Double Buffered

A Programmer’s View of Game Design, Development, and Culture

1998 was the Best Year in the History of Gaming

Posted by Ben Zeigler on February 26, 2009

Discussions of “The Best” whatever come up constantly, and I usually have a hard time making a decision because it always seems so subjective and personal. However, when it comes to figuring out the best/most important year in the history of video gaming, I can make a definitive judgment: 1998. You can try to come up with a year that had more awesome and influential games, but you will fail. All of these games were released in the same 12 month period (some in Japan or arcades), which is just ridiculous:

Why was 1998 so awesome? On the Playstation and the N64, it was when developers had really figured out the hardware and were able to truly innovate. On the PC the success of Windows 95 and DirectX lead to massive technical jumps. Finally, at the end of the year the Dreamcast launched in Japan, which was the real start of the Playstation 2/XBox generation. It featured the climax of fading genres (space and flight simulation, traditional adventure games), and the rise exciting new ones (dance games, stealth action, FPS hybrids). It launched Valve, Epic, Bioware, Pokemon (without which Nintendo would never have made it to the Wii), and the entire country of Korea. Oh, and if that list doesn’t include at least 2 or 3 of your top 10 games, you’re either really young or confused.

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12 Responses to “1998 was the Best Year in the History of Gaming”

  1. Wolfe said

    EverQuest is not worthy a mention here? I think that was 98, I also think Asherons Call was launched the same year.

  2. Pulstar said

    Ubisoft’s Uprising did predate Battlezone.

  3. Actually, you mentioned a number of titles that originally didn’t come to mind when thinking of 1998. Thanks for that. :D

  4. Radiant Silvergun.

  5. Adam said

    That list of games is pretty convincing.

  6. baf said

    I’ve long thought 1998 was a banner year in Interactive Fiction (text adventures). That was the year that gave us such canonical favorites as Photopia, Spider and Web, and Anchorhead. I hadn’t really considered what a good year it was for mainstream games as well.

  7. […] releasing on a fairly regular basis, and the last two years have been so fruitful as to recall the boom of 1998 — but where do we cross that threshold to where we’ve handed off so much of the game […]

  8. I believe 2008 cant beat it, even if Im pretty sure techincally is the best gaming year ever (lot of awesome high rated games) And

    Now 2007 was supposed to be a great year, but due to this messed up generation most of the games were delayed

    I think the holy trinity of Metal Gear Solid, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Half-Life have on their own ensured that 1998 is the greatest year in gaming history

  9. Garyn said

    I completely agree except. . no Parasite Eve on this list? Seriously? I agree ’98 is the best year, but here is my list:

    Here is my fave 15 games from ’98

    SC1
    OoT
    Parasite Eve
    Fallout 2
    FIFA 99
    Baldur’s Gate
    Pokemon Red
    Gran Turismo
    Myth 2
    NFL Blitz
    Unreal
    Mario Party
    Gauntlet Legends
    RE2
    Soul Cal

  10. Blake said

    Where’s Spyro the Dragon? That was another 1998 game.

  11. OXIDE said

    F-Zero X
    Klonoa
    FFVII(PC)
    Radiant Silvergun
    Tomb Raider III
    etc

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