1987 in video gaming
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- New companies: Apogee, The Bitmap Brothers, Empire Interactive, GameTek, Maxis
- Defunct: Electric Transit, English Software, Muse
- Activision acquires Infocom.
- Electronic Arts acquires Batteries Included.
- Atari Games establishes the Tengen division for porting their games to home systems.
- Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Blockbuster Entertainment lawsuit: Nintendo sues Blockbuster for photocopying complete NES manuals for its rental games. Nintendo wins the suit, and Blockbuster includes original manuals with its rentals.
- SSI President Joel Billings acquires the license to the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game, setting the stage for the Gold Box line of D&D games.
- February 20, Konami releases Contra
- July 1, Irem releases scrolling shooter R-Type.
- July, Technōs Japan releases Double Dragon to arcades, distributed internationally by Taito.
- August 30, Capcom releases Street Fighter, the first game of the series.
- Taito releases Rastan and Operation Wolf.
- Namco releases Wonder Momo, which is their last 8-bit game, Yokai Dochuki, which is their first 16-bit game, Dragon Spirit, Blazer, Quester, Pac-Mania, Galaga '88 and Final Lap.
- Atari Games releases RoadBlasters, Xybots, and APB.
- January 14, Nintendo releases Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the Famicom Disk System in Japan only. The game would go unreleased in America for nearly two years afterwards.
- February 12, Infocom releases Bureaucracy from author Douglas Adams.
- July 5, the Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards adventure is released by Sierra Entertainment.
- July 7, Konami releases Metal Gear for the MSX2 home computer platform in Japan and Europe.
- August 22, Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda in America and Europe, a year after being available in Japan.
- August 28, Konami releases Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, the second Castlevania title released for the NES.
- October, Nintendo releases Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for NES/Famicom.
- October, LucasArts releases Maniac Mansion, the first game to use the SCUMM engine, innovating the point-and-click interface for the adventure game genre.
- November 14, Sierra On-Line releases Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, the second game in the Space Quest series.
- December 17, Capcom releases the first Mega Man game in the long-standing series for the NES/Famicom.
- December 18, Square's Hironobu Sakaguchi releases Final Fantasy for the Famicom in Japan. Originally intended to be the company's last release, the game's success resulted in a prolific series. It was released in the U.S.A. 3 years later.
- December 20, Sega releases Phantasy Star on the Master System, featuring a female protagonist.
- FTL Games releases Dungeon Master for the Atari ST.
- Sierra On-Line releases Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel, the first game in the Police Quest series.
- MIDI Maze for the Atari ST is a first person shooter allowing up to 16 computers to be networked via the built-in MIDI ports for deathmatch-style fights.
- Incentive Software releases Driller, a first person game using 3D filled polygons.
- Ocean Software releases Head Over Heels, an isometric arcade adventure, for several 8-bit home computers.
- MicroProse releases Sid Meier's Pirates!, the first game from Meier with his name in the title.
- April, IBM launches the PS/2 line of computers which introduces VGA graphics and 3.5 inch floppy drives to PCs.
- September, Master System released in Europe.
- October 30, NEC releases the PC-Engine console in Japan.
- Acorn releases the Acorn Archimedes 32-bit home computer, which brought the game Zarch (later known on other platforms as Virus) to prominence.
- Commodore releases the lower-cost Amiga 500 which became a significant gaming machine, particularly in Europe, and becomes the best-selling model.
- Atari Corporation releases the XE Game System, or Atari XEGS, a repackaged 65XE computer which is the last in the Atari 8-bit family.
- Master System is released in Japan.
- AdLib sets a de facto standard for PC audio with its Yamaha YM3812-based sound card.
- Namco develops the Namco System 1 arcade system board, followed later in the year by the Namco System 2.
- The IBM PCjr is discontinued after three years.