New Game Releases: Notable Events – ’80/’90/’00/’10

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s everyone! The 2020 video game season is pretty much over at this point, with another year of notable releases and events going by and entering the history books, but what about video games of years past? As I do every week where I highlight a notable title released 10, 20, 30, and sometimes 40 years ago, I thought it would be fun to look back at not only the biggest games of the year, but also some of the most noteworthy and interesting things happening in the entire video games industry. Take a break from all that crass materialism the Holiday’s demand of us for a few minutes and read about some of the big things that happened in gaming from 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010.

 

1980:

While Penny Arcade machines had been prevalent since the early 1900’s, the modern video game arcade really began to take shape in the late 1970’s based on the massive appeal of the 1978 title Space Invaders. By 1980 you would start to see these gaming parlors pop up in just about every mall and shopping center in America, in what is referred to as the Golden Age of arcades. With cabinet sales way up in 1980, and player spend per machine way, WAY up, companies like Atari, Midway, Sega, Namco, and Taito were raking in record profits. As video games continued to rise in popularity among young adults, market research began to show a direct correlation between the rise in gaming revenue vs. a decline in revenue for music. Perhaps in response, or more likely due to its influence, you would begin to hear more electronic sounds being used by musicians in both mainstream and underground music. Over the next five years gaming revenue would continue to increase at a rapid pace, solidifying the neighborhood arcade as the preeminent way to play video games.

While Atari was doing gangbuster business in the arcades, they were also well on their way to dominating the home video game market. There was competition from Mattel and their Intellivision, but the major success of any console is robust third party support and, of course, a killer app; Atari’s VCS (later called the 2600) had both. In fact, the whole idea of a third party developer was invented by a group of disgruntled Atari programmers who felt they were worked too hard for far too little reward. These programmers, David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller, and Bob Whitehead, along with venture capitalist Jim Levy, created the first independent video game company in 1979, Activision. With a heavy focus on making personal games that featured strong connections to each programmer’s aesthetics, Activision would put out their first three titles in 1980; Fishing Derby, Boxing, and Skiing. These games featured striking cover art, in-game screenshots on the back of the box, and an instruction manual that always featured at least one page devoted to the programmer of the game, Activision’s titles felt more like works of art to be celebrated. While Atari lost some good talent with the creation of Activision (even trying to sue them out of existence), they still had brand name recognition, and of course the rights to the most popular arcade game in the world, Space Invaders. When their home console port came out it was a huge seller for the company, with demand so high that people who never owned a video game console were now running out to their local Montgomery Wards to pick up an Atari VCS. With tons of copies in the hands of eager gamers, Atari knew they could still sell more copies, but what to do? Well, Atari came up with a brilliant idea; hold a $50,000 gaming competition, thereby causing more people to buy copies of Space Invaders to practice with. With over 10,000 entrants, Atari was able to show that video games were a legitimate hobby in the U.S., and made a young Rebecca Heineman the first person to win a video game tournament. 1980 wasn’t just the year with the world’s first video game competition, but also its first awards ceremony. The Arcade Awards were put together by Electronic Games magazine and they awarded Game of the Year to, big surprise, Space Invaders (the awards would run until 1985, with separate shows in 1992 and 1993).

While video games were exploding in the arcade and on television sets across America, the PC was just starting to show its first signs of gaming as well. The pioneering title Zork I was released to an enthusiastic response by critics, players, and even PC salespeople who touted the game as a shining example of how powerful computer processors were (the game is famous for having no graphics, only text). Zork I wasn’t the only big adventure game to hit the market in 1980, though, as a brand new startup developer named Sierra On-Line Systems was making noise with their title Mystery House. Sierra was started in 1979 by Ken and Roberta Williams, a husband and wife team, who were inspired by other text adventured released in the late 1970’s. Roberta was enthralled, but felt she was missing out by not having any images on the screen. Seeing how the Apple II was able to create crude images, Roberta and Ken began to work on their game, with Roberta writing the story and Ken working on the programming. She conceived of the idea of a murder mystery set in a large mansion, not unlike the board game Clue, and released it in May of 1980. Mystery House was a massive hit, grossing almost $200k in revenue (equivalent to over $500k in 2020), and turning Sierra into the powerhouse it would become for over a decade. Adventure games weren’t the only genre being honed and perfected on the PC, in fact one of the most popular genres of the last 15 years or so for indie games was created in 1980 with the release of the game Rogue. Created by Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman, Rogue was a unique title in that, unlike other games, when you died that was the end of the game. There were no lives or any way to continue, your character was gone and that was it. While most players would just assume they could start over and play the same levels over and over again, that too was not the case, as every game of Rogue was a brand new experience. With procedurally generated levels, players would never play the same game of Rogue twice. If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because the genre they invented would eventually be named “Roguelike”, and like I mentioned above, of you’ve played an indie game in the last 15 years you have more likely than not encountered a game in this genre.

