There are only a few things in life that make you feel really, really old. I’m afraid to say, this article is one of those things. Have you ever found yourself saying “that was twenty years ago”, thinking it was the eighties? Well, here’s a list of video games and all of these games are turning twenty in 2017.
Pierce Brosnan was my James Bond, and for that, I feel a little cheated. Irish allegiances aside, he was far from being the best actor to play James Bond. You could argue that his likeness played the lead character in the best video game of all time. GoldenEye 007 is widely considered to be one of the best games ever. A combination of great gameplay with the fantastic trigger controller made GoldenEye 007 immense.
Eagle-eyed readers will note that GoldenEye hit consoles two years after the movie release. So as the movie turns twenty-two this year, the game is twenty in August.
Grant Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto, lovingly know as GTA, was the game you couldn’t tell the mother you were playing. It was tough to stay on track and play the missions. The reason being it was so much fun to randomly kill people. It was even better if you could line up and mow the Hare Krishna to get a Gouranga bonus.
GTA has come a long way since its creation twenty years ago. The graphics are better and the cities are bigger, but the charm remains. We haven’t even hit upon the amazing theme song yet either.
I think I had the PlayStation at the right time. This was another game I bought shortly after getting my grey console. Born and reared playing Streets of Rage and Mortal Kombat, Tekken 3 just felt right to me. The combos were tough, the characters were great and we even had Nina. I remember thinking it was odd that an Irish girl would become an international assassin. Must be from Mayo.
I remember thinking it was odd that an Irish girl would become an international assassin
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
My console history goes like Atari, Mega Drive, PlayStation, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. When the PlayStation kicked in, it came with a game. That game was Croc: Legend of the Gobbos. Croc was a mental mix between Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. You play a young crocodile trying to save some cute, furry little creatures known as Gobbos.
The game itself was simple but bloody charming. Croc was good, simple, innocent fun. It was also age appropriate at the time, so it was the parents choice. Croc also passed the time until I snuck GTA into the house.
Age of Empires
You learned a lot about life from early gaming. Age of Empires didn’t teach me a thing about history. It did teach me that if you hit a farm with a sword, it goes on fire. And a transport capable of carrying ten elephants, can’t carry eleven archers. With these little things aside, Age of Empires was and is a fantastic game. It was one of those cracking Microsoft games that often shipped with new PCs.
The game was based in history, but now it’s a part of history. While it celebrates turning twenty, you could still spend hours playing it. I feel a retro binge coming on, with my choice being between GTA and Age of Empires.
The Curse of Monkey Island
I can’t believe this is the list of games are turning twenty. I’d love to be wrong, but this is likely one of the lesser known titles turning twenty this year. Monkey Island from LucasArts was the first game that truly had me hooked. You play Guybrush Threepwood, a young swashbuckler. Guybrush is more or less a pirate with “L-plates”. The Curse of Monkey Island was a big step in the series because it moved from pixel to cartoon graphics. For the first time, Guybrush was also given a voice. Monkey Island might not be well known but many believe it inspired Pirates of the Carribean.
Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
At the risk of looking biased towards LucasArts, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE fighter is one of the best combat flight sims ever. I touched upon my love of flight sims before, but this brought it to a new level. For a game turning twenty, the graphics are still pretty decent. This version of the game was more or less dedicated to multiplayer, but practice mode was still fun. In fact, the game was and is so fun, there’s still a dedicated online community playing away.
Yes, I can confirm that I had a PlayStation at the right time. 1997 also saw the release of Gran Turismo. Gran Turismo was the defining driving game of the nineties. It far surpassed the likes of arcade style Ridge Racer. The beauty of Gran Turismo lay in the detail. So detailed is the game, it took five years to develop.
You had to start at the bottom in the likes of a Honda Prelude, while earning new licenses and money. You bought new cars, souped them up and tore up the tarmac. The replays and cutscenes pushed the first PlayStation to its performance max.
This is by no means all of the games from 1997, merely my favourites. It also doesn’t mention this was the year we were graced with N64. In terms of games are turning twenty, notable omissions are Oddworld, Final Fantasy XII, Mario Kart 64, Fallout and Carmageddon. You can pick out your favourites of 1997 over on Wikipedia right after you stop crying about how long ago 1997 is.