Was 1998 The Ultimate Year In Video Gaming?

2011 was a hell of a year for big game releases. I remember at some point in the fall thinking, "Dude, we are approaching 2007 territory here."

2007 was a hell of a year for big game releases. Modern Warfare. Mass Effect. Bioshock. Portal. That year set the stage for the franchises that would dominate the current generation of gaming. But you know...

I remember remarking at one point on Twitter that "2007 was to gaming what 1959 was to jazz." 1959 being the year that Giant Steps, Kind of Blue, Mingus Ah Um and Brubeck's Time Out were released (and hey, as I type this, this cafe is playing "Strange Meadow Lark" from that very album). It was also the year that Ornette Coleman set things on their ear with the free jazz record The Shape of Jazz to Come.

This of course gave rise to all manner of debate. What was the 1959 of jazz... of gaming? You know what? Forget 2007. 1998 was a hell of a year for big game releases. In fact, there's a strong case to be made that 1998 was the ultimate year in video gaming.

Let's see: Fallout 2. StarCraft. Ocarina of Time. Xenogears. Suikoden II. Thief: The Dark Project. Grim Fandango. Metal Gear Solid. Mother-effin Half-Life. Mother-effin Baldur's Gate.

I put it to you, readers: Was 1998 the best year ever in gaming? There are arguments to make for other years? Could there possibly be any contenders to this amazingness?


    1998 was one of the most memorable years in gaming for myself. Starcraft and Baldaur's gate had me well and truly hooked on PC gaming.

      I concur

    2011 was a great year, but it was full of sequels for pre-established franchises. In terms of original and fresh ideas 2012/13 is looking far more promising

    For me it was 1992 with my snes and street fighter ii

      How about Ultima 7 Zool, Mortal Kombat, Ultima Underworld, Fate of Atlantis, Super Mario Kart, Alone in the Dark, Dune 2, Flashback and Star Control 2. All released in 1992. :)

    Well, Ocarina of Time was released in1998, and though I don't think it to be the best game ever...
    Yeah, I guess. 1998 was pretty damn awesome.

    Yeah a lot of hours spent in front of some awesome rpgs that year. One of the few times I am glad I am the age that I am so I got to experience these games in their prime.

      Actually 2000 may be the only year to even come remotely close if not even. We had Chrono Cross, Diablo 2, Icewind Dale, Homeworld, Baldurs Gate 2 and the brilliant Dark Cloud (wish they had done a number 3) Quite a few other good games came out but those were my pics.

    Lol 98 good times my n64 remembers it well

    Personally my favourite year would have to be 2004. But for gaming as a whole, I'd have to agree with 1998. It was super fantastic. :)

      Heck yeah, I'm surprised no one's mentioning 2004. I personally feel that's right up with 1998, especially since Half-Life 2 released then. There were just so many great games released in 2004.
      1998, 2004, 2007 and 2011 are all wonderful years. Things can only get better from here, unless digital distribution becomes our only option earlier than I hope.

      I lost my Steam account with 268 games on it recently because a Steam Support guy decided he'd target me, I'm too poor to take them to court and he said if I said anything else about the matter to him he'd close my support account... after I only posted one completely tame, respectful response requesting that he get one of his co-workers to examine the situation to confirm that he was doing everything right(he was not). Seriously, that Jesse guy is evil. Either way, I'm sitting on a useless custom gaming build and I do all my gaming on a Vita now... depressing as hell.

    I remember saving all my money for the year and buying Grim Fandango for 100 bucks in some local game shop. Best hundred bucks I have ever spent.

    Yep. Still have strong memories of the Ocarina and Starcraft year. I was about 12 at the time so never experienced the more mature games on that list, but I'll certainly give them a chance at some point.

    Xenogears and Suikoden II, Metal Gear Solid? AWESOME!