1980 had a surprisingly stacked slate of releases. Along with the titles mentioned above, we also saw the release of some all time classics, including two huge arcade hits in Centipede and Pac-Man. We also saw some other big Atari VCS titles, including Adventure, a top down action/adventure game that is said to have directly inspired The Legend of Zelda.

  • Adventure
  • Ball (Game & Watch)
  • Battlezone
  • Berzerk
  • Boxing
  • Centipede

  • Dragster
  • Fishing Derby
  • Golf
  • Missile Command
  • Mystery House
  • Pac-Man

 

  • Phoenix
  • Red Baron
  • Rogue
  • Skiing (Atari 2600)
  • Skiing (Intellivision)
  • Space Invaders (Atari 2600)

  • Space Invaders II
  • Space Panic
  • Wizard and the Princess
  • Zork I

 

1990:

In 1980, if you compared the graphics and sound of a PC game against the ones found in arcades or home consoles, it was readily apparent that the PC was far behind their counterparts. By 1990, however, that began to change with the introduction of two things; VGA video and Sound Blaster. While the games on PC weren’t too far behind graphically, VGA video cards were able to propel them to the next level, looking much better than anything the NES had to offer (the most popular home console at the time). Sound on the other hand, that was a whole other thing. With only an internal speaker to use for most games, PC titles had a distinct “beep and boop” noise that was pretty grating on the ears. When the first Sound Blaster cards appeared in 1987 and 1988, they were well received as a competitor to AdLib line of audio cards. When it came time to release the next line of audio cards, Sound Blaster knew they had to stand out in the marketplace. Knowing that expansion slots on PC motherboards were few, Sound Blaster added a game port to their new cards, allowing PC owners to plug their joystick or MIDI device directly into the Sound Blaster card. Instead of having to choose between playing the latest action title with good controls or good audio, Sound Blaster let hardcore PC gamers live in a world where they could easily have both. One company to take full advantage of this was Origin Systems, who would release the groundbreaking space flight sim Wing Commander. The PC gaming industry was finally starting to compete on a more substantial level with home consoles, and it would only get better.

Continuing on her adventure gaming ways, Roberta Williams released the fifth entry in her mega popular King’s Quest series, taking full advantage of the brand new VGA video that was showing up on PC’s across the country. In the ensuing years after her groundbreaking 1980 title Mystery House, other companies began to dip their toe into the genre, with the most well known competitor being LucasArts. With a strong focus on humor, the Lucas games were a bit more irreverent and subversive than those at Sierra, and in 1990 they released what s probably their most well known title, The Secret of Monkey Island. Meanwhile, other PC game developers were busy creating titles in the simulation genre, made most popular by 1989’s SimCity, with the release of Maxis’ next title, SimEarth, and over at Microprose, Sid Meier released on of his first big hits, Railroad Tycoon. While adventure and simulation games were doing good business for the PC and helped set it apart from the consoles, there were still developers out there that wanted to make fun action games. These titles were, typically, a bit lower budget, but they flourished on a simple idea of sharing. Using a concept called “Shareware”, PC video game companies would typically split their games into multiple episodes, giving out the first one for free and then charging players for the remaining episodes through a mail-in catalog service. One of the most successful companies to employ this tactic was Apogee, with titles like Monuments of Mars and Pharaoh’s Tomb. While these titles were successful, Apogee hadn’t had a big hit yet, but that was all about to change thanks to three young programmers. Spurred on through a dare by their buddy John Romero, programmers John Carmack and Tom Hall were able to create smooth scrolling graphics on the PC, a feat that no one before them had been able to do before. After a failed attempt to persuade Nintendo to port Super Mario Bros. 3 to the PC, the three programmers created a brand new title, Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons. With Apogee signed on as publishers, Commander Keen’s first episode Marooned On Mars was a massive hit, selling well above expectations and shattering records at Apogee, becoming their highest grossing game to date. Within two years, those three maverick programmers would ignite the PC world on fire again with their title Wolfenstein 3D, and not too long after that, change the entire video game landscape with their groundbreaking title Doom.

