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
- 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.
- July, Technos Japan Corp. releases the Double Dragon arcade game, which is distributed internationally by the Taito Corporation.
- 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, It is the second Castlevania title released for the NES, following the original Castlevania.
- 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. This was originally intended to be the company's last game, since it was facing bankruptcy, but the game's major success allowed them to turn it into a prolific series ironically titled Final Fantasy. 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.
- 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.
- Incentive Software releases Driller, a precursor to modern first-person 3D games.
- Ocean Software releases Head Over Heels, an isometric arcade adventure, for several 8-bit home computers.
- 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 Corp. 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.