    In 2000 though we had:
    Vagrant Story (PS1)
    Deus Ex (PC)
    Final Fantasy IX (PS1)
    Chrono Cross (PS1)
    Dragon Quest VII (PS1)
    Skies of Arcadia (DC)
    Escape from Monkey Island (PC)
    Grandia II (DC)
    Dark Cloud (PS2)
    plus we had some pretty good other games like

    Perfect Dark (N64)
    Shogun: Total War (PC)
    Diablo 2 (PC)
    Icewind Dale (PC)

    So not a bad year either ;)

      We also had Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (PS1) which along with Deus Ex are a couple of my favourite games ever. Definitely a good year.

        "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" is what that should say.

    What are you basing "Ultimate" on? How much you personally liked the games, or their impact on gaming's future?

    For me personally, based on how much I liked the games, I'd say "definitely NOT" for 1998. 2007 would have been the better choice for me personally.

      Depends on your age as well I guess. 98 was awesome for me. 07 I didn't play as much any more.

        yeah, this. I was 5 for most of 1998, playing Gizmos and Gadgets & Learning Company.

        2007 was probably the awesome one for me.

      They based it on the games they listed.... but you didn't base it on anything other than.... well..... anything? Care to list any games?

    yep. 1998 is it. no questions

    Man, the N64 years were amazing. Maybe cos I was 13 and in my wondrous gaming prime? So distracted and impatient now...

    Then again, adult me got Bioshock.

      For me, the best years were those when I was around 10 - 12. The movie STAND BY ME got it so right. You never have better days than when you were 12 years old. No better times, no better friends. We would hang around arcades, first it was playing Double Dragon 1 and 2 in 1987 at 10 years of age, then around 91 I think it was we'd play Street fighter 2... home pc games were fantastic, but to me the true highlight of my gaming existence, will always be the videogame arcades. Why? Because it's a long forgotten experience I'm lucky to have been a part of and future generations are unlucky enough to never ever truly experience again... not in the way we did :)

    I agree it depends on your age. But yes 1998 was one hell of a year for gaming. For me 1998-2000 setup gaming as we know today. It was a high point. Lets not forget Hitman and Counter Strike too...

    Pretty sure Supreme Commander 1 came out in 2007. Awesome game that.

    for me 2004:

    Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
    World Of Warcraft
    Half-Life 2
    Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas
    Halo 2
    Star Wars Battlefront
    Pikimin 2
    Doom 3
    Far Cry

      MGS3 and GTA: SA dominated me for about few months. Still not on the same level as Ocarina of Time, Suikoden II. Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life. But Baldur’s Gate.... a mate and I played this for hours and hours at a time, 10 hour sessions weren't uncommon, I'm lucky I completed my school certificate!

      Counter-Strike: Source in 04 as well, wasn't it? Or was that 05. But I agree that's a solid list, even if I would personally have a hard time putting Halo 2 there, but all amazing releases.

    Wow I've never heard anything about this before!

    Resident evil 2 - another amazing '98 game

    2010 was damn fine. A lot of sequels, sure, but really good games nonetheless.

    Red Dead Redemption
    Mass Effect 2
    Just Cause 2
    Bad Company 2
    Metro 2033
    Splinter cell Conviction
    Skate 3
    Lords of Shadow
    War for Cybertron
    DK returns
    Black Ops

      Conviction was total utter rubbish. The last good Splinter Cell game was Chaos Theory. That series is now dead to me. DEAD!

        That is a strong conviction to hold

    I have enjoyed every year of my gaming life-since 1987 (master system 1 :D)

    2000 was actually a pretty good year for me - Parasite eve 2, Perfect Dark and wrestlemania 2000 (^_^)

    I started working a summer high school job at a software company in '98.

    My first day at work, my boss said: "Listen. First thing. You must go to the store and purchase this."

    *picks up Starcraft box*

    Fast T1 lines, 30 new computers networked together, loads of down time...it was destined to be a good job, that would forever warp my idea of what a 'job' should be.

    As far as impact on the industry i would have to agree with 98, just look at the games on that bloody list! All are like blueprints for each genres.

    Baldurs gate is to this day my favourite game, and nothing has come remotely close to that level of enjoyment, with the exception of BG2...

    I think Jagged Alliance 2 was also 1998. Still my favourite PC game ever.

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