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.
A God Among Men
May 5, 1959
Peter Molyneux is the man, or as the title suggests, the God, has been in the business since 1982. He began his climb to the top of the mountain by selling floppy disks containing Atari and Commodore games. After he dabbled in the development of a business simulator and some database systems, Peter founded Bullfrog Productions. Their first title was Populous, an award-winning god game which sold more than 4 million copies. In 1997, he left Bullfrog to join Lionhead Studios where he found more success and immortalized himself as a designer. Black & White, a god game with strategy and fighting elements, won many awards and became the company’s flagship title until few years later. Fable, an open world RPG, brought the company even greater success. It placed Lionhead at the top of the industry. Peter Molyneux has since left the studio to found another. Wherever Peter works will be innovative.
Bark at the Moon
May 5, 1992
id Software’s debut title was Wolfenstein 3D, a violent first person shooter with unprecedented graphics. You play as B.J. Blazkowicz, an American spy attempting to bring down the Nazi party. As he searches for plans to a cruel experiment, he is captured and imprisoned inside their headquarters at Castle Wolfenstein. B.J. escapes and finds out the operation is to create an army of zombified mutants. To beat the game, B.J. faces off with Adolf Hitler who is equipped with a robotic suit and heavy duty weaponry. Wolfenstein 3D sold more than 100,000 copies within its first year and has since been named one of the top games of all time. It is the basis of all FPS games combining fact-paced action, technical advances and graphic violence. It propelled id Software and shooting games into the future.
Mark Your Calendars
May 11, 1995
This event is such a big deal for some that it’s probably more exciting than Christmas. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is the greatest event on every video gamer’s calendar. It all began back in the 1990s to little fanfare. Despite the lack of attention, there were some monumental announcements. It was at this E3 that Sony made its debut to the gaming industry. The Sega Saturn was available to test play as well as the Nintendo Virtual Boy. Nintendo also revealed its Ultra 64 console, stating it will be ready next year. A few notable game titles at the show included Ridge Racer, Panzer Dragoon and Virtua Fighter. E3 started slow, but because this was the first expo dedicated to video games, more companies and fans realized they weren’t going to miss out next year.
This Week in Gaming
May 11, 1995
Hey, that title sounds familiar. GameWeek Magazine was a weekly publication by Cyberactive Media Group, Inc., that ran from 1995 until 2002. The magazine featured interviews with the game industry’s leading professionals, stories on the latest trends and of course reviews and previews. However, instead of scoring games on their playability, the magazine focused on their marketability. Because of GameWeek‘s frequent production, they could occupy more niches including job openings and offer full coverage of E3. The company decided to close production after a decline in advertising spending affected the market. Although no longer in circulation, the magazine had a long run and was never unseated by its competitors. GameWeek has been considered the last printed trade publication in North America.
You Say You Want a Revolution
May 11, 2004
It was the console to beat all others. Nintendo announced its new system two years before its unveiling. It was named, “Revolution” and had everybody buzzing. We now know it as the Wii– a less than threatening name that is more suited to Nintendo’s goals. “Revolution” served as a wonderful project title filled with mystery and excitement. However, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, it would not translate well under many other languages. Plus, a name like that would have probably caused an uproar from Americans stating the Japanese are out to get them again. That didn’t happen…at least to my knowledge. Wii is friendlier and less menacing. Nintendo was right about the Wii’s original namesake, it did cause quite the revolution in the video game industry because of its highly advanced motion sensor system.