ⓘ 1982 in video gaming

1982 in video gaming

ⓘ 1982 in video gaming

1982 was the peak year of arcade and console games during the Golden age of arcade video games. Troubles at Atari, Inc. late in the year triggered the North American video game crash of 1983. Many games were released that would spawn franchises, or at least sequels, including Dig Dug, Pole Position, Mr. Do!, Pitfall!, and Q*bert. Additional consoles add to a crowded market. The new Commodore 64 goes on to eventually dominate the 8-bit home computer market.


1. Events

  • December 27 - Starcade, a video game television game show, debuts on TBS in the United States.
  • Electronic Games holds the third Arcade Awards, for games released during 1980-1981. Pac-Man wins the best arcade game award, Asteroids Atari VCS wins the best console game award, and Star Raiders Atari 8-bit family wins the best computer game award.

2. Business

  • Artech
  • The Japanese home video game market is approaching ¥300 billion, equivalent to $3.63 billion in 2020.
  • New companies
  • The US arcade game market is worth $4.3 billion, equivalent to $11.4 billion in 2020.
  • English Software
  • System 3
  • US Games
  • Ultimate Play the Game
  • Electronic Arts
  • Gamestar
  • Lucasfilm Games
  • Eidansha Boshu Service Center shortens its name to Enix and in August establishes itself as a computer game publisher.
  • Imagine Software
  • Distinctive Software
  • MicroProse
  • The US home video game market is worth $3.8 billion, equivalent to $10.1 billion in 2020.
  • Martech
  • Data Age
  • First Star Software
  • Llamasoft
  • Dragon Data
  • Argonaut
  • Richard Shepherd Software
  • Compile

3.1. Notable releases Arcade

  • Bally/Midway releases the Tron arcade game before the movie.
  • August, Taito releases parallax scroller Jungle Hunt.
  • April 19, Namco releases Dig Dug, manufactured by Atari in North America.
  • September 24, Namco releases Pole Position, one of the first games with stereophonic and quadraphonic sound. Featuring a pseudo-3D, third-person, rear-view perspective, it becomes the most popular racing game of its time.
  • Kangaroo is one of the first Donkey Kong -inspired games to become popular in arcades.
  • October, Gottlieb releases Q*bert.
  • October, Universal releases Mr. Do! solely as a conversion kit, the first game in the series.
  • Williams Electronics releases Joust, Robotron: 2084, Sinistar, and the second game of the year with parallax scrolling, Irems Moon Patrol. Robotron popularizes the twin-stick control scheme for fast action games.
  • January, Sega releases Zaxxon, which introduces isometric graphics, and looks far more 3D than any other raster game at the time.
  • Taito releases Front Line, which creates the blueprint for mid-80s, vertically scrolling, commando games.
  • Electro Sport releases Quarter Horse, the first Laserdisc video game.
  • Atari releases Gravitar which, though extraordinarily difficult, inspires a number of gravity-based home computer games.
  • November, Konami releases Time Pilot,
  • October, Namco releases Super Pac-Man, the third title in the Pac-Man series.
  • January 13, Midway releases Ms. Pac-Man despite it being copyrighted as 1981; it is as the name suggests the sequel to Pac-Man, but was created without Namcos authorization. They also release Baby Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus without Namcos authorization later in the year; the former is a pinball/video game hybrid.
  • Data East releases BurgerTime.
  • August, Nintendo releases Donkey Kong Jr., the sequel to Donkey Kong.
  • September, Sega releases maze game Pengo, starring a cute penguin.


