1986 in video games
This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)
1986 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Super Mario Bros. 2, along with new titles such as Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Castlevania, Dragon Quest, Ikari Warriors, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Out Run and R.B.I. Baseball. The year's highest-grossing arcade video games were Hang-On in Japan, Hang-On and Gauntlet in the United States, and Nemesis (Gradius) in London. The year's best‑selling home system was the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom) for the third year in a row, while the year's best-selling home video games in Western markets were Super Mario Bros. in the United States and Yie Ar Kung-Fu in the United Kingdom.
Highest-grossing arcade games
|1||Hang-On||Ride-on / sit-down||1576||1679||3255|
|3||Ikari (Ikari Warriors)||Table||992||1420||2412|
|4||Real Mahjong Haihai||Table||1062||1083||2145|
|5||Tehkan World Cup||Table||694||1152||1846|
|6||Space Harrier||Rolling type||887||949||1836|
|9||ASO: Armored Scrum Object||Table||898||820||1718|
United Kingdom and United States
In the United Kingdom and United States, the following titles were the highest-grossing arcade video games of 1986.
|Rank||United Kingdom||United States|
|Electrocoin (London)||RePlay||AMOA||Play Meter|
|1||Nemesis (Gradius)||Hang-On||Gauntlet||Mat Mania||Gauntlet|
Rush 'N Attack
|3||Ikari Warriors||Mat Mania|
|5||Super Sprint||Spy Hunter|
|6||Salamander||Pole Position II||—||—|
|8||Enduro Racer||Ikari Warriors|
|9||Konami GT (GT Racer)||Ghosts 'n Goblins|
|10||Jail Break||Super Sprint|
Best-selling home systems
|1||Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom||Nintendo||Console||8-bit||3,900,000||3,000,000||6,900,000+|
|2||Commodore 64 (C64)||Commodore||Computer||8-bit||—||—||2,500,000|
|3||Famicom Disk System||Nintendo||Console||8-bit||2,000,000||—||2,000,000|
|4||Commodore 128 (C128)||Commodore||Computer||8-bit||—||—||1,000,000|
|5||Apple II||Apple Inc.||Computer||8-bit||—||—||700,000|
|6||NEC PC-88 / PC-98||NEC||Computer||8-bit / 16-bit||510,000||Unknown||510,000+|
|7||Sega SG-1000 / Master System||Sega||Console||8-bit||280,000||125,000||405,000+|
|8||Apple Macintosh||Apple Inc.||Computer||16-bit||—||—||380,000|
|Atari ST||Atari Corporation||Computer||16-bit||—||—||200,000|
Best-selling home video games
In Japan, home video games that sold at least one million copies in 1986 include The Hyrule Fantasy: Zelda no Densetsu (The Legend of Zelda), which sold 1 million copies for the Famicom Disk System (FDS) on its first day of release in February; Dragon Quest, which sold over 1 million cartridges for the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System) within six months between May and November; and Gradius, which sold over 1 million between April and December.
According to Famicom Tsūshin (Famitsu) magazine, the following titles were the top ten best-selling 1985-1986 releases during the three-year sales tracking period between May 1986 (when Famitsu began tracking sales) and mid-1989.
|1||Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium (R.B.I. Baseball)||Namco||Namco||Sports (baseball)||Famicom||< 2,050,000|
|2||Super Mario Bros.||Nintendo||Nintendo||Platformer||Famicom||Unknown|
|3||Super Mario Bros. 2 (The Lost Levels)||Nintendo||Nintendo||Platformer||Famicom Disk System||< 1,380,000|
|4||Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū||Konami||Konami||Action-adventure||Famicom||< 1,200,000|
|5||Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima (Adventure Island)||Hudson Soft||Hudson Soft||Platformer||Famicom||< 1,050,000|
|6||Gegege no Kitaro: Youkai Daimakyou (Ninja Kid)||TOSE||Bandai||Action||Famicom||Unknown|
|7||Makaimura (Ghosts 'n Goblins)||Capcom||Capcom||Platformer|
|8||Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior)||Chunsoft||Enix||Role-playing||Famicom||1,000,000+|
|9||Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo (Dragon Power)||TOSE||Bandai||Action||Famicom||Unknown|
|10||Metroid||Nintendo||Action-adventure||Famicom Disk System|
The following titles were the best-selling home video games on the bi-weekly Famitsu charts in 1986. Famicom Tsūshin magazine began tracking sales from May 1986.
