This Day in Video Game History
Gen Con I, the first official Gen Con, is held at the Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Somewhere between fifty and one hundred people attend the event, but, over time, it will grow into the largest gaming convention in North America. It was founded the previous year by Gary Gygax, who held the first event at his home.
Sierra On-Line releases the fantasy-themed roleplaying game (RPG) Ultima II for the Atari and personal computers. The ground-breaking game introduces many innovations to the console roleplaying game genre. It doesn’t follow any of the normal conventions of earlier fantasy games. Its map is identical to real-life Earth, and player must journey to such mundane locations as San Antonio, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. Players are armed with modern-day and futuristic weaponry, and the game’s storyline is sprinkled with incongruous pop-culture references and side-jokes, such as an NPC named “Sister Sledge” who only says “We are family!” over and over.
3DO announces that it plans to use the Motorola PowerPC processor in its upcoming expansion module for its Interactive Multiplayer video game system.
Atari begins releasing CD-ROMs for its Jaguar console to select distributors.
Nintendo releases the golf game Kirby’s Dream Course for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in Europe. (ESRB: KA)
The original TeamFortress modification for the first-person shooter (FPS) Quake, is released as freeware.
Take-Two Interactive acquires Jack Of All Games, a PlayStation game distributor with over twelve thousand U.S. retail outlets, for US$17 million deal.
A 9th Circuit Federal Court rules that BLEEM!, a PlayStation emulation package, may continue to be sold by its developer, Bleem, LLC. It marks the failure of Sony’s fourth attempt to block sales before the case is scheduled to go to trial on Monday, April 24, 2000.
Capcom releases a port of the arcade game Power Stone 2 for the Dreamcast and PlayStation Portable (PSP) in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Konami releases the dancing game Dance Dance Revolution 4thMIX to arcades. The game features 136 songs, 42 of which are new.
Microsoft Game Studios releases the expansion Age of Empires II: The Conquerors for the real-time strategy game Age of Empires II for personal computers. It features five new civilizations: the Aztecs, Huns, Koreans, Mayans, and Spanish). It also features four new campaigns, eleven new units, twenty-six new technologies, several new gameplay modes, new maps, and a large number of small gameplay tweaks. (ESRB: T)
Nintendo introduces the Gamecube video game system, featuring a 405MHz IBM PowerPC “Gekko” processor, a 202.5MHz System LSI “Flipper” graphics processor, a 16-bit sound processor, and 24MB of memory. The system will be released to Japanese retailers in July.
Nintendo introduces the Game Boy Advance handheld video game system, featuring 32-bit RISC and 8-bit CISC processors, 32KB WRAM, and 96KB VRAM. The system will be released to retailers on March 21. Code-name: Project Atlantis
Activision releases Bloody Roar 3 for the PlayStation 2 in Europe.
Microsoft Game Studios releases the real-time tactics game MechCommander 2 for Windows in Europe.
Sierra Entertainment releases the fantasy-steampunk hybrid Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura for Windows in Europe. (ELSPA: 11+, USK: 12+)
Bandai releases the versus fighting game Inuyasha: Feudal Combat, based on the popular anime series InuYasha, for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S. (ESRB: T)
Gearbox Software releases the first-person shooter (FPS) Half-Life: Blue Shift as a download on the Steam content delivery system. Owners of previous editions of Half-Life or the Half-Life 2 silver or gold packages can download it for free.
Sony releases the PlayStation Portable (PSP) firmware 2.0 upgrade in North America online. It can be downloaded through the system’s wireless connect or via USB through a computer. The upgrade includes a web browser as well as enhanced Wi-Fi security, improved video and audio playback, new tools for sharing photos, and support for MP4 and WAV media formats.
A demo of the third-person shooter game Just Cause is released on Xbox Live Marketplace. (ESRB: M, PEGI: 16+)
Square Enix releases a remake of the roleplaying game (RPG) Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS in Japan. It’s an enhanced version of the classic 1990 title originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s the first and only version of Final Fantasy III that will be officially released outside of Japan. (CERO: A)
2K Games releases the single-player first-person shooter (FPS) BioShock for Windows and the Xbox 360 in PAL regions. (BBFC: 18, OFLC: MA15+)
Microsoft reduces the price of the Xbox 360 bundle by fifty euros to €349.99 euros and the Xbox 360 Core by twenty euros €279.99 in Europe. It also releases the Xbox 360 Elite console in Europe.
Rockstar announces that it has submitted a modified version of the highly controversial survival horror game Manhunt 2 to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the company’s hope that it might be ready to be re-released by October 31, 2007. The game was originally scheduled for a July release, but it’s release was cancelled after it was rated AO (Adult Only) by the ESRB and UK authorities refused to rate it at all due to its highly violent content.