3.2. Notable releases Console

  • October, Atari releases Swordquest: Earthworld, the first title in a planned four-game contest.
  • Imagic releases Demon Attack, Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, and Dragonfire for the 2600. Atlantis sells over a million copies while Demon Attack doubles that.
  • Starpath releases Dragonstomper the only RPG for the Atari 2600 and Escape From the Mindmaster.
  • Parker Brothers releases Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600, which is the first Star Wars video game.
  • December, Atari releases E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Written in five and a half weeks, its one of the games that sparks the crash of 1983.
  • March, Ataris Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man hits stores. 12 million cartridges are produced, 7 million sold; its believed to be one of the causes of the North American video game crash of 1983.
  • April, Activision releases Pitfall!, which goes on to sell 4 million copies.
  • February, Atari releases the early survival horror game, Haunted House.
  • August, overlooked arcade games are revitalized as ColecoVision launch titles, including Cosmic Avenger, Mouse Trap, Lady Bug, and Venture.
  • May, Atari releases Yars Revenge.
  • Activision releases River Raid, Megamania, Barnstorming, Chopper Command, and Starmaster for the Atari 2600. River Raid becomes one of the all-time bestselling games for the system.

3.3. Notable releases Computer

  • March 11, Infocom releases their first non-Zork title, Deadline.
  • The Arcade Machine from Broderbund is one of the first general-purpose game creation kits.
  • Koei releases Night Life, the first erotic computer game.
  • Pony Canyon releases Spy Daisakusen, another early Japanese RPG. Based on the Mission: Impossible franchise, it replaces the traditional fantasy setting with a modern espionage setting.
  • Edu-Ware releases Prisoner 2 for the Apple II, Atari, and IBM PC.
  • Broderbund releases Choplifter for the Apple II.
  • Hiroyuki Imabayashis Sokoban is released for the NEC PC-8801 and becomes an oft-cloned puzzle game concept.
  • Koei releases The Dragon and Princess, the earliest known Japanese RPG, for NECs PC-8001 home computer platform. It is an early example of tactical turn-based combat in the RPG genre.
  • Datamost releases the action/adventure game Aztec for the Apple II.
  • August 24, Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress is released.
  • Synapse releases Necromancer and Shamus for the Atari 8-bit family.
  • November, Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0 is released for MS-DOS. It becomes a standard compatibility test for early PC clones.
  • Big Five Software releases the widely ported Miner 2049er, a platformer with ten screens compared to the four of Donkey Kong.
  • Sierra On-Line releases Time Zone for the Apple II. Written and directed by Roberta Williams, the graphical adventure game shipped with 6 double-sided floppy disks and cost US$99.
  • Sir-Tech Software, Inc. releases Wizardry II: The Knight of Diamonds, the second scenario in the Wizardry series.

3.4. Notable releases Hardware

  • January, Sega releases the Sega Zaxxon, an arcade system board that introduces isometric graphics.
  • September, Namco releases the Namco Pole Position, the first arcade system board to use 16-bit microprocessors, with two Zilog Z8002 processors. It is capable of pseudo-3D, sprite-scaling, and displays up to 3840 colors.
  • November, Atari renames the venerable Atari Video Computer System to the Atari 2600.
  • General Consumer Electronics releases the Vectrex with built-in vector monitor.
  • Atari releases the Atari 5200, a lightly modified Atari 8-bit computer with analog joysticks and no keyboard.
  • Coleco Industries releases the Gemini, an Atari 2600 clone.
  • Emerson releases the Arcadia 2001.
  • Coleco launches ColecoVision, the first console with versions of Donkey Kong and Segas isometric Zaxxon.
  • Starpath releases the Starpath Supercharger add-on for the Atari 2600.
  • Entex releases the Adventure Vision tabletop console.
  • Dragon Data, initially a subsidiary of Mettoy, releases the Dragon 32 home microcomputer.
  • Sharp releases the X1.
  • NEC releases the NEC PC-98, which would become the Japanese market leader and one of the best-selling computers of all time. It is released as the APC overseas.
  • July, Timex Sinclair releases a modified ZX81 in the US as the TS1000. Its the first sub-$100 home computer.
  • Commodore Business Machines releases the Commodore 64 home computer, which would become the European market leader and one of the best-selling computers of all time.
  • Sinclair Research releases the ZX Spectrum home computer, which would become the most popular gaming computer of its generation in the UK.

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