This Day in Video Game History
The very first official Gen Con is held at the Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The event is one of the earliest tabletop gaming events, and it will eventually grow into the largest such event in the US. Somewhere between fifty and one hundred people attend this first event.
Atari announces that it has obtained exclusive worldwide rights to market video games based on the blockbuster film E.T. the Extraterrestrial. The game that it develops, which shares the film’s name, will go down in history for being one of the most disappointing games ever released. In fact, many will later place blame for the video game crash of 1983 on that game alone.
Release 10 of Infocom’s interactive fiction game Zork III is released.
Midway Amusement Games releases Mortal Kombat version 2.0 to arcades in the US. The game will rise to almost un-paralleled popularity.
Atari introduces the Jaguar 64-bit video game console at a press conference held at the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. The system will be released to retailers on November 18 and promoted as the first 64-bit video game system. However, it will ultimately be a commercial failure so devastating that Atari will be forced to abandon the console market.
New Line Cinema releases the action film Mortal Kombat, based on the popular video game franchise, to 2,421 US theaters. The film stars Christopher Lambert as Lord Rayden, Robin Shou as Liu Kang, and Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage. The film will gross US$23,283,887 domestically in its opening weekend alone, and it will be surprisingly well received by critics. The film will be considered the first major success for big screen video game adaptations following a string of major video game based film flops, such as Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter.
Nintendo reduces the price of the upcoming Nintendo 64 video game console from its project release price of US$249.95 in the United States to US$199.95. Nintendo also announces that the release’s target date has been moved to Sunday, September 29 from earlier announcement of Monday, September 30. Finally the company announces that over nine hundred thousand 900,000 units have been sold in Japan since the systems release on June 23.
Bloodlust Software releases the final version of the popular DOS NES emulator NESticle. It was among the earliest freeware NES emulators when it was released on April 3, 1997, but it is far from the last to undergo continuing development.
Psygnosis releases the action-adventure game Drakan: Order of the Flame for Windows. (ESRB: M)
Fox Interactive releases the single-player beat em' up game Buffy the Vampire Slayer, based on the television series of the same name for the Xbox in the US. Some time after the game’s release, a concealed multiplayer mode, which was allegedly included for debugging, will be discovered and publicized on the internet. (ESRB: T)
Mythic Entertainment announces that players of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Dark Age of Camelot have built over twenty thousand in-game homes in the free Foundations expansion was released on June 18th. Mythic illustrates the proportions of the growth by explaining that the figure is greater than the total number of real world homes bought in the US cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. combined in the month of June. The announcement is yet another in a long line of statistics demonstrating the rising popularity of MMORPGs.
Konami releases the soundtrack to the video game Gradius 5, featuring twenty-two orchestral tracks from acclaimed video game music composer Hitoshi Sakimoto. While video game soundtracks aren’t normally released to CD, the way that film soundtracks are, Sakimoto’s previous game’s soundtrack for Final Fantasy Tactics have been an enormous success.
Konami releases a port of the original 1987 MSX2 home computer game Metal Gear for mobile phones.
Nintendo reduces the price of the GameCube video game system in Canada to CDN$139.
Upper Deck Entertainment announces a card game based on Blizzard Entertainment’s MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Starter decks contain a hero card, along with allies and other support cards. Booster packs can be bought to expand the deck with abilities, armor, items, quests, and weapons. Some booster packs also include rare legendary cards which feature a scratch-off code that can be redeemed in the online version of the game for virtual prizes. The prizes include special tabards and mounts that move at walking speed.
Microsoft releases a modified version of the source code of the 2001 real-time tactics game MechCommander 2, along with most of the game assets necessary to compile the game under a Shared Source license. The code is released to demonstrate the Microsoft XNA Build system.