1987 in video games

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List of years in video games

1987 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Castlevania II, Dragon Quest II, Final Lap, and Zelda 2, along with new titles such as After Burner, Contra, Double Dragon, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Operation Wolf, Phantasy Star, Shinobi, Street Fighter and The Last Ninja. The Legend of Zelda was also introduced outside of Japan.

The year's highest-grossing arcade game worldwide was Sega's Out Run. The year's best‑selling home system was the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom) for the fourth year in a row. The best-selling 1987 home video game release in Japan was Dragon Quest II: Akuryō no Kamigami, while the year's best-selling home video games in Western markets were The Legend of Zelda in the United States and Out Run in the United Kingdom.

Financial performance[edit]

Highest-grossing arcade games[edit]

The year's highest-grossing arcade game worldwide was Sega's Out Run.

Japan[edit]

The following titles were the highest-grossing arcade games of 1987 in Japan, according to the annual Gamest and Game Machine charts.

Rank Gamest[1] Game Machine[2]
Title Cabinet Points Title Cabinet Points
1 Out Run Large 33 Out Run Deluxe 3734
2 R-Type Table 26 Arkanoid Table 3118
3 After Burner Large 20 Hi Sho Zame (Flying Shark) Table 2434
4 1943: The Battle of Midway Table 12 Major League Table 2285
5 Double Dragon Table 10 World Cup (Tehkan World Cup) Table 2210
6 Darius Large 8 Bubble Bobble Table 2041
7 Dragon Spirit Table 7 Super Hang-On Ride-on 1901
8 Hi Sho Zame (Flying Shark)
Yokai Dochuki
Table 5 Double Dragon Table 1890
9 Table 5 1943: The Battle of Midway Table 1778
10 Super Hang-On Large 4 Side Pocket Table 1744

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Out Run was the most successful arcade game of the year.[3][4] The following titles were the top-grossing games on the monthly arcade charts in 1987.

Month Title Manufacturer Genre Ref
February Out Run Sega Racing [5][6]
March
April Bubble Bobble Taito Platformer [7]
May
June
July Double Dragon Taito Beat 'em up [8]
August [9]
September After Burner Sega Combat flight sim [10]
October Operation Wolf Taito Light gun shooter [11]
November 1942 Capcom Scrolling shooter [12]
December Operation Wolf Taito Light gun shooter [13]
1987 Out Run Sega Racing [3][4]

United States[edit]

In the United States, the following titles were the highest-grossing arcade video games of 1987.

Rank Play Meter AMOA[14][15]
Dedicated cabinet Conversion kit
1 Out Run[16] Out Run Arkanoid
2 Un­known Contra,
Double Dragon,
Rolling Thunder
Ikari Warriors,
Rastan,
Top Gunner,
World Series
3
4
5 Un­known Un­known

The following titles were the top-grossing games on the monthly RePlay arcade charts in 1987.

Month Upright cabinet Software kit Ref
January Out Run Gauntlet II [17]
February Championship Sprint [18]

Best-selling home systems[edit]

Rank System(s) Manufacturer Type Generation Sales
Japan USA EU Worldwide
1 Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom Nintendo Console 8-bit 1,780,000[19] 3,000,000[20] 300,000[21] 5,080,000+
2 Commodore 64 (C64) Commodore Computer 8-bit 1,500,000[22]
3 Sega Mark III / Master System Sega Console 8-bit 280,000[23] 500,000[21] 155,000[21] 935,000
4 IBM PS/2 (Model 30 / 50) IBM Computer 16-bit Un­known Un­known 658,000[24]
5 PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) NEC Console 16-bit 600,000[19] 600,000
6 Apple Macintosh Apple Inc. Computer 16-bit 550,000[22]
7 NEC PC-88 / PC-98 NEC Computer 8-bit / 16-bit 540,000[25][26] Un­known Un­known 540,000+
8 Apple II Apple Inc. Computer 8-bit 500,000[22]
9 Atari ST Atari Corp. Computer 16-bit 400,000[22]
10 MSX ASCII Corp. Computer 8-bit 340,000[27] Un­known Un­known 340,000+

Best-selling home video games[edit]

Japan[edit]

In Japan, according to Famicom Tsūshin (Famitsu) magazine, the following titles were the top ten best-selling 1987 releases, including later sales up until mid-1989.[28]

Rank Title Developer Publisher Genre Platform Sales
1 Dragon Quest II: Akuryō no Kamigami Chunsoft Enix RPG Famicom 2,400,000[29]
2 Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium '87 Namco Namco Sports Famicom < 1,300,000[30]
3 Moero!! Pro Yakyū (Bases Loaded) TOSE Jaleco Sports Famicom < 1,000,000[31]
4 Zelda 2: Link no Bōken (The Adventure of Link) Nintendo R&D4 Nintendo Action RPG Famicom Disk System Un­known
5 Family Computer Golf: Japan Course Nintendo R&D2 Nintendo Sports Famicom < 740,000[31]
6 Saint Seiya: Ōgon Densetsu Bandai Bandai Action RPG Famicom Un­known
7 Momotarō Densetsu (Momotarō Legend) Hudson Soft Hudson Soft RPG
8 Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School Squaresoft Nintendo Dating sim Famicom Disk System
9 Sanma no Meitantei (Great Detective Sanma) Namco Namco Adventure Famicom
10 Famicom Mukashibanashi: Shin Onigashima Nintendo R&D4 Nintendo Adventure Famicom Disk System

The following titles were the best-selling home video games on the Japan game charts published by Famicom Tsūshin (Famitsu) and Family Computer Magazine (Famimaga) in 1987.

