This Day in Video Game History
Nintendo of America launches the largest television advertisement campaign in history. With a twenty-five million dollar advertising budget dedicated to the 16-bit Super Nintendo System (SNES) and another US$10 million allocated to its traditional 8-bit line and the Game Boy, Nintendo plans to buy the market away from the popular Sega Genesis video game console, which has rapidly gained market share since its introduction in 1989. The campaign will run through December 29.
Electronic Arts (EA), the world’s largest entertainment software company, announces the acquisition of PlayNation, a developer of online entertainment based in Carlsbad, California. The financial terms of the agreement are not publicly disclosed.
Namco releases the 3D versus fighting game Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast in North America. The game is a port of the arcade original, which was less popular than expected, and after being ported to the Dreamcast, the game becomes an overnight smash hit. In fact, the Dreamcast version is often cited by critics as one of the greatest fighting games of all time. One of the primary reasons behind its popularity is the revolutionary innovation of the "Eight-Way Run," the ability to use the joystick or control pad to move continuously in any given direction. Previous games in the genre featured character movement along a fixed axis, severely limiting the possible range of options in a game. Another helpful addition to the game is a feature called "Forgiving Buffering," in which characters execute player commands one move before they recover from the previous move, allowing for very rapid combat exchanges. The buffering is designed to draw players’ attention away from the precise controller combinations required by other game franchises and into the game experience. (ESRB: T)
Square Electronic Arts releases Final Fantasy VIII for the PlayStation in North America. (ESRB: T)
Activision releases the single-player stealth action game Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins for the PlayStation in PAL regions. (ELSPA: 18+)
At the 108th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), the results of a study conducted by Psychologists Jeanne B. Funk, Ph.D., and Debra D. Buchman, Ph.D., R.N. are released, demonstrating that preexisting traits have a stronger influence on behavior than short-term exposure to violent video games. The findings of the study directly contradicts recent research from Middlesex University that has been making prominent headlines by propping up the condemnation of video games that became so prevalent following the Columbine High School massacre. In the study, children were asked to play a "violent" video game for fifteen minutes before being asked for their response to a series of hypothetical situations.
Nintendo releases the tactical roleplaying game (RPG) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Gameboy Advance in North America. The game will receive no small amount of critical acclaim. It will praised for its rich graphics and smooth animation, it’s expansive Job system, which includes twenty-five separate classes, and its new storyline, which is spin-off of the original series. (ESRB: E)
Sony Computer Entertainment adds the platform game Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus to its line of Greatest Hits. (ESRB: E)
Vivendi releases the hack and slash game Hunter: The Reckoning: Wayward for the PlayStation 2 in North America. (ESRB: M)
Nintendo releases the roleplaying games (RPG) Pokémon Fire Red and Pokémon Leaf Green for the Game Boy Advance in the US. They are the first games compatible with the Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter, which comes bundled with the games. (ESRB: E)
Sony Computer Entertainment adds the sci-fi platform game Jak II to its Greatest Hits line, just eleven months after its release. (ESRB: T)
Sony Computer Entertainment adds the racing game ATV Offroad Fury 2 to its Greatest Hits line. (ESRB: E)
THQ releases the single-player platform game The Fairly OddParents: Shadow Showdown, based on the animated television series of the same name, for Windows, the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 in the U.S. (ESRB: E)
The official newspaper of the US Army, Stars and Stripes, publishes an article reporting that an enormous number of video game controllers have been sold to U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan because the desert environment so seriously shortens the device’s lifespan.
One of the world’s largest media conglomerates, News Corporation (the parent company of the Fox television network), announces that it has purchased a 92.3% controlling stake of IGN Entertainment for US$650 million and made it a division of Fox Interactive Media (FIM). IGN controls the GameSpy video game news site and MySpace.
THQ releases the single-player side-scroller Danny Phantom: The Ultimate Enemy, based on the animated television series Danny Phantom, for the Game Boy Advance in North America. (ESRB: E)
Atari releases the roleplaying game (RPG) Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales for Windows in Europe.
Atari releases the street racing game Test Drive Unlimited for the Xbox 360 in Europe. It’s the fifteenth game in the Test Drive series. (ESRB: E10+)
Capcom releases the single-player 3D platform game Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in Europe. Despite its 3D graphics, the game sticks to traditional 2D platform conventions and mechanics. (PEGI: 7+)
EA Sports releases the football Madden NFL 07 for the Xbox 360 in Europe. By the end of the year, the PlayStation version of the game will sell over 2.8 million units in the U.S., making it the bestselling game of the year, despite its relatively late release date, but the Xbox version will sell less than half that, only 1.1 million units. (PEGI: 3+)
Lighthouse Interactive releases the sci-fi turn-based strategy game Sword of the Stars for Windows in Europe. (PEGI: 7+)
Microsoft announces that its Platinum Collection line of games will be extended to its new Xbox 360 game platform.
ValuSoft releases the real-time strategy game Prison Tycoon 2: Maximum Security for personal computers. (ESRB: T)