|Month||Weeks 1-2||Weeks 3-4||Ref|
|May||Gegege no Kitaro: Youkai Daimakyou (Famicom)|||
|June||Super Mario Bros. (Famicom)||Super Mario Bros. 2 (FDS)|||
|August||Volleyball (FDS)||Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū (Famicom)|||
|September||Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū (Famicom)||Unknown|||
|October||Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima (Famicom)||Akumajō Dracula (FDS)|||
|November||Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima (Famicom)||Pro Wrestling - Famicom Wrestling Association (FDS)|||
|December||Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo (Famicom)||Meikyū Kumikyoku (Famicom)|||
In the United Kingdom, the following titles were the top ten best-selling home video games of 1986, according to the annual Gallup software sales chart. The top ten titles were all home computer games. The best-selling game was Yie Ar Kung-Fu, making it the second year in a row that a fighting game topped the annual charts, after The Way of the Exploding Fist in 1985.
|1||Yie Ar Kung-Fu||Konami||Imagine Software||Fighting|
|2||Formula 1 Simulator||Spirit Software||Mastertronic||Racing|
|3||Commando||Capcom||Elite Systems||Run-and-gun shooter|
|4||Green Beret||Konami||Imagine Software|
|5||Thrust||Superior Software||Superior Software||Multi-directional shooter|
|6||Ghosts 'n Goblins||Capcom||Elite Systems||Platformer|
|7||Paperboy||Atari Games||Elite Systems||Action|
|8||Rambo||Ocean Software||Ocean Software||Run-and-gun shooter|
|10||Ninja Master||Tron Software||Firebird Software||Action|
In the United States, Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the best-selling home video game of 1986. The following titles were the best-selling home video games on the bi-weekly FAO Schwarz charts in 1986, reported by Famicom Tsūshin (Famitsu) magazine from June 1986 onwards.
|Month||Weeks 1-2||Weeks 3-4||Platform||Sales||Ref|
|June||Super Mario Bros.||NES||Unknown|||
|August||Unknown||Super Mario Bros.||NES||Unknown|||
|1986||Super Mario Bros.||NES||1,000,000+|||
|Award||Amusement Players Association Awards
(United States, January 1987)
|Famitsu Best Hit Game Awards
(Japan, February 1987)
|5th Golden Joystick Awards |
(United Kingdom, March 1987)
|Game of the Year||Super Mario Bros.||Dragon Quest (Famicom)||Gauntlet|
|Critics' Choice Awards||—||Meikyuu Kumikyoku (Famicom)
Nazo no Kabe (Famicom)
Zanac (Famicom Disk System)
|Best Scenario / Story||—||Dragon Quest (Yuji Horii)||—|
|Best Graphics / Visuals||Out Run||Akumajō Dracula (Castlevania)||—|
|Best Music / Soundtrack||—||The Hyrule Fantasy: Zelda no Densetsu (Koji Kondo)||Sanxion|
|Best Character Design||—||Dragon Quest (Akira Toriyama)||—|
|Best Port||—||Ghosts 'n Goblins (Famicom)||—|
|Original / Innovative||Gauntlet||—||The Sentinel|
|Best Hardware||—||Family Trainer (Power Pad)||—|
|Best Software House||—||—||Elite Systems|
|Best Programmer||—||Koichi Nakamura (Dragon Quest)||Andrew Braybrook|
|Best Arcade-Style Game||—||—||Uridium|
|Best Action Game||—||Metroid (Famicom)||—|
|Best Platform Game||—||Super Mario Bros. 2 (Famicom Disk System)||—|
|Best Shooting Game||—||Gradius (Famicom)||—|
|Best Adventure Game||—||—||The Pawn|
|Best RPG||—||Dragon Quest (Famicom)||—|
|Best Sports Game||—||Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium (R.B.I. Baseball)||—|
|Best Puzzle Game||—||Kineko (Famicom Disk System)||—|
|Best Strategy Game||—||—||Vietnam|
Famitsu Platinum Hall of Fame
|Title||Platform||Score (out of 40)||Developer||Publisher||Genre|
|Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium (R.B.I. Baseball)||Nintendo Family Computer||35||Namco||Namco||Baseball|
- New companies: Acclaim, Majesco Entertainment, Ubi Soft, Bethesda Softworks, Tradewest
- Defunct: Imagic.
