This Month In Video Game History: October

by: “Tiger” Oliver

Yes, I know it’s November, but it’s time to through the corridors of time and take a glance as the most notable October events in video game history from 1976 to 2008.

A.N. – All information courtesy of If something’s wrong, complain to them.

Oct. ???: Warner Communications buys Atari from founder Nolan Bushnell, who also founded Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Oct. ???: Atari released the Atari VCS (Video Computer system), now known as the Atari 2600, for $199.

Oct. ???: Namco’s arcade classic Galaxian is released in Japan.
subLOGIC releases Flight Simulator on the Apple II. Microsoft re-releases it in 1982.

Oct. 1: Activision – the publishers of the Call of Duty series and the Guitar Hero franchise past Guitar Hero II – is founded.

Oct. ???: Atari releases Tempest in arcades.

Oct. 20: SNK – most famous for The King of Fighters and Metal Slug – opens it’s North American branch in Sunnyvale, Cali.

Oct. ???: Konami (the company behind Dance Dance Revolution, Castlevania and Metal Gear franchises) began it’s life in the video game industry in the manufacturing and selling of computer games.

Peter Burkowski, 18, dies of a heart attack moments after recording two top-ten scores on Berzerk. Berzerk is the first video game to be blamed on the death of a player, the first incident happening in Jan. 1981 when 19 year old Jeff Dailey records a score of 16,660.

Oct. 13: Custer’s Revenge, the most (in)famous adult Atari 2600 game, is released by Mystique. It is the target of controversy by various Native American, women’s activist and anti-pornography groups.

Oct. ???: The ColecoVision game console is discontinued after a three-year run and over 2 million units sold.

Blockbuster Inc. is founded in Dallas, Texas.

Oct. 18: Nintendo releases the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the U.S. The best selling game, Super Mario Bros. with over 40 million copies sold by 1999.

Oct. 20: Sega releases the Sega Master System in Japan as the Sega Mark III.

Oct. 20: Natsume Company Ltd. – most popularly known for the Harvest Moon franchise – is founded in Japan. Natsume opens a U.S. branch in Burlingame, Cali. the following year.

Oct. ???: Eurocom – responsible for ports of Mortal Kombat III, Ultimate Mortal Kombat III and Mortal Kombat 4/Gold to CD-based systems along with various movie-based titles over the years – is founded.

Oct. 23: Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the most advanced and popular games for the NES, is released in Japan. It goes on to sell over 17 million copies, making it the highest-selling game of all time not to be bundled with a console.

Oct. 29: Sega rolls out the Mega Drive (known in the U.S. as the Sega Genesis) in Japan.

Oct. ???: Nintendo releases Dr. Mario for the NES and Game Boy.

Oct. 5: Nintendo releases Balloon Kid, the sequel to the popular NES/Arcade title Balloon Fight, for the Game Boy in North America.

Oct. 6: Sega releases the Game Gear hand-held system in response to Nintendo’s Game Boy. A Master System clone of sorts, it allowed for a wider array of colors to be displayed than its console counter-part. Although not as popular as Nintendo’s Game Boy, it did offer several accessories, including: A TV tuner and a converter allowing Master System games to be played on the Game Gear

Oct. 15: Sega releases the Mega CD in the U.S. under the moniker Sega CD. This “console” was actually an add-on to the Mega Drive/Genesis and could not only play CDs, but could also play karaoke discs with graphics. The most popular game: the legendary Sonic CD.

In related news, Night Trap is released for the Sega CD. This game is most widely known for the controversy created by its inclusion in the Senate hearings on video game violence, as well as widespread bannings of the game nationwide.

Oct. 21: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is shipped out in Japan for the Game Boy.

Oct. ???: Capcom releases Super Street Fighter II, the third update for the grandaddy of all fighting games, for the arcades. It’s the first game to be used on the CPS II motherboard and the first addition of new characters to the series: T. Hawk, Cammy, Fei-Long and Dee Jay.

3DO, founded by EA co-founder Trip Hawkins, releases the 3DO console for $699. The reason for the high price: the amazing graphics, even compared to some early Sony Playstation games. Although failing miserably, some games released for the platform (The Need for Speed, Gex and Army Men) would be re-released or further continued on later systems.

Oct. 3: Square releases Secret of Mana, which goes on to be one of the benchmarks for RPGs for years to come, in the U.S. on the SNES. 15 years later, it’s re-released in the U.S. on the Wii Virtual Console.

Oct. ???: Rare releases Killer Instinct in arcades.

