October 1978: Namco’s Gee Bee released
Today we celebrate the 35th anniversary of Namco’s very first game, Gee Bee! Never heard of it? Well, you’re probably not alone, unless you’re a diehard arcade fan. Part Pong, part, Breakout, and part pinball, this coin-operated arcade game first saw the light of day in Japan in October 1978, and it was released in the U.S. the same year. Created by Toru Iwatani, the same guy who later created a little game called Pac-Man, Gee Bee was the first in a series of three similar games, the other two titles being Bomb Bee and Cutie Q. Iwatani apparently wanted to make pinball machines, but Namco, which had just hit the video game industry a few years prior, wanted none of that. Gee Bee was something of a compromise — pinball-esque play, arcade style!
If anyone’s gotten a chance to play Gee Bee or any of Iwatani’s early games, we’d love to hear from you! The comment section is always open.