1988: The greatest action flick ever, Die Hard, was unleashed, and the world discovered the Stock, Aitken and Waterman-powered joys of Never Gonna Give You Up before Rick-rolling was ever a thing. Some Australians celebrated 200 years of English settlement, while the Iran/Iraq war finally ended – some 1.5 million casualties later. Meanwhile, in Japan, a black box of goodness was unleashed in October – the now legendary SEGA Mega Drive (or “Genesis” in the USA).

Offering everything from what were then considered near-as-dammit arcade conversions to deep RPG adventuring for those with less twitchy fingers, we’d have to wait an interminably-long 23 months for it to hit our shores. By this time, its original launch game, a conversion of the curiously titled Altered Beast, was old hat, but we had the advantage of a much greater library of games at launch. These included Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Super Hang-On, blocky puzzler Columns, and vertical shmup time-suck Truxton.

It was a year after its Australian launch, however, that two key Mega Drive titles arrived, in the whacked-out forms of funky aliens Toe Jam & Earl, and with the wholly different type of whacked that brawler Streets of Rage entailed. While it ruled the Mega Drive fighting game roost, October 1992 saw a wholly new style of brawler hit the arcades…

Featuring digitised versions of real fighters, it offered a level of realism – and gore – never before experienced. While parents the world over went full Helen Lovejoy, gamers let Mortal Kombat machines swallow more coins than they’d probably care to recall, but it was all in the name of “fatality”… Luckily, MK hit Mega Drive just 11 months later – who can forget being forced to think of the band Genesis every time they entered the blood code ABACABB?

Gaming history - October

Notable games released in October

Frogger (1981)
Mortal Kombat (1992)
Grand Theft Auto (1997)
Manhunt (2003)
The Witcher (2007)
Assassin’s Creed III (2012)