Editorial: Gaming in 1999

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.

Not to be confused with the delicious Cheetos of the same name.

Ponyta, the flaming hot Pokemon.

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.

Good night, sweet Prince.

A console MADE of dreams.

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!

They make games! They sit at desks! Apply today!

A day in the life of Bohemia Interactive.

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!

10 Comments

  1. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.07.12 at 12:24 | Permalink

    The millennium ended at the stroke of 2001, not 2000. There is no “Year 0”, so the first year of a century is XX01 and the last is XX00. So 1999 is not ‘the year before the end of the millennium’. It was the millennium’s penultimate year.

  2. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.07.12 at 12:26 | Permalink

    Also: how did you not mention Unreal Tournament?

  3. Korusi
    Posted 2017.07.12 at 12:32 | Permalink

    @Lusipurr I think he’s setting you up to have an extended essay listing every single game and every gaming event for that year… So then the only thing you can complain about is how long it is.

  4. Adeki
    Posted 2017.07.12 at 12:35 | Permalink

    @Lusipurr: No one REALLY knows what a millennium is. Also I’m just going to say that what Korusi said is right and that I did NOT think that Unreal Tournament came out in the year 2000.

  5. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.07.12 at 12:50 | Permalink

    @Adeki: The original is called “UNREAL TOURNAMENT ’99” for what reason? Think on it.

  6. Adeki
    Posted 2017.07.12 at 17:22 | Permalink

    @Lusipurr: Jokes on you, I’m a game critic I don’t have to THINK.

  7. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.07.13 at 10:48 | Permalink

    @Adeki: Anyway the point of this is that 2000 is the end of the decade, so you need to do one more of these weekly columns. You should have run 1991-2000.

  8. Adeki
    Posted 2017.07.15 at 00:22 | Permalink

    @Lusipurr: Well now I know what to write about for next week, thanks Boss!

  9. SiliconNooB
    Posted 2017.07.16 at 09:26 | Permalink

    ADEKI!!!! You forgot to announce the release of Soul Reaver – FIX YOUR SHIT!!!!!!

  10. S.T.
    Posted 2017.07.18 at 18:15 | Permalink

    During the 1998 holiday season, Next Generation magazine had a massive reveal section, boasting about the Dreamcast’s Japanese launch, featuring some of the new games that would be out for the system as well as some basic information about the system’s US launch late the following year. I remember reading the articles and being blown away with the visuals. Having been a satisfied Sega customer up to that point, I was anxious to get my hands on the new console. My local import shop had Dreamcast games from Japan available for purchase, but never any systems. I don’t remember ever being so excited for a material item in my entire life. It was an obsession.

    My birthday was only about 2 weeks before the Dreamcast’s North American launch, but when I went to Starland (my local game store in the 90s and early 00s) that August afternoon, they had a Dreamcast demo kiosk out showcasing some of the games that would be launch with the console. I don’t remember a console ever having launched with as many games as the DC did, (a total of 13) and I wanted every last one of them. That was my first experience seeing games like Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, and Power Stone with my own eyes. I bought all 3 of those games on launch day, along with 2 VMU memory cards, 2 arcade sticks, and two extra controllers. I saved up my birthday money and allowance from that whole summer, a total over $400.

    A few notable games from 1999:

    -Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast): While one could look back and see where this was the start of Sonic’s downfall, that was not the case back in ‘99. Sonic and friends’ first 3D outing did have some issues (the camera being one of the major ones), but it was highly enjoyable, and back then the hedgehog’s future in 3D looked bright. Little did we know back then.

    -Soul Calibur (Dreamcast): While Soul Blade on PlayStation may have benefited from the PlayStation’s superior ASCII arcade stick, Soul Calibur on Dreamcast was one of the first console fighting games that looked exactly like it did in the arcades. Part of this was because Namco built the first Soul Calibur game on NAOMI arcade hardware, which was identical to the Dreamcast’s internal specs. If only Namco built a DC arcade stick that was identical to the arcade cabinet’s, this would have beat Soul Blade.

    -Power Stone (Dreamcast): Speaking of arcade-perfect ports, Power Stone by Capcom was also built on NAOMI hardware, but unlike Soul Calibur, Power Stone actually benefited from the Dreamcast’s unorthodox controller. Power Stone was a 3D arena fighter where you used items to fight each other (sound familiar?). Smash Bros. 64 came out around the same time, but almost everyone I knew that actually played fighting games regularly agreed Power Stone took the cake. Another series Capcom needs to bring back. Speaking of Capcom by the way:

    -Marvel vs. Capcom (Dreamcast): One of the greatest arcade fighting games ever. Frankly the game needs to explanation.
    -Dungeons and Dragons Arcade (Saturn): One of the Saturn’s later titles, this game was never released outside of Japan. This was a 4-player brawler with some light RPG elements developed by Capcom. (Seriously, if half of Capcom’s Japan-only Saturn exclusives made it to the US it could’ve been so much different!)

    By the time the 90s came to a close, I had experienced many different games from several different developers. I think I’m not alone in the sentiment that I miss the days that games for each system were truly different in gameplay and feel, but I know those days are a distant memory now. At least we all still have them.

    So Adeki, will there be a “Gaming in 2000”?