With a new game started in the new year, we review the video games that have their birthday in 2021.
We start a new game in 2021. 2020 has been one of those years in which we would like to load the game and try a new route that does not lead to the bad ending. However, video games have served as a lifeline for bitter times that included confinement and the reduction of social life. Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal, with disparate themes, offered a virtual refuge for players facing strange times. Of course, January 1, 2021 is not the reboot, but the beginning of a year of a new generation of consoles, along with the promise of long-awaited titles. Likewise, this year titles that have marked the history of digital entertainment are celebrating years. Today we travel back in time to remember past releases that this new year are an anniversary.
5 years ago …
In 2016 there were announcements that would take us a step further in the video game world: Sony and Microsoft announced PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpia, respectively. Nintendo, for its part, announced Nintendo Switch, a hybrid console that would bring the revolution of being able to take the game from home to the bag and vice versa. Also, tragedies occurred such as the closure of Lionhead Studios, creators of the Fable saga.
Overwatch was named Game of the Year; a first-person shooter title in which Blizzard wanted to contribute an innovative factor, as Michael Chu, designer of the game, recounts in The Guardian: “When we decided that we wanted to get into the FPS genre, we asked ourselves what we could contribute to make it a little different. We focused on two things: the first, that it was based on heroes. We wanted to have 21 unique heroes with a diverse set of abilities. And the other thing was the team approach. We were not interested in duels to the death. We wanted teams of 6 players, and we wanted everyone to focus on winning, winning as a team, behaving like a team and not being so ‘look how good I am at killing’ ”.
Tracer, Overwatch mascot
Also, Overwatch stood out in a year with very juicy titles. In the same genre, Doom 2016 reminded us why this saga is one of the biggest references. The Last Guardian, after 10 years of development, offered us an adventure full of beauty and emotion. Nathan Drake had the last episode of his pulp saga with Uncharted 4 – not taking into account the spin-off The Lost Legacy, starring Chloe Frazer and Nadine.
Pokémon Go catapulted a mass phenomenon thanks to its augmented reality system. The Conversation analyzed the keys to its success: “simple gameplay, mobility and connection with other people”.
The indie market had a series of impressive titles that brought to the table different debates about narrative and gameplay: examples of this Firewatch and loneliness, or Inside and its criticism of the alienation of the population. Also, No Man’s Sky had a controversial takeoff after which it would find its own arc of redemption. Stardew Valley, created entirely by Eric Barone, challenged corporatism through the vindication of rural life. Oxenfree featured a disturbed experience starring teenagers, and The Witness featured a challenging puzzle system. It is also worth remembering titles such as Unravel or Abzû.
The long journey to the stars of No Man’s Sky
Likewise, the commercial market featured interesting titles such as Battlefield, as well as interesting sequels such as Dark Souls III, Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, Gears of War 4, XCOM 2. On the other hand, we do not forget the troubles that releases such as Street Fighter V woke up. , Umbrella Corps, Mafia III or Quantum Break.
10 years ago…
Portal 2, launched in 2011, rounded off the history between Chell and GLaDOS and was also used as academic material in various areas. Like its predecessor, it became an excellent example of level design and the implementation of storytelling through puzzles.
Also, the RPG genre was in luck with Skyrim, which won the Game of the Year at the Spike Awards. At EIP Gaming they analyze the ingredients that make it a relevant game today: a passionate community of mods, the depth of its vast map, an always surprising exploration and the specialization system of our character through actions. “You can keep experimenting with the same character and replay the game over and over again, there will always be things you can add to your character build even before you install mods.”
For its part, Dark Souls revolutionized not only the action-RPG genre, but also the design of video games and their difficulty. AP Trigger studies how this title continues to be relevant today, thanks to a challenge that not only seeks the suffering of the player, but also enhances their learning: “The enormous difficulty of the saga makes your heart run wild at times, and it is that punitive naturalization that makes the saga memorable in this decade. Luckily, despite the difficulties, we can receive help on our journey, or which leads us to talk about other of its striking features.
Dark Souls, the great revolution in action and RPG games
The shooter genre was in luck, as were titles such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Gears of War 3, Killzone 3, Crysis 2, Conduit 2, Rage, Dead Island, Resistance 3, Battlefield 3, and Homefront.
