Peter Parker and his infamous alias Spider-Man first appeared in 1962 in the Marvel comic book "Amazing Fantasy #15." Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, he has since become one of the world's most popular characters and is one of the most recognizable superheroes of all time. Through the years, he has appeared in many media versions, including several animated series, a daily and Sunday comic strip, and two very successful motion pictures series. Parker Brothers released the first video game featuring Spider-Man in 1982 for the Atari 2600 game console. Entitled simply "Spider-Man," this action game contained both a single and a two-player mode. The game did not receive much notice when it first came out. However, over time it became one of the Atari system's classic games, as players remain drawn to the opportunity to control Spider-Man's web-slinging abilities, and many more games featuring the hero appeared on the gaming market.
In 2002, Activision released "Spider-Man" to coincide with the release of the 2002 movie of the same name. This brawler follows the plot of the film and features many of the same actors. Unlike previous Spider-Man video games, "Spider-Man" used live action animation instead of animated graphics that resembled the comic book version of the hero. Gamers play as Spider-Man and must defeat the Green Goblin, as well as other villains not included in the movie.
"Spider-Man" received positive reviews from critics. Douglass C. Perry of IGN wrote, "Spider-Man' is an excellent action game that's easy to pick up and play again and again." Players enjoyed it as well, and the game became the seventh top-grossing video game of 2002. Because of its success, Activision released "Spider-Man 2" in 2004 to promote the second Spider-Man movie.
Gamers play "Spider-Man 2" as a single-player and must defeat Doctor Octopus, the same villain that appears in the movie. Like its predecessor, villains not featured in the film also make appearances. Actors from the movie provided the likeness for the characters in the game, and in many cases, the voices as well.
Critics and players alike enjoyed "Spider-Man 2." Douglass C. Perry of IGN called it the best super-hero game he ever played and it won the IGN "Editor's Choice Award" for 2002. "The Official PlayStation 2 Magazine" ranked the game 80 out of 100 on its list of "Top 100 PS2 Games of All Time," and the game is included in the book "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die." In 2007, Activision released the follow-up game entitled "Spider-Man 3."
Spider-Man remains a very popular character. He expanded the dramatic potential of the fantasy and superhero subgenres by having a strong focus on a younger, more troubled character and his personal struggles. Since his creation, his popularity has led to many of the superheroes who predated him being reworked with more complex personas. In 2012, Marvel rebooted the film series with "The Amazing Spider-Man" starring Andrew Garfield, and Marvel continues to develop video games featuring the web-slinging hero.