While the PC was starting to do some groundbreaking and innovative things in gaming, the home console market was still reigning supreme, with Nintendo the undisputed king’s of the market. Like Atari in 1980, Nintendo was looking for ways to drive sales and keep kids engaged with their product. The answer was, like Atari, to hold a massive nationwide tournament to get kids playing (and buying) Nintendo games. Spread out over 30 U.S. cities, the winners in each location would win $250 bucks and a trip to the finals at Universal Studios, Hollywood. Playing through modified versions of Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris, three champions would be crowned; Jeff Hansen (11 and under), Thor Aackerlund (12-17), and Robert Whiteman (18 and over). While many kids across the country were using their incredible skills to do amazing things in video games, others who didn’t have freakish hand eye coordination were relying on an amazing new device to help them, er, “play better”, called Game Genie. Using a special adaptor, players would attach their NES cartridges to the Game Genie and insert it as normal, but when the game would start up you would be taken to a special screen where you would enter in special codes. These codes would allow players to access developer cheats, such as level skipping, invulnerability, infinite ammo, and multi-jumping. Being fiercely protective of their console, Nintendo was furious at the existence of the Game Genie and sued creator Codemasters and distributor Galoob, claiming that the Game Genie created derivative works that violated copyright law. The courts did not agree with Nintendo and allowed Codemasters and Galoob to continue selling the device, much to Nintendo’s chagrin.

Even wit a booming home video game market, arcade titles were still far above anything you could get on your NES, and while the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 looked nice, they still couldn’t match the visuals and sound that the arcade could. Japanese company SNK thought they had a solution to this, and it was pretty simple; sell the same device to arcade owners and the home consumer. With the home version still a year away (known as the AES), SNK gave arcades a head start with their new device Neo Geo. Inserted into a unique cabinet that could play up to four different titles, this version was named the MVS, and let arcade owners buy one machine and use it over and over again by switching out the titles inside. We’ll discuss the home version of the console next year, but in the meantime the games were well received by arcade devotees, but it didn’t really have a killer app; that will also be discussed next year, so stay tuned…

1990 had a slew of notable titles to come out. Like the mentioned PC titles above, we would also get a new Gold Box AD&D title, adding another RPG to the platform. Yet the PC wasn’t the only gaming device to get RPGs, Nintendo and Sega both released landmark titles in the genre, with Sega putting out the second game in their Phantasy Star series and Nintendo publishing Squaresoft’s massive Japanese hit Final Fantasy. The Game Boy started to get more action/adventure games in its second year, a welcome change as the device had been oversaturated with puzzle games in the wake of Tetris’ success. The Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 were still trailing far behind the NES in 1990, but continued to release quality titles, including the TurboGrafx’s killer app Bonk’s Adventure.

  • AD&D: Secret of the Silver Blades
  • Adventures In The Magic Kingdom
  • Adventures of Lolo 2
  • Baseball Stars Professional
  • Batman: The Video Game
  • Bonk’s Adventure

  • A Boy and His Blob
  • California Games II
  • Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse
  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
  • Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers

  • Code Name: Viper
  • Columns
  • Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons
  • Crystalis
  • Déjà Vu (NES)
  • Destiny of an Emperor

  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Dragon Warrior II
  • Final Fantasy
  • The Final Fantasy Legend
  • Gargoyle’s Quest

  • Herzog Zwei
  • James “Buster” Douglas Knock Out Boxing
  • John Madden Football (Genesis)
  • King’s Quest V
  • Kwirk
  • Little Nemo: The Dream Master

  • Mad Dog McCree
  • Magician Lord
  • Maniac Mansion (NES)
  • Mega Man 3
  • Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker

  • Military Madness
  • NES Play Action Football
  • A Nightmare On Elm Street
  • Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
  • North and South
  • Phantasy Star II

  • Pit Fighter
  • The Punisher
  • Rad Racer II
  • Railroad Tycoon
  • River City Ransom

  • The Secret of Monkey Island
  • Silver Surfer
  • SimEarth
  • Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble
  • Smash TV

  • Snake Rattle n Roll
  • Snakes Revenge: Metal Gear 2
  • Splatterhouse (TurboGrafx-16)
  • StarTropics
  • Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight
  • Super C

  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Super Spike V’Ball
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game

  • Wall Street Kid
  • Wing Commander
  • Yo Noid!

