20 Best Years In Video Game History, Ranked

The last of us

5. 2013

Notable game releases: GTA 5, The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Assassin’s Creed IV

We’re in the last five years of this list, and this is the point where the ranking goes from “difficult” to almost impossible. A strong argument can be made that any one of these five years deserves to take the top spot.

2013 certainly stood out for launches grand theft auto 5 Y The last of us. The former would go on to become the second best-selling video game in history, while the latter is one of those rare titles that almost everyone agrees is a narrative masterpiece. 2013 infinity bioshock it may have been anything but universally acclaimed, but that somewhat divisive title is still a compelling lightning rod. This was also the year that she saw Final Fantasy XIV transform into Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn. The importance of that transformation has become more and more evident with With each passing year.

Beyond that, you had an amazing tomb Raider reboot that few saw coming, smaller titles like Stanley’s Parable, Go homeY papers please competing for GOTY awards, and continuously underrated games like rogue legacy, CMDY Last light of the subway. All that, and I have little time to talk about DOTA2, A Link Between Worlds, Brothers: A Tale of Two children, iv row santos, Dragon blood, Metal Gear Rising: RevengeY Credo of the murderer IV. Imagine trying to play all those games that year.

Honestly, one of the best things you can say about 2013 is that we’re still playing some of the best games from that year to this day.

Grand Theft Auto 3

4.2001

Notable releases games: Halo: Combat Evolved, Grand Theft Auto III, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy X

If you ever hear gamers of a certain age lament that the start of new generations of gamers isn’t as exciting as it used to be, try to forgive them. After all, some of us were lucky enough to be kids in the amazing year of gaming that was 2001.

Few doubted Microsoft’s ability to finally make an impact on the console market, but even fewer suspected that aura it would become one of the most impactful launch games in history. Mind you, those who bought a GameCube instead were too busy playing Super Smash Bros. Melee, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Monkey BallY Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: rebel leader To the mind.

During its first full year, the PS2 featured one of the best single-year software lineups in history. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to believe that Solid metal gear 2, Pro skater from Tony Hawk 3, Gran Turismo III, grand theft auto iii, Silent hill 2, Devil can cry, complicated ssx, final fantasy x, ICO, red factionY Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy All were released in the same year.

Even the N64 joined in on the fun with the release of paper mario Y Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Add Max Payne, Golden Sun, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Dead or Alive 3Y Alien vs Predator 2 into the mix and… well, the only way I can justify not putting this year at the top of the list is to move on to the remaining three years.

Portal

3. 2007

Notable releases games: Portal, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Halo 3, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, Rock Band, Super Mario Galaxy

Throughout this year, Den of Geek has been celebrating its 15th anniversary. While I hope you’ll celebrate with us, I know many of you entered 2022 ready to celebrate the 15th anniversary of what many consider to be the greatest year in gaming history.

2007 was the kind of year that gave us Team Fortress 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 2Y Portal in it same collection. It was a year that Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare arguably offered the pinnacle of one of the biggest game franchises in history, while halo 3 delivered what was essentially the end of an era for another FPS series (although Bungie would still deliver ODST Y Reach). If this is the first time you’ve realized that all of those games were released in the same year, it’s probably because the noise they were making was being drowned out by your Rock band That session, or you were too lost in Wow‘s flaming crusade expansion to notice anything else.

More than anything, though, I’ll remember 2007 as a golden age for bold new ideas that became franchises. It was the year that gave us the first bioshock, assassin’s Creed, Unexplored, crisisY mass effect games. Even Super Mario Galaxy was good enough to become the brief future of the Super Mario franchise.

There’s something bittersweet about looking back at 2007. It’s easy to blind yourself with rose-colored glasses, but there really was something beautiful about this time when the future of gaming seemed so bright because the present was so great.

solid metal gear

2. 1998

Notable game releases: Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Fallout 2, Resident Evil 2, Starcraft

I entered this list expecting 1998 to take the top spot. It wasn’t just a great year in gaming; it’s one of the only years in gaming that I’d say was undeniably great. I certainly can’t blame anyone for considering it to be the absolute best year in history.

Above all, 1998 will always be remembered as the year that gave us Half life, The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeY Solid metal gear. More than three great games, they were three very different games that represented the best of the three biggest platforms available at the time.

If you need more proof of the greatness of 1998, you’ll find it at Star boat, fallout 2, resident Evil 2, Star Wins: Tribes, Tekken 3, grim fandango, Banjo-Kazooie, Thief: The Dark Projector debut NA Pokemon. Many of those games (and more from 1998) are rightfully considered the best in their respective genres to this day.

That’s the thing about the best games of 1998. Like the best movies of the beloved summer of 1982, the best games of 1998 have lingered in our collective consciousness for so long that it’s sometimes hard to forget they weren’t released yesterday. Many of them could probably win the GOTY this year if they had.

halo 2 xbox

1. 2004

Notable game releases: Halo 2, Half-Life 2, Metroid Prime 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, World of Warcraft, GTA: San Andreas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2

if i told you that Counter-Strike: Source, kill zone, Ratchet & Clank: Upload your arsenal, Ever Quest II, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Hat, halo 2, half life 2, as 3, Need for Speed ​​Underground 2, metroid prime 2, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, spider man 2, Solid metal gear 3Y world of warcraft they were all released in the same year, you’d probably agree it was one of the best years in gaming history, right?

Well, what if I told you that all of those games were released in the same month: November 2004?

That’s the fun of 2004. In a year where the conversation should have been dominated by arguably the best month in video game history, we still have The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, GTA San Andreas, Ninja Gaiden, Rome: Total War, Burnout 3: Takedown, Katamari Damacy, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, ESPN NFL 2K5, The Sims 2, Far Cry, and more spread over the rest of the year. Mind you, those are just the games that were generally considered hits at the time. There are plenty more titles from 2004 that have only grown in acclaim since then. This is even the year it gave us the Nintendo DS (although its launch lineup only offered a glimpse of how cool that handheld would be).

If you’re one of the many who consider the PS2/Xbox/GameCube console generation to be the best console generation ever, chances are you also consider 2004 to be the peak of that particular era. We may never see a year like this again, and I’m strangely almost grateful for that. It’s the kind of year for gaming that calls for long vacations with friends, lazy summer nights, and many of the other highlights of youth that often make us nostalgic when we talk about the best games of years past.

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