FASA independently released their own set of Plastic miniatures in 1988, under the moniker PlasTech.
"The player takes the role of Jason Youngblood, a young cadet MechWarrior stationed on Pacifica (also known as Chara III) in the Lyran Commonwealth. Stationed at the Citadel, Jason is learning how to pilot a Battlemech and also to fight with small arms, all the while having to live up to the reputation of his hero father, Jeremiah. During a training session in his 'Mech, the Citadel comes under attack from neighboring star-empire the Draconis Combine, slaying the Palace guard, Jeremiah apparently among them. Barely escaping, Jason is rescued from arrest by Draconis Police by Rex Pearce, a friend and colleague of Jeremiah's and a member of the Crescent Hawks. Together they must find and join up with fellow members of the Crescent Hawks, a special forces company established by Jeremiah and the Archon Katrina working in conjunction with the mercenary unit, the Kell Hounds."
This set a precedence for the video games being steeped in the lore of the game's setting.
The second section of the game is much more staple RPG: finding people to join the player's party, finding better weapons, items to advance the plot, and of course, engaging in or avoiding battles. The game here sees the growing party search Pacifica's towns and cities for the means to open an old Star League era cache of Battle Mechs and other equipment Jeremiah seems to have concealed. Navigation around the map is timed to the computer's internal clock, when random encounters with enemy 'Mechs and infantry can occur. The player can choose to manually target his weapons (which introduces the turn based battle system) or can opt for computer-controlled combat. One of the towns is walled (the star port) and requires the 'Mechs to be parked in a Garage, meaning that a Mech is not always able to count as protection. Random attacks occur often and cannot always be fled from, and so during this section keeping the player's Mech fully functional and protected becomes both challenging and important. The attackers become stronger if the player gains more Mechs, and less strong again if the player loses a Mech. C-Bill shortages can become a real problem, especially if the player is using weapons with ammunition like missile racks, or if no party member can perform Mech repairs. The final section, which is reached once the means of entry to the cave is discovered, consists of a series of puzzles, requiring a combination of luck and logic."
It's also worth noting that Jordan and Babcok were particularly interested in virtual reality, and in 1987 created the FASA subsidiary Virtual World Entertainment Group (VWEG).
The most ambitious endeavour by VWEG was the creation of the BattleTech Centers.
However, a few such centres remain in operation, and a few refurbished collections have been opened to the public. At the time of this writing, there are still five BattleTech Centres around the world where one can pay to play:
Big Kidz Games in Grand Rapids, Michigan (12 pods); The Fallout Shelter Arcade in Twin Cities, Minnesota (12 pods); Hanger 51 in Montreal, Canada (10 pods); Hinkle Family Fun Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico (6 pods); and MechCorps Entertainment LLC in Houston, Texas (16 pods).
The up to date official list can be reviewed at http://podtracker.battletech.com
1990 was also the year that the official setting was pushed forward to 3050, with the infamous Return of the Clans.
The Battletech 3rd edition boxed set was introduced 2 years later.
BattleTech was reaching the height of it's popularity, and everything would come to a head in 1994...