Favorite Games of 1998

’98 was a hell of a year. I mean, look at the list below. Every game is, or was, incredible. Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Pokémon Red/Blue: these were monumental games that permanently impacted the gaming world. And there’s plenty of other games released that year worth mentioning.

Shame I can’t remember any of them.

List items

  • Forget that you were racing through effectively nothing. The world around the track is composed of odd, bright textures and the occasional skyscraper. Graphics took a backseat to allow racing alongside 29 other crafts at exhilarating speeds down some wild and often dangerous courses. Truly, F-Zero X has some of the best courses this side of Mario Kart, pushing racers through tubes, around half-pipes, and over a silly number of jumps at great speeds.

    There is also Death Race, which tasks players with literally destroying the competition. And the soundtrack! The sequel, F-Zero GX, forced synth tunes that one might expect from a futuristic game, but F-Zero X was all about the guitars. It was all the better for it, too.

  • For my money, no game made me feel more like I was part of the Star Wars universe than the Rogue Squadron series. The sequel, Rogue Leader, outclassed Rogue Squadron in virtually every aspect, but the original was no slouch. Missions were challenging and enjoyable, and the graphics were, at the time, impressive.

    R.I.P. Factor 5.

  • You know, Link is kind of ugly. His in-game model is a pointy mess, all jagged edged, as one might expect from the Nintendo 64 hardware, but I never cared much for his artwork.

    Wait, why am I talking about this? Because everything that could be said about Ocarina of Time has been said about Ocarina of Time. Nobody needs me to explain why the damn game is good and innovative.

    So I won't.

  • I can still recall the first commercial. Pikachu jumped onto a bus filled with other Pokemon and was driven to a compactor. The bus was then crushed with the Pokemon still inside, struggling to escape as the compactor did its job and left behind... a Game Boy.

    Kind of morbid, but it caught my attention.

    There was a sense of mystery within the original Pokemon games, Red and Blue, that simply can't be revived in the connected age. We're given an opportunity to see almost everything, including new Pokemon, before we grab the game, but that wasn't true when I played Red. Every new area brought amazing creatures I had never seen before, and my friends and I excited gawked at our newest captures.

    Great memories. Shame that Red and Blue haven't aged that gracefully.

  • Here's some perspective: I only played the original Metal Gear Solid after completing the remake, The Twin Snakes, and the sequel, Sons of Liberty. That's a hell of a regression, losing the first-person shooting and characters with eyes. It required firing at enemies off-screen. It required being preached to about DNA from a pixelated guy with barely a face who nodded his head as he spoke, like a character from Red vs Blue.

    It was entertaining enough that I pulled through until the end, but it wasn't quite the innovative cinematic masterpiece that many people experienced when it was first released.

  • When the subject of favorite handheld Zelda comes up, the answer is usually, predictably, Link's Awakening. I hold no ill feelings towards it, but I also never got into it like so many others. I tended to get through the first dungeon, if that, and simply lose interest. But Zelda is still fun, explaining why it's only the second-to-last from the bottom.

  • Truthfully, I hold little love for racing simulations. I will occasionally jump into them, only to retreat after because games like Burnout and Mario Kart hold much more appeal. The original Gran Turismo is no exception. Heck, I only have this game because it was given to me alongside a used PS1. Otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered.

    Hence why it's at the bottom of the list.