1989 in video games

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List of years in video games

1989 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Phantasy Star II, Super Mario Land, and Super Monaco GP, as well as several new titles such as Golden Axe, Bonk's Adventure and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Financial performance[edit]

Highest-grossing arcade games[edit]

Japan[edit]

The following titles were the top ten highest-grossing arcade games of 1989 in Japan.

Rank Gamest[1] Game Machine[2]
Dedicated arcade cabinet Software conversion kit
1 Tetris (Sega) Final Lap Tetris (Sega)
2 Winning Run Chase H.Q. World Stadium
3 Super Monaco GP Operation Thunderbolt Truxton
4 Power Drift Winning Run (deluxe) Image Fight
5 Image Fight Out Run (deluxe) Shanghai II
6 Final Lap Top Landing Kyukyoku Tiger (Twin Cobra)
7 Tenchi wo Kurau Power Drift (deluxe) Shanghai
8 Ghouls 'n Ghosts Super Monaco GP (deluxe) Sichuan
9 Turbo OutRun Metal Hawk Birdie Try
10 Chase H.Q. Turbo OutRun Galaga '88

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the following titles were the top-grossing arcade games of each month.

Month Title Manufacturer Genre Ref
February Strider Capcom Hack and slash [3]
March
April

United States[edit]

The following titles were the top ten highest-grossing arcade games of 1989 in the United States.[4][5]

Rank Dedicated arcade cabinet Conversion kit
1 Double Dragon Capcom Bowling
2 Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja
Operation Thunderbolt
Super Off Road
John Elway's Quarterback
Ninja Gaiden
Shinobi
Tetris (Atari)
Cabal
3
4
5

Best-selling home video games[edit]

Japan[edit]

The following titles were the top ten best-selling home video games of 1989 in Japan, according to the annual Family Computer Magazine (Famimaga) charts.[6]

Rank[6] Title Developer(s) Publisher(s) Genre(s) Sales Platform(s)
1 Super Mario Bros. 3 Nintendo R&D4 Nintendo Platformer < 3,840,000[7] Famicom
2 Tetris BPS / Nintendo R&D1 BPS / Nintendo Puzzle Un­known FC / GB
3 Famista '89: Kaimaku Ban! Namco Namco Sports (baseball) Un­known Famicom
4 SD Gundam World Gachapon Senshi 2 Human Entertainment Bandai Strategy
5 Dragon Ball 3: Goku Den TOSE Bandai RPG / card battle < 760,000[8]
6 Mother (EarthBound Beginnings) Ape Inc. Nintendo RPG < 400,000[9][10][11]
7 Kyuukyoku Harikiri Stadium: Heisei Gannenhan Taito Taito Sports (baseball) Un­known
8 Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden TOSE Bandai Action RPG
9 Famista '90 Namco Sports (baseball) Un­known
10 Family Stadium '88 Namco

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, RoboCop for the ZX Spectrum was the best-selling home video game of 1989.[12] The following titles were the best-selling home video games of each month in the United Kingdom during 1989.

Month Title Developer Publisher Platform(s) Ref
January Operation Wolf Taito Ocean Software Computers [13]
February [14]
March [15]
April RoboCop Data East Ocean Software 8-bit micros [16]
May [17]
June [18]
July Computers [19]
August [20]
September Crazy Cars Titus Titus 8-bit micros [21]
October Computers [22]
November Paperboy Atari Games Elite 8-bit micros [23]
December Chase H.Q. Taito Ocean Software Computers [24]
1989 RoboCop Data East Ocean Software ZX Spectrum [12]

United States[edit]

In the United States, Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988 release) for the NES was the best-selling standalone game (non-bundled) for the first ten months of 1989, from January[25] to October.[26] The following titles were the best-selling home video games of each month in the United States during 1989.

