted town of Silent Hill, will rapidly become a classic, as its frightening atmosphere, innovative gameplay, and many literary allusions endear it to fans. Among its game innovations is its heavy reliance on sounds, rather than visual cues, to signal oncoming dangers. The device is notorious for keeping players on the edge of their seats. ELSPA: 15+ SELL: 16+ USK: 18+

Toy manufacturer MGA Entertainment releases a new line of games featuring patented Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology displays called Color FX. The line’s inaugural titles will include the arcade classics Asteroids, Pac-Man, Missile Command, Ms. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Super Breakout.


Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and NTT DoCoMo of Japan announce the joint development a wireless network which will allow PlayStation systems to interact with I-mode cell phones.


In the August issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the results of a study are released, indicating that more than forty percent of video games surveyed in the study failed to properly warn of consumers about the amount of violence that they may depict. The same study revealed that approximately fifty million households in the United States own at least one video game system, and that an estimated seventy percent of children between the ages of two to eight have access to video games.


Sony releases its PlayStation 2 video game console with a new limited edition “Zen Black” translucent case, complete with a matching Dual Shock2 controller, in Japan.

Tecmo releases the survival horror game Fatal Frame for the PlayStation 2 in Europe. The game follows a college student named Miku Hinasaki as she searches for her missing brother in the mysterious Himuro Mansion. The game’s promotion raises some controversy. Outside Japan, where it was originally released in December 2001, the game is advertised as being “based on a true story,” however, in Japan, where the real-world Himuro Mansion is legendary for the long history of death among its residents, no mention is made of the game being based on fact. In fact, the game’s storyline bears no resemblance to any of the actual events that occurred in the house.


Fox Interactive and VU Games releases the platform game Futurama, based on the animated television series of the same name, for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in Europe. (PEGI: 12+)

Nintendo releases the single-player game Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance in Japan.Ubisoft releases the expansion pack Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder for the tactical shooter Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon for Windows and the Xbox. While each format adds a few different features, both include twelve new weapons eight additional missions, and three multiplayer modes not included in the original game. (ESRB: M)


Atari releases the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach for personal computers, based on the rules of version 3.5 of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game and set amid the tabletop version’s Eberron campaign on the Xen’drik continent. In the game, players dungeon crawl in standard groups of up to six or raid parties of as many as twelve, earning XP in order to level their characters. (ESRB: T)

Sega releases the 3D platform game Super Monkey Ball Adventure for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable (PSP) in the US. The game represents a departure from its predecessors in the Monkey Ball series, all of which were 2D puzzle games. (ESRB: E)

THQ releases the party game Barnyard, based on the 2006 animated film of the same name, for personal computers, the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 in the US. Rather than follow the storyline of the film, the game allows players to creat a character with which to complete a series of missions. (ESRB: E)

Vivendi Universal Games releases the racing game FlatOut 2 for Windows, the PlayStation 2, and Xbox in the US. ESRB: T (Teen)


Activision and RedOctane release the music game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s for the PlayStation 2 in Australia.

Bungie Software releases the single-player, science fiction-themed first-person shooter (FPS) Marathon 2: Durandal for the Xbox 360 in North America. (ESRB: M)

The Game Critics Awards are held at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California. Halo 3 is awarded Best Online Multiplayer Game. LittleBigPlanet is awarded Best Original Game. Madden NFL 08 is awarded Best Sports Game. Mass Effect is awarded Best Console Game. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is awarded Best Handheld Game.