- June 13 – Activision merges with Infocom.
- Activision acquires Gamestar Software.
- Sinclair Research Ltd. is acquired by Amstrad.
- February – Namco releases Sky Kid Deluxe, their first game to use a Yamaha YM2151 FM sound chip.
- February – SNK releases Ikari Warriors, which shares many elements with Taito's Front Line from 1982, but adds two-player simultaneous play and visuals closer to 1985's Commando. It is SNK's breakthrough game in the US.
- April – Sega releases Wonder Boy, the first in the series.
- August – Taito releases Bubble Bobble.
- July 8 – Namco releases The Return of Ishtar, which is the sequel to The Tower of Druaga.
- July – Ten years after Atari's Breakout, Taito releases Arkanoid, which adds power-ups and unique levels and generally reinvigorates the concept.
- September 20 – Sega releases the Out Run racing game.
- October 1 – Namco releases Genpei Tōma Den.
- December – Namco releases Rolling Thunder, distributed outside Japan by Atari Games.
- February 21 – Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda (designed by Shigeru Miyamoto for the Family Computer Disk System), the first game in The Legend of Zelda series.
- May 27 – Enix releases Dragon Quest for the Famicom, which is usually considered the foremost Japanese role-playing video game, and is the first game in a series that has been phenomenally successful in Japan.
- June 3 – Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as the sequel to the Super Mario Bros.. The game was not released in North America, partially because it was deemed too difficult.
- August 6 – Nintendo releases Metroid by Makoto Kano, the first in the Metroid series.
- September 12 – Hudson Soft releases Adventure Island.
- September 26 – Konami releases Akumajō Dracula for the Famicom Disk System, the first game in the Castlevania series.
- November 1 – Sega releases Alex Kidd in Miracle World. It is the first game in the Alex Kidd series created for this character, and the most popular of all Alex Kidd games.
- December 10 – Namco releases Pro Baseball: Family Stadium for the Famicom, the first in the Famista series.
- December 19 – Nintendo releases Kid Icarus.
- January 1 – Commodore releases Mind Walker for the Amiga. It keeps running, unmodified, on all versions of the Amiga hardware and OS.
- May 6 – Infocom releases the highly regarded Trinity.
- August 15 – Electronic Arts releases open-ended space exploration adventure game Starflight, which goes on to sell a million copies.
- October – Sierra On-Line expands their "Quest" line with King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human and Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter.
- New World Computing releases Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum for the Apple II, the first installment in the Might and Magic series.
- Activision releases Labyrinth: The Computer Game. Developed by Lucasfilm Games, this is the first of the LucasArts adventure games.
- Froggy Software releases La femme qui ne supportait pas les ordinateurs, one of the first video games about cyber harassment and female experience on the internet, and one of the first games with an overtly feminist message.
- September, Apple releases the final computer in the Apple II line, the 16-bit Apple IIGS with professional synthesizer-quality audio.
