3 December 1994

The PlayStation was first released in Japan.

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On December 3, 1994, the PlayStation was finally released in Japan, one week after the Sega Saturn. The initial retail cost was 37,000 yen, or about $387. Software available at launch included King’s Field, Crime Crackers, and Namco’s Ridge Racer, the PlayStation’s first certifiable killer app. It was met with long lines across Japan, and was hailed by Sony as their most important product since the WalkMan in the late 1970’s.

Also available at launch were a host of peripherals, including: a memory card to save high scores and games; a link cable, whereby you could connect two PlayStations and two TVs and play against a friend; a mouse with pad for PC ports; an RFU Adaptor; an S-Video Adaptor; and a Multitap Unit. Third party peripherals were also available, including Namco’s Negcon.

The look of the PlayStation was dramatically different than the Saturn, which was beige (in Japan), bulky, and somewhat clumsy looking. In contrast, the PlayStation was slim, sleek, and gray, with a revolutionary controller that was years ahead of the Saturn’s SNES-like pad. The new PSX joypad provided unheardof control by adding two more buttons on the shoulder, making a total of eight buttons. The two extended grips also added a new element of control. Ken Kutaragi realized the importance of control when dealing with 3 Dimensional game worlds. “We probably spent as much time on the joypad’s development as the body of the machine. Sony’s boss showed special interest in achieving the final version so it has his seal of approval.” To Sony’s delight, the PlayStation sold more than 300,000 units in the first 30 days. The Saturn claimed to have sold 400,000, but research has shown that number to be misleading. The PSX sold through (to customers) 97% of its stock, while many Saturns were still sitting on the shelves. These misleading numbers were to be quoted by Sega on many occasions, and continued even after the US launch.

3 December 1368

Charles VI of France is born

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Charles VI, by name Charles the Well-beloved or the Mad, French Charles le Bien-aimé or L’insensé was born on December 3, 1368. He was the king of France who throughout his long reign (1380–1422) remained largely a figurehead, first because he was still a boy when he took the throne and later because of his periodic fits of madness.

Crowned on October 25, 1380, at Reims at the age of 11, Charles remained under the tutelage of his uncles until his declaration to rule alone in 1388. During those early years France was ruled by his uncles and their creation, the administrative Council of 12. Philip the Bold of Burgundy conducted the council from 1382. The marriage of Isabella of Bavaria to Charles was arranged by Philip, who had inherited the countship of Flanders and needed German allies to offset English intervention there. Philip also induced Charles to support Jeanne of Brabant, the aunt of Philip’s wife, and to lead an expedition in August 1388 against Duke William of Gelderland; Charles, however, made a speedy peace with William and returned to France.

After Charles VI’s death in 1422, the country north of the Loire was under the control of England, while southern France, excluding English Aquitaine, was loyal to the dauphin as Charles VII.