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- March 21, Sega releases Phantasy Star II, a landmark title for the role-playing video game genre.
- June 5, Bullfrog Productions releases Populous which was one of the first commercially successful god games.
- July 11, Capcom releases Mega Man 2 in more countries.
- July 27, Nintendo releases Mother to Japanese customers.
- August, Nintendo releases Super Mario Land on the Game Boy introducing Princess Daisy to the Mario series.
- October 3, Brøderbund releases the Prince of Persia game, the first in a series of games, noted for its advancements in animation.
- October 3, Maxis releases Will Wright's SimCity, the first of the "Sim" games and a revolutionary real-time software toy.
- December 6, Strategic Studies Group releases Warlords which was one of the first fantasy turn-based strategy game.
- Namco releases Winning Run.
- Tengen releases an unlicensed version of the Tetris video game, which is recalled after Nintendo sues Tengen.
- Wes Cherry writes Solitaire and Robert Donner writes Minesweeper, which are bundled with Microsoft Windows starting from version 3.
- Nintendo of America introduces Enix's Dragon Warrior franchise to North America.
- Techno Soft releases Herzog Zwei (Mega Drive/Genesis) in Japan, laying the foundations for the real-time strategy genre.
- Psygnosis release Shadow of the Beast, demonstrating the capabilities of the Amiga and helping sales of the computer.
- Nintendo releases the Zelda Game & Watch.
- Hasbro, Inc. acquires elements of Coleco Industries, Inc.
- Trinity Acquisition Corporation founded (renamed THQ in 1990)
- Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Tengen
- Nintendo sues Tengen over the Tetris video game copyrights. Tengen loses and recalls all its Tetris games.
- November - Nintendo sues Tengen over production of unlicensed Nintendo games. Tengen loses. (Tengen originally sued Nintendo on December 12, 1988 for antitrust violations.)
- Nintendo v. Camerica Ltd. Nintendo sues Camerica over patent violations of the Game Genie for the NES console. Camerica wins the suit.