This Week in Gaming 12/23-12/29

It’s been awhile but welcome back to a special edition of 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.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!
December 23, 1986

Stadium Events sprinted to store shelves back in the 80’s. Bandai released this gem for the NES to utilize the Family Fun Fitness mat—renamed the Power Pad. At the time sales weren’t too hot. It didn’t help there were only about 2,000 copies released but since they weren’t selling it wasn’t a big deal. Fast forward to more recent years and it’s a shame Bandai won’t receive a cut from any transactions. Stadium Events is now considered one of the rarest and most valuable games to collect. Copies have sold online for over $20,000 and even empty boxes went for at least $10,000. If you’re ever browsing through tables at a flea market, keep an eye out for this treasure. Even if the game doesn’t work anymore it’d probably fetch a pretty penny (actually more than that). Using the Power Pad with a sports game seems like this could have been a precursor to the Wii system. Perhaps Nintendo realized its potential and worked on perfecting it in the decades to come.

Damme, What A Terrible Movie
December 23, 1994

Every once in awhile a film, television series or cartoon is made based on a video game. Some of them are decent and enjoyable to watch but on the other end of the spectrum is Street Fighter. This film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Raúl Juliá as M. Bison. Now, just because the acting by some is wonderful (Raúl won a Saturn award for his performance) and the movie nearly tripling its budget at the box office, does not mean it’s a good movie. The storyline was completely changed from that of the game. It also included many humorous bits which lightened the dark background the game originally portrayed. One of the most enjoyable moments of watching a crude adaptation of something you love is that feeling of relief when a character is finally introduced. When you see Vega you know it’s about to go down. Rotten Tomatoes rated Street Fighter a 2.9/10 but even with that you’ll still be able to catch it airing on television.

A Gran Ole Game
December 23, 1997

Gran Turismo, not the Clint Eastwood movie, is the best-selling PlayStation game of all time. After years of developing a racing game for the console, developers at Sony were finally satisfied with their creation. Gran Turismo utilized most of the PlayStation’s performance and made it a well-rounded title. Its seemingly realistic vehicles have been a staple of the franchise. With numerous tracks, superior artificial intelligence, a soundtrack featuring popular musicians and over one hundred actual brand name cars it’s a no brainer why Gran Turismo sold over 10.8 million copies beating out game such as Final Fantasy VII and Tomb Raider II. In 1999 it won awards for best simulation game, best driving game and best graphics. Because Gran Turismo was such a big seller in its early days it has produced several sequels. The franchise is one of the most successful series in gaming.

Nakamura Fever
December 24, 1925

Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco, was born on this day. In the beginning, his company was named Nakamura Manufacturing. They ran children’s rides throughout the Tokyo area and after awhile Nakamura was able to expand. The name changed to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company which is where Namco gained its name. They then began to produce coin-operated machines, the first was a driving simulator called Racer. Throughout the decades, Namco produced several arcade classics including the highest-grossing arcade game of all time, Pac-Man. In 1993 Namco bought Nikkatsu, a Japanese film company, Nakamura served as executive producer to a number of productions. Masaya Nakamura was awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun for his contributions to industry and in 2010 he was  inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame.

A Christmas Miracle
December 25, 1998

No words can ever express the love and joy a child has on Christmas morning when it’s time to open presents. There is no better appreciation than a heartfelt thank you with a tight hug accompanied with a peck on the cheek. However, if you’re anything like Brandon aka The Nintendo Sixty-Four Kid, all you need to say is, “OH MY GOD!!” Those three simple words can say so much. We’ve all seen the one minute home video of a little boy screaming with excitement. The footage was filmed in in 1998 but was uploaded to YouTube eight years later and views just started rolling in. He could be considered the ultimate Nintendo fanboy with a reaction like this. No one comes close to this level of appreciation for a gift. Currently, the clip has generated over 20 million views and as long as the Internet exists, people will watch. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and hope you’ll become the next Nintendo 64 kid.