Oct. 10: id Software releases Doom II: Hell on Earth, the second in the legendary Doom series. Eight years later, it is ported to the Game Boy Advance. 11 years after initial release, it is included on the Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil XBox expansion to Doom 3

Oct. ???: Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama takes the 32X (another additional “console” to the Mega Drive/Genesis) behind the proverbial barn and shoots it. He orders all production be ceased and all resources rerouted to work on the Sega Saturn.

Oct. 4: Commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the series, Nintendo releases Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island for the SNES. Even though it’s one of the best Nintendo games of all time, can somebody PLEASE SHUT THAT DAMN BABY MARIO UP?!?!?!

Oct. 13: Sega releases the Nomad, a portable version of the Sega Genesis, in the U.S for just shy of $200. It failed. Miserably.

Oct. 31: Command & Conquer: Red Alert, the prequel to the first Command and Conquer, is released for PC.

Oct. ???: Nintendo releases a smaller verson of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System for $99 in the U.S.

Grand Theft Auto makes its’ series’ debut on the PC.

Oct. 4: Tragedy strikes the video game world. Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of the Game Boy and producer of the Metroid series, dies after being hit by a car after a previous minor accident. He was 54.

Oct. 26: Ensemble Studios releases the first Age of Empires with mixed reviews. A year later, the The Rise of Rome expansion was released.

Oct. 29: Riven, the sequel to Myst, is released.

Oct. 21: Nintendo rolls out the Game Boy Color in Japan. It hits the U.S. one month later.

Square releases Xenogears for the PlayStation.

Snake goes 3D; Konami’s Metal Gear Solid hits the shelves for the PlayStation. How do you do the Konami Code on the PlayStation controller?

Oct. 30: LucasArts releases the Tim Schafer masterpiece (and one of the best video games of all time), Grim Fandango on the PC.

Oct. ???: Neversoft, the ones behind Tony Hawk series, is bought out by Activision.

Oct. 11: Rare’s cult classic, Jet Force Gemini is released for the Nintendo 64.

Oct. 31: Terminal Reality’s Nocturne is released for PC. This game is the main influence behind what was supposed to be its sequel, Bloodrayne.

Oct. 14: Evolution continues for Pokemon: Pokemon: Silver & Gold are released in the U.S. It introduces the Johto region, 100 new pokemon, 2 new types: dark and steel, new strengths/weakness charts, an internal clock that effects which pokemon you can catch depending on the day of the week and time of day, new moves (disallowing backward-trading if any of the original learned any of these), new items, pokemon genders and breeding (PHEW!). The Special stat was also split into Special Attack and Special Defence.

Oct. 23: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 for the PC hits shelves.

Oct. 26: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, an overhaul of one of the greatest games of all time (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) hits the Nintendo 64 in the U.S. It’s quoted as being “the oddest, darkest and saddest of all Zelda games” by Edge magazine. Regardless of it’s greatness compared to it’s predecessor, it recieves rave reviews, despite many players finding out they need the Expansion Pak to even play the game.

Sony releases the PlayStation 2. Best selling game: the controversial Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with over 17 million copies sold. That’s a lot of hot coffee.

Oct. 17: Capcom releases Devil May Cry for the PlayStation 2, one of their most popular series since Mega Man and the on-going Street Fighter series.

Oct. 22: RockStar Game’s Grand Theft Auto III hits the XBox, PlayStation 2 and PC. It marks the introduction of the series into 3D. After 9/11, the game’s police cars are remodeled due to the originals looking like the NYPD paint scheme, which returns with Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto IV.

SNK goes out of business 20 years after opening its U.S. division after it files for bankruptcy. In 2003, Playmore refounds the company and renames itself SNK Playmore.

Oct. 28: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 is released for all major consoles and handhelds.

Oct. 9: TimeSplitters 2, the equally successful sequel to the original smash hit TimeSplitters, is released for PlayStation 2. It’s highly praised as being a throwback to Goldeneye 007, regarded as being one of the best, if not the best, first-person shooters of all time.

It is released for Nintendo GameCube on Oct. 16 and XBox on Oct. 17.

Oct. 27: Rockstar Game’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is released for PlayStation 2.

Oct. 7: Capcom releases smash-hit Viewtiful Joe for the GameCube. It is ported the following year to the PlayStation 2.

Oct. 14: Naughty Dog releases Jak II, the dark sequel to the wildly popular Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, for the PlayStation 2.

Oct. 20: (As directly taken from Wikipedia) Families of Aaron Hamel and Kimberly Bede, two young adults shot by teens William and Josh Buckner (who in statements to investigators claimed their actions were inspired by Grand Theft Auto III), file a USD$246 million lawsuit against developer Rockstar Games, publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, retailer Wal-Mart, and console-maker Sony Computer Entertainment America.