In addition, it was the year of birth of other important titles, such as Batman Arkham City, Super Mario 3D Land, LA Noire, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Dragon Age 2, Uncharted 3, Crysis 2, Mario Kart 7, AC Revelations, Dead Space 2 , Witcher 2, Zelda Skyward Sword, Alice Madness Returns, Anno 2070, Nintendogs + Cats, Little Big Planet 2, FEAR 3 and Age of Empires Online.
15 years ago…
In 2006, Nintendo launched Wii, a family console that would stand out from the experience offered by the PS3 and Xbox 360. Forbes analyzed why it was a revolutionary console: “Nintendo has reinvented the video game landscape; It has made it more social, more intuitive, and surprisingly physically engaging. The Wii is undoubtedly revolutionary, and it is potentially the peripheral that will make videogames enjoyed globally, such as board or card games ”. The Wii Remote was the key to innovating the playable experience and bringing it closer to a wider audience. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was one of its most acclaimed releases, as well as Wii Sports, which brought virtual sport to the whole family.
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, one of the best Wii titles.
Gears of War also revolutionized the shooter genre. It might not be the first title to use the shoulder camera, but it did refine the formula and be a benchmark for many other titles, as Fandom notes: “The close-up perspective of the game provided a broader view of the battlefield and provided Very intense cinematic moments as our character ran from cover to cover, leaned out to throw a grenade, and then sawed Locusts who got too close. It continues to be one of the most intense and satisfying moments in the video game ”. In the same genre, it is worth mentioning Call of Duty III.
2006 was also the birth of RPG milestones like Neverwinter Nights 2 or Oblivion. Likewise, we should not forget releases such as Guitar Hero, Half Life 2 Episode 1, FEAR Extraction Point, Dirge of Cerberus, Metroid Prime Hunters, Just Cause, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Splinter Cell double Agent, Tomb Raider Legend, LOTR: The battle for the Middle Earth II, Titan Quest, The Godfather, Bully and Phantasy Star Universe
Gears of War became a benchmark for shooting games
20 years ago…
In 2001, Grand Theft Auto III was not only the next installment in a satirical and controversial saga, but it established a new paradigm in open world video games. In Overpowered they highlight: “Grand Theft Auto III redefined everything that players expect from an action game […]. It wasn’t the first open world game, but it did make the biggest impact and the one that created a new world order. It established that if a game did not have an open world, it was worth nothing. “
Silent Hill 2, for its part, revolutionized the survival horror genre, continuing the legacy of its predecessor. Qualified by various media as a “masterpiece”, it exposed adult themes such as sexual repression, mourning and euthanasia. In Den of Geek they explore what makes it so special: “It’s more of a supernatural reimagining of Crime and Punishment, by Dostoyevsky, and not so strictly a traditional horror play. Sato, when creating the story, looked for references in the horror genre. However, it had as its objective that the plot of the game, as Dostoyevsky does in his work, deals with the morality of guilt and the consequences of individuality regarding the justification of selfish actions that are taken in favor of the greater good ” . In the same year we had another game about loss and mourning: Final Fantasy X.
Silent Hill 2: desire and guilt
2001 also saw very memorable titles, such as Devil May Cry 3, Max Payne, Halo: Combat Evolved, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Black and White, Commandos 2: Men of Courage, Shnenmue II, Super Smash Bros Melee , Conker’s Bad Furr Day, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare, Lecagy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, Sonic Adventures 2, Advanced Wars, Burnout, Animal Crossing, Blade: Edge of Darkness, Crash Bandicoot: La Cortex’s Revenge, Shadow of Memories, Batman Vengeance, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire, Runaway, and Command & Conquer: Yuri’s Revenge.
25 years ago …
Just as Silent Hill 2 was a revolution in survival horror, in 1996 a milestone was launched that would become a benchmark for the genre: Resident Evil. The still camera and the puzzles enriched the terrifying adventure in the Spencer mansion, with two main characters offering a unique experience. In Fandom, they explain how the game was not only about killing zombies: “It is the combination of looming horror, claustrophobia and the environment to infect you, and this fear only improves in the environment where it occurs. Experiencing this in a video game makes the terror more immediate and real, because it is more scary to control the hero than to limit ourselves to seeing him on screen ”.