Month Bundle Standalone Platform Ref
January Un­known Super Mario Bros. 2 NES [25][27]
February Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt [28][29]
March Un­known [30]
April [31]
May [32]
June [33]
July Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt [34][35]
August Un­known [36]
September [37]
October Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt [38][26]
November Zelda II: The Adventure of Link NES [39]
December Un­known Tetris Game Boy [40]
1989 Super Mario Bros. 2 (10 months) NES

In terms of games released in 1989 (not including earlier releases being sold in 1989), the following titles were the top three best-selling 1989 releases, including later sales up until 1992.[41]

Rank Title Platform(s) Genre Sales Developer Publisher
1 Tetris Game Boy / NES Puzzle 7,500,000[42] Nintendo R&D1 Nintendo
2 Super Mario Land Game Boy Platformer Un­known
3 Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) NES RPG < 500,000[43] Chunsoft

Top-rated games[edit]

Major awards[edit]

Japan and United Kingdom[edit]

Award 3rd Gamest Awards
(Japan, December 1989)[44]
4th Famitsu Best Hit Game Awards
(Japan, February 1990)[45]
4th Famimaga Game Awards (Japan, February 1990)[46] 7th Golden Joystick Awards
(UK, April 1990)[47]
Arcade Console Famicom Game Boy 8-bit computer 16-bit computer
Game of the Year Tetris (Sega) Final Fantasy II Tetris The Untouchables Kick Off
Critics' Choice Awards Gain Ground
Image Fight
Super Monaco GP
Winning Run
Idol Hakkenden (Famicom)
Castlevania III (Famicom)
Gunhed (PC Engine)
Sweet Home (Famicom)
Far East of Eden: Ziria (PCD)
Dragon Ball 3: Goku Den (Famicom)
Pachio-kun 2 (Famicom)
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Coin-Op Conversion N/A N/A N/A N/A Chase H.Q. Hard Drivin'
Best Game Design / Planning N/A Daichi-kun Crisis: Do Natural (PC Engine) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Playability N/A N/A Final Fantasy II Tetris N/A N/A
Best Scenario / Story N/A Famicom Detective Club 2 (Famicom) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Production Strider HiryūI (Strider) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Graphics Darius II N/A N/A N/A Myth Shadow of the Beast
Best Music / Sound Valkyrie no Densetsu Mother (EarthBound Beginnings) Final Fantasy II Tetris Chase H.Q. Future Wars
Best Game Company Namco N/A N/A N/A Ocean Software
Special Award CP System N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Originality / Original Game N/A N/A Final Fantasy II Tetris Populous
Best Character / Character Design Valkyrie (Valkyrie no Densetsu) Quinty (Mendel Palace) SD Gundam World Gachapon Senshi 2 Pinball: 66 Hiki no Wani Daikoushin N/A N/A
Best Group Tetris Blocks (Tetris) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Action Game Strider HiryūI (Strider) Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (Famicom) N/A N/A
Best Shooting Game Area 88 TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaō (Famicom) N/A N/A
Best Adventure Game N/A Yūyūki (Famicom Disk System) N/A N/A
Best RPG N/A Final Fantasy II (Famicom) N/A N/A
Best Simulation Game N/A N/A Carrier Command M1 Tank Platoon
Best Sports Game N/A Famista '89: Kaimaku Ban! (Famicom) N/A
Best PC Leisure Product N/A N/A N/A Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

United States[edit]

Award Electronic Gaming Monthly
(December 1989)[48]
VideoGames & Computer Entertainment
(February 1990)[49]
2nd Nintendo Power Awards
(May/June 1990)[50]
Computer Entertainer Awards of Excellence
(December 1989)[51]
Console Console Computer Arcade NES Console Computer
Game of the Year Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Sega Genesis) The Legendary Axe (TG16) Populous STUN Runner Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles N/A N/A
Genesis Game of the Year Thunder Force II (Genesis) N/A N/A N/A Ghouls 'n Ghosts N/A
Master System Game of the Year Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap N/A N/A N/A N/A SpellCaster N/A
Nintendo Game of the Year Ninja Gaiden (NES) N/A N/A N/A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) N/A
TurboGrafx Game of the Year The Legendary Axe (TurboGrafx-16) N/A N/A N/A Dungeon Explorer N/A
Computer Entertainment
Programs of the Year
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Shadow of the Beast (Amiga)
Prince of Persia (Apple II)
Powerdrome (Atari ST)
Windwalker (C64/C128)
Budokan (DOS)
Cosmic Osmo (Macintosh)
Best Coin-Op Conversion N/A Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Genesis) Arkanoid N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Multiplayer Game N/A N/A N/A Crime Fighters Tecmo Bowl N/A N/A
Best Hardware Sega Genesis N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Theme / Fun N/A N/A N/A N/A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles N/A N/A
Best Play Control N/A N/A N/A N/A Mega Man 2 N/A N/A
Most Challenge Phantasy Star (Sega Master System) N/A N/A N/A Ninja Gaiden N/A N/A
Best Graphics Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Sega Genesis) Thunder Force II (Genesis) David Wolf N/A Mega Man 2 N/A Shadow of the Beast (Amiga)
Best Music / Sound Fighting Street (TurboGrafx-CD) N/A N/A
Developer / Software House Sega, Konami, Acclaim, Sunsoft, Tecmo N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Character / Hero Mega Man (Mega Man 2) N/A N/A N/A Link
(Zelda II: The Adventure of Link)
N/A N/A
Best Sequel Mega Man 2 and Ghouls 'n Ghosts (tie) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Original / Special / Innovative N/A A Boy and his Blob (NES) Star Saga One Escape from the Planet
of the Robot Monsters
N/A Romance of the Three Kingdoms Populous
Best Action / Combat /

