As the games industry continued to crawl from the mire of the big crash of 1983, games designers were still finding new and exciting ways to entertain – highlights including Bubble Bobble and Out Run – while franchises that would endure well into the future were born…
1986 saw the arrival of SEGA’s NES rival the Master System in the USA. An updated version of the Japanese market SEGA Mark III console, despite being marketed as more of a home-based arcade machine than its rival, its sales disappointed. An initial Australian release fizzled, however when relaunched here in early 1988 the Master System soon became more popular than Nintendo’s machine both locally and in Europe.
Meanwhile, with the home market upper hand in both Japan and the USA, Nintendo concentrated on releasing top game titles. This year alone saw the debut of NES outings The Legend of Zelda and Metroid, both franchises which are both revered and active still today. Kid Icarus was also born. In other NES milestones, Konami released the original Castlevania, while Enix unleashed the first ever Dragon Quest.
Speaking of quests, adventure game pioneers Sierra On-Line, now simply Sierra, were continuing their own mission to dominate their market. 1986 not only saw the release of King’s Quest III: To Heir is Human, but also introduced us to the wonders of Space Quest via first instalment The Sarien Encounter. More would follow in both series, along with Police Quest, Hero’s Quest and, of course, the notorious Leisure Suit Larry games.