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.
Jim. Earthworm Jim.
June 9, 1994
Rarely has there been a game based on a super mutated Annelid; but, there was one such case back in the Sega Genesis/SNES days. Earthworm Jim was released on this day for the Super Nintendo and it features, well, Jim. He was just a normal earthworm, really, until a robotic suit fused to his body enabling him to run around and use a gun to defeat evil at will. This is a run-and-gun, platforming game with Jim’s mission being to evade the enemies as well as rescue a princess. The SNES version, which came out after the Sega one, contained altered graphics and lacked a few sounds and an extra level only found on the Genesis version. Earthworm Jim was well-received and was awarded Best Game of 1994 — it was also considered one of Nintendo’s top 200 games. It was such a hit that a cartoon, comic book and series of action figures were created.
Advancements in Technology
June 11, 2001
The Game Boy Color was in dire need of an upgrade. Any game on the device was already pretty retro compared to console titles. Luckily, the Game Boy Advance came to the rescue. With a higher operating computer, more room for graphics and an overall update to the way handheld games were being made, this little gizmo took the world by storm. For awhile it was the only mode of mobile gaming. Because many GBA titles were sprite-based, such as Pokémon and Final Fantasy, it could actually be considered the handheld counterpart to the SNES. It was essentially Nintendo’s second generation handheld gaming device. There has been over 80 million units sold all over the world. Moreover, its best-selling game is Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, a fact at which we’re not surprised. The only downside to the GBA was the absence of a backlight! We had to wait for that with the next installment of the Game Boy Advance.
Raiding the Box Office
June 11, 2001
On the same exact date of the GBA’s release in North America, a legendary icon was making her big screen debut. Lara Croft, the beautiful archaeologist who can kick some serious ass, was portrayed in the film by the equally described Angelina Jolie. In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, the film takes Lara across the globe on a quest to destroy a powerful artifact before the Illuminati find it. Some earlier penned versions of the movie were written by those that have already been involved in other video game movies–Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Street Fighter. The Tomb Raider movie scored tons of negative reviews, even by IGN and famed critic Roger Ebert. Angelina Jolie was even nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for worst actress, but on the other hand the film was nominated for two awards at the MTV Movie Awards, not that that actually means anything. Nevertheless, the film grossed over $200 million, hence the title.
A Cut Above the Rest
June 12, 2003
Naming themselves after the volcanic material used for creating tools, Obsidian Entertainment was founded by former members of Black Isle Studios. The company usually sticks to producing sequels, some of which include Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II– The Sith Lords and Fallout: New Vegas. They’ve partnered with Sega, Bethesda and Square Enix since their inception. Within the last couple years, Obsidian Entertainment has shifted from sequels to producing games based on licensed materials and even their own original titles. They are currently working on the South Park: The Stick of Truth, an RPG about the controversial show, and The Wheel of Time based on the series of novels with the same name. However, their recent Kickstarter project, entitled Project Eternity, has become the most successful crowd-funded game by reaching a total of over $4 million in contributions. Needless to say, they’ve erupted into a dominant source of entertainment.
I’m Getting too Old for this Shit
June 12, 2008
Konami’s flagship title, Metal Gear, reached a milestone on this date; the worldwide release of Metal Gear Solid: 4 Guns of the Patriots was met with astronomical success. This installment of the series follows a much older Solid Snake, as he accepts a mission to prevent Liquid Ocelot from hijacking the control of nanomachines. Because of Snake’s cloned status, he is aging at a rapid rate (not from being a constant smoker). Upon MGS4‘s release, it became the best-selling game of the month with over 700,000 copies sold. Around the globe, the game exceeded 3 million copies sold, becoming one of the PS3’s top titles. It earned numerous awards including Game of the Year from some publications. MGS4 was such a success, it brought Konami back to the limelight.