 

2000:

With the release of the Sega Dreamcast in1999 the sixth generation of gaming consoles had begun, but things were not going well for the company as the Dreamcast was failing to make much of an impact. In an attempt to drum up some publicity, Sega held their own video game tournament at their (also fledgling) Gameworks arcade in Las Vegas. After a months long qualifying event, four finalists competed by seeing how many rings they could get in the SkyDeck stage of Sonic Adventure. Over 1,000 attendees witnessed 17 year old Mark Adams of Miami, Florida take home the grand prize of $15,000, a Dreamcast (wouldn’t he already own one?), and a signed copy of Sonic Adventure by the character’s co-creator Yuji Naka. Aside from the the tournament, attendees, who each paid $20 to witness the event, were also able to rub shoulders with celebrities like The Man Show’s Jimmy Kimmel, potential Anakin Skywalker, Eric Christian Olsen (he didn’t get the part), and the band 311 who also put on a short concert where they probably played Beautiful Disaster and Come Original. The tournament did not drum up the hoped publicity, unfortunately, and as the year ran on it became more and more apparent that the Dreamcast was failing, spectacularly. There were rumblings around the Sega offices in America and Japan that being both a console manufacturer and a software developer was no longer a sustainable model, but headstrong executives at Sega were steadfast that they continue in their current state. Seeing the writing on the wall, Peter Moore, the head of Sega of America, took a fateful trip to Japan in September of 2000. In a closed door meeting with the senior executives, Moore pleaded with them to cut their losses on the Dreamcast, shutter their console division, and focus on solely being a third party developer. The executives were outraged and offended, but they also knew that Moore was right and things were not going well for Sega. The company tried to bolster sales through the end of the year, including starting up their own online service called SegaNet, but as we’ll go into in more detail next year, Sega would eventually announce their departure from the console business in early 2001, creating a vacuum that one of their former business partners were happy to fill.

While Bill Gates had hinted in late 1999 that Microsoft was looking to get into the home console business, it became a full fledged reality when he officially announced its existence during a keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference in March, 2000. This new machine would be called Xbox (a shortened name from its original moniker The Direct X Box), and it promised to be a graphical powerhouse. Fearing that Sony’s powerful PlayStation 2 was going to cut into their share of the PC market, Microsoft wanted to take the fight directly to Sony on their turf, the living room. However, Microsoft really didn’t have much experience making video games, having only released titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator, Age of Empires, and Minesweeper; they needed someone who could give them a killer app. Signing deals with developers like Oddworld Inhabitants and Activision’s Bizarre Creations would give them some nice launch exclusives, but to survive they would have to get their own studios, so they grabbed up three that looked promising; Blitz Games, Indie Built, and a small upstart named Bungie. While it wasn’t known at the time, the decision to acquire Bungie would be the best move they could have possibly made, as their launch title Halo: Combat Evolved would help Microsoft turn the Xbox into a household name…more on that when we discuss the launch of the Xbox during the week of November 15th, 2021.

Not only was Sega feeling pressure from their former partner Microsoft, in the year 2000 they also had to deal with the newest console from Sony, the PlayStation 2. Released in Japan in March of 2000, and North America in October, 2000, the console was a bit of a gamble for the company. With a high price point ($399.99), the inclusion of a disc format that wasn’t fully adopted by consumers, “strong” competition from a well known name in Sega, and having only one other console under their belt, there was a chance that this new device could flop and force Sony out of the game. Well…the fears were unfounded as the PlayStation 2 was a triumph out the gate, eventually becoming the best selling video game console of all time. It would become the home to such well regarded titles as Grand Theft Auto III, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Final Fantasy X, just to name a few, and solidified the DVD as the home video format of choice for nearly a decade. Chances are either you, or someone you know, still has a PS2 in their home, probably in a box with a Wii and a Kinect.

