The yellow dot gobbler that is still chomping away today is turning 33 years old this week.
The original Pac-Man was first tested May 22, 1980 at a Tokyo movie theatre. It released in Japan a few months later and in North America in October that year.
Despite trade show opinions that said the game was “too cute to be successful”, Pac-Man became THE epitome of a hit video game, spawning almost a dozen sequels by the end of the decade. It also became huge as a licensed property, appearing on hundreds upon hundreds of products in a branding boom that no video game in history has ever matched with the present day exception of Angry Birds.
The lasting popularity of Pac-Man continues still today, with a new game and new cartoon series due later this year.
Join in with the video to take a look back at the earliest days of Pac-Man‘s success.
The infamous “Boss” enemy at the end of a level and/or game has been a staple of video gaming since the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System. However, not many realize that they pre-date that era, going back to the mid-70s and appearing in some of the key arcade hits of the early 1980s.
Join in this week in taking a look at some of the earliest, and perhaps not-yet-very intimidating video game bosses. How many of them have you encountered in your retro gaming?
A common complaint about video games these days is product placement. From sports games to first-person shooters, fans and gamers seem to take offense to the idea of paid branding appearing within their favorite form of entertainment.
Thing is, product placement has existed within video games almost since the beginning. The idea that video games could help deliver a brand message to potential customers has appealed to companies for decades.
In this week’s This Week in Gaming History video, we take a look back at some of the earliest examples of product placement in video gaming, even including beer, cigarettes and a brand of athletic shoe that would later become banned in schools due to gang violence.
Also worth note is an early appearance by Mountain Dew, the super-sugary soda that is a staple in video game sponsorship and product placement to this very day.
Check back every Monday for another look through video game history. I mean it.
Minecraft might be more addicting than a Swedish bikini team made of nicotine, but it’s just one of a great many classic video games that involve digging. This edition of This Week in Gaming History recaps several of them, even some that predate Namco’s mega classic Dig Dug as well as others that, like Minecraft, also started on personal computers before hitting consoles.
How many of the games shown have you played? If you missed some of these classics, I highly suggest going back in time and trying them out. You might find several of them are pretty addicting in their own right, and still hold up strong today.
Check back every Monday for another run through video game history.
The most famous cheat code in video game history is celebrating a birthday this week! Hopefully you brought the balloons. No? Well, hell…let’s celebrate anyway.
The famous button combo of Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A first appeared in the home translation of Gradius, which was first released for the Nintendo Famicom on April 25, 1986. The code allowed the player to obtain full power-ups, a must in that damn game.
This original appearance was actually in error, as the code was entered for Konami to have an easier time testing and debugging the game. They simply forgot to remove the code before launch, starting a trend. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Happy Birthday Konami Code!” »
Seems that the world of eSports continues to grow each year, but a lot of the League of Legends and Call of Duty pros out there may not know just how far back organized video gaming competition goes. Turns out that a number of tournaments and competitions in the 1980s and 1990s paved the way for what some today are saying will continue to grow.
This week’s video takes a look at some of the spectacle from those early days, including a look at an early arcade competition that send the top three finishers to compete on television, the 1985 North American Video Game Championships, one of the stops on the 1990 Nintendo World Championships tour and a rare look at the MTV coverage of the 1994 Rock the Rock tour by Sega.
While Cheyenne, Rad Racer and Sonic & Knuckles might be light years from the types of games played competitively today, take a moment to note that a lot of the sights and feel of today’s eSports events don’t look all that different from the very footage you see in the contests from the early days.
Check back every Monday for another look into gaming’s past.
Legendary film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert have now left the world a legacy of what film critics should be. As video gaming has become a larger and larger part of the overall pop culture, many video game movies came to be.
Therefore, it is only natural that the world of video game movies and Siskel and Ebert would cross paths on more than one occasion. Here are some of the best examples, as the iconic pair review and argue over video game/film crossover “classics” such as WarGames, The Wizard and Super Mario Bros.
Here are just a few of our favorite quoatbles you’ll see throughout the video: Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Siskel & Ebert Review Video Game Movies” »
It’s that time of year where the WrestleMania streak of the legendary Undertaker is talked about quite a bit. The veteran WWE Superstar has appeared at a record-setting 20 WrestleMania events and come out the victor in all of them.
Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: The Undertaker’s Video Game Streak Hits 42” »
On March 26, 1988, the first Golgo 13 video game was released for Japan’s Nintendo Famicom. Based on a popular manga series, the game later made it’s way to the United States with the subtitle of “Top Secret Episode” and gained a cult following of it’s own. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Golgo 13 Gets a Game, Pac-Man Goes Portable, and Frogger Leaps into Arcades” »
Rested up from the holidays? Good… crack open those books… it’s back to learnin’ your video game history.
On January 6, 1990, the Famicom version of the Adventures of Lolo was released. Initially thought to see a silly looking game in the United States, the challenge of the game gained it a cult following, spawning many sequels as well.
Ms. Pac-Man was released on January 8, 1982. Originally a Pac-Man hack cooked up by MIT students under the name “Crazy Otto”, Ms. Pac-Man would be officially released by Bally Midway and go on to become the best selling arcade game in U.S. history with over 119,000 units sold. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Mizzzz Pac-Man Hits The Scene, Black Marbles Brings The Hate & Super Contra” »
Welcome to the final This Week in Gaming History of 2012, a special holiday edition. Santa may be near, but some of gaming’s biggest releases ever came out in this timespan…and a few dark marks as well.
