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Thread: Accurate release dates - how to figure out accurate release dates before the info existed ?

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    Default Accurate release dates - how to figure out accurate release dates before the info existed ?

    So, I've been working on something in regards to the launch of the Sega Genesis back in 1989. Trying to find accurate information is very difficult. I've had to dig through old usenet posts, and look for various newspaper articles that were written at the time.


    At a certain point, it seems that we started to actually get accurate release dates, and from that point forward, it seems easier to actually know the specific date a game came out. For example, take Sonic 2. Sonic 2 was of course released to great fanfare on "Sonic 2uesday". November 24th, 1992 was the specific release date for Sonic 2. It's pretty easy to get this information, because there was a specific date set aside for the release of the game. This became much more popular as the years went on, but for many games released before 1993, trying to get an accurate release date is an exercise in futility.

    There is so much mis-information on the internet, that it clouds the situation even further. There is something about the internet, and the fact that there are these written words on various websites, that people for whatever reason take this information as the gospel, when much of it is grossly inaccurate, and the real unfortunate thing is that these incorrect dates get picked up by different people, and they spout off the info like it's accurate, and it just makes the problem that much worse.

    I have to imagine that there has to be some video game historian out there, that is trying to research all this stuff, and trying to get accurate info. You'd think having an accurate chronological listing of USA game releases for various systems would be a high priority for some video game researcher, but I have a very difficult time finding any remotely accurate Chronological game list for systems from the early 90's or before. Once you get to the mid 90's, with the Playstation and Saturn and N64, it seems that more accurate lists are available, but before that, it's a real crapshoot.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Rickstilwell1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    So, I've been working on something in regards to the launch of the Sega Genesis back in 1989. Trying to find accurate information is very difficult. I've had to dig through old usenet posts, and look for various newspaper articles that were written at the time.


    At a certain point, it seems that we started to actually get accurate release dates, and from that point forward, it seems easier to actually know the specific date a game came out. For example, take Sonic 2. Sonic 2 was of course released to great fanfare on "Sonic 2uesday". November 24th, 1992 was the specific release date for Sonic 2. It's pretty easy to get this information, because there was a specific date set aside for the release of the game. This became much more popular as the years went on, but for many games released before 1993, trying to get an accurate release date is an exercise in futility.

    There is so much mis-information on the internet, that it clouds the situation even further. There is something about the internet, and the fact that there are these written words on various websites, that people for whatever reason take this information as the gospel, when much of it is grossly inaccurate, and the real unfortunate thing is that these incorrect dates get picked up by different people, and they spout off the info like it's accurate, and it just makes the problem that much worse.

    I have to imagine that there has to be some video game historian out there, that is trying to research all this stuff, and trying to get accurate info. You'd think having an accurate chronological listing of USA game releases for various systems would be a high priority for some video game researcher, but I have a very difficult time finding any remotely accurate Chronological game list for systems from the early 90's or before. Once you get to the mid 90's, with the Playstation and Saturn and N64, it seems that more accurate lists are available, but before that, it's a real crapshoot.
    Isn't chrontendo doing the best he can at this? He usually just goes by worldwide release date though and not specifically United States or Europe unless the game came out there first. Japan did a much better job at writing down release dates.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Strawberry (Level 2) ccovell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickstilwell1 View Post
    Japan did a much better job at writing down release dates.
    It's not just a matter of writing them down. In Japan the relationship between manufacturers and retailers is far more cozy, with the mfr dictating pricing and release timing, etc., the former being illegal in the USA and EU.

    In the US there is a larger (more independent) network of purchasers, distributors, etc., which in the past were not coordinated enough to produce exact sale dates.

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    Bell (Level 8)
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    Well, I guess now that sites like GameFAQs track release dates, it's easier to add that info as soon as it's released?

    And with GameStop/amazon pushing preorders, publishers could have more incentive to announce release dates.

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SparTonberry View Post
    Well, I guess now that sites like GameFAQs track release dates, it's easier to add that info as soon as it's released?

    And with GameStop/amazon pushing preorders, publishers could have more incentive to announce release dates.

    I've found that release dates are pretty accurate post 1995. It's 1994 and before that is much more sketchy. (especially before 1992) For example, there is probably a very accurate, chronological listing of every USA PS1 game that was released. We might have the same thing for the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. It's the gaming systems that came out before them that the records are a bit sketch.

