1955: The first Guinness Book of World Records was published, McDonalds became a chain, and Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California. Elsewhere in California, on January 27, a child named Eugene Peyton Jarvis was born.

He didn’t have much effect on the world for a while, but come 1981 video game fans were thankful for his existence, as they pumped many a coin into his multi-button arcade smash Defender. As well as creating this milestone in gaming, Jarvis also gave us Robotron 2084, Stargate, NARC and Smash TV

Speaking of smash, January 21, 1999 saw the launch of what would become a wildly popular Nintendo IP for decades to come in Super Smash Bros. It followed the successful formula of Super Mario Kart in bringing together characters from the Nintendo stable, this time having 12 of them going the biff on each other. Evolutions of the game have appeared on each Nintendo home console since, and it’s now the company’s sixth biggest money-spinning franchise…

Another Nintendo franchise that can make a dizzying dollar claim is Pokémon – in fact it comes second only to the Super Mario series, so far generating more than US$300 million. Once again on January 27, but this time in 1966, a man named Ken Sugimori was born in Tokyo. In his teens he illustrated a gaming fanzine, before moving into game design. More specifically, Sugimori was a co-designer of, and drew and finalised all 151, of the original Pokémon characters…

Meanwhile, a games system that didn’t need much in the way of art design due to its graphical limitations, the ‘Brown Box’ was taken on for production in January 1971 by a company named Magnavox. This sound-free, monochrome machine went on to become the world’s first ever home video games console upon launching to market in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey.


Notable games released in January

Xevious (1983)
Mega Man 4 (1992)
Diablo (1997)
The Getaway (2003)
Bayonetta (2010)
Soulcalibur V (2012)
DmC: Devil May Cry (2013)
Monster Hunter: World (2018)