- Namco releases the Namco System 86 arcade system board.
- Atari Corporation releases:
- The 1040ST personal computer, the second in the ST line. With a megabyte of RAM and a price of US$999, it is the first computer with a cost-per-kilobyte of under $1.
- The Atari 7800 console two years after its original test market date.
- A smaller model Atari 2600 for under US$50. The TV campaign proclaims "The fun is back!"
- Sega releases the Master System console in the US.
- Sharp releases the Twin Famicom home console only in Japan.
- Nintendo releases the Family Computer Disk System (an add-on for the Famicom) in Japan only.
- Texas Instruments releases the TMS34010, a CPU with graphics-oriented instructions. Eventually it powers arcade games such as Hard Drivin', Smash TV, Mortal Kombat, and NBA Jam.
- Lindner, Richard (1990). Video Games: Past, Present and Future; An Industry Overview. United States: Nintendo of America.
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: '86 上半期" [Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: First Half '86] (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 288. Amusement Press, Inc. July 15, 1986. p. 28.
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: '86 下半期" [Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: Second Half '86] (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 300. Amusement Press, Inc. January 15, 1987. p. 16.
- "1986 Top Ten Coin-Ops". Sinclair User. No. 59 (February 1987). January 18, 1987. p. 96.
- "Top 20 of 1986". Top Score. Amusement Players Association. July–August 1987. p. 3.
- "Coin Machine: AMOA Announces Awards Nominations" (PDF). Cash Box. August 23, 1986. p. 38.
- "AMOA JB, Games & Cig Vending Awards Winners" (PDF). Cash Box. December 6, 1986. p. 30.
- "1986". Play Meter. Vol. 20, no. 13. December 1994. p. 76.
- Tanaka, Tatsuo (August 2001). Network Externality and Necessary Software Statistics (PDF). Statistics Bureau of Japan. p. 2.
- Kent, Steven L. (June 16, 2010). The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 1: From Pong to Pokemon and Beyond . . . the Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-56087-2.
Americans purchased 3 million NES consoles in 1986.
- Reimer, Jeremy (December 15, 2005). "Total share: 30 years of personal computer market share figures". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2021.
- Jeremy Reimer (December 7, 2012). "Total Share: Personal Computer Market Share 1975-2010". Jeremy Reimer.
- McFerran, Damien (November 20, 2010). "Feature: Slipped Disk - The History of the Famicom Disk System". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- Mansfield, Richard (April 1987). "Editor's notes". Compute!'s Gazette. Vol. 5, no. 4. p. 6.
- Methe, David; Mitchell, Will; Miyabe, Junichiro; Toyama, Ryoko (January 1998). "Overcoming a Standard Bearer: Challenges to NEC's Personal Computer in Japan". Research Papers in Economics (RePEc): 35 – via ResearchGate.
- Juliussen, Egil; Juliussen, Karen (1990). The Computer Industry Almanac 1991. Pearson P T R. pp. 10–47, 10–48. ISBN 978-0-13-155748-2.
- "Comparing the New Videogame Systems" (PDF). Computer Entertainer. Vol. 5, no. 11. February 1987. p. 13.
- Page, Barnaby (December 15, 1988). "All that glitters is not sold: New consoles and computers may sound wonderful – but they're often just too good, argues Barnaby Page". The Games Machine. No. 14 (January 1989). p. 148.
The Nintendo II is several years off, and even Nintendo themselves — in the shape of their UK agent Mike Wensman — recognise that software is the problem there. (...) Still, according to Wensman, that pays off. In Japan, he claims, Legend Of Zelda sold a mind-boggling million copies on its first day of release, and it does provide 260 hours of play.
- Iwamoto, Yoshiyuki (2006). Japan on the Upswing: Why the Bubble Burst and Japan's Economic Renewal. Algora Publishing. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-87586-463-1.