Chart Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Ref
January Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium (Famicom)[32] Zelda 2: Link no Bōken (Famicom Disk System) [33]
February Dragon Quest II (Famicom) Family Computer Golf: Japan Course (FC) Un­known [34]
March Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known
April Sanma no Meitantei (Famicom) Argus no Senshi (Famicom) Family Jockey (Famicom) [35][36]
May Kinnikuman 2 (FDS)[36] Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium (Famicom)[33] Yūshi no Monshō (FDS) [37]
June Bug-tte Honey (Famicom)[37] Family Boxing (Famicom)[33] Un­known
July Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known
August Un­known Un­known Saint Seiya: Ōgon Densetsu (Famicom) Dracula II: Noroi no Fūin (FC) [38]
September Shin Onigashima (Famicom Disk System) Un­known Un­known [38][33]
October Un­known Un­known Side Pocket (Famicom) Momotaro Densetsu (FC) [39]
November Famicom Grand Prix: F-1 Race (FDS) Un­known Un­known Un­known
December Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium '87 (Famicom)[33] Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School (Famicom Disk System)[40]

United Kingdom and United States[edit]

In the United States, The Legend of Zelda was the best-selling home video game of 1987,[41] becoming the first third-generation video game (non-bundled) to cross a million US sales that year,[20] followed by Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!![42] In the United Kingdom, Out Run was the best-selling home video game of 1987,[43] with its 8-bit home computer ports becoming the fastest-selling games in the UK up until then.[44]

The following titles were the top-selling home video games on the monthly charts in the United Kingdom and United States during 1987.

Month United Kingdom United States
All formats ZX Spectrum Sales Title Platform Sales Ref
January Gauntlet[45] Olli & Lissa[46] Un­known Un­known Un­known Un­known
February Un­known Leader Board[47]
March Un­known Feud[48][49]
April
May Un­known BMX Simulator[50]
June Un­known Milk Race[8]
July Un­known Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior[9] Un­known The Legend of Zelda NES Un­known [51]
August Un­known Exolon[10] Un­known Un­known [52]
September Renegade[53] Renegade[11][54] Un­known Un­known [55]
October Un­known Un­known Un­known [56]
November Un­known Game Set and Match[13] Un­known Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! NES Un­known [57]
December Out Run[58][59] 250,000+[60] Un­known [61]
1987 Out Run[43] 350,000[62] The Legend of Zelda NES 1,000,000+[20] [41]

Top-rated games[edit]

Major awards[edit]

Award Gamest Awards
(Japan, December 1987)[63]
2nd Famitsu Best Hit Game Awards
(Japan, February 1988)[64]
2nd Famimaga Game Awards
(Japan, February 1988)[65]
5th Golden Joystick Awards
(United Kingdom, March 1988)[66]
Arcade Console Famicom Computer
Game of the Year Darius Dragon Quest II (Famicom) Out Run
Critics' Choice Awards Tsuppari Ōzumō (Famicom)
Zombie Hunter (Famicom)
Shin Onigashima (Famicom Disk System)
Family Computer Golf (Famicom Disk System)
Bubble Bobble (Famicom)
Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei (Famicom)
Best Game Design Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School (FDS)
Best Playability Dragon Quest II
Best Story Dragon Quest II (Yuji Horii)
Best Graphics After Burner Faxanadu (Famicom)
Best 3D Game Highway Star (Rad Racer)
Best Speech Synthesis Genpei Tōma Den
Best Music / Sound Darius Momotaro Densetsu / Exciting Billiards Dragon Quest II
Best Character / Character Design Athena Asamiya (Psycho Soldier) Momotaro Densetsu (Famicom) Dragon Quest II
Best Developer / Software House Sega U.S. Gold
Best Programmer Jon Ritman
Best Ports Wizardry / Salamander
Best Original Game / Originality Dragon Quest II Nebulus
Most Popular Game / Long Seller Out Run Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium (R.B.I. Baseball)
Arcade Game of the Year Out Run
Best Action Game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (Famicom) Zelda 2: Link no Bōken (FDS)
Best Shooter Fantasy Zone (Famicom) Salamander
Best Adventure Game Hokkaidō Rensa Satsujin: Okhotsk ni Kiyu (FC) Shin Onigashima (FDS) The Guild of Thieves
Best RPG Dragon Quest II (Famicom) Dragon Quest II
Best Action RPG Zelda 2: Link no Bōken (FDS)
Best Sports Game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! (Famicom) Pro Yakyū: Family Stadium
Best Puzzle Game Shanghai
Best Simulation / Strategy Game SD Gundam World Gachapon Senshi (Famicom) Vulcan
Best Leisure / Casual Games Mezase Pachi Pro: Pachio-kun / Side Pocket
Best Board Game Tetsudou Ou (Famicom)
Best Mahjong Game Professional Mahjong Gokū

Famitsu Platinum Hall of Fame[edit]

The following 1987 video game releases entered Famitsu magazine's "Platinum Hall of Fame" for receiving Famitsu scores of at least 35 out of 40.[67]

Title Platform Score (out of 40) Developer Publisher Genre
Dragon Quest II: Akuryō no Kamigami (Dragon Warrior II) Family Computer (Famicom) 38 Chunsoft Enix RPG
Zelda 2: Link no Bōken (Zelda II: The Adventure of Link) Famicom Disk System 36 Nintendo EAD Nintendo Action RPG

Business[edit]

Notable releases[edit]

Arcade[edit]

Home[edit]

Hardware[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]