COVID-19: Please check retailer websites for opening hours and restrictions.
Posted in: Articles
Our new blog series is all about the best games of the last 20 years. George and Matt from the Monitor Audio team take a look at each year and pick their favourites. In the first post, we’ll be looking at the year 2000. Lot’s of things in gaming happened this year, with the dawn of the PS2, swan songs of the PlayStation and beginning of the demise of the Dreamcast.
SEGA AM2 | SEGA | Dreamcast
Where to start? Shenmue influenced my gaming habits and expectations for the following 20 years.
I use Shenmue as a comparison for the many open-world adventure games I have played, across many platforms because it was just so unique. Set in 1980s Yokosuka, Japan, Ryo Hazuki sets out in revenge for the murder of his father.
Whilst investigating, you can analyse every element of the environment, from homes, restaurants, bars, shops, markets and arcades (which you can play). The ‘Magic Weather System’ generates random conditions throughout the day. NPCs go about their daily lives, which you can interrupt. The actual combat feels like a side note, with so much to delve into elsewhere. You can even get a job at the harbour as a forklift driver, which may seem monotonous, but don’t worry, the forklift races balance it out nicely!
For its time, the graphics were exceptional and it was beautiful to explore. It paved the way for the likes of Yakuza and Grand Theft Auto. I remember going to buy my Dreamcast and walking around the shop looking at the various bundles. I was looking for a sandbox game, something with lots to do and I wanted to find something I knew nothing about. I’m so pleased I picked up Shenmue.
Many have come close, but this game brings both nostalgia and melancholy for various reasons, so in my eyes, it can’t be touched. Its a timeless classic.
Maxis | EA | PC
Following on from the successful SimCity series - another favourite of mine, The Sims takes you from the city skylines to the inside of a suburban home.
The life simulation game didn’t really offer any achievements or goals, but it was the ‘Truman Show’ control that made it utterly addictive.
Supervising how your Sims would live their lives, controlling their eating, sleeping and…toilet patterns. Managing their academic studies, CV and personal relationships made for a fascinating sandbox game.
The amount of time spent using the cheat code for 1,000 Sim dollars to build the most extravagant house, only to go and set it on fire and kill everybody inside. Seriously, maybe it was the music that made us all a little crazy. Removing doors and taking the ladders out of the pool, what was wrong with us!
It was a groundbreaking game, offering you full jurisdiction over an entire household was hilarious, aspiring and very engrossing.
Neversoft | Activision | PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64
Building on the first Pro Skater, this game took it up a notch, giving us the ability to create our own skate part, which in itself was incredible.
The huge environments, graffiti everywhere, each level different to the next offered so much variety. Whether you wanted to get the highest trick score, find all the gaps, unlock skate heaven, or just roam around in free-play mode whilst listening to Papa Roach, Naughty by Nature and Rage Against The Machine. It was so enjoyable and really had it all.
I truly believed I was Bob Burnquist. To say I spent a lot of time with friends playing the multiplayer is an understatement. It consumed us and I’m fine with it!
Possibly the best PlayStation 1 game ever?…I would say so.
Rare | Nintendo | Nintendo 64
Alongside Mario Kart 64 and GoldenEye, Perfect Dark is one of the best multiplayer games ever created.
I loved my N64, and aside from the multiplayer of 97’s Goldeneye, Perfect Dark was my next favourite multiplayer, and was a bit of a hidden gem when it first came out.
My friends and I would be playing Goldeneye and it was just a matter of time before one of us said…”Perfect Dark?”. It was obvious to all of us that it was its natural predecessor. It seemed to take all of the elements that made GoldenEye great and build on it. Adding the AI bots to a split screen match blew our minds and the single player campaign was great!
Putting The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time aside (which is tough), Perfect Dark could be considered the best N64 game of all time.
EA Canada | EA | PlayStation 2
The first game in the SSX series had it all, high-quality sound effects, crisp gameplay and really funny voice overs.
The blend of tricks, racing (and flying) was revolutionary and despite spending most of the time at the back of the pack, trying to perfect those tricks, I had a blast.
The general control was smooth and navigating the ramps, rails, jumps seemed so easy, although the developers decided that physics were not as important, which was fine with me! I loved the multiplayer mode, trying to outmanoeuvre your friends. I was obsessed with accomplishing the various grabs and spins and it was sometimes magnificent to watch as a spectator as your friends pulled off daring flips. However as soon as my friends were out of the picture, I would hone my skills, ready for the next time.
An exhilarating ride, with a pumping soundtrack, SSX was the best launch game for PlayStation 2 and apart from SSX Tricky, there hasn’t been a better snowboarding game since.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Nintendo EAD | Nintendo 64
Ion Storm | Eidos Montréal | Windows
Check out more of our favourites