Resident Evil reminded us of the terror of the zombie genre.
Diablo was hailed as Game of the Year by various media. Today, it is considered by PC Games as one of the most important PC titles in history for how it took a step further in the multiplayer world in a time when the Internet was unexplored territory: “Like many of His contemporaries, Diablo came with a multiplayer mode that allowed players to connect through a modem or network. But it came with a third option: Battle.net, a matchmaking service created within the game. ” Quake, in the same year, also revolutionized the multiplayer landscape.
Tomb Raider took the action genre to a new level, with a Lara Croft who would reinvent female protagonism. Thus, 1996 was a golden year, with titles such as Super Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot, Duke Nukem 3D, Wipeout 2097, C&C: Red Alert, Kirby Super Star, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Broken Sword: The Legend of The Templars, The Story of Thor 2, FIFA 97, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Afterlife, Metal Slug, Donkey Kong Country 3, Pokémon Red and Blue, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall , Pilotwings 64, Donkey Kong Land 2, Revelations: Persona, The Pink Panther: Dangerous Mission, Silent Hunter, Dragon Ball Z Hyper Dimension, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Waku Waku 7, SimCopter, Disruptor or Harvester.
Lara Croft, fearless and independent
30 years ago …
Sonic the Hedgehog established the blue hedgehog as Sega’s mascot and as one of the most iconic characters in video game history. Its color was not only due to the corporate color of the brand it represented, but as part of a design that appealed to the adolescent public, as opposed to Nintendo and its approach to children and families. Naoto Oshima, one of its creators, tells in GamaSutra how they sought to create an attractive character beyond their appearance: “Being ‘cool’ can be something that stays on the surface, visually or expressively, or something related to a design cool character, but not what we were looking for. We wanted a character who was attractive for his attitude, who did not follow the orders of others and who fought for his ideals.
The fighting genre experienced its own revolution with Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. In GamaSutra, Yoshinori Ono, producer of the series, explains the reason for its success: “Street Fighter II was the first time I saw a game force you to fight with logic, you had to apply a strategy. Also, your opponent was a person, so you had to understand what his customs were. You had to create tactics aimed at the opponent. It was the first game that raised that ”.
Street Fighter II stood out for offering a cast of characters with different abilities and characteristics.
1991 was a prolific year, with titles that to this day are remembered with nostalgia and affection. A Link to the Past, considered one of the best Zelda, was released in Japan and would not arrive in Europe until the following year. We also saw the birth of titles like Monkey Island 2, Final Fantasy IV, Lemmings, Sunset Riders, Civilization, Battletoads, Golden Ax II, Quackshot, Capitan American And The Avengers, Leisure Suit Larry 5, Tumblepop, The Simpsons: Bart VS The Space Mutants , Puyo Puyo, Mystic Quest, Super Castlevania IV, Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja, Metal Storm, Talespin, Another World, Paperboy 2, Teenage Mutant Turtles, Supet Ghouls And Ghosts, Streets of Rage, Metroid II, Star Wars, Super R -Type, Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, Kid, Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, James Pond II, The Flinstones, Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car, Tecmo Super Bowl, Bomberman II, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, MegaMan Willy’s Revenge, El Viento or The Simps.
35 years ago…
If in 1991 we lived revolutions like Street Fighter II, in 1986 great stars of videogames were born that have transcended the culture of digital entertainment. Metroid inaugurated a genre with Samus Aran as one of the most mythical protagonists in history. The Verge explains how this title set itself apart from others from Nintendo: “Metroid was dark and solemn, with an impending sense of isolation and a powerful alien setting, largely inspired by Alien. It was also a unique game in its structure. Metroid was a side-scrolling 2D game that took place in an expansive and interconnected world. Players could explore non-linearly, and they had to go back to explore more areas with newly acquired abilities. ”Castlevania, released that same year, was also the father of the genre we know as metroidvania.