Arcade-Style Game

N/A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(NES)
Hostage Dynamite Duke N/A N/A Blood Money
Best Adventure / Fantasy N/A Zelda II:
The Adventure of Link
(NES)
Manhunter:
New York
N/A N/A N/A The Third Courier
Best RPG Ultima III: Exodus (NES) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Simulation Game N/A Alien Crush (TG16) Vette! N/A N/A N/A Vette!
Best Sports Game World Class Baseball
Tommy Lasorda Baseball
Baseball Simulator 1.000
Tommy Lasorda Baseball
(Sega Genesis)
Zany Golf Cyberball N/A Goal! (NES)
Tommy Lasorda Baseball (GEN)
TV Sports: Football (Amiga)
John Madden Football (Apple)
Kings of the Beach (C64)
Grave Yardage (MS-DOS)
PlayMaker Football (Mac)
Best Driving Simulator N/A N/A N/A Hard Drivin' N/A N/A N/A
Best Flying Game N/A N/A N/A Metal Hawk N/A N/A N/A
Best Strategy / Wargame N/A A Boy and his Blob (NES) SimCity N/A N/A N/A Sands of Fire
Best Action-Strategy Game N/A Mega Man 2 (NES) Lords of the
Rising Sun
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Video Game Controller Joycard Sansui SSS N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Coolest Boss / Best Group Loki (Ghouls 'n Ghosts)
Jagu (The Legendary Axe)
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Movie to Game Batman: The Video Game N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Best Ending in a Video Game Ninja Gaiden N/A N/A N/A Ninja Gaiden N/A N/A

Critically acclaimed titles[edit]

Famitsu and CVG reviews[edit]

In Japan, the following 1989 video game releases entered Famitsu magazine's "Platinum Hall of Fame" for receiving Famitsu scores of at least 35 out of 40.[52]

Title Platform Score (out of 40) Developer(s) Publisher Genre
Makai Toushi SaGa (Final Fantasy Legend) Game Boy 35 Squaresoft Squaresoft Role-playing
Ys I & II PC Engine CD-ROM² 35 Nihon Falcom / Alfa System Hudson Soft Action role-playing

In the United Kingdom, the following titles were Computer and Video Games (CVG) magazine's highest-rated games of 1989.[53]

Home video games Arcade games
Title Platform Score Rank Title
Chase H.Q. ZX Spectrum 97% 1 S.T.U.N. Runner
Super Mario Bros. 2 Nintendo Entertainment System 97% 2 Super Monaco GP
Indianapolis 500: The Simulation PC 96% 3 Winning Run
Populous Amiga 96% 4 Hard Drivin'
Ghouls 'n Ghosts Sega Mega Drive 96% 5 Narc
F29 Retaliator Amiga 96% N/A N/A
Gunhed (Blazing Lazers) PC Engine
Xenon 2: Megablast Amiga
It Came From the Desert Amiga 95%
Damocles Atari ST
Tetris Game Boy
RoboCop ZX Spectrum

English-language reviews[edit]

Notable video game releases in 1989 that have accumulated overall critical acclaim from at least four contemporary English-language sources include:

Title Genre Publisher Platform Number of reviews
Apache 3 Rail shooter Data East Arcade 4[54]
Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur Interactive fiction Infocom Amiga 8[55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62]
Big Run Racing Jaleco Arcade 4[54]
Blazing Lazers Shoot 'em up Hudson Soft TurboGrafx-16 4[63][64][65][66]
Chase H.Q. Action-racing Ocean Software ZX Spectrum 5[67][68][69][70][71]
Chase HQ II: Special Criminal Investigation Action-racing Taito Arcade 6[54]
Crack Down Run & gun shooter Sega Arcade 5[54]
Dragon Breed Scrolling shooter Irem Arcade 6[54]
Dungeon Explorer Action role-playing Hudson Soft TurboGrafx-16 4[72][73][74][75]
Dynasty Wars Beat 'em up Capcom Arcade 4[54]
F-16 Combat Pilot Combat flight simulation Digital Integration Amiga 7[76][77][78][79][80][81][82]
Atari ST 4[81][83][84][85]
DOS 4[81][86][83][84]
Forgotten Worlds Shoot 'em up U.S. Gold Amiga 6[87][88][89][90][91][92]
Commodore 64 5[87][88][89][91][93]
ZX Spectrum 5[88][89][94][95][96]
Ghouls 'n Ghosts Platformer Capcom Arcade 6[54]
Sega Mega Drive/Genesis 10[97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105][106]
U.S. Gold Amiga 4[107][108][109][110]
Golden Axe Beat 'em up Sega Arcade 6[111][112][113][114][115]
Mega Drive/Genesis 10[116][117][118][119][120][121][122][123][124][125]
Hard Drivin' Racing simulation Atari Games Arcade 5[54]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure Graphic adventure Lucasfilm Games DOS 4[126][127][128][129]
Interphase Shooter Image Works Atari ST 5[130][131][132][133][134]
Amiga 9[132][133][134][135][136][137][138][139][140]
Mechanized Attack Rail shooter SNK Arcade 4[54]
Midnight Resistance Run & gun shooter Data East Arcade 4[54]
Myth: History in the Making Platformer System 3 Commodore 64 4[141][142][143][144]
Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors) Beat 'em up Tecmo Arcade 4[54]
Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors) Hack & slash Tecmo NES 5[145][146][147][148][149]
Operation Thunderbolt Light gun shooter Taito Arcade 5[54]
Phantasy Star II Role-playing Sega Mega Drive/Genesis 8[150][151][152][153][154][155][156][157]
Populous God Electronic Arts Amiga 9[158][159][160][161][162][163][164][165][166]
The Revenge of Shinobi Hack & slash Sega Mega Drive/Genesis 10[72][167][168][169][170][171][172][173][174][175]
R-Type II Shoot 'em up Irem Arcade 6[176][177][178][179][180][181]
SimCity City-building Maxis Amiga 7[182][183][184][185][186][187][188]
Strider Hack & slash Capcom Arcade 5[54]
U.S. Gold Atari ST 7[189][190][191][192][193][194][195]
Stunt Car Racer Racing MicroStyle Amiga 7[196][197][198][199][200][201][202]
Atari ST 7[201][203][204][205][206][207][208]
Commodore 64 4[209][196][210][197]
Super Mario Land Platformer Nintendo Game Boy 4[211][212][213][214]
Super Monaco GP Racing simulation Sega Arcade 5[54]
The Untouchables Action-adventure Ocean Software Amiga 4[215][216][217][218]
Atari ST 4[219][220][221][222]
ZX Spectrum 4[223][224][225][226]
Willow Platformer Capcom Arcade 4[54]
Winning Run Racing simulation Namco Arcade 4[54]
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap Platform-adventure Sega Master System 10[227][228][229][230][231][232][233][234][235][236]
Xenon 2: Megablast Shoot 'em up Image Works Amiga 8[237][238][239][240][241][242][243][244]
Atari ST 7[245][237][238][239][246][240][247]
Ys: The Vanished Omens Action role-playing Sega Master System 7[248][249][250][251][252][253][254]
Ys I & II Action role-playing Hudson Soft TurboGrafx-CD 7[255][256][257][258][259][260][261]

Events[edit]

The original Game Boy.

Hardware releases[edit]

Game releases[edit]

Business[edit]

  1. Nintendo sues Tengen over the Tetris video game copyrights. Tengen loses and recalls all its Tetris games.
  2. In 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.
  • UK publisher Martech goes out of business.

References[edit]

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