This Day in Video Game History
Atari launched a television advertising campaign that cost six million dollars, more than the entire industry cobined spent on all advertising in the previous year. The campaign premieres during a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks, but the series of three thirty-second commercials, which feature stars such as Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, Carol Channing, Gene Rayburn, Jack Palance, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Pete Rose, will air during a variety of programs, including BattleStar Galactica, Midnight Special, NCAA Football, and Monday Night Football. Magazine ads ran in in People, Penthouse, Playboy, Sport, TV Guide, and Us magazines as well. The campaign reached an estimated ninety-five percent of United States households over the holiday selling season. The message of the campaign is "Don’t Watch TV Tonight, Play It."
Infocom published Release 47 of the popular interactive fiction game Beyond Zork for IBM-compatible computers. It was among the last games in the Zork series to bear the original Infocom branding before Activision’s later acquisition of the company. Its graphical nature is a departure from from the standard format of Infocom’s earlier games, which were purely text-based puzzle games. It’s the first game in the series to incorporate an on-screen map, though it is crude compared to later games of the ninties, and it is among the very first games to implement character statistics, levels, and roleplaying game combat elements.
Nintendo released Pro Wrestling for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in Europe. (ESRB: E)
The Legend of Zelda, an animated series based on the first and second installment of the popular game series of the same name, premiered on ABC as part of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! In it, Link and Princess Zelda must defend the kingdom of Hyrule from the wicked Ganon, who is bent on capturing the Triforce. The series will only run for thirteen episodes.
Capcom released Soccer Shootout for the Super NES in Europe.
EA Sports released NFL 97 for the PlayStation and Saturn in the U.S. The game is among the first 32-bit games. (ESRB: E)
Activision released a demo of the real-time strategy game NetStorm: Islands At War as a download for Windows in Europe. A flaw that will come to be highly publicized on the internet allowed users to convert the demo into a full version. That flaw is one of the two factors Activision later blamed for the game’s poor sales. The other factor was the game’s release near to the release of the much better marketed game Age of Empires.
The first issue of Classic Gamer Magazine was published.
Nintendo released the first-person rail shooter Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64 in Europe. (ELSPA: 3+)
Sega released the hack and slash roleplaying game Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus for the Gamecube in North America. (ESRB: T)
Ubisoft released the Rogue Spear: Black Thorn add-on for the tactical shooting game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear for personal computers. The add-on included new single-player maps, six new multiplayer maps, ten new weapons, and a new multiplayer variations on the “Lone Wolf” game mode. (ESRB: T)
THQ released the wrestling game WWE RAW 2 for the Xbox in the U.S. The game will be praised for its vast improvements on its successor, but almost universally drubbed for its extremely poor AI. (ESRB: T)
Activision released the single-player card game World Series of Poker for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in North America. (ESRB: E10+)
At the Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo demonstrated a prototype of the wireless Wii remote controller for its next console video game system. The controller was finally released November 19, 2006.
Nintendo released the party game Mario Party 6 for the GameCube in Australia. It was the first GameCube game to use a microphone. (OFLC: G8+)
Activision released World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in North America. (ESRB: T) Cartoon Network Interactive released Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: The Genie and the Amp, based on its animated series Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, for the Nintendo DS in Europe. (PEGI: 3+)
Namco released the fighting game Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, the seventh game in the Tekken series, for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in Europe. (PEGI 16+)
Outerlight released the first-person shooter The Ship for Windows. In it, the mysterious Mr. X has handed out free tickets for a luxury cruise, but, the cruise is really a devious trap. All the passengers are compelled to track down and murder one of the other passengers. (ESRB: T)
Sega released the single-player game Yakuza for the PlayStation 2 in Japan. Development of the game and its sequel cost ¥2.4 billion (Approx. $21 million), which made the pair two of the most expensive video games ever released. In the game a former Yakuza member named Kazuma Kiryu who is released from prison only to find himself embroiled in a mystery in which he must find his kindnapped girlfriend and discover who has stolen money from his former clan. The game will receive acclaim in Japan for being the first game to explore Yakuza culture with such authenticity, however, it will be deridded in the west for its tedious gameplay. (BBFC: 18)
Sony released the mylo ("My Life Online") Personal Communicator portable communication device, which used Wi-Fi access rather than cellular networks.
THQ released the fourth installment in the Broken Sword series, the single-player Broken Sword: The Angel of Death, for Windows in PAL regions. Like its immediate predecessor, the game features 3D graphics, but with improved game controls augmented by the ability to use a mouse. (OFLC: M, PEGI: 12+, USK: 6+)