There were some interesting acquisitions and companies founded in 2000. Perhaps the biggest one was Ubisoft’s acquisition of Red Storm Entertainment, the game company founded by author Tom Clancy. The acquisition would give Ubisoft the rights to the very popular Rainbow Six franchise, eventually leading to the creation of several high profile franchises like Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and The Division. EA would acquire Dreamworks Interactive , giving them access to the Medal of Honor franchise, and THQ would acquire Volition. This acquisition would allow THQ to have a PS2 launch title with Summoner, and eventually lead to the creation of the Saints Row series. As for companies founded, PopCap games would open shop in the year 2000 under the name Sexy Action Cool, based on a tagline to the Robert Rodriguez film Desperado. Their first game, released in 2001, would be the title Foxy Poker, a soft core striptease card game, but with very little passion behind the project (and its spectacular failure), the company would rename itself PopCap, release a puzzle game called Bejeweled, and go on to be part of a casual game renaissance that would sweep across the video game industry through outlets like Facebook.

2000 had some pretty stellar titles, and even though the PS2 was right on the horizon, multiple Japanese RPGs were finally localized for Western audiences, leading to Squaresoft to put together their Summer of Adventure that featured such notable titles as Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, and Chrono Cross. The PC had some fantastic titles release in 2000, including an early in the year hit with Maxis’ The Sims, which went on to win Game of the Year at the 2000 DICE Awards (which mostly honored games from 1999) due to it falling within the eligibility period. The 2001 DICE Awards GotY would go to the PC game Diablo II. Other notable titles include Majora’s Mask, Shenmue, Final Fantasy IX, Perfect Dark, and Code Veronica. Man, it was a great year.

  • American McGee’s Alice
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000
  • Chrono Cross
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
  • Crazy Taxi

  • Daikatana
  • Dead or Alive 2
  • Deus Ex
  • Diablo II
  • Escape From Monkey Island

  • Evil Dead: Hail To The King
  • Excitebike 64
  • FantaVision
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Grandia II

  • Hitman: Codename 47
  • Icewind Dale
  • Incredible Crisis
  • Jet Grind Radio
  • Kessen
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • Mario Party 2
  • Mario Tennis
  • MDK2
  • Mega Man Legends 2
  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel

  • Midnight Club: Street Racing
  • The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
  • Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
  • Parasite Eve II
  • Perfect Dark
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

  • Pokémon Gold and Silver
  • Pokémon Puzzle League
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica

  • Ridge Racer V
  • Shenmue
  • Shogun: Total War
  • The Sims
  • Skies of Arcadia
  • Space Channel 5

  • Spider-Man
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon
  • SSX
  • Strider 2
  • Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage
  • Tekken Tag Tournament

  • Thief II: The Metal Age
  • Threads of Fate
  • TimeSplitters
  • Tomb Raider Chronicles
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

  • Vagrant Story
  • Wario Land 3
  • Wild Arms 2

 

2010:

With the success of the Nintendo Wii, rivals Sony and Microsoft were clamoring to get their own motion controlled devices out on the market. Teased at previous events in the year prior, 2010 saw the release of both the PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect; for better or worse. As became evident with the release of The Sims in 2000, and even the Game Boy & Tetris in 1989, there was a hungry market of casual gamers out there that wanted to play simple, fun games. Over the course of the 2000’s, companies like PopCap and Zynga were fulfilling this need on social media platforms like Facebook, but it took Nintendo’s brilliant Wii console to get those players in front of the television. Yet by 2010, those casual gamers were not supporting the Wii like they used to, with many only ever purchasing the device and MAYBE one or two games. While Sony appeared to be more focused on the “hardcore” gamer, or maybe “gamer dads” when it came to Move, using it as a way to immerse yourself in shooting games, Microsoft was going after a broader audience, particularly women and tween girls with Kinect. At their now infamous E3 presentation, they debuted a multitude of games that showcased just how awkward and silly we were going to look in our living rooms. From Kinectimals Skittles, to the cringey white guy dancing in Dance Central, to the dorky dad-bros playing Madden, it was painful to watch, but also fascinating, because this looked revolutionary. The Kinect was a big seller out the gate, moving 8 million units in the first 60 days, but like the Wii, the casual gamers that Microsoft was trying to court didn’t purchase much Kinect software. They would stick with the pack in title, Kinect Adventures, and probably grab a copy of Dance Central, but that was it. The hardcore player base did not adopt the Kinect, and attempts to integrate the device into titles like 2022’s Mass Effect 3 felt like tacked on afterthoughts. After a disastrous Xbox One launch that required a Kinect to be bundled with every console, the device would be discontinued in 2017.

