Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Doom at CES 1989

In 1989, Summer CES took place in Chicago. Marvel was sent three of their biggest characters, Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Doom to promote some of the games in which their characters would appear.

As we moved into 1990, we reached a turning point with Marvel Games. Sure the Questprobe games and Spider-Man for the Atari 2600 were great, but Atari had released less than 10 games before 1990. Before the end of the nineties, they would triple that number.

While some of those games would make appearances on computers, in this new decade, they were the minority. Instead, these games would make it to the big show. Appearing on next generation consoles, portables and full-sized arcade games.

So what were they there to promote that year? Well, Marvel released a raft of games in 1990 and 1991 including:

  • X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Silver Surfer
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin
  • The Punisher
  • The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback!
  • Wolverine
  • Captain America and The Avengers
  • Spider-Man: The Video Game

An impressive lineup, and for many people who did not grow up in the eighties, their introduction to Marvel’s characters in gaming.

I was a big fan of Marvel comics. So I greedily bought, borrowed or rented any game featuring their characters. So for me the timing was great.

Here is a news segment that talks about the video games at the show that year. They do not mention Marvel, but it is great background and demonstrates just how much video games were evolving.

News Segment about Summer CES 1989

Nowadays we take it for granted that anything Marvel does will make a lot of money. For most of Marvel’s history though, this was not the case. This photo offers a glimpse into a turning point in Marvel gaming. A small victory for them, but one that would be writ on a much larger scale in our local movie theaters during the new millennium.

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