- Gradius (North American NES front cover). December 1986. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
- Kent, Steven L. (June 16, 2010). The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 1: From Pong to Pokemon and Beyond... the Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. Crown Publishing Group. p. 510. ISBN 978-0-307-56087-2.
- "総合TOP50" [Total Top 50]. ファミコン通信 〜 '89全ソフトカタログ [Famicom Tsūshin: '89 All Software Catalog]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). September 15, 1989. p. 78.
- "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
- "Count Down Hot 100". Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 226. April 16, 1993. pp. 77-92 (85).
- "ファミ通 TOP 30: 6月6日" [Famitsū Top 30: June 6]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 1. June 20, 1986. pp. 6–7.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30: 6月20日" [Famitsū Top 30: June 20]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 2. July 4, 1986. pp. 4–5.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30: 7月4日" [Famitsū Top 30: July 4]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 3. July 18, 1986. pp. 4–5.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 4. August 1, 1986.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 5. August 22, 1986.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30: 9月5日" [Famitsū Top 30: September 5]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 7. September 19, 1986. pp. 4–5.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 10. October 3, 1986.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 8. October 31, 1986.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 11. November 14, 1986.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 12. November 28, 1986.
- "ファミ通 TOP 30" [Famitsū Top 30]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 13. December 12, 1986.
- "ファミコン通信 TOP 30: 1月23日" [Famicom Tsūshin Top 30: January 23]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). Vol. 1987, no. 3. February 6, 1987. pp. 8–9.
- "Yie Ar tops charts for 1986". Popular Computing Weekly. February 12, 1987. p. 6.
- "Count Down Hot 100: USA Hot 10!". Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 226. April 16, 1993. p. 83.
- DeMaria, Rusel; Meston, Zach (1991). Super Mario World Game Secrets. Prima Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-55958-156-1.
Super Mario Bros. featured Mario in a romp through eight delightfully varied worlds, each one jam-packed with action and adventure. The game sold more than one million copies in 1986 alone. (Today, Super Mario Bros. comes packaged with the NES.)
- "U.S.A. TOP 10: 6月6日". Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 1. June 20, 1986. p. 9.
- "U.S.A. TOP 10: 6月20日". Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 2. July 4, 1986. p. 7.
- "U.S.A. TOP 10: 7月4日". Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 3. July 18, 1986. p. 7.
- "U.S.A. TOP 10: 9月5日". Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). No. 7. September 19, 1986. p. 7.
- "Amusement Players Association's Players Choice Awards". Top Score. Amusement Players Association. Winter 1987.
- Horowitz, Ken (July 30, 2020). Beyond Donkey Kong: A History of Nintendo Arcade Games. McFarland & Company. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-4766-4176-8.
- "1986 ベストヒットゲーム大賞" [1986 Best Hit Game Awards]. Famicom Tsūshin (in Japanese). Vol. 1987, no. 3. February 6, 1987. pp. 4 to 7.
- "Golden Joystick Awards". Computer and Video Games. No. 66 (April 1987). EMAP. March 16, 1987. pp. 100–1.
- "週刊ファミ通クロスレビュープラチナ殿堂入りソフト一覧" [Weekly Famitsu Cross Review Platinum Hall of Fame Software List]. Geimin (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 27, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
- Hoffman, Erin (January 19, 2010). "When the Stars Align". The Escapist. Archived from the original on December 9, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Jankowski, Filip (April 15, 2019). "The Presence of Female Designers in French Video Game Industry, 1985–1993". Games and Culture. 15 (6): 5. doi:10.1177/1555412019841954. ISSN 1555-4120. S2CID 150836593.
- Jankowski, Filip (2017). "Political and Social Issues in French Digital Games, 1982–1993" (PDF). TransMissions. 2: 167.
- Robinson, Philip; Edwards, Jon R. (March 1986). "The Atari 1040ST". BYTE. p. 84. Retrieved July 4, 2014.