(Author’s addition) Thus enters Jack Thompson. You may rage now.

Oct. 27: Tony Hawk goes underground: Tony Hawk’s Underground, the most ambitious Tony Hawk game to date, is released for all major platforms.

Oct. 29: The original Call of Duty is released for PC, MAC & N-Gage.

Oct. 31: Rockstar Game’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is ported to XBox.

Oct. 4: Midway releases Mortal Kombat: Deception, the fastest-selling Midway game of all time (selling well over 1 million units in the first week alone) for the PlayStation 2 and XBox systems. It gets ported to the GameCube in ’05 and the PlayStation Portable in ’06.

Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 is released for all major platforms (except PlayStation Portable, which gets a port in March 2005).

Oct. 11: Nintendo rolls out Paper Mario: The thousand Year Door for the GameCube, much to the delight of critics and players, alike.

Oct. 12: EA Sports releases FIFA Football 2005 for all major platforms. It’s the last major title for the original PlayStation console.

Late Oct.: Sony releases a slimmer version of the PlayStation 2. It’s riddled with flaws, including freezing while play some games.

Oct. 25: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is released on the Game Boy Advance as part of the Classic NES Series.

Oct. 26: RockStar Games must love October, eh? Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hits the shelves for PlayStation 2. PC and XBox get ports the next year. Insert second Hot Coffee reference here.

Oct. 17: PC gamers, be afraid: F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon, the scariest game I’ve ever played, hits PC. Next year, on Halloween, XBox 360 owners witness the F.E.A.R. factor. Alas, PlayStation 3 owners must wait until April 2007 to join in the F.E.A.R. fest.

The Warriors, based off of the 1965 novel and 1979 film, is released by RockStar Games.

Oct. 18: Ensemble Studios released Age of Empires III for Windows, Mac OSX and Windows Mobile. On Oct. 17, 2006, it releases an expansion titled Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs. It also released the original with the first expansion in a single edition and a second expansion ( The Asian Dynasties) on Oct. 23, 2007.

Team Ico, the masterminds behind the cult classic Ico, releases another cult-classic: Shadow of the Colossus for the PlayStation 2.

Oct. 25: Soulcalibur III hits shelved for the PlayStation 2.

Oct. ???: Telltale Games releases the first part of Sam & Max: Season One.

Oct. 11: Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is released for the PlayStation 2. It offers all but one of the playable characters in franchise history (the missing one being Khameleion from MK Trilogy for the N64, available only on the Nintendo Wii version), with the addition of the Kreate a Fighter mode and the legitimate addition of Meat to the franchise. XBox receives a port on Oct. 17 and Nintendo Wii on May 29, 2007.

Oct. 17: Microsoft releases Flight Simulator X in North America. It was also released on the 10th in Mexico, the 13th in Europe and the 26th in Australia.

Oct. 31: Square Enix releases Final Fantasy XII, the first Final Fantasy in ages that (FINALLY!) has no love story, for the PlayStation 2. Why haven’t I played this yet?

Oct. 1: The original version of Super Mario Bros. 2 is released on the Wii Virtual Console. The U.S. version of the game is actually a rehashing of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic! with the addition of Super Mario Bros. sprites and the ability to run, which is absent from the original Famicom game.

Oct. 5: Bungie – the company behind the Halo series – splits from Microsoft. Although now able to make games for any system, it still releases Halo games exclusively for PC and XBox 360 due to intellectual property being owned by Microsoft.

Oct. 9: Valve releases The Orange Box – a compilation of Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes One & Two, Portal and the highly-acclaimed Team Fortress 2 – for XBox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Oct. 18-21: The people behind the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) holds the Entertainment for All expo in Los Angeles. Basically, it’s like E3, but open to the general public. Revealed there: playable versions of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The expo is cancelled after 2008 after E3 allows “qualified computer and gaming audience”

Oct. 28: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is released for all major consoles. BRB, must play “Through The Fire and Flames”.

Oct. 6: Electronics Boutique was bought out by Gamestop for $1.44 billion. Amount of actual cash exchanged in the purchase: $38.15

Oct. 11: Infogrames buys out Atari Inc.

Oct. 19/26: Rock Band 2 is released for all major platforms on Oct. 19 with renovated peripherals. One week later, Guitar Hero World Tour is released – sparking a bloody war between fanboys and fangirls of both series.

Oct. 28: Bethesda, the masterminds of The Elder Scrolls, releases Fallout 3.


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