Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web, a system by which words, pictures, sounds, and hyperlinks can be combined and formatted across different platforms to create digital pages quite similar to word processor documents. From CERN in Switzerland, he posts the first HTML code in a newsgroup called "alt.hypertext."
Stormfront Studios' Neverwinter Nights, a game based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, launches on America Online.
The Sierra Network launches and brings a variety of parlor games such as chess, checkers, and bridge online. Bill Gates is said to have played bridge on the service.
Wolfenstein 3D by id Software takes the computer game industry by storm on May 5. Even though it wasn't actually 3D by today's standards, it is a landmark title in the first-person shooter genre.
Mosaic, the first graphical Web browser, developed by Marc Andreesen and a group of student programmers, is released. Internet traffic explodes at a growth rate of 341,634 percent annually.
Doom is released on December 10 and becomes an instant success.
The Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation are launched in Japan. The PlayStation will later become Sony's best-selling electronics product.
After 4 years as a dial-up game in the UK, Avalon MUD starts offering a pay-to-play service over the Internet.
Sony releases the PlayStation in the United States for $299, $100 less than expected.
The Nintendo 64 is launched in Japan under near riot conditions.
Windows 95 sells more than a million copies in four days.
Sun launches JAVA on May 23.
Id Software releases Quake on May 31, The game is truly three dimensional and special attention is given to multiplayer features. With the release of a free program called QuakeWorld later in the year, play over the Internet becomes gets a great deal easier for modem users.
On August 24, the first version of Team Fortress, an add-on for Quake, becomes available. Within a year over 40 percent of the servers running Quake will be dedicated to Team Fortress.
Meridian 59 goes online and becomes one of the first highly graphical multiplayer games played in a persistent online world, although it had a limit of 35 simultaneous players. It was conceived by a small company called Archetype Interactive and then sold to 3DO, who published the game. It used a 2.5D engine similar to that of Doom, and while it has again changed ownership, it is still available and still loved by many RPGers. Meridian 59 may also have been the first online game to charge a flat monthly rate for access, rather than charging by the hour.
Macromedia shifts its focus from software for making multimedia content for CDs to making multimedia software for the Web and releases Shockwave 1.0.
Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover are hired by John Smedley at Sony's 989 Studios to begin work on EverQuest.
Sony sells its 20 millionth PlayStation, easily making it the most popular gaming console of its time.
Ultima Online is released. Developed by Origin and based on the extremely successful Ultima franchise, many online gaming pioneers are involved in this project, including Richard Garriott, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel. It uses a 2D top-down graphics engine and eventually reaches over 200,000 subscribers.
Macromedia acquires the company that makes FutureSplash, which becomes the first version of Flash.
NCsoft, a small Korean software company, releases Lineage, which will grow to become one of the world's most popular MMORPGs, with over 4 million subscribers.
Starsiege: Tribes debuts as an online-only first-person action game. Fans adore the combination of team-based gameplay, expansive outdoor terrains, multiple play modes, customizable characters, and controllable vehicles.
On August 1, Sierra releases Half-Life, a game built around the Quake 2 engine.
Sega Dreamcast is released in Japan on November 25th. Although it gets off to a shakey start, it is the first console sold with a modem and gives console users their first taste of online gaming.