PC and Video Game History: On This Day in Video Game History: August 21

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This Day in Video Game History


Atari introduces the revolutionary arcade racing game Gran Trak 10, the first arcade game to ever use ROM. The use of diode-based ROM marks a new dawn in game graphics. Gran Trak 10 is the first game to feature visually well-defined characters where its predecessors has all starred boxes (Pong) or dots (Computer Space.) The system stores programming sprites for the game’s car, score-keeping function, timer, and race track element. The game’s cabinet features a steering wheel, an attention-drawing four-position gear shifter, a gas pedal, and a brake pedal, all of which are also arcade history firsts.


According to Twin Galaxies, Leo Daniels scores 269,230 points on Atari’s Asteroids Deluxe after playing for one hour and seven minutes at the Jubilee Park arcade in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.


In Dusseldorf, Germany, Atari introduces the Atari Falcon030 Computer System at the Atari Messe (Atari Fair), which will be discontinued only a year later in order for Atari to consolidate its efforts behind the new Atari Jaguar console. During its brief run, the system will be widely derided as crippled, owing to Atari’s choice of a 16-bit bus on an 32-bit Motorola 68030 microprocessor. The design was an attempt to maintain compatibility with the older STE, but it severely limited the Falcon’s performance. Code-name: Sparrow


Nintendo launches the first portable game system capable of displaying 3D graphics in the United States, the Virtual Boy. The system features a 32-bit 20MHz RISC microprocessor, digital stereo sound, a 3D display designed by Reflections Technologies, and a double-grip controller with dual control pads similar to future Nintendo controllers. The headset projects two images onto two mirrored screens, one red image and one black image to create a stereoscopic display. The system comes bundled with Mario’s Tennis. Price: US$179.95


Nintendo Co. Ltd. cancels plans to develop a satellite delivery system for its games that were announced earlier.

Red Storm Entertainment releases the original tactical shooter Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, based on the novel of the same name, for personal computers globally. The game kicks off one of the most popular franchises in video history when it proves far more popular than projected. Eventually Rainbox Six will be ported to the Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Mac, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation. (ESRB: T)

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. announces that it has shipped forty million PlayStation video game consoles to date, including 13 million units in Japan, 14.3 million units in North America, and 12.7 million units in PAL regions. The sales figures marks the first instance of a Sony platform outselling other regions in North America, which bodes ill for Nintendo, the traditional leader in the US game market.


Bandai releases the single-player survival horror game Countdown Vampires for the PlayStation in the US. Gameplay is so similar to earlier installments in the popular Resident Evil series that the game will largely be dismissed as a clone, despite a number of innovations such as a dart gun used to sedate opponents. (ESRB: M)


Acclaim Entertainment releases the futuristic racing game XG3: Extreme G Racing for the PlayStation 2 in the US. (ESRB: T)

Capcom releases the survival horror game Resident Evil Code: Veronica X for the PlayStation 2 in the US. The game is the first of the Resident Evil game to released for a console not bearing a Sony brand, being preceded by the Dreamcast release. (ESRB: M)


Strategy First and Wanadoo Edition release the real-time strategy game Celtic Kings: Rage of War for the personal computer. ESRB: E (Everyone)


Nintendo reduces the price of its Nintendo DS handheld video game system from $149.99 to $129.99 in the United States.


Jon “NEVERDIE” Jacobs, the man who made headlines around the globe by purchasing a virtual resort on an in-game Asteroid in with real money in October 2005 draws the world’s attention again when he announces that his resort has grossed over one hundred thousand US dollars in the eight months since its December opening, completely earning back its purchase price. “Club NEVERDIE,” located in the free-to-play massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) Entropia Universe has become, according to Jacobs, “the most successful player-owned and -operated turnkey business in any Virtual world!”

Nintendo releases the stealth action game Tenchu: Dark Secret for the Nintendo DS in the US. (ESRB: T)


2K Games releases the single-player first-person shooter (FPS) BioShock for Windows or the Xbox 360 in North America. (ESRB: M)

Nippon Ichi Software releases the single-player roleplaying game (RPG) Dragoneer’s Aria for the PlayStation Portable in North America. (ESRB: E10+)

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) releases the single-player tactical roleplaying game (RPG) Jeanne d’Arc for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in North America. The game retells the story of Joan of Arc, with the introduction of fantasy elements. (ESRB: T)

Ubisoft releases the fourth game in the popular Ghost Recon series, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW 2), for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (PSP) in North America. (ESRB: T)