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.
Keeping Up with Bruce Jenner
June 30, 1996
We have all heard of the Kardashians…whether we’ve wanted to or not. They make every headline regardless of how unimportant the event actually is. One man who has suffered through it all is Bruce Jenner, patriarch of the household. So, we will honor him with this as much as possible. Bruce is an American hero; for those unaware, he won Olympic gold in 1976 for the decathlon. Only four days prior to winning the medal, he set a world record for the event. Because of his success and appearing on television, he earned celebrity status. Then, twenty years after capturing gold, he gets his own video game– Bruce Jenner’s World Class Decathlon. Players get to participate in decathlons. It wasn’t a huge success nor did it impact the industry in changing ways. His game deserves recognition because it honors his dedication to the sport. No matter what Bruce’s kooky family is up to, he’ll always have a video game.
June 30, 1999
There have been a few photography-based games but one that has made an impact on a generation was Pokémon Snap. We all have memories trying to “catch” as many Pokémon as possible. You play as Todd Snap, a character from the television series, as he travels to different locations to provide Professor Oak with all the best shots. It offers a peaceful, safari-type setting to watch Pokémon as they would naturally roam about. As a staple of the ’90s, it appealed to every Nintendo fan as well as Pokémaniacs. It received average scores from Gamespot and Famitsu but those numbers didn’t affect sales. At the end of the year, it was one of the top-selling games in the United States.
July 1, 1991
It may not appear pretty or even look entertaining, but without it we wouldn’t have a certain bubblegum chewing video game icon. Originally titled Duke Nukum, with a different spelling than it has today, it was the first entry in a long-lasting series. It’s a side-scrolling shooting sort of game. Gameplay was simple, all you had to do was reach the exit of each level and shoot enemies or collect points along the way. It had a cartoony style and was not as violent as future titles would be. It even ran into some controversy over its name, but again, it can’t even hold up to the amount of trouble its sequels stirred. Duke Nukum was quite tame but matured later in life.
July 1, 2004
It takes a lot to keep a studio running; some are more fortunate than others. Clover Studio was founded on this date and enjoyed huge success for a while before shutting down. The company was funded by Capcom and were the team behind Viewtiful Joe. They earned recognition by creating the series and went on to make three more sequels. Clover Studio is also the group behind Ōkami, the artistic tale of a sun goddess. After that came God Hand by Shinji Mikami. Both titles were creative and were praised by critics. However, poor sales figures led the company to disband in 2007. Since then many employees have found work at other companies some even started their own.
Here He Comes
July 5, 1987
Larry, a slightly balding 40-something year old man is looking to get lucky in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. That’s a mouthful so we’ll stick to Leisure Suit Larry since that’s who he is. You know what else he is? A virgin always on the prowl to get some action. This game received plenty of action when copies were shooting off the shelves even without any advertising. The developers were just fooling around when they decided to produce a click-and-point sexual adventure and reproduce a load of sequels. The game reached a climax of success when it was awarded Best Fantasy (I bet) and Role Playing (I bet) game. The game is full of humor, fun and full of innuendos. I’m sure Larry would enjoy finding them all in this entry.