Texas Instrument introduced the Speak & Spell educational device at the summer Consumer Electronics Show. The device was designed to help children learn to spell over two hundred common words. It also featured a Hangman game. It was the first device to feature voice synthesis with a single processor. It was also the first handheld electronic entertainment device for children to gain widespread popularity, demonstrating to the coming game industry that there was a large handheld market yet to be exploited.
A San Francisco District Court rejects Nintendo’s request for a restraining order to prevent Lewis Galoob Toys from selling the Game Genie.
THQ released the single-player action roleplaying game Quest 64 for the Nintendo 64 in the U.S. Though the game was widely criticized for its crude graphics and straight-forward gameplay, it nonetheless garnered critical acclaim for its innovative experience system and openly explorable environment. It’s design would influence later roleplaying games, particularly those aimed at younger audiences. (ESRB: E)
Konami released Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for the Game Boy Advance in the U.S. It was the first Castlevania game for the Game Boy Advance and the last game in the series to be released under a different title in Japan than it was sold under in other parts of the world. (ESRB: T)
Nintendo launched its Game Boy Advance handheld video game system in the U.S. The system featured a 32-bit 16.8MHz ARM, as well as a Z80 processor that made it backward-compatible with titled relead for previous Game Boy systems. It’s main selling point was it’s screen, which was larger that that of the Game Boy Color.
Destineer and MacSoft released the popular first-person shooter Unreal Tournament for Macintosh computers in the U.S. (ESRB: M)
GameScience.com reported that the popular puzzle game Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! had remained the top selling game in Japan for 31 of the 34 weeks since its release, selling over 2,322,970 units nationwide. The success made it the best-selling puzzle game since Tetris.
Nintendo released the Nintendo DS Lite handheld video game system in North America with a Polar White case. Overnite, major internet retailers across the country sold out of the devices, and by June 13, Nintendo announced that 136,500 units had been sold. Price: US$129.99 / CA$149.99
Pathé Frères studios released the first modern animated cartoon in the United States, “Dachshund.” The short feature paves the way for the medium which will be one of the principal inspirations behind the design of future console games.
Sierra Studios released Half-Life: Blue Shift, the second, stand-alone expansion pack for the wildly popular first-person shooter computer game Half-Life.
The persistent-world massively multiplayer online roleplaying game Eve Online was released in China, where it will be massively popular.
Midway Games released the real-time strategy game Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War for Windows. Though the game was commercially successful in the U.K. and the technology behind the game garnered numerous awards, its gameplay received mixed reviews in North American and most of Europe due to its sometime unsuccessful merger of conventions from both the strategy and third-person action genres. (ESRB: T)
Silicon Valley-based video game developer Activision finalizes its acquisition of Massachusetts developer Infocom, which was best known for its pioneering work in text adventure games such as Zork. After three years of consistent financial losses, Activision will close down Infocom studios in 1989, keeping only five of the company’s employees.
Electronic Arts releases the turn-based strategy game Shogun: Total War for Windows. The game marks the beginning of EA’s ventures into strategy games. Previous, the company had largely developed games in the the popular franchises of its EA Sports brands.
Japanese video game producer SNK, which first established a North American division in 1981 in order to market coin-operated arcade games, withdraws from the American market due to its company-wide failing finances.
Nintendo released a port of the real-time strategy game StarCraft for the Nintendo 64 in North America.
Microïds releases the graphic adventure game Syberia for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Windows. The game was notable for having no death mechanism. By making it impossible for players to die, the game encourages players to fully immerse themselves in the game without fear of loosing or being forced to restart. Despite the surreal nature of the game’s storyline and its lack of achievable objectives, the game will earn numerous awards. (ESRB: T)
Electronic Arts released the first-person shooter GoldenEye: Rogue Agent for the Nintendo DS. (ESRB: T)
Activision and Aspyr released Call of Duty 2 for Macs.
Nintendo announced after selling 136,500 DS Lite units in two days since its North American release that the system was on schedule to match and even exceed the record-setting half a million units sold by the Nintendo DS during its first ten days of release.
