1998: The Great Year of Videogames

If your age is about 30, then there’s a very good chance your favorite classic videogame was releases in 1998. I first noticed this strange high occurance of famous gaming classics when I learned that Metal Gear Solid was release in the same years as two of my other favorite games: Baldur’s Gate and Half-Life. Also StarCraft. And FreeSpace. What, Thief too? And Commandos?!

Just look at this!

  • January 21: Resident Evil 2
  • February 11: Xenogears
  • February 28: Star Wars: Rebellion
  • March 19: FreeSpace
  • March 31: StarCraft
  • May 22: Unreal
  • July 31: Commandos
  • August 5: Soulcalibur
  • August 21: Rainbow Six
  • September 3: Metal Gear Solid
  • September 24: Anno 1602
  • September 30: Fallout 2
  • October 30: Grim Fandango
  • November 19: Half-Life
  • November 21: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • November 30: Baldur’s Gate
  • November 30: Thief
  • December 3: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

There might of course be some bias here. And given the huge amount of games that are released every year, this list of 18 famous titles may not be that impressive. But look at them! These aren’t just games that were simply “really quite good”, but a lot of them had a huge impact in the long run, that continues to this day. Nobody has to be told what Half-Life and StarCraft are. Baldur’s Gate is the granddaddy of Dragon Age and Mass Effect and made BioWare into the famous company it is today. Ocarina of Time is the first Zelda game as we know them today. Soulcalibur, Metal Gear Solid, and Thief are still getting new games. And while my memory might deceive me here, I think Rainbow Six pretty much invented the Modern Military Shoter with political backstory. Commandos and Anno 1602 may not be much remembered these days, but back then they made a really big splash and got lots of sequels and inspired many other games with similar mechanics.

I think this is much more than simply perception bias and nostalgia. 1998 was an amazing year for videogames, the like we probably havn’t seen again since.

One thought on “1998: The Great Year of Videogames

  1. LS

    Not to mention Banjo-Kazooie. It wasn’t personally part of my childhood, but it’s still regarded by many as THE pinnacle of the 3D-Platformer genre.

    Tenchu, MediEvil, Spyro the Dragon, Pokemon Yellow, and fuckin’ TRIBES are also pretty notable releases in ’98.

    It was a weirdly magical year for games.

    Reply

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