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What the hell were we thinking?!?!

Nobody bothered defending the year 2000 online. Must've been a Y2K bug. At first blush, this year looked fractured and confused for gamers. Sony finished partying like it was 1999 and introduced the PlayStation 2 across the globe (October 26 in the US). Sony's PS2 quickly crushed the competition in terms of hardware sales despite a weak lineup of launch titles - something to remember as we look forward to a similar situation with the upcoming PlayStation 3 launch.

With a ho-hum list of launch peers for the PS2, it's not easy to overlook SSX and TimeSplitters as two of the best launch titles, ever. Absurdly thrilling and addictive, SSX painted our friends bright green when they saw us pulling mad snowboarding tricks on our poppin' fresh new systems. And TimeSplitters' knockout style and self-mocking story put PS2 shooters squarely on the map. But it's the iconic fighters that we remember most that year. Tekken Tag Tournament leapt from the arcades to our living rooms, and Team Ninja's Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore had us juggling our jiggling opponents night after night.

Console gamers not yet about to send their original PlayStations into retirement were gifted with  role-playing gems from future partners: Vagrant Story and the beautiful and deep Chrono Cross by Square and Co., and the ugly-but-lovely 100-hour marathon Dragon Warrior VII from Enix. Sony also got into the RPG act with The Legend of Dragoon. And Tony Hawk still seemed fresh while grinding to the tunes of Papa Roach during long bouts of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

TH hit the Nintendo 64 as well, but we were already hip deep in N64 games we knew would be classics even then. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask came as a salve to gamers who didn't have a pre-order ticket for a PS2. Released two days before the Sony launch, it proved that the N64 still had one last trick up its sleeve. Mario Party 2 often shed its kiddie flavor by inspiring the lose-a-minigame-take-a-shot rule across college campuses. Finally, Rare followed up the first-person masterpiece GoldenEye with Perfect Dark, introducing the femme fatale stunner, Joanna Dark.

Sega decided to let its Dreamcast console go quietly into the night following the announcement of the GameCube and Xbox from deep-pocketed competitors Nintendo and Microsoft. However, Sega's slew of swansong titles included the thrilling, barely-in-control Crazy Taxi, the best-Dreamcast-RPG-ever-title-contender Grandia II (for the record, some editors prefer Skies of Arcadia) and cut-scene-horrifier Resident Evil Code: Veronica.

With the constant din arising from the console battles, games on the PC quietly stole the entire show. Some of us never lifted our heads again after first diving into BioWare's role-playing epic Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Anm. But role-players had their world nano-augmented with Deus Ex's attitude, cyberpunk style and deep conspiracy - a Game of the Year with a story that out-slugs nearly everything released since. 2000 also brought the unendingly fun Diablo II, and was the year that saw the genesis of Sims - the game that launched 1,000 expansion packs. Finally, homebrewed Half-Life mod Counter-Strike officially entered retail stores in Y2K, beginning its reign to this day as the most popular online shooter, ever.

Boom. Headshot.

4 comments

  • xDxP - March 28, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    I can't believe the vast number of these games I've played through. Thanks for the memories guys, beautiful.
  • garnsr - March 27, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    Has there ever really been a bad year in games? 1984, I guess, but twelve months is a long time, and several great games always make it out in that much time.
  • chilarome - March 27, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    Oh controversy... I love you, because that means I can read more articles!
  • ruben9700 - January 25, 2009 12:49 a.m.

    First

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