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.
Activision released "Ultimate Spider-Man" in 2005 for the Nintendo DS, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance. It is the first game developed by Treyarch not based off a Spider-Man movie, but rather comes from the comic book of the same name. Gamers play this brawler in single-player mode and must defeat a progression of bosses as either Spider-Man or the super villain Venom. Unlike other Spider-Man games, "Ultimate Spider-Man's" design simulates the appearance of a comic book, and the cut scenes included in the game play as living comic books.
"Ultimate Spider-Man" received positive reviews from critics. Hilary Goldstein of IGN called it "one of the coolest comic book videogames ever made," and wrote, "From a comics geek standpoint...this is the Holy Grail of comic book videogames." Because of the game's success, Activision released a limited edition of "Ultimate Spider-Man" for the PlayStation 2. It included several character biographies, an interview with Stan Lee, a "Making of Ultimate Spider-Man''' featurette, and a special edition "Ultimate Spider-Man" comic book.
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.