Nov 30, 1998 - Dec 4, 1998

As we enter the final act of 1998, I wonder if lightning can strike twice. One game has already come from out of nowhere this year to rock the gaming landscape. Sure, Half-Life carried the time-worn Sierra pedigree, but these new cats called "Valve" may have just been lucky. Is it possible that yet another complete unknown -- in this case a company known as "BioWare," whose pedigree to date is the completely forgettable Shattered Steel -- can come to the rescue of the ailing CRPG genre in the same way that Half-Life seems to have breathed new life into the largely dull landscape of FPS games (see: Sin)?

The likely answer is: definitely not.

Maybe it's just the lingering memory of the X Files movie, but I Want to Believe that this week's Baldur's Gate is a harbinger of things to come. Tragically, I'm having trouble imagining that suddenly D&D and computers are going to get all chocolate and peanut butter with each other after such a long, depressing drought, particularly in the hands of this upstart BioWare. The most I can manage to hope for at this point is that Baldur's Gate is an entertaining distraction. I don't expect Gold Box quality, but it'll be nice to dabble with Magic Missiles and saving throws on my computer again.

Either way, I don't want close out what's been an amazing year with skepticism or pessimism. I could comfortably hang my hat on any year that provides games like Half-Life, Unreal, Grim Fandango and Fallout 2. I know there are a number of you who will add StarCraft to that list, and so for you it's a pretty good week with the release of the Brood War expansion pack. I don't count myself among your cult, ever the Warcraft 2 purist that I am, but I recognize that it's something of a big-deal release. Add to that an inventive shooter called Thief that also releases this week, and there's a lot of possibility hitting the shelves, if not so much certainty.

Going back to my desire to end on a positive theme, I'm going to give the nod for Game of the Week to Baldur's Gate. Hopefully years down the road we'll be talking about this moment as the year when role playing games became popular again. Hell, living in a state that just elected Jesse Ventura, I gotta believe anything is possible.

Comments

first double post ever--thanks 1998!

Oh no! My Jokerman edit did not work on this computer! Ger.

wordsmythe wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

Message to the November 1998 me.

Do not enrol for the university course, play guitar for 4-6 hours a day instead. It's going to take you too long, cost too much and distract you from the path you want to be on.

On the other hand, maybe university could teach you to spell "enroll."

Not really. :p I even checked when I got the red underline, but Firefox doesn't like real spelling anyway.

http://www.lazylaces.com/56Kmodem/

I better be quick, I'm paying this "Internet" thingy by the hour.
So Baldur's Gate is out soon? I'll have to call that guy from senior year and ask him to "get" it for me.
Original games are too expensive anyway.

Stan lives on, even in the past!

[font=Courier New]Woohoo! Go Stan![/font]

I feel better now.

*sighs longingly* the late 90's. Baldur's Gate started my love affair with Bioware. And that last sentence rhymes!

I'm coming very late to this thread, but I thought I would post this question, which has been nagging me. Obviously, 1998 was the banner year in 90's gaming. And I don't think anyone can argue that 2007 (with Bioshock, Halo 3, Portal, TF2, Call Of Duty 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Mass Effect, and Rock Band 1) would be the top of the '00s. Anybody have an opinion on the defining gaming year of the 80's?

JFarside wrote:

I'm coming very late to this thread, but I thought I would post this question, which has been nagging me. Obviously, 1998 was the banner year in 90's gaming. And I don't think anyone can argue that 2007 (with Bioshock, Halo 3, Portal, TF2, Call Of Duty 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Mass Effect, and Rock Band 1) would be the top of the '00s. Anybody have an opinion on the defining gaming year of the 80's?

Hum, the year the NES was released maybe. It was such a revolution. Videogames were dying since the crash. I remember that between the Atari and the Nintendo the drought was quite bad. Very little innovation... but to be honest it's all a bit too far away for me to do this exercise.

One thing I know though is that there were a lot fewer hits back then. The crap to hit ratio was pretty disgusting.

interstate78 wrote:
JFarside wrote:

I'm coming very late to this thread, but I thought I would post this question, which has been nagging me. Obviously, 1998 was the banner year in 90's gaming. And I don't think anyone can argue that 2007 (with Bioshock, Halo 3, Portal, TF2, Call Of Duty 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Mass Effect, and Rock Band 1) would be the top of the '00s. Anybody have an opinion on the defining gaming year of the 80's?

Hum, the year the NES was released maybe. It was such a revolution. Videogames were dying since the crash. I remember that between the Atari and the Nintendo the drought was quite bad. Very little innovation... but to be honest it's all a bit too far away for me to do this exercise.

One thing I know though is that there were a lot fewer hits back then. The crap to hit ratio was pretty disgusting.

Rekindling home consoles (my family was mostly computer gamers, so we didn't feel the drought as badly) doesn't strike me as a revolution. Besides, most of the good games we're 1985 launch titles.

Rather, I might look at 1987. The Mac ][ and Final Fantasy came out that year, for starters.

Some others from 1987:
Street Fighter
Skate or Die
Punch Out!!
Sid Meier's Pirates!
Metal Gear
NetHack
Operation Wolf (so boss!)
Fantasy Star
Dungeon Master
Double Dragon
Contra
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Commodore Amiga 500 launch

Yeah I was thinking LoZ and Metroid year. But then wondering was SMB 3 in '89? Or what about King's Quest? It spawned 8 games and countless clones. Maniac Mansion?

There were some fantastic PC games, but my memory blurs the lines between about 88-91. Got my first PC in 90 and played a ton of cool things up until X-Wing in 92, and it was that or nothing for a long time.

JFarside wrote:

Anybody have an opinion on the defining gaming year of the 80's?

That's really hard, because there was so much going on across that decade.

How do you compare Joust, Robotron: 2084, and Time Pilot to Bard's Tale, F-15 Strike Eagle, and A Mind Forever Voyaging or Legend of Zelda and Metroid?

True I remember just going to Babbage's and browsing the PC games, amazed at all the options.

The thing about the 80's is that video games (especially arcade games) didn't tend to have hard nationwide release dates like now, and without the Internet, it was tough to know what was even out there at any given time. So it's harder to separate things into years. Something might've technically come out one year but not been widely available until the next.