On December 16, 1982, ABC Television aired Christmas Comes to Pac-Land, the first-ever holiday special tied to a video game property. It still airs on Boomerang this time of year… look for it.
Six years later, on December 16, 1988 came Atari arcade classic Hard Drivin’. The hardest part was resisting the urge to crash and watch the instant replays. Continue reading “This Holiday in Gaming History: Chomping, Mega Man Rocks, Final Fantasy & A Street Fighter Movie” »
How about December 5, 1986 release Transformers: Mystery of Convoy on the Nintendo Famicom? You lead a tiny Ultra Magnus on a side-scrolling adventure where he battles bored boss enemies and hardly identifiable characters from the Transformers universe. Luckily, for North America, this game stayed in the east. Trust me when I say that’s a good thing.
We weren’t so lucky with Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Crappy Holidays Edition” »
On November 29, 1972 the granddaddy of them all rolled out to the general public, as Atari released Pong. While NOT the first arcade video game as often misreported, there is no doubting that Pong was the game that sparked an entertainment industry. The first machine was installed in a bar in Sunnyvale, California that is still in operation today as Rooster T. Feathers Comedy Club.
November 30, 1984 marks the first of several notable events with the November 30 date. In this case, it was the release of Excitebike on the Nintendo Famicom.
Almost a decade later, on November 30, 1993, Kirby’s Adventure was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the only Kirby game ever on the NES and one of the last titles to be released on the mega classic console.
Ya know all those first-person shooters that people gripe about on gaming blogs? November 30, 1999 is a big date around that, too, as Unreal Tournament debuts on the PC. While far from the first FPS, Unreal clearly raised the bar for a genre that still dominates video game sales today.
More history to come even as the holidays approach. Gaming has never really taken much of a holiday. Check back each Monday for more.
On November 11, 1982 Atari brought Pole Position to North America by way of Namco. This racer went on to become the top earning arcade game of 1983 and influence almost every arcade racer that followed. That one turn really sucked, though.
Fast forward to another November 11 date in 2006. Hundreds of people waited in lines to get the new PlayStation 3 with a launch price of a quarter million dollars. Most stores turned 90 percent or more of potential buyers away due to horribly short supplies. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: PS3, 32X, XBox and Miyamoto: Prepare to Qualify” »
It will be a November to remember for this feature, as each week will be full of historical reflection on some of history’s greatest games… and biggest turkeys.
This week is just that.
On November 2, 1994 the world was treated to a Double Dragon movie, despite the fact that the original arcade game was already 7 years old at the time… and that the movie had nothing to really do with it… and it sucked.
The plastic instrument industry saw a huge shot in the arm starting with Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Double Dragon movie, plastic guitars, Halo 2 and DK takes it harshly” »
There is an old school feel in the air with this week’s edition of This Week in Gaming History, which combines some iconic games with some historic ones.
October 7, 1982 saw the debut of Q*bert, the iconic orange arcade jumper. Some 30 years after becoming a giant arcade smash, Q*bert is set to appear in the upcoming film Wreck-It Ralph.
Nintendo of America almost ceased to be due to Radar Scope, released on October 8, 1980. A fairly popular game in Japan, Radar Scope proved to be a royal turkey in North America, forcing NoA into bankruptcy. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Q*bert Gets Nosy, Nintendo Almost Dies & A Winner Is You” »
Earlier this year Markus “Notch” Persson tweeted about his follow up game to the widely popular Minecraft. He revealed the game would be a space game similar to the aforementioned Minecraft and will be called 0x10c. Today we get our first look at some early footage from the game (below).
Although the game is still early in development, much like Minecraft, Notch intends to build the game with the help of the community by releasing it early. At this point there is no pricing structure in place yet. According to the game’s site there will most likely be a monthly fee to play online and “Single player won’t have any recurring fees.” Continue reading “Daily Gaming: 0x10c, New Game From The Creators of Minecraft [Video]” »
The weeks of video game history are just flying by. Here’s a look at the most recent one.
Presidential Debate Hits XBox Live
The first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney aired on XBox Live Wednesday night, complete with interactive polling questions that were made available during the broadcast.
This broadcast was not only historic for seeing XBox Live as a broadcaster of such a mainstream event, but also for marking the first time Medicare was an important topic to gamers not playing the Nintendo Wii.
Achievement Unlocked – 10G: Yes, I said old people played the Wii. They did. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming: Bieber and FIFA score, Donkey Kong goes gold and Cliffy B ‘grows up’” »
Here we are once again, looking back on the past of the video gaming world. This week marks the anniversary dates for some of the most successful items in the history of gaming, along with one major turkey.
On October 1, 1979 a little software company named Activision was founded. A number of successful Atari programmers, fed up with Atari’s refusal to provide them credit and additional money if one of their games did well, formed this first-ever third party publisher.
The company did incredibly well for itself right off the bat, paving the way for every other third party publisher afterward. The brand name is still a top publisher today and has a market cap of $12.5 billion. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: Activision Founded, 3DO Sticker Shock, Game Gear and Tempest Go Color” »
Time for another look at the historic landmarks from the past as we reflect on them in the present day… or something like that.
On September 24, 1993, Myst launched, instantly pulling in a generation of PC gamers. The game remained the best-selling PC game ever for almost a decade when it was finally topped by the Sims.
On September 25, 2007, Halo 3 hit the XBox 360. The game still has a heavy following today. Continue reading “This Week in Gaming History: The Mysts of Halos, Castles, Commanders and Sixty-Fouuuuur!” »