I remember 1998 well. It was the year I bought an N64 and Playstation in a fit of red hot rage. The reason was, of course, the PC port of Final Fantasy VII. For me this was the final straw. It was the reason I said goodbye to PC gaming for a long time, with its crashes and drivers and updates.

Ever patched a game with a dial-up connection? Imagine someone pulling out your finger nails. At dial-up speed. Which is slow.

My decision to switch back to consoles could not have come at a better moment. 1998 was one of the greatest years in video-gaming. Allow me to drop some names.

  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Xenogears
  • Suikoden II
  • Gran Turismo
  • Pokemon Red and Blue

If none of these titles make your heart pound faster, you either missed out on some of the greatest games ever or you don’t have a heart. In which case I am sure some doctors are very interested to know how you are able to read this blog post. But I digress.

My point is, most of my favorite games of all time came out in 1998. I guess it’s because the original Playstation was now four years old. Devs got that thing tamed. And the N64… Well, at least we got Ocarina.

I hope to avoid old-man-syndrome here, but I cannot remember any years that topped 1998. Especially if I add the great PC titles (I religiously avoided these since my defection to console-space but rediscovered them when I regained my sanity):

  • Fallout 2
  • Half-Life
  • Thief: The Dark Project
  • Starcraft: Brood War
  • Grim Fandango
  • Rainbow Six

And come to think of it, I was too harsh on the N64. Why did I forget these:

  • 1080 Snowboarding
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • F-Zero X

Go through these lists. Or check out the wikipedia page that I checked for reference. 1998 was special. It either launched or perfected franchises that we still play. And if I’m honest, none of the later iterations of these franchises where better (or even as good) as their ur-versions in 1998.

I don’t know what was in the water back in the late 90s. Perhaps the existence of Full House required some kind of cosmic counter-balance. Perhaps it’s just old-man think. But 1998 was good. It was the best.