|Developer: Data East|
Released: June 1987
Before we talk about Side Pocket, let’s do a quick run-through of the history of video game billiards. As near as I can tell, the first video game to attempt billiards was Video Hustler, which sounds like it should be something else. Anyway, it was released as an arcade game in 1981, and it was competent, if nothing special. After that, there was silence until Lunar Pool was released in 1985, then Side Pocket in 1987.
Some sports, like baseball or soccer, had lots of video games right from the start. So why weren’t there a lot of games about billiards? Most arcade machines were purchased by bars in the early days, and let’s face it: If you were going to play billiards in an arcade, chances are the arcade had its own billiards table. What would be the point of playing a billiards arcade machine when there was a table right there?