What some may consider the best time of the year for gaming is finally upon us. From blockbuster titles in the vein of Spider-Man to niche tactical experiences like Valkyria Chronicles 4, September 2018 presents a large variety of games to check out no matter your preference. The same could be said for prior years in the medium’s history, as the ninth month of the calendar has traditional been one of the most diverse genre-wise. As evidence of this, check out the major game anniversaries of September 2018 below.
Game Anniversaries in September 2018: Grand Theft Auto V (5th Anniversary)
The massive cash cow that is Grand Theft Auto V released on September 17, 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Since its launch, the game has managed to accrue substantial revenue year after year, earning it the number three spot on this year’s best selling games list alone. It has also made around $6 billion so far and is close to crossing the 100 million units sold threshold thanks to the PS4 and Xbox version that came out in 