Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards is won by Operation Wolf (8-bit) and Speedball (16-bit).
February, Atari Games releases the Hard Drivin' arcade game, with filled polygon 3D graphics, physics simulation, and a force-feedback steering wheel.
March 21, Sega releases Phantasy Star II, a landmark title for the role-playing video game genre.
April 21, Nintendo of America introduces Enix's Dragon Warrior franchise to North America. Nintendo of America releases Super Mario Land on the Game Boy, introducing Princess Daisy to the Mario series.
May 12, Konami releases Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES, one of the first video games based on the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, being released after the show's second season.
May, Sega releases Golden Axe, the first game in the Golden Axe series.
June 5, Bullfrog releases Populous, one of the first commercially successful god games.
June, Lucasfilm Games releases puzzle game Pipe Mania, which lives on in other titles as a visual representation of computer or security system hacking.
July 11, Capcom releases Mega Man 2 in more countries (US).
July 27, Nintendo releases Mother in Japan.
August, Nintendo of America introduces Enix's Dragon Warrior franchise to North America.
August 26, Nintendo releases the Zelda Game & Watch.
September 14, Capcom releases DuckTales for NES based on the Disney animated TV series of the same name.
September - Atari Games releases S.T.U.N. Runner in arcades, a 3D polygonal vehicle combat/racing game.
October 3, Brøderbund releases Prince of Persia for the declining Apple II, having been in development since 1985. Ports to other systems turn the game into a hit.
October 3, Maxis releases Will Wright's SimCity, the first of the "Sim" games and a revolutionary real-time software toy.
December 6, Strategic Studies Group releases Warlords which was one of the first fantasy turn-based strategy game.
December 15, Techno Soft releases Herzog Zwei (Mega Drive/Genesis) in Japan, laying the foundations for the real-time strategy genre.
December 22, Konami releases Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, the third and final game from series for NES.
Tengen releases an unlicensed version of the Tetris video game, which is recalled after Nintendo sues Tengen.
Wes Cherry writes Solitaire and Robert Donner writes Minesweeper, which are bundled with Microsoft Windows starting from version 3.
Psygnosis releases difficult platformer Shadow of the Beast, demonstrating the capabilities of the Amiga and helping sales of the computer.
August 29 - NEC's PC-Engine released in North America as the TurboGrafx-16.
October 11 - Atari Corp. releases the Lynx handheld console with color and backlighting.
October 14 - Sega Mega Drive released in North America as the Sega Genesis.
Nintendo releases the Game Boy handheld console, the first popular handheld with cartridges.
Mattel, Inc. releases the Power Glove controller for the NES home console.
Hasbro, Inc. acquires elements of Coleco Industries, Inc.
Trinity Acquisition Corporation founded (renamed THQ in 1990)
Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Tengen
Nintendo sues Tengen over the Tetris video game copyrights. Tengen loses and recalls all its Tetris games.
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.