Games While I’ve Been Alive


While roaming around the blogosphere yesterday I stumbled onto a post on Cheap Boss Attack.  This was apparently spurred on by a twitter thread that I did not originally see from a “The Well-Red Mage”.  The idea is pretty straight forward… go through the list of video game releases by year and determine what your favorite game for every year you have been alive was.  I thought this might be an interesting exercise so I took part in coming up with my list last night.  The only problem that I immediately saw is that I am part of what is realistically the first generation who can actually do this successfully.  The first commercial video games came out in 71/72 ish and even by the time I was born the list of available games in 76 was pretty short.  I of course had to rely on the wonder of wiki pages in trying to sort out what games were released in what years…  and unfortunately these pages were not exactly the most complete things especially from the late 90s onwards…  simply too many games to list.  So I started with the 1976 in Video Gaming page and moved upwards until we reach 2017.  There were several really tough spots that I agonized about…  but in the grand scheme of things I attempted to choose the game that ended up being the most important to me during that specific calendar year if I could remember it.  Now I am presenting the list without commentary.  I would love to see this thing gain legs and make its way around what is left of our blogging community.  Side note… yes I realize I am old.

  • 1976 – Breakout
  • 1977 – Combat
  • 1978 – Space Invaders
  • 1979 – Galaxian
  • 1980 – Berzerk
  • 1981 – Galaga
  • 1982 – Q-Bert
  • 1983 – Star Wars Arcade
  • 1984 – Marble Madness
  • 1985 – Super Mario Bros
  • 1986 – The Legend of Zelda
  • 1987 – Castlevania: II Simon’s Quest
  • 1988 – Ninja Gaiden
  • 1989 – Mega Man 2
  • 1990 – Super Mario Bros. 3
  • 1991 – Street Fighter II Arcade
  • 1992 – Wolfenstein 3D
  • 1993 – Doom
  • 1994 – Final Fantasy III (VI)
  • 1995 – Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
  • 1996 – Diablo
  • 1997 – Castlevania: Syphony of the Night
  • 1998 – Fallout 2
  • 1999 – Planescape: Torment
  • 2000 – Diablo II
  • 2001 – Phantasy Star Online
  • 2002 – Dark Age of Camelot: Shrounded Isles
  • 2003 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • 2004 – World of Warcraft
  • 2005 – Everquest II: Desert of Flames
  • 2006 – Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • 2007 – World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
  • 2008 – World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
  • 2009 – Borderlands
  • 2010 – Fallout New Vegas
  • 2011 – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • 2012 – The Secret World
  • 2013 – Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  • 2014 – The Elder Scrolls Online
  • 2015 – Destiny – The Taken King
  • 2016 – World of Warcraft: Legion
  • 2017 – Horizon Zero Dawn

There are so many games that are conspicuously absent.  Everquest for example was a pretty major game in my life, but I managed to play it for three years without it actually making it on the list because there were just more personally “important” games that I needed to give the slot to.  Similarly I would have though Star Wars the Old Republic, City of Heroes and Warhammer Online would have made the cut…  similarly Rift but in all cases there was something that summed up that year for me more clearly than those MMOs.  I am curious to see what your list ends up looking like.  It was a fun challenge to try and whittle down 41 years of gaming into a neat bullet pointed list.  Technically I probably did not actually start playing anything until around 1979-ish on my parents sears pong clone.  Similarly I didn’t start video gaming proper until around 1980/81 when we got our used Atari 2600 but prior to that any time I was around a stand-up arcade cabinet I was begging quarters off my parents.  I even remember one place we used to eat had a mechanical crossbow game of some sort that I loved playing.  It has been a crazy trip watching my favorite past time transform from three pixels moving vertically on the screen with a paddle control to these complex worlds that I spend so much of my life engrossed by.

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