Favorite Games of 1999

1999 isn't remembered as fondly as 1998, but it was still a strong year for gaming. We saw the start of juggernaut franchises, like Super Smash Bros. and the Tom Clancy brand, and superb sequels, like Wario Land II and Final Fantasy VIII.

Okay, it wasn't that great a year, but I'm not complaining.

List items

  • Your park-goers never leave the safety of the paths you created for them. Even when thousands of people are pushed onto a single tile of path, they won’t deviate, but instead form a blob of men and women impossibly occupying a small space. And then you remove that path, dropping the masses into a pool of water. But here’s the kicker: nobody can swim, apparently. The messages alerting you that someone has drowned appear and are replaced faster than any human can keep track. Less than a minute later, thousand are dead, leaving an empty park without walkways.

    Morbid? Absolutely.

    But RollerCoaster Tycoon isn't about mass deaths, but creating the best park that money can allow and responding to your customers concerns. Add more bathrooms for the complainers and hire additional custodians to handle the vomit caused by that insane new roller coaster, custom built by you. Watch your wealth and public opinion rise until you reach the intended goal.

    Then you let insanity reign by removing the paths.

  • After the first game, Wario finally shed most of the remaining elements from Mario Land. Our anti-hero could no longer die. Instead, he would either lose his precious coins or suffer a handful of changes. Touch a zombie and Wario becomes a shuffling undead capable of killing anything. Get crushed by something heavy and he flattens completely, giving his jumps leaf-like fall.

    The overworld is absent until you completed the game, where it's revealed that a number of other routes exist. Finding those routes... can sometimes require unconventional thinking. Instead of waking Wario in reaction to the alarm clock in the very first level, allow him to continue sleeping. New levels are unlocked as his story is altered.

    Wario Land games would largely continue unchanged until Nintendo simply stopped making them. Afterwards, Wario filled his time by creating 5-second "microgames."

  • Final Fantasy 8 stands as the odd duck of the three PS1 Final Fantasy games. It didn't move the franchise forward like how Final Fantasy 7 and it lacks the character and old-school spirit of Final Fantasy 9. Instead, it brought student protagonists, cutscenes with ballroom dancing, and love.

    Maybe it’s not a huge surprise that FF8 isn't remembered as fondly, but I enjoyed it… for as long as I had with it. Eventually, I just stopped after beating a difficult boss, never to return. I can’t say why since I was definitely enjoying it, but I just needed a break.

  • As of this writing, the world can now play Super Smash Bros. on a handheld, and it's less than a month until our first HD Smash. Now lets think about how much has changed from that first installment, featuring eight Nintendo heroes (and four unlockable ones). We have few options for single-player AND multiplayer. No trophies. No massive soundtrack. And the art reworked the characters to be significantly more cartoony.

    Of course, we didn't know what future installment would hold, so we loved Smash Bros. It's probably not the easier game to return to, I imagine.

  • Space Invaders for Game Boy. Plays exactly like Space Invaders. Now on Game Boy.

  • I have some damn fine memories of playing Rainbow Six on Nintendo 64 with friends, so even though I knew that I wouldn't be able to replicate those experiences, when the opportunity to grab Rainbow Six on PlayStation arose, I jumped.

    Either the PS1 version is different from the N64 version or my memories of Rainbow Six are false. I still haven't figured out which.