While Sega had shown there was a demand for online console gaming in 2000 with the release of SegaNet, the failure of the Dreamcast meant they didn’t get to experience the upcoming boom that would follow. When it debuted on the Xbox in 2002, Xbox Live was a massive hit, being a harbinger of what was to come in the seventh console generation (and beyond). However, with the widespread adoption of the Xbox 360, and a dwindling playerbase on the original Xbox, Microsoft made the decision to formally shut the service down on April 15th, 2010. This would bring titles like Halo 2, Unreal Championship, and Mech Assault offline, and also remove all DLC for original Xbox games. It might have only been around for eight years, but its legacy can not be understated, as online console gaming is considered a standard feature now, leading to looks of confusion and/or derision when it’s missing or not done right.

With the indie game scene hitting the mainstream in 2009 with the release of Braid, other developers were hoping to get in on the action as well, but with so many games out there it was hard for would be players to find their next indie favorite; not to mention the risk of spending a lot of money on something you might not like. Developer 2D Boy had experimented with a “pay what you want” special event for their title World of Goo that turned out to be quite successful, bringing over $117,000 in sales to the small company. Seeing potential here, Wolfire Games founder Jeff Rosen had an idea; what if you could put together a bundle of small indie games and then allow people to pay what they thought was a fair price for them? To top it off, in order to help drive sales even further, what if a portion of your payment could go to a worthy cause or charity, and what if you could even decide the exact amount of money the developers would get? Thus Humble Bundle was born, with it’s very first offering being The Humble Indie Bundle, featuring World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, Penumbra: Overture, and Samorost 2. It was a fantastic idea at the time, but eventually you would, like me, start to clog up your Steam backlog with titles that you may never have any interest in playing, all because you wanted a copy of The Witcher 2 for $0.99 cents. Jokes aside, Humble Bundle has undoubtedly been a huge driver in the early mainstream success of indie games and is likely one of the reasons so many of these companies are still around making fantastic games.

I’m not going to say that 2010 was one of the best years in gaming, but there were still some stellar releases, despite the industry moving towards a more casual audience. We can always remember 2010 as the year were Bayonetta debuted, where Call of Duty: Black Ops stole the show from Modern Warfare, where Dead Rising 2 showed us that the series could (sort of) work without Frank West, where the original creators of Fallout could finally tell their magnum opus in New Vegas, where Bungie could say their final goodbye’s with Halo: Reach, where the indies could still reign with brilliant fare like Limbo and Super Meat Boy, where Commander Shepard could do better with Mass Effect 2, where Solid Snake could sneak around portably with Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, and where Mario could outdo himself once again with Super Mario Galaxy 2. We also got Final Fantasy XIII and Metroid: Other M.

  • Alpha Protocol
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  • Back to the Future: The Game – Episode 1
  • Bayonetta
  • Bioshock 2
  • Bit.Trip Runner

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
  • Civilization V
  • Crackdown 2
  • Cut The Rope

  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Dark Void
  • Darksiders
  • Dead Rising 2
  • Deadly Premonition

  • DeathSpank
  • Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
  • Epic Mickey
  • Fable III
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Final Fantasy XIII

  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • God of War III
  • GoldenEye (2010)
  • Gran Turismo 5
  • Green Day: Rock Band
  • Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
  • Halo: Reach

  • Heavy Rain
  • Just Cause 2
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
  • Kirby’s Epic Yarn
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Limbo

  • Lost Planet 2
  • Mafia II
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Medal of Honor (2010)
  • Mega Man 10
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

  • Metroid: Other M
  • Monday Night Combat
  • Monster Hunter Tri
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
  • Persona 3 (PSP)
  • Pinball FX 2

  • Poker Night at the Inventory
  • Red Steel 2
  • Rock Band 3
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
  • Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
  • Skate 3
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

  • Valkyria Chronicles II
  • VVVVVV
  • Yakuza 3
  • Ys Seven

Wow! That’s going to do it folks. I had a ton of fun reading up on video game history as I did research for this, and took some lovely trips down memory lane. I hope you stay safe this holiday season by wearing a mask and refraining from attending any large gatherings. I know things have been shitty this year, but the light is at the end of the tunnel, we just need to hang on a little bit longer. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget, next week we’re talking about the upcoming 2021 releases, I can’t wait! Finally, I want to leave you with an all time holiday classic, something that warms my heart every time I hear it; I hope it does the same for you:

Shit, that’s the wrong link, dammit, hold on…let me try this one…

Sigh…