This Week in Gaming – 22nd November 20207 minute read

This Week in Gaming showcases some of the gaming anniversaries achieved over the past seven days. On this edition there is a staggering amount of hardware released, from Nintendo consoles, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Sega Saturn. It would appear that November has always been the month of choice for hardware launches to occur! Asides from this there are also an amazing selection of titles that were launched into the Japanese market. I cannot cover every release, but I hope that this list proves inciteful.

16th November

Half-Life 2 (image credit: Valve)

I doubt that any gamer in the world has not heard of the Half-Life franchise. Half-Life 2 released in 2004 reached critical acclaim, and even though development took five years and cost $40 million, it reached high sales levels of 12 million copies. The game won 39 Game of the Year awards and has often been dubbed as one of the best games of all time. Episodic sequels (Episode One and Episode Two) have been released, as well as a prequel, Half-Life: Alyx, in 2020, but gamers still yearn for Half-Life 3 to be developed to this day.

  • 33 Years
    • Faxanadu – NES (Japan)
  • 16 Years
    • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean – GameCube
    • Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 – PlayStation 2
    • Half-Life 2 – PC

17th November

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (image credit:AlphaDream, Nintendo)

Mario & Luigi: SuperStar Saga is a role-playing game that was developed by AlphaDream for the Game Boy Advance. Most of the game is set in the Beanbean Kingdom, where Mario and Luigi take on Cackletta. Cackletta steals Princess Peach’s voice after disguising herself as an ambassador from the Beanbean Kingdom. The game was far different than any Mario game before, but has reached positive reviews. It has always spurred the sequel Partners in Time and a remake Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions which was released on the 3DS in October 2017.

  • 20 Years
    • WWF No Mercy – Nintendo 64
  • 17 Years
    • Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town – Game Boy Advance
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga – Game Boy Advance
    • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! – GameCube
  • 14 Years
    • PlayStation 3

18th November

Luigi’s Mansion (image credit: Nintendo)

Maaaaaario! Mario? Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first major releases for Mario’s brother to take the lead. Launched in Japan on September 2001, but North America in November, it was the launch title for the GameCube. It was criticised for being a short game but still received great reviews. Selling 2.5 million copies made it the fifth best selling GameCube game of all time.

  • 21 Years
    • Chrono Cross – PlayStation (Japan)
  • 19 Years
    • GameCube
    • Luigi’s Mansion – GameCube
  • 17 Years
    • Final Fantasy X-2 – PlayStation 2
    • Star War: Knights of the Old Republic – PC
  • 8 Years
    • New Super Mario Bros. U

19th November

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (image credit: Gray Matter Interactive)

Controversy! Everyone loves controversy! Return to Castle Wolfenstein released in 2001 for the PC and would later be released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, Linux and Macintosh. It was both a remake and reboot of the Wolfenstein series of games. In March of 2008 the United States Department of State published a report to the US Congress. The report was titled “Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism” and highlighted that Return to Castle Wolfenstein was an anti-Semitic video game. It was referencing a report released in 2002 that was concerned over the ability to play as Nazi’s, calling them “Nazi protagonists.” The report came days before the release of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault which contained many of the same features but never saw controversy. Todd Hollenshead from ID Software stated “There are a lot of critics of the game industry, and they look for things to criticize.”

  • 22 Years
    • Game Boy Color
  • 20 Years
    • Hitman: Codename 47 – PC
  • 19 Years
    • Return to Castle Wolfenstein – PC
  • 14 Years
    • Nintendo Wii

20th November

Banjo-Tooie (image credit: Rare)

Banjo and Kazooie came back in 2000 with Banjo-Tooie as they attempt to stop Gruntilda in her plans to vaporise the inhabitants of the game’s island. The game was incredibly popular, selling over 3 million copies, even though it suffered from some flight framerate issues. There were plans to add many new features during development but these were all cut from the final version due to time constraints and the technical limitations of the Nintendo 64.

  • 28 Years
    • Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom – Super Nintendo (Japan)
  • 20 Years
    • Banjo-Tooie – Nintendo 64
  • 16 Years
    • Nintendo DS
    • Super Mario 64 DS – DS

21st November

Super Mario World (image credit: Nintendo)

Super Mario World was released on the Super Nintendo in 1990 for the launch of the Super Nintendo itself. It sold more than 20 million copies, making it the best selling game for the platform. It was the first game to feature Yoshi, Mario’s dinosaur pet, and the abilities to fly or float which differed from the games before. The game was large, with 96 possible level exists in total (a massive difference from the 32 levels in Super Mario Bros. on the NES). The game had a rock-star development team with Takashi Tezuka taking the role of director while Shigeru Miyamoto served as producer. Koji Kondo once again composed the music and used the basis of the original music he had already composed for Super Mario Bros. 3 with some rearrangements so that it would be familiar to players.

  • 30 Years
    • Super Nintendo (Japan)
    • Super Mario World – Super Nintendo (Japan)
  • 29 Years
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Super Nintendo (Japan)
  • 28 Years
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Sega Mega Drive (Japan)
  • 25 Years
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest – Super Nintendo (Japan)
  • 23 Years
    • Diddy Kong Racing – Nintendo 64 (Japan)
  • 22 Years
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Nintendo 64 (Japan)
  • 21 Years
    • Pokemon Gold Version – Game Boy Color (Japan)
    • Pokemon Silver Version – Game Boy Color (Japan)
  • 19 Years
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee – GameCube (Japan)
  • 18 Years
    • Pokemon Ruby Version – Game Boy Advance (Japan)
    • Pokemon Sapphire Version – Game Boy Advance (Japan)
  • 17 Years
    • Pokemon Colosseum – GameCube (Japan)

22nd November

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (image credit: Sid Meier, Microprose, MPS Labs)

I cannot express how excited I was to play Sid Meier’s Pirates! back in the day. I definitely didn’t play it in 1987 when the game was released – I was three years old! But I do remember playing Sid Meier’s Pirates! Gold on the PC in around 1999/2000. Every boy dreams of being a Pirate at some point in their life, whether it is spurred off watching a film or reading a book. Sid Meier’s Pirates! managed to capture this experience perfectly at the time. Sid Meier’s Pirates! is an open-world game, where the player takes to the sea for either the Spanish Empire, Kingdom of England, French Colonial Empire to the Dutch Empire. Loyalties can change over the course of the game and you can always turn to piracy at any time! Recruiting crew members and fighting other seamen becomes more difficult as the game progresses. Your character will start to age and their health deteriorate, forcing them into retirement, which is when the game ends. The game won insurmountable awards, was entered into Computer Gaming World’s Hall of Fame and has a legacy that lives on to this day.

  • 26 Years
    • Sega Saturn (Japan)
  • 20 Years
    • Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
  • 16 Years
    • Sid Meier’s Pirates! – PC
  • 15 Years
    • Xbox 360
  • 10 Years
    • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare – Xbox 360