2018 in Video Game Anniversaries

With each passing year, the world of video games takes on a different role. What was once a limited genre in terms of quality and quantity is now something nobody living can avoid.

From the first video game to the most recent, gamers around the world are able to enjoy their favorites on any number of systems and through a variety of platforms whether it be from the comfort of your home or on the go.

While there is some truth to the saying “the newer the better,” we cannot really enjoy what we have now without looking back on some of the games that got us here. Growing up, video games were likely a part of your everyday life, whether that be by stopping over at the house of a friend or having a system of your own.

Here is a look at some of the top games celebrating their anniversaries in 2018.

Space Invaders

40th Anniversary

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Release Date: June 1978

40 years ago, video games were in their infancy. Each new game released, such as Pong and Computer Space, pushed the industry in new directions. But it wasn’t until Space Invaders that mainstream audiences took notice of this emerging medium.

While shooters weren’t the newest genre for video games to explore, Space Invaders took a simplistic yet more intuitive approach to the genre. Taking place all on a single screen, players were tasked with shooting down slowly descending aliens with a lone laser cannon. As the player obliterated aliens, their descent would get faster until reaching the bottom of the screen.

Space Invaders’ importance to and influence on the video game industry cannot be understated. Along with the likes of Asteroids, Galaxian, and Pac-Man, Space Invaders launched video games into its first golden age, which pushed the limits of technical performance and creativity at the time. Plus, the iconic alien design has gone on to become a symbol for video games as a whole.

Super Mario Bros. 2

30th Anniversary

Release Date: October 9, 1988

Since the original version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (later released in North America as The Lost Levels) was deemed too hard for North Americans, Nintendo reskinned the Japanese-exclusive Doki Doki Panic for this region’s Super Mario Bros. 2. What resulted was a game much different than its predecessor.

Super Mario Bros. 2 is a 2D platformer like the original Super Mario Bros., but differed completely in terms of story and gameplay.

In Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool journeyed through the dream world of Subcon in order to stop Wart’s tyranny. Instead of the original’s signature running and jumping, Mario and company dispatched evil by throwing vegetables, special objects, and even enemies. To go along with this change in offensive moves, each character possessed their own ability, such as Luigi’s ability to jump higher or Toadstool’s ability to float for a brief time.

Despite the huge departure, Super Mario Bros. 2 was a commercial success selling 10 million copies — a feat that made it the third highest-selling game released on the NES at that time. Along with the success, Super Mario Bros. 2 would go on to influence the Mario series in major ways from Luigi’s high jump becoming a character trait to the introduction of iconic enemies such as Birdo, Bob-ombs, and Shy Guys.

Half-Life

20th Anniversary

Release Date: November 19, 1998

As the first title from the now legendary Valve, Half-Life is a first-person shooter starring Dr. Gordon Freeman. Stuck in Black Mesa following an experiment that opens a rift to another dimension, Gordon must fight off intra-dimensional creatures and the military while solving complex puzzles as he makes his escape.

Apart from beginning Valve’s upward trajectory towards PC gaming supremacy, Half-Life is the first game to allow full control during scripted sequences, a feature that’s commonplace in games today. This new level of immersion clearly separated Half-Life from the “shooting galleries” of the time and cemented it as one of the best games period.

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