The year of 1998 was, for me, the greatest year of gaming there ever was or ever will be.
Now I'm not indicating that pants-exploding game releases of galactic magnitudes from other years are to be swept under the rug. After all, 1994 had Final Fantasy VI, Super Metroid (*swoon*), Warcraft and Donkey Kong Country. After that, 1996 had Diablo (just barely - Dec. 31st), Quake, C&C Red Alert, Tomb Raider, and the N64 all released in the same year. If those aren't year-long, orgasmic, gargantuan, gaming gongshows of bliss, I don't know what is.
But there's just something about 1998 that had that extra-special specialness. That extra little pinch of magic. That extra swift bit of butt-kicking for goodness. Oh right, Baldur's Gate was released in '98.
Well, it was just dropped in there alongside releases of titles such as Thief, Unreal, Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life, Fallout 2, Ocarina of Time, Spyro, and Turok 2. Don't forget the lesser known release of a rare game called Starcraft and its even more obscure expansion: Broodwar. All short-fused personages with life sized Kerrigan posters pinned directly above their beds, take it easy. It was an ocean of sarcasm that you just missed.
All this happened within one, glorious year. If '94 and '96 sounded fun (if a little sticky), then 1998 was '94 after '96 showed up with a few thousand kegs of tequila, free rocket ships for everyone and a legion of sex-robots created from billion dollar bills and LSD. If that's not your ideal party, just replace tequila, sex and LSD with your vices of choice. Scratch that, if that's not your ideal party, go play with 1993. You can both sit around and endlessly play Myst while you wait for 1998 to invite you back to the cool kids house.
Baldur's Gate consumed my life. Fallout 2 consumed my life. Starcraft consumed my life. Half-Life may have literally consumed half of my life. I remember collecting bottles and cans so I could afford an N64. My friends and I would hog the phone line in order to play Starcraft. Frank Horrigan would have his metal, mutant butt handed to him over and over by a wasteland boxing legend who couldn't enunciate "derp" to save his life. I actually failed a grade because I couldn't stop rolling for a perfect character. It was madness. It was a year of unadulterated, serendipitous, propitious gaming immortality.
Is there anybody else who can relate to this? What year holds a special place in your heart?