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1994 in video gaming

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Events

  • 1994 — Nintendo calls this year "1994: The Year of the Cartridge".
  • March – Online gaming service, VGOL (Video Games On-Line) formed
  • April — Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) founded (name changed to the Entertainment Software Association in 2003); IDSA founds Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
  • April 28 - Sega and MGM make a venture to create video games, movies, and television programs.
  • June 24 — The Computer Game Developers Association is formed by Ernest W. Adams.
  • November — Game Zero magazine drops their print format and becomes the first video game news magazine on the web.
  • November 10 — William Higinbotham, creator of Tennis for Two (1958), dies at 84.

Notable releases

  • Namco releases Point Blank.
  • Nintendo Australia Pty. Ltd, the Australian subsidiary of Nintendo Co., Ltd is established and opened by Hiroshi Yamauchi and effectively ends Mattel Australia's distribution of Nintendo's products throughout Australia.
  • Sunsoft releases The Death and Return of Superman on June 1, 1994
  • Namco releases Ridge Racer 2.
  • February 2 — Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega, Mega Drive/Genesis), introduced Knuckles the Echidna. Sonic & Knuckles was released on October 24, 1994. Sonic & Knuckles introduced "lock-on" gaming, allowing a player to connect Sonic 2 or 3 to the cartridge, which allowed the player to play these games as Knuckles. Sonic Triple Trouble was released on November 11, 1994
  • March 19 — Super Metroid (SNES), distributed on a 24-megabit cartridge (the largest of its time), called the "best game of all time" by Electronic Gaming Monthly in 2002.
  • December 9 — In an attempt to take on Sega's Virtua Fighter series, Namco releases its first 3-D fighting game Tekken in the arcade.
  • June 9 Shiny Entertainment releases Earthworm Jim
  • August 27 Nintendo releases Mother 2 for the Super Famicom in Japan, which was released almost a year later in North America on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as EarthBound.
  • Mortal Kombat II is released for home consoles. It is the first Mortal Kombat title to contain blood and gore on Nintendo platforms.
  • Nintendo releases Rare's Donkey Kong Country (SNES), featuring distinctive 3D pre-rendered graphics. It was followed by several sequels.
  • Sierra On-Line releases the computer adventure game King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride which was the first in the series to use "SVGA" graphics.
  • Blizzard Entertainment releases the real-time strategy game Warcraft, which spawns a franchise and influences many later games.
  • Looking Glass Studios releases System Shock.
  • Bungie releases Marathon, one of the earliest original (non-ported) first-person shooters for the Macintosh.
  • Square Co. releases Final Fantasy VI (then known as Final Fantasy III in North America) for the SNES on April 2 in Japan and October 11 in North America.
  • Daytona USA (Sega, arcade game), a highly successful racing game noted for its advanced 3D graphics that included texture mapping
  • Wario's Woods, the last licensed game released for the NES in North America
  • Killer Instinct (Rare, arcade), the first arcade game with an internal hard disk, made extensive use of pre-rendered graphics
  • Rise of the Triad is released.
  • Origin Systems releases their most ambitious Wing Commander game yet, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, based both around the space simulation gameplay and an interactive movie with big-name actors. They boast about it being the most expensive game developed, with a budget of $4 million USD.
  • LucasArts releases TIE Fighter. The same year sees the release of Rebel Assault, an innovative Star Wars interactive movie game.
  • id Software releases Doom II.
  • Sensible Software releases Sensible World of Soccer, regarded as the best Amiga game of all time by British Amiga magazine Amiga Power.
  • Epic Games releases Jazz Jackrabbit.
  • Sony Imagesoft releases Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse.
  • MicroProse releases X-COM: UFO Defense, the first installment in the X-COM series, and Master of Magic.
  • July 5 - Capcom releases Darkstalkers in an attempt to keep up with the wave of fighters that have come along since Street Fighter II. The game's EX meter, combined with the choice of horror movie monsters as characters, makes it a cult classic.
  • Sir-tech Software, Inc. releases turn-based tactics game Jagged Alliance, the first installment of Jagged Alliance series.
  • Raven software releases Heretic.

Hardware

  • Aiwa releases the CSD-GLM Mega Drive multimedia home console in Japan only
  • Bandai releases the Playdia multimedia home console
  • NEC releases the PC-FX multimedia home console
  • Sega:
    • introduces the North American cable TV Sega Channel in cooperation with Time Warner (AOL Time Warner); the subscription service provides Sega Genesis games via cable box to customers
    • releases the Sega 32X add-on for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in North America and Japan
    • releases the Sega Nomad handheld console in North America, a portable Sega Genesis.
    • releases the Sega Saturn home console in Japan
  • SNK releases the Neo Geo CD home console
  • Sony releases the PlayStation console in Japan on December 3
  • Nintendo releases the Super Game Boy adapter for the SNES home console

Business

  • Apogee establishes the 3D Realms Entertainment division.
  • Blizzard Entertainment is renamed from Silicon & Synapse.
  • Commodore goes out of business.
  • SSI sold to Mindscape
  • Alpex Computer Corp. v. Nintendo lawsuit: Alpex sues Nintendo over patent infringements. Nintendo loses the case.
    • Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Dragon Pacific Intern
  • Neversoft Entertainment is founded.

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