    Ideally, there would be somebody that used to work at Software ETC or Babbages or Electronics Boutique back in the early 90's, that had a ton of printouts that showed the actual days they got their inventory in, and the day that it was put up for sale. Such a list would be worth it's weight in gold, in trying to actually have accurate release date info for the very late 80's and early 90's game releases. I'm sure there is some kind of listing or printout that exists. Maybe a Toys-R-Us database or something. Problem is, most of these companies have changed over their computer systems several times by now, so unless they backed up all that info, you'd never get it. Plus, we are talking about records from the very late 80's and early 90's. Would these companies really hold onto these records ?

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Rickstilwell1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    I've found that release dates are pretty accurate post 1995. It's 1994 and before that is much more sketchy. (especially before 1992) For example, there is probably a very accurate, chronological listing of every USA PS1 game that was released. We might have the same thing for the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. It's the gaming systems that came out before them that the records are a bit sketch.

    Ideally, there would be somebody that used to work at Software ETC or Babbages or Electronics Boutique back in the early 90's, that had a ton of printouts that showed the actual days they got their inventory in, and the day that it was put up for sale. Such a list would be worth it's weight in gold, in trying to actually have accurate release date info for the very late 80's and early 90's game releases. I'm sure there is some kind of listing or printout that exists. Maybe a Toys-R-Us database or something. Problem is, most of these companies have changed over their computer systems several times by now, so unless they backed up all that info, you'd never get it. Plus, we are talking about records from the very late 80's and early 90's. Would these companies really hold onto these records ?
    Not quite. Try and find the exact release date for Akuji the Heartless. All I was able to find was the year 1998. EDIT: that was 3 years ago. Now someone finally posted the date on Wikipedia. I guess the release dates for PS1 are still being worked on.
    Last edited by Rickstilwell1; 02-22-2014 at 02:22 PM.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Honestly the only way I can think of without just jacking the weak data by the year/month for earlier stuff Gamefaqs has would be to get a consensus and good luck on that. You'd need to find a lot of 30+ year old people who even as kids or teens were OCD about keeping receipts or had some photographic memory who just happened to buy stuff the first day it appeared at retail and you can pull a day off the receipt. The only challenge in that is some stores got stuff day one, some took a couple or a week or two after depending how large and location. The only other would be to write as many old companies as possible to see if they'd have such data still on record and let them know you're doing a form of a museum project and need that basic information. Any of the 8/16bit era and before will be very spotty, but as you said in the era of EB Games/Software Etc and buddies before Lamestop kicked off they would track accurate dates to setup pre-interest lists on stuff because even that far back people didn't pre-order and take peoples cash up front until the mid/later 90s.

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    I've found looking through old game mags helps out in this regard. Granted they aren't always accurate, but they do help pinpoint the general time a game was actually released. For example, I found out through this method that StarTropics was actually delayed until April '91, whereas most sites list it as being released in 1990.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApolloBoy View Post
    I've found looking through old game mags helps out in this regard. Granted they aren't always accurate, but they do help pinpoint the general time a game was actually released. For example, I found out through this method that StarTropics was actually delayed until April '91, whereas most sites list it as being released in 1990.
    Yeah the same thing happened to Zelda II due to chip shortages, but the exact release date for that one is pretty widespread since it is part of such an important series.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Quote Originally Posted by WCP View Post
    Ideally, there would be somebody that used to work at Software ETC or Babbages or Electronics Boutique back in the early 90's, that had a ton of printouts that showed the actual days they got their inventory in, and the day that it was put up for sale. Such a list would be worth it's weight in gold, in trying to actually have accurate release date info for the very late 80's and early 90's game releases. I'm sure there is some kind of listing or printout that exists. Maybe a Toys-R-Us database or something. Problem is, most of these companies have changed over their computer systems several times by now, so unless they backed up all that info, you'd never get it. Plus, we are talking about records from the very late 80's and early 90's. Would these companies really hold onto these records ?
    Even with such data, it still wouldn't be necessarily accurate. It would only indicate when that retailer got the game, and back then not all retailers got games at the same time, so other places might have gotten it as much as a month earlier or later.

    It might not even indicate when all stores in the chain had gotten the game, as things were very much regional, so a TRU in California might have gotten the game significantly earlier than a TRU in Michigan or wherever.

    It's actually pretty amazing at how coordinated the game industry has gotten release dates nailed down so that it's now incredibly rare any place gets a game more than a day or so off from any other place. For a lot of stuff (Transformers, for instance), you still find them showing up in certain regions long before you can find them elsewhere.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10)
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    Was street date even a thing prior to 92/93? I remember seeing ads for "Sonic Day" which was the release of Sonic 2. But I think dates werent even really advertised back then the way movies and albums were

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    Great Puma (Level 12) bangtango's Avatar
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    Anybody mention yet that retailers were breaking street dates and gamers were importing stuff from Japan back during the 8 & 16-bit eras?

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