A lot can happen in 10 years. And it has. As part of this week's post-mortem of the last decade in gaming, we now present for you some of the weirdest, depressing, arousing, significant, entertaining and amusing events, happenings and milestones that have occurred in the wonderful world of games during the soon-to-be-expired Noughties.
From the tragic passing of the Dreamcast, to the glorious day when excessive viewing of Wii Fit Girl's gyrating rumpus on YouTube made us dizzy. These are the moments that we remember without too much hard-thinking and talk fondly about after a session of hard drinking.
So before we all collapse with inebriated exhaustion into the open arms of 2010, allow us to refresh your memory with all the stuff worth remembering from the last 3650 days.
Microsoft unveils the Xbox | March 2000
By the time the Game Developer Conference rolled around in 2000, it was well known that Microsoft was ready to pop out a console of its very own. The Bill Gates hosted GDC presentation, however, is when all the gossip, rumouring and speculation became official fact. Cue sexy exciting CPU and GPU specs that laid bare Microsoft's plan to crush the competition (aka PlayStation 2).
The GDC audience was wowed with numerous awesome tech demoes featuring butterflies, ping-pong balls and a butch woman (see the video above). But Gates had a long way to go in convincing gamers. At the time of the unveiling we distinctly remember a vocal majority of gamers (some of us included) trumpeting through their indignation that they would never in a million years buy a Microsoft console. Most of them are now on our Friends list.
Metal Gear Solid 2’s E3 2000 trailer | May 2000
Games simply didn’t look this good back in the Noughties' pioneering year. And game trailers usually involved a suit standing in front of a few slides before showing ten seconds of hastily cut, underwhelming footage. So when Hideo Kojima rolled into La-La Land with 9 minutes of Hollywood-shaming footage from Metal Gear Solid 2, the excitement over what he and his team had created was peerless. Hell, such was the slack-jawed, fanboy-fainting astonishment, Koj might has well have been Spielberg debuting a (not shit) Indy 4.
Thanks to months of folk at Kojima Productions working their fingers to bleeding stumps, MGS 2 looked embarrassingly ahead of the competition. The impact was so seismic that it sparked 18 months of undiluted, unrelenting hype, the likes of which haven’t been seen since. The trailer also helped put the final nails in the Dreamcast’s soon to be decomposing coffin. And Sons of Liberty’s reveal heralded the moment thousands of gamers decided to hold on for a PS2, rather than plump for Sega’s already available, but technically inferior machine.
Online gaming finally gets good | Early 2000
When the broadband pipes started getting hooked-up at a pace, the gateway to online gaming finally came to beautiful fruition. Not only was PC gaming online infinitely improved, but while Sony and Nintendo were fighting over who could make the best clusterf*** out of an online strategy, Microsoft stormed in and got things going for consoles with its Xbox Live service.
Above: Broadband is the light
And, thanks to those super spunky connections, this is a decade defined by the rise of digital distribution (led by the likes of Steam), downloadable content, media sharing and the like. Indeed, blessed is the broadband.
Sega drops out of the hardware business | January 2001
Ten years previous, the thought of Sega going out of the hardware market was unimaginable. The Mega Drive/Genesis had Sonic The Hedgehog and nothing could go wrong. But time passed and the climate changed. There were hardware upgrades instead of a new platform, then hardware upgrades as well as a new platform… then the Saturn-exclusive Sonic game fell through and to cap it all off the PlayStation came along and trumped Sega in almost every department.
Looking back, it would have been wise to get out then, but Sega still had an ace up their sleeve. Dreamcast. A wonderful, trailblazing console that gave us our first online gaming, DLC store, high(er) definition display, 60fps graphics and so much more. It only lasted for two short years until Sega ran out of money and fled in the face of the PlayStation 2. They say the brightest flames often burn the shortest.
Sega's now a third-party publisher like EA, and doing well from it, so we haven’t really lost them. But we’ll always miss that magic of a Sega wondermachine spitting out miracles in the window of an electrical store…
Metal Gear Solid 2: Raiden outrage | November 2001
The wait for MGS2 was finally over. Fans unwrapped their pre-ordered copies with delight. They stormed through the Tanker level. It was the Best Game Ever. And, then... a deafening cry of "Who the f*** is this cart-wheeling clown!?" was heard throughout the land.
Above: Solid Snake and that other guy
He might not have appeared in any of the pre-release trailers or screenshots and Hideo Kojima certainly gave no suggestion that anyone other than Snake would be the game's number one man. But there he was. Raiden. An effeminate pretty boy with a whining girlfriend. Kojima claimed Raiden's role as protagonist was essential in order to develop Solid Snake's character. Whatever the excuse, this storyline switcheroo remains one of gaming's most poorly received WTF-iest moments.