The year 1998 was a huge turning point for the gaming community, with some saying that it was the best one because of the extensive game-changing lineup of titles that came to leave legacies and that had spawned many spin-offs. It was a much-celebrated year because of the many firsts among the video games, including the major transition to 3D and the launch of the first Japanese role-playing game.
The gaming world changed for the better in 1998. The three-dimensional technology became more prominent and was more sought-after, Rockstar Games was established, and the first advanced stealth simulator was launched – no doubt, it was yet the most fruitful 12 months of gaming. Twenty years later, here are the most revolutionary releases that can still be felt:
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
Perhaps, one of the most notable developers in 1998 was Sony, which pioneered in introducing 3D-capable console to the market. However, staunch competitor Nintendo didn’t back down in putting up a fight as it tried its way to cope up with the then new technology. The Japanese developer released a remake of the iconic The Legend of Zelda in 3D dubbed as The Ocarina of Time.
Some critics hailed this version of the retro game the “best game ever,” and Nintendo’s efforts in the 3D industry came with a lot of perks, too. The environment of the fictional Hyrule kingdom looked more real than ever, thanks to the added depth and scale that was never seen in other games prior to that year.
Moreover, this game was one of the firsts to utilize context-sensitive actions on a button, a legacy that is still being used to date. This function allowed players to use a single button for different tasks, like opening doors, punching enemies, and many more, eliminating the need to use multiple buttons for varying tasks.
The first game released by Valve didn’t disappoint. Half-Life changed the overall gaming experience of players after providing seamless playing all throughout the duration of the game. Pesky cut scenes that were commonly found in first-person-shooter games were no more, and it made the slow loading time seemed manageable as developers had somehow found ways to hide it.
Moreover, the game itself spoke of what was unthinkable, that the environment can be a key factor in storytelling. Critics praised Half-Life for the detailed and interactive surroundings and the well-written script that completed the unique experience. Metacritic even touts this game as the highest-rated PC game of all time.
Pokemon Blue/ Pokemon Red
Although Pokemon has already been an established game in Japan since 1996, Americans only came to get a wind of the yellow adorable pocket monster once the game landed at the United States in 1998. Initially thought that it will easily pass as a fad, it persisted to become one of Nintendo’s most successful games whose presence can still be widely felt today.
GameBoy owners back then took delight of the simple yet colorful game even as the proliferation of 3D games started booming. This is precisely because Pokemon’s premise is not like most games that revolved around fighting enemies or solving a puzzle – it was all about competing with yourself as you try to collect all the pocket monsters. That’s the only time you can decide if you want your newly caught creature to fight with another monster through a battle.
The massive impact of Pokemon cannot be stressed enough. Today, the Pokemon Go, also released by Nintendo, is an augmented reality game that requires players to move around in order to find monsters. This was a proven hit among all ages.
Gran Turismo changed the perception when it comes to car racing video games. What it offered were far more options than other contemporaries have provided: 175 cars and 11 race tracks. More than the wide range of choices, it gave players unparalleled realistic mechanisms when it comes to driving.
From the tiniest details like the screech of the tires upon suddenly hitting the brakes to the slick, shiny sports cars, Gran Turismo had made everything realistically, like the player is really behind the wheels. That’s not all, you will also see the truthful effects of different terrains in the car, as when you go on bumpy, rough roads or when you’re traversing through a muddy track.
Perhaps one of the best things about Gran Turismo is its effort of showcasing the replay of the whole game artistically. You’ll never feel you bumped the side track five times when you watch how you fared because the system makes it look like you’re just one of the pros.