Welcome to This Week in Gaming, where we take a look back at some of the most newsworthy events in gaming history from last year to even decades ago that happened this very week. Take a gander at some of the highlights and see which spark nostalgia and which may still be news to you.
Myst has been a popular series since its debut in 1993, lasting twelve years until the game’s final installment. The original was a major hit deemed intelligent with more art than game. The puzzles were captivating and the mysteries kept deepening. It allowed Cyan, Inc. to fund future projects because it sold over six million copies making it the top-selling PC game until 2002. The magic continued for Myst‘s sequels which all earned positive scores and the series sold over 12 million total units. Sadly, the series was finished after the release of Myst V: End of Ages in 2005. It was considered a fitting end to the popular puzzle game, even winning “Best Interactive Score” from the Game Audio Network Awards the following year. Fans can still enjoy re-releases of the games available for mobile devices and handheld consoles.
Going back in time a little ways, we arrive in a wondrous place filled with flashing lights, electronic noises, and sweaty teenagers yelling at screens—wait, that’s just an arcade (look it up). This particular date marks the beginning of the Golden Age of video games which lasted until January 5, 1986. Advancements in technology and entertainment made the creation of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Q*bert and Space Invaders all possible. People of all ages would flock to arcade machines with jangling pockets of quarters to spend a few hours mesmerized by the games. The most popular games sold over 10,000 hardware units and millions, even billions, of dollars in playing time. Because of the amount of success during this time, many iconic video game characters became immortalized in history. Some landed a spot in the Smithsonian Institution for making an impact on our culture.
An entire year after its release for Xbox 360, Mass Effect 2 became available for PlayStation 3. BioWare announced its production was in process only months after the initial release. This version of the game had updated character designs and controls and even gave players a sneak peek at the new engine that would be used for the next installment. A few problems popped up for PlayStation players, but those issues were handled with patches within the next week or two. They made up for it by including many add-ons into a single disc. The PS3 edition was considered the most complete version of the game because of the extra gameplay. Whichever way you choose to play Mass Effect 2, you won’t be let down. Every release earned nearly perfect scores.
A PlayStation cult classic came out in the European territory on this date. The Legend of Dragoon, a role-playing game filled with clean graphics and a heroic protagonist, captured many fans of the genre. Over one million copies have been sold across each territory and it also one of PlayStation Network’s best-selling games for a few months. The European version lacked one thing from the original: players can’t carry more than the allotted amount of items. In Japan, the game lets you hold more than 200 spells, weapons, and potions. The title was developed to compete against Final Fantasy and received much success thanks to its diehard fans. It gained some perfect scores as well as a few average ones. A sequel was even in the works for awhile, but cancelled earlier in 2012. If a franchise is built upon The Legend of Dragoon, there are more than enough fans to ensure its popularity.
We all know the Call of Duty series, and especially Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The game has been considered the best in the series and has won so many awards it rivals the New York Yankees. On this date, the game reached a pretty huge milestone — not as big as what happened in 2012, but still respectable. COD4 sold 7 million copies in just three months. A lot of stuff can happen within three months, but it doesn’t seem possible to even count to 7 million in that time frame. This boosted its total sales, making it the highest grossing game of the year. Then, in two years time, the game reached 13 million units sold. Players were hooked with rewarding multiplayer components, realistic storyline, and a revised engine with attention to detail. Because of Call of Duty 4, the franchise was able to become a household name — to the dismay of wives and girlfriends everywhere.