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1999 was the greatest year ever for video games

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We’re winding down on not only another year, but a decade. A decade of highs and lows, of stunning new entries in long-running franchises and the birth of several new contenders in video games who have already made an indelible mark on the scene. The more things change though, the more they remain the same and you only have to cast your eye towards the release schedule of the final quarter to see a familiar list of games on the horizon.

Nintendo is looking to cap 2019 off with new Pokemon entries, Call of Duty is probably going to rake in an absurd amount of coin with a Modern Warfare reboot and even MediEvil is rising up from the grave to venture forth and save the day once again. Not that I’m complaining! I’ll happily play more Pokemon any chance I’m given, but if I’m taking any one lesson away from this year it’s that 1999 truly was a monumental year for the video game industry.

Thanks to Final Fantasy 8 Remastered’s delicious new update, I’ve been doing a jump to the left to time warp back to the heady era of when a clean-shaven look was fashionable, internet still required listening to what could only be a fax modem having a stroke as it struggled to download a JPG of Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager and game demos were considered MASSIVE if they were over 190mb in size. Bless you, New Age Gaming, that Omikron: Nomad Soul demo on your cover disc is still the best thing ever.

But what a year! 1999 was what you’d call a stocking stuffer, an orbit around the sun where every month unleashed a gem of a game within its genre, setting a benchmark and paving the way for the industry to think bigger and act braver. Long before gaming settled into a routine of seasonal live service releases with an eye on grabbing some extra coin out of your purse, 1999 was shoving the likes of Half-Life, Final Fantasy 8 and System Shock 2 down your throat.

Whether it was strategy, action or driving, you were sorted. The quality was through the roof, the tale told was satisfying from beginning to end and the memories earned were priceless. So priceless in fact, that the only way I can sum up my love for that year…is with song.

To the sound of Bryan Adams’ Summer of 69:

I got my first real Final Fantasy
Bought it at the CNA
Played it til my fingers bled
It was the summer of ’99

Me and some guys from school
Had an Unreal Tourney LAN and we tried real hard
Jannie quit and Chris got carried
I shoulda known we’d never get far

Oh when I look back now
That game of Homeworld seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Yeah I’d always wanna be there
Those were the best games of my life

Ain’t no use in failin’
With a rocket jump in Quake 3 with your boo
Spent my evenin’s down at Liberty City
And that’s when I met you

Standin’ on Shodan’s porch
Rinoa told me that she’d wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand

I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best games of my life
Back in the summer of ’99

Man we were killin’ Nemesis
We were young and restless
We needed to unwind
I guessed Command and Conquer couldn’t last forever, forever, no

And now the games are changin’
Look at everything that’s come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old PSX
I think about ya and I wonder what went wrong

Standin’ on Shodan’s porch
You told me it would last forever
Oh the way you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of ’99

Good times man, good times. So what’s your best gaming memory of 1999? Sound off below while I reminisce about how much I hated that one guy who’d show up to a LAN party with a kickass laptop and didn’t have to lug to a massive PC and a CRT monitor up several flights of stairs.

Last Updated: September 17, 2019

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