In Beaumont, Texas, David Jannise, age 19, finishes a thirty-six hours and twenty-nine minute game of Asteroids that sets an all-time record score for the game.
Nintendo released the smash hit puzzle game Tetris for the Game Boy in Japan.
Nintendo released a port of the classic arcade game Donkey Kong for the Game Boy in Japan. The game will sell over a million copies worldwide before being re-released as a Player’s Choice title.
Acclaim Entertainment released Mortal Kombat 3 for the PlayStation in Japan. Though it sold well, it was widely criticized by fans for substituting some of the franchise’s most popular characters, including Raiden, Johnny Cage, Reptile, and Scorpion, with newly invented characters. Many of the characters that did return in the game were voice by different actors than in previous games due to a royalty disputes.
A cellphone with the popular Tamagotchi pet simulator built into it was released in Japan as the Tamapittchi. Price: Y45,000
The New York Times and the LA Times reported that the hardware specifications of the upcoming PlayStation 2 video game console may be classified as a supercomputer and thus banned from being exported to China.
News outlet Next Generation Online reported that a gamer named Jason Allen had discovered an image on Sega’s website comprised of ASCII characters art spelling out “Sony Sucks”. According to the news story, Sega rewarded Allen with “a box of Sega goodies” for reporting the discovery.
CCP Games announced that EVE Online had achieved a record thirty-three thousand concurrent players online. The milestone marks the enormous influx of news users from the game’s beta tests in China, which began Jun 12th. The company predicted that the game’s user base would only expand from there.
In the case of Nintendo Vs. Tengen, Judge Fern Smith ruled that Tengen had no legal right to distribut Tetris, and subsequently, Nintendo was granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Tengen from selling Tetris game cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System as of June 21.
Namco discontinued its relationship with Atari Games and sold off its 43.8% stake in the the company.
Microsoft settles a lawsuit brought against it by a small company that did business under the name “XBOX” for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the settlement, XBOX Technologies changed it name and dropped its lawsuit.
Paramount Pictures released the action movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie and based on the Tomb Raider game franchise. It went on to gross over three hundred million dollars globally, becoming the highest-grossing video game movie of all time. (MPAA Rating: PG-13)
Atari released the first-person shooter Shadow Ops: Red Mercury for Windows and the XBox. (ESRB: T)
Ubisoft released the third-person stealth-based video game Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PlayStation 2 in the US. (ESRB: T)
Eidos Interactive releases the first-person shooter Urban Chaos: Riot Response for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in the US. (ESRB: M)
Microsoft released a Halo 3 edition Zune through the GameStop retail chain. The media player featured a black case with Halo graphics and exclusive promotional video clips. Price: US$246
Sega Enterprises reduced the price of the Saturn video game system from Y44,800 to Y34,800 in Japan and includes the Virtua Fighter title at no with the system for a month in an attempt to bolster flagging sales.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Entertainment Software Association in cooperation with the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) filed a lawsuit in opposition to a a new law that imposed fines for selling violent video games to minors. In response, the U.S. District Court grants a temporary restraining order that temporarily prevented Louisiana from enforcing the law. Ultimately the suit would succeed in overturning the law as unconstitutional.
Nintendo released the puzzle game Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! for the Nintendo DS in Australia. (OFLC: G)
Nintendo releases the simulation game Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS in Europe. (PEGI: 3+)
Sony Computer Entertainment released its PlayStation 3 video game console with an 80GB hard drive in South Korea.
The coin-operated arcade games Asteroids and Lunar Lander became the first video games ever registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Atari granted arcade game manufacturer Centuri exclusive global rights to distribute one of its less popular titles, Tunnel Hunt.
Logical International filed a trademark infringement suit against game pioneer Coleco Industries claiming that it had a prior claim of the use of the name “Adam” for computers. However, Coleco will ultimately prevail in the suit.
Sunsoft released the platform game Blaster Master as “Chô Wakusei Senki Metafight” for the Famicom in Japan. The game would come to be widely regarded as the most challenging game ever released for the original Nintendo. Following in the footsteps of the acclaimed The Legend of Zelda, the game permits players to freely roam previous levels. This and other cutting-edge technologies, such as the accumulation of skills with the destruction of level bosses, made Blaster Master one of the most innovative games of its time.
Capcom released the survival horror game Resident Evil: Dead Aim for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S. It was the fourth game in the Gun Survivor series. (ESRB: M)
THQ released Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick for the personal computer, PlayStation 2, and Xbox in North America. The game was intended to serve as a sequel to the The Evil Dead trilogy, picking up the story twelve years after the movies. Actor Bruce Campbell provides the voice of Ash for the game. (ESRB: M)
Capcom releases Mega Man Battle Network 4 for the Game Boy Advance in North America. It was the fourth game in the MegaMan Battle Network series. Like Battle Network 3 before it, Battle Network 4 was released into two different versions, Red Sun and Blue Moon, that differ only in minor story and gameplay details. (ESRB: E)
Nintendo released the platform game Wrecking Crew for the Famicom in Japan. It was the only game to feature Mario that was never published globally. As such, it would remain the least financially successful and most obscure game in the franchise.
Sega released the platform game Sonic Adventure 2 for the Sega Dreamcast in the U.S. to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the release of the original Sonic game. It was notable for introducing two new characters to the franchise: Rouge the Bat and Shadow the Hedgehog. (ESRB: E)
Atari and Infogrames released the role-playing game Neverwinter Nights for Windows in North America. The game was based on third edition Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game and modeled after the original Neverwinter Nights online game, the first graphical MMORPG. The game was developed using the NWScript scripting language, which had been created specifically for the game based on the C programming language. (ESRB: T)
Microsoft Game Studios releases the arcade shooter Geometry Wars for Windows XP. (ESRB: E)
Atari Corporation hosted the first World of Atari Exposition at the Santa Clara Convention Center with the assistance of the five Bay Area user’s groups in the San Francisco Bay area.
Controversy arises when the the British Board of Film Classification refused to certify (or rate) the survival horror game Manhunt 2 due to its extremely graphic violence. Under British law, it was illegal to sell games without certification in the United Kingdom, leaving Rockstar Games unable to sell the title. Rockstar will appeal the rejection and on December 10, 2007, win, only to face an appeal by the BBFC. Although the game would ultimately be released, it would be delayed until October 31, 2008.
Capcom released the survival horror game Resident Evil 4 for the Wii in North America. It was the sixth game in the Resident Evil series, and it was notable for the extreme length of development after its initial announcement in 2001. However, it was also arguably the best-received installment in the franchise, after from the original Resident Evil. (ESRB: M)
Ron Kussman, age 20, scored a record 63,983,475 points playing the Atari coin-operated arcade game Missile Command after a forty-five hour and thirty minute gaming session in Upland, California.
Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that it expected to ship over six million PlayStation consoles by the year’s end without satisfying market demand.
Nintendo released the platform game Wario World for the GameCube in Europe It marked the first console game in which Wario was cast in the starring role. (PEGI: 3+)
Virginia game developer Mythic Entertainment, best known for Warhammer Online, was acquired by California game publisher Electronic Arts.
Tengen’s version of Tetris was removed from store shelves pursuant to a court’s injunction in the case of Nintendo v Tengen.
Nintendo released the Super Scope 6, a bundle of shooting games for use with the Nintendo Super Scope light gun, for the Super NES. Few games for the Super Scope would follow.
EA Games released the first-person shooter Battlefield 2 for Windows in North America. It was the third game of the Battlefield series. (ESRB: E)
Majesco Entertainment released Psychonauts for the PlayStation 2 in the US. Despite receiving awards and garnering critical acclaim, the game was a financial failure, selling less than a hundred thousand units by the year’s end, despite its big budget and favorable sales projections. Its lackluster sales numbers were a near-fatal blow to its developer, Majesco. In July, the company was forced to alter its financial projections from a net profit of eighteen million dollars to a net loss of eighteen million dollars. Due to the game’s failure, Majesco would announce its withdraw from the “big budget console game marketplace.” (ESRB: T)