Video Game Highlights Over the Past 30 Years

In celebration of Concrete’s 30th birthday, I will be providing you all with a brief overview of the most notable games in the past three decades and a trip down memory lane (I apologise in advance if I missed any good ones!) Throughout these years I have owned and played on various consoles, but I have to say that the Xbox One is probably my personal favourite.

Throughout the 90s, lots of different titles came out, which may be more familiar than you would’ve thought. In 1991, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge was released. To my surprise, after seeing pictures of the graphics I remember seeing my dad play it when I was small on the Xbox 360, years after its release, so it must’ve been good. To this day, Monkey Island 2 is still popular and well-known. 1991 is also the year that the iconic Sonic the Hedgehog came out, which is a firm favourite of mine even now and certainly had a grip over me when I was younger.

In 1992, (the year Concrete was born) Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart came out, which is a classic and still one of the best-selling games. In the same year, Street Fighter II was released. This game certainly had an influence on the gaming industry and is one of the highest-grossing video game franchises. Pokémon Red/Blue was released in 1996 by Nintendo on the Game Boy (who remembers those?) Mario 64came out in 1997, which as my dad recalls was amazing to see after years of 2D gaming, and it absolutely influenced other games. I was interested to discover that Fallout 2 was released in 1998 – I would have guessed it was more recent than that.

In the 00s, lots more video games that we know, and love came about. The year 2000 blessed us with The Sims, which evolved into one of my favourite games as a child. In 2001, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released, with San Andreas following behind in 2004. Of course, these games remain very much prevalent today, having been re-released last year on the Switch and other consoles. Halo: Combat Evolved also came out in 2001, setting the stage for more console-based shooter games. Perfect Dark Zero, which I still own, came to our screens in 2005. 

Nintendo released Nintendogs in 2005, which a lot of us were utterly obsessed with. Guitar Hero 2 came out in 2006, and if I’m honest, I am still slightly gutted that I never owned it – I really wanted the little plastic guitar and envied my neighbour who had one. 2006 also brought us The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Although the graphics and animation on this one (particularly the very intense zooming into character’s faces when they speak) could be classed as a jump scare, I do still very much enjoy this game. Of course, I couldn’t forget that 2006 also gave us Wii Sports. The theme tune is still ingrained into my brain. 2006 seems to be a big year for popular games – Cooking Mama, and Viva Pinata were also released, which I’m sure many of us played. To conclude the 2000s, I am also going to mention Just Dance 3, as its tracklist was the epitome of the 2000s. This was released by Ubisoft in 2010.

Into the 2010s we go. Starting in 2010, we have the classic Fruit Ninja, which was one of the first games I played on an iPod Touch (again, remember those?). Another game that brings back memories for me is Forza Motorsport 4, released in 2011 (the one with Jeremy Clarkson’s voiceover). 2011 is also the year The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim was released (you know I had to mention it), as well as Minecraft, and of course, Temple Run, which I distinctly remember everyone trying to play covertly under the desk at school. Forza Horizon came out in 2012, and so did the Candy Crush Saga. 2013 gave us Grand Theft Auto V, which is another favourite of mine. Trevor holds a special place in my heart. In 2014, Destiny was released, as well as Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and another classroom favourite, Crossy Road, which somewhat filled the Flappy Bird shaped void in our hearts. 

In 2016, Pokémon Go came out, which I’m sure we can all agree was a beautiful moment in time, and even managed to persuade me to leave my bedroom.  In 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out. Fortnite was also released this year, which quickly became popular across the globe. 2018 brought us a few more titles, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, (which I have yet to master), as well as Battlefield V, and Forza Horizon 4. Apex Legends was released in 2019, as well as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. 2020 was the year of the Switch, with lockdown being the perfect time to become addicted to newly released Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Call of Duty: Warzone andCyberpunk 2077 also came out in 2020. 

This brings us to today, with last year’s releases such as Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and more still being relatively new. Writing this has made me realise how influential and iconic older video games and characters are – we still play many of the games released 30 years ago, and different variations/versions of them. I find that this is what makes gaming stand out in a way that is like music – some things just never get old. I am also nominating the Nintendo DS as possibly being the most indestructible console released during this period – mine still works 16 years later. 

It will certainly be interesting to see what the future of gaming holds, and what new releases await us. 

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Holly Jackson

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June 2022
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