The year before the end of the millennium, 1999 was lucky enough to witness the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, the first of a sacred trilogy of previews which have aged well to no one’s dismay. 1999 also marked the start of “The Sopranos” and the equally dark “Spongebob Squarepants” both known for their depictions of Italian living and lens into the crime world. In fact, “The Sopranos” was so popular it ended up being made into a video game, speaking of which it is time to type about the video games released in 1999 starting off with Final Fantasy VIII.
Final Fantasy VIII was released in February of 1999 just two years after Final Fantasy VII and sold even faster than its predecessor. However, although Final Fantasy VIII was received well, some at the time saw it as a step down from Final Fantasy VII which seems to be a growing sentiment as the “Final Fantasy” franchise moves on. Also released for the PlayStation in 1999 was Silent Hill the start of a psychological survival horror series known for its peaks and valleys as time has progressed. The PlayStation also saw the release of Lunar: Silver Star Story in the West as the Saturn version was exclusive to Japan, although the original title Lunar: The Silver Star was released in Western regions when it was first released on the Sega CD. The Nintendo 64 was also host to some hit exclusives in the 1999 including Super Smash Bros., Mario Party and Pokemon Snap, only one of which was later involved in a lawsuit for rubbing children’s palms raw. Rayman 2: The Great Escape also released onto the Nintendo 64 in 1999, but was later ported to other systems including the PlayStation to mild disappointment as most other ports at the time had less content. 1999 also marked the release Sonic Adventure and Soulcalibur for the Sega Dreamcast, both remembered well for much different reasons in terms of gameplay and overall playability. Not to be left out, the PC also had some hit games in 1999 including System Shock 2, Team Fortress Classic, and RollerCoaster Tycoon.
Next up is the coverage of the hot new video game hardware released in 1999 starting off with the Sega Dreamcast which launched in North America on September 9th of 1999. Launch titles included the previously mentioned Sonic Adventure and Soulcalibur along with Power Stone and Mortal Kombat Gold, an enhanced port of Mortal Kombat 4. Over the two years the Dreamcast was on the market it sold over 9 million units but ultimately stood no match to the PlayStation 2 which was released in 2000 in spite of its shortages at release or the numerous advancements the Dreamcast made in terms of console gaming. Also released in 1999 hardware-wise was the Neo Geo Pocket Color which was backwards compatible with its predecessor but also fared a short lifetime on the market of only about two years as the company went bankrupt in October of 2001. No matter the system’s 40-hour battery life or the updated version a year later named the New Neo Geo Pocket Color, the power of the “Pokemon” franchise proved too great and Nintendo continued to dominate the handheld market. This did not stop the brave team at Tiger Electronics from releasing the Game.com Pocket Pro in 1999 with an updated version of the screen that proved to make no difference in the handheld’s poor sales numbers. And, the PlayStation 2 was announced in 1999 and was then planned to be released in 2000!
Last up are the new and emerging companies that made their start in 1999 starting off with 3d6 Games who mainly ported games to the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance, and has been inactive since 2013 after their focus towards iOS titles. BAM! Entertainment also made their foray into the video games market in 1999 and partnered with Cartoon Network to develop games based on their shows such as “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.” Unsurprisingly, the company had its stock delisted five years later in 2004 and the current status of the company is seemingly unknown. To end on a fun note, Bohemia Interactive began in 1999 and is known for the games in the “ARMA” franchise, along with Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis and DayZ. The fun part, which admittedly is not as fun as it is interesting, is that in 2012 two employees of Bomhemia Interactive were arrested in Lemnos (an island of Greece) for espionage. The reason being is that the employees took pictures of military installations while their official business was supposedly to just take pictures of the island’s surroundings. Thankfully, the two employees were released less than a year later but they still await further legal action for their actions as of 2013. Fun…in a way!
So that is it, the last of the award-winning series about video games that were released in the 1990s. Did you learn something knew throughout these past weeks? Were you entertained? Do you have suggestions for future editorials? Whatever the case may be, make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!