With talks about gaming awards teasing (and haunting) us just around the corner, we take a moment to stop looking at the present, and glimpsing to the past. 2017 has been a wonderful year for video game history, but was it your favorite? Let’s take a look at history as we unroll it into the article below.
Well before my time, personally, it’s easy to overlook a year of classics but to ignore it would do this year injustice. The era of arcades, we saw Defender, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and Tempest make their way to the stage and bedazzle people’s eyes for a quarter at a time.
The NES begins to make its mark, but arcades still run the ring this year, with Contra, Double Dragon, R-Type, and Tecmo Bowl still dominating the gaming era.
The SNES finally begins to pump out more games to counter the rival platforms and PC culture, with Pilotwings and Super Mario World coming out this year. The Secret of Monkey Island for the PC and Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe for the Amiga also make their appearance here.
Games begin to explode at an alarming rate now, with the video game business starting to thrive despite the video game industry crash in 1985, where we see The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Castlevania IV for the Super Nintendo. Civilization and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge showcased on the PC. Lemmings is introduced on the Amiga. Street Fighter II blows up the arcades for years starting here. Sonic the Hedgehog is introduced as Sega’s mascot for the Genesis, and Tecmo Super Bowl makes a late appearance for the NES.
This is where things get crazy. Day of the Tentacle, DOOM, and Sam & Max Hit the Road destroys the PC market, whereas Sim City 2000 shows up for the Macintosh. Daytona USA, Mortal Kombat II, and Myst keep the arcade scene alive. Phantasy Star IV and Gunstar Heroes debut on the Genesis. Mega Man X and Secret of Mana show off on the SNES, and The Legend of Zelda get its first handheld release with Link’s Awakening.
Surely this year was the year of SNES, with Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound, Final Fantasy VI, and Super Metroid all coming to the Nintendo console. UFO: Enemy Unknown and Star Wars: TIE Fighter makes its home on the PC. Sensible World of Soccer gives the Amiga the last breath of life this year, too.
The world of modern 3D begins this year, with games like Super Mario 64, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Wave Race 64, and Quake coming out. Civilization II and Command & Conquer: Red Alert show up this time around for the PC. Pokemon Red and Blue start their legacy for the Game Boy in Japan. Super Mario RPG makes a late show appearance on the SNES, too.
The ball on the gaming scene keeps getting bigger and bigger as the industry begins to snowball. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Fallout, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy VII, GoldenEye 007, Gran Turismo, Quake II, Star Fox 64, Tekken 3, and Ultima Online all show up this year.
My personal favorite year, here we see Banjo-Kazooie, Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, SoulCalibur, Starcraft, and Thief: The Dark Project, all excellent titles stacked in a row.
Slowly transitioning to the level of 3D graphics of what will eventually reach the PlayStation 2, we get Baldur’s Gate II, Counter-Strike, Deus Ex, Jet Set Radio, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Perfect Dark, The Sims, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for this awesome year.
A new generation of gaming has arrived, with Final Fantasy X, Gran Turismo 3, Grand theft Auto III, Ico, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Silent Hill 2 coming out for the freshly released PlayStation 2. Super Smash Bros. Melee hits the GameCube. The Xbox is born with Halo in its clutches. Advance Wars and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney comes out for the Game Boy Advance in Japan.
Tracking ever closer to the modern day, we see Sony and PC pulling out the big guns, with games like Call of Duty 2, Civilization 2, Devil May Cry 3, God of War, Guitar Hero, Psychonauts, and Shadow of the Colossus. The GameCube see Resident Evil 4, and Xbox Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.
The list is a collection of last-gen titles, including Braid, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Left 4 Dead, Little Big Planet, Metal Gear Solid 4, Persona 4, and Street Fighter IV.
One of the biggest years of this decade for video games, we get Limbo, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Rock Band 3, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Meat Boy, and Xenoblade Chronicles.
While I COULD list off every single memorable game so no one takes the torch to the site, the ones that come to mind are Breath of the Wild, Resident Evil VII, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, Super Mario Odyssey, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Splatoon 2.
Many years weren’t included here, but what was your favorite year for video games? It’s still amazing how fast the pace picked up over time, and although we’re squabbling over game of the year awards, hopefully this article gives a little perspective to appreciate what a great year it’s been.