Welcome to This Week in Gaming, where we’ll be taking 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.
November 30, 1996
Coming off the success of its Warcraft series, Blizzard Entertainment sold their soul to create Diablo. Released for computers sixteen years ago, this single-player hack and slash game quickly gained fans with its numerous RPG elements. There are character classes, special skills, plenty of weapons and armor, dungeons to crawl through, and multiplayer gameplay. With the game’s release came the invention of Blizzard’s Battle.net, which allowed for multiplayer usage. It received many Game of the Year awards in 1996 and constantly places number one on lists for the best PC games. Diablo was such a hit that even a PlayStation version was developed in 1998. Throughout the years, there have been remakes, sequels, expansions, bundles and even soundtracks. To date, it has sold over 2.5 million copies. Although the franchise’s current releases have surpassed its success, the original Diablo will always be considered the best by gamers.
Dream a Little Dream
November 27, 1998
The Sega Dreamcast was the first of four consoles to launch during the sixth generation of video games. It was met with positive reaction in every territory and hit record setting pre-order amounts. Launch titles including Soul Calibur and Sonic Adventure brought success to system in its first year. Many of the console’s most popular titles such as Shenmue and Crazy Taxi were hailed as groundbreaking, innovative and creative. Although the Dreamcast hit some rough patches after a couple of years, Sega kept releasing new titles in Japan until 2007. The Dreamcast is considered a pioneer to modern gaming consoles; it featured early online titles, allowed users to connect with an Internet browser and even had some games with voice chat. Not many people still play it, but once in while it’s fun to blow the dust off and fire it up.
Enter At Your Own Risk
November 30, 1998
At a time when RPGs were lacking in gameplay and story, Baldur’s Gate came to the rescue. The player escapes ambush and later discovers a network of bandits operating near the city. In the end it turns out to be that the player’s half-brother attacked you and killed your friend. With this much drama who needs television, or even a life? Baldur’s Gate is best known for following rules set by Advanced Dungeon’s and Dragons and featuring more options than its predecessor from a couple of years before–Diablo. It has given rise to expansions and sequels and has served as a model to future RPG titles — even a book with the same was published. In recent news, an Android, iPad, PC, and Mac title Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition will be released this week. With a new title coming out, we’re hoping for a third sequel to the original game to be in the works.
November 30, 2005
Sony’s PlayStation 2 reached a milestone of selling 100 million units worldwide. It took almost six years since its launch date to accomplish beating the first PlayStation, which took nearly ten years. Even though the original PlayStation came out in 1994, it couldn’t reach 100 million until well after the new millennium. North America led the regions with over 40 million sold, Europe was second with 37 million, and Asia surprisingly had the least amount of consumers with 22 million. You wouldn’t think that since the console originated in Japan. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy X made the PlayStation 2 a huge seller. Those aren’t the only games; exclusive deals with EA and other companies, along with online games like SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs attracted many different gamers to the console. To date, the PlayStation 2 has sold over 150 million units.
Let’s Get Twisted
December 1, 1973
Without the birth of David Jaffe we, as a community of gamers, would have an emptiness in our collections. David Jaffe is originally from Alabama, but attended school at the University of Southern California. He first pursued a career in directing films before switching over to game design. Boy are we glad he did. His first gaming credit came in 1994 as a designer for Sega Genesis’s Mickey Mania. One year later, we were introduced to the genius of David Jaffe with his creation of Twisted Metal. He worked as a designer, then as director to the game’s sequel. The game has been included in PlayStation’s Greatest Hits and has been the longest running franchise with the console. In 2005 he became director to the God of War series. After a couple of years he founded his own studio–Eat Sleep Play. We are thankful for all of David’s creativity and participation in the video game industry.