Metroid wasn’t Nintendo’s only milestone that same year. Zelda changed the role-playing genre and became one of the most revered titles in history. So far, the games offered a linear level design, where the areas disappeared once we left them to continue the game. The Escapist Magazine explains how Zelda opened new frontiers in video game design: “The open world of The Legend of Zelda brought the game, its world and its inhabitants to life. We were encouraged to visit areas that we had already explored, which also became necessary. The Legend of Zelda was an important influence within the action RPG and an example of a non-linear game. It was a kind of game where you didn’t get any indication of where to go, nor did it stop you from getting into an area you weren’t prepared for. Actually, you could face the final boss without even having a sword, even though we need a sword to defeat him.
Metroid and Samus, alone in space.
In 1986 we witnessed the birth of more mythical titles, such as Arkanoid, Bubble Bubble, Kid Icarus, Alex Kidd In the Miracle World, Rampage, Rygar, Outrun, Batman, WonderBoy, Vampire Killer, Renegade, Army Moves, The Sentinel, Dragon Quest, Dragon Ball: The Mystery of Shenlong, Ikari Warriors, Slalom, Defender of the, Crown, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Rolling Thunder. The Goonies, Top Gun, Star Quest, Star Soldier, Gauntlet II, Volleyball, Sir Fred, Gumshoe, Knightmare, Livingstone Guess, Mighty Bomb Jack, Pro Wrestling, Sqoon, Adventure Island, Might And Magic Book, Zombie, Starflight, Zanac, Legendary Wings, Milon’s Secret Castle, Stinger, Starglider, Phantomas 2, Salamander, Stadium Events, Crackout, Mappy-Land or Salamander.
40 years ago …
Donkey Kong, One of the gorillas most loved by players turns 40 in 2021. However, his debut was not as a hero, but as a villain that we had to defeat in the arcades. In 1981, as we read in the Official Nintendo Magazine, the Japanese giant wanted to create a title based on Popeye, but never obtained the license. Shigeru Miyamoto then decided to create a love triangle inspired by the sailor comic strip. A carpenter had to rescue his girlfriend from the clutches of the brute gorilla Donkey Kong while dodging the barrels that he threw at him.
Donkey Kong conquered the arcades.
Atari revolutionized arcades with Centipede, by Dona Bailey. The designer wanted to create a visually beautiful game, and its colorful beauty, as well as its comfortable playability, made this one of Atari’s biggest hits. Like Ms PacMan, released that same year, the colored centipede had an enthusiastic reception among female audiences.
In 1981 many titles were released that laid the foundations of digital entertainment: Frogger, Galaga, Tempest, Qix, Scramble, Defender, Gorf, Laser Blast, Kaboom, Super Cobra, Castle Wolfenstein, Caverns of Mars, Space Dungeon, Stargate, Amidar, Lock n ‘Chase, Omega Race, Zarzon, River Patrol, New Rally X, Round-Up, Gorgon, Sabotage, Eliminator, Astrosmash, Utopia, Skeet Shoot, Ultima I, Venture, Vanguard, Astro Blaster, Mouse Trap, Jump Bug, Avenger, Bosconian, Zork II, Snafu, Lady Bug, Jawbreaker, Warp & Warp, Crush Crumble Chomp !, Raster, Blast or Ostfront.
45 years ago …
In 1976 Atari released another of their biggest hits: Breakout, a title about a jailbreak. Killscreen analyzes how the narrative was implemented through a mechanic that demanded patience from the player: Influenced by Pong, it was one of the first titles to come from the arcade to the home.
50 years ago…
The Oregon Trail, an educational game, featured death as a common outcome.
In addition to pioneering titles like Computer Space and Galaxy, in 1971 we watched The Oregon Trail, an educational video game about the Oregon Trail in the 19th century. As leaders of a caravan, we had to learn to manage our resources and make decisions such as going hunting or how to deal with inclement weather. Death was a common outcome that taught students about health problems of the time, such as dysentery.
Taking a look back, we fondly remember many of the titles that this 2021 blow out anniversary candles. This year, we will enjoy titles that, to a greater or lesser extent, have been born from history that have built titles like the ones we comment on in this report.