The video game business has been going strong for decades and is now the world’s biggest entertainment business. Video games have gone through a lot of growing pains on their way to becoming the most popular form of entertainment in the world. During this time, fans have been able to enjoy a number of years that stand out in the industry.
People sometimes remember these years fondly for how they changed how games are made, and sometimes they remember them for how many good games came out during this time. Sometimes, fans have a lot of good things to say about a certain year in gaming because it brought new consoles and other changes. There are many things that can make a year in gaming great, but some of the best years have a little bit of everything.
The video game business really took off in the 1970s, but 1980 was one of its early high points. The release of Space Invaders gave a big boost to the Atari 2600, which was one of the first home video game consoles. This made it one of the most-wanted items on the market. The best places to play games in 1980 weren’t in front of the TV, but in arcades, where the improved version of Space Invaders continued to be a big hit. Pac-Man also hit arcades in 1980, becoming one of the most successful video games ever made and a franchise all its own, spawning cartoons, cereal deals, and more, showing that video games had widespread, mainstream appeal like few expected.
Early in the 1980s, video games were very popular, but the video game crash of 1983 stopped everything. The video game market was full of shovelware, which were boring games that were rushed out to make money quickly without caring about their quality. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was one of the worst of these games. E.T. was so bad that many of the cartridges that didn’t sell ended up in dumps.
Then, in 1985, Nintendo released its new home game system outside of Japan. It was called the Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES was like a shot in the arm for the North American video game industry. It came out at the same time as a bunch of games that are now considered absolute classics. This includes the first Super Mario Bros. game, which started one of the biggest and longest-running gaming franchises ever and created a whole genre that influenced many games for decades.
During the 16-bit era of gaming, there were a lot of great games, but no one year really stands out. Instead, the excitement was spread out over a few years. In 1996, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a 16-bit console from Nintendo, was replaced by the Nintendo 64, which, like Sony’s PlayStation before it, was a revolutionary device that made games go from 2D to 3D.
1996 was a big year for video games, and not just because of the cool new hardware that came out. It was also a big year for high-quality games that came out. Super Mario 64 was huge and set the standard for how 3D games should be controlled. Some of the most beloved gaming franchises were also started in 1996. This includes Resident Evil, a survival horror series from Capcom, and the Tomb Raider games with Lara Croft.
The PlayStation 1 and the Nintendo 64 really got going in 1997, when some of the most important games of the generation came out. GoldenEye 007 was the big game for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. It was one of the most popular multiplayer shooters at the time, and it helped make the N64 known as a great machine for multiplayer games. Final Fantasy 7 was the big game on PS1. It was the first main series Final Fantasy game that didn’t come out on a Nintendo console. Many people think it’s one of the best games ever made. Just because of these two games, 1997 was a great year, but there were many other critically acclaimed games that came out that year as well, keeping the 90s on a roll that would last into the next year.
If 1997 was a good year for the fifth generation of game consoles, 1998 was even better. In 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out for the N64 and became one of the best-reviewed video games ever made. Not only that, but when Pokemon Red and Blue came out outside of Japan, the company gave its Game Boy handheld a new lease on life. The Pokemon series alone would make 1998 one of the most important years in gaming history, but there were more games coming out that year.
In 1998, Metal Gear Solid came out for PlayStation. It brought back an old Konami franchise and made a lot of progress in the way video games tell stories. In 1998, the original Spyro the Dragon game came out. This added to the list of must-have games for the PS1, which helped it become a very popular console.
Even PC gamers didn’t get left out in the cold. In fact, the first Half-Life video game came out in 1998. This game helped Valve become a PC gaming powerhouse and started one of the most acclaimed FPS series ever. Starcraft by Blizzard also came out in 1998. It was a real-time strategy game that became very popular and inspired a lot of similar games for years to come.
The original PlayStation came out just before the Nintendo 64, and the PlayStation 2 came out a little before the GameCube and the Xbox. People are always excited when a new console comes out, and the Xbox launch was especially exciting because Microsoft was new to the console gaming market and people didn’t really know what to expect from the Xbox. Halo: Combat Evolved, the killer app for the Xbox, was available right from the start. 2001 was also a big year for games for the PS2 and GameCube. Grand Theft Auto 3 came out for the PS2 and changed the industry forever. Super Smash Bros. Melee was released for the GameCube and is still a very popular fighting game to this day.
The only bad thing about 2001 is that it was the year that Sega stopped competing in the market for console games. The Sega Dreamcast couldn’t keep up with the other consoles, so Sega stopped making it and decided to focus on software instead. Many people were sad about this, but on the bright side, it meant that Sega’s best games would soon be coming to other platforms and being played by more people as a result.
In 2011, the seventh generation of games was coming to an end, making it an important transitional year for gamers. Developers took games in new directions like “Skyrim” and “Portal 2,” which were among the best of the time, so that gamers wouldn’t lose interest in systems that had been around for about five years. It was also the year of user-generated content. “LittleBigPlanet 2” built on the success of its predecessor, and “Minecraft” was released in its entirety, taking sandbox games to a whole new level. And finally, when the Nintendo 3DS came out, portable games got a whole new level.