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Games of the Year, 2000

Another year in which I played more than 10 games, but there weren't quite 10 that warranted inclusion on a list such as this.

List items

  • #9

    This one was really a cultural juggernaut. Although I didn’t play extensively, and none of my sims ever achieved any sort of life stability, I was certainly in awe of this ambitious and novel concept.

  • #8

    My brother and I were big fans of military shooters like the Delta Force series growing up, and had played Delta Force 2 the previous year. Although much of Land Warrior consisted of aiming at tiny black pixels through your sniper scope, the game featured expansive, sprawling levels that allowed for multiple approaches. At this point, the market didn’t seem as saturated with military shooters as it would become, and there was still a thrill associated with playing as a soldier.

  • #7

    Wonderland has always seemed to have an element of horror about it – the threat of Alice losing herself in its surreal and grotesque world. Therefore, it was a natural setting for American McGee to create a frightening game. Not only is the gameplay for this third-person action-adventure game competently-designed, but it features scary environments and unnerving characters that reflect those of the original book and film seen through a horror lens.

  • #6

    You definitely don’t need to like tennis to like Mario Tennis. Although I’ve somewhat come around on the actual sport, it’s taken me some time. I liked the traits associated with the various characters (power, speed, tricky, etc.), and the timing-based hit system that allowed you to send the ball flying. I like that tennis has a built-in cooperative mode with the doubles style, and I always enjoyed the frenzy that play at the net would devolve into.

  • #5

    This game was everything me and my friends wanted from a spiritual successor to Goldeneye 007. Perfect Dark had better music, more interesting level design, and better weapons that possessed impressive secondary functions. Although I never got particularly skilled with the FarSight XR-20, I had friends that could shoot me through the wall until I felt like pulling my hair out. What other game featured weapons like the Laptop Gun, that could be fired but also thrown down as a turret? Or the Dragon, an assault rifle that could be thrown on the ground and armed as a mine? The game also featured bots of a variety of skill levels and strategies to shake things up.

  • #4

    This may be a surprise to readers of this list, if they are even aware of this game’s existence. Although you can now find the game on Steam, I have no idea how I initially acquired it back in high school. However, it went absolutely viral, and kids would play it on classroom computers even during lectures. The game is deceptively complex, and its bouncy physics engine makes securing all of the apples in a level quite a task (the only task in each level, actually). However, it was so satisfying to develop some proficiency with this wacky motorbike, hanging a wheel off of the side of a platform while gently throttling the motor until you’ve just…got...that fruit.

  • #3

    You saw the sequel on the 2002 list, so you might’ve suspected that I would be a fan of the original as well. Although the first title was certainly not the impressive achievement that the second game was, many of the elements were present. Well-delivered humor, creative weaponry and spy gadgets, and fun spy music. Cate Archer was a video game femme fatale, making any workaday henchman rue the day he crossed her.

  • #2

    I vividly recall downloading the demo for Diablo II prior to the game’s proper release. I created a Barbarian, and began running around and smashing zombies and skeletons with glee. Unfortunately, the demo ended fairly quickly (I believe it only contained the first two quests). However, I wasn’t done – I was having too much fun! I loaded my Barbarian in over and over, wrecking zombies with more and more efficiency. Although I don’t remember it actually being possible, I remember wanting to transfer my demo character over to the full game upon its release. I had put so much time into it! Either way, Diablo II creates an obsessive loop. It’s so streamlined, focusing completely on your character’s skills, equipment, and their ability to efficiently clear the screen of enemies. Though I never got a character to level 100, I had perhaps four 70+ characters, in addition to a few other experiments and mules.

  • #1

    Red Alert 2 remains the best RTS game I’ve ever played. Although I had a decent enough time with the previous games in the Command & Conquer series, I was not prepared when this juggernaut hit. The campy humor and acting of Westwood reached its apex here, and made the already solidly-designed campaign even more fun. Red Alert 2 was the first game I played that allowed me to garrison civilian structures with my infantry men, as well as the first that allowed my individual units to rank up as they continued to succeed in combat. The music is some of the best in gaming’s history (try “Hell March” on YouTube if you’re unfamiliar), and the game featured fantastic and imaginative units. Allies had access to the Chrono Legionnaire, a teleporting commando that has a gun that removes structures and units from the current timeline, while the Soviets had the terror drone, a small, mechanical spider that can not only impale infantry but can dive inside a tank or vehicle and dismantle it from the inside. If this wasn’t enough, the game shipped with an excellent multiplayer mode, featuring various factions on each side of the conflict (Cuba and South Korea, for instance) with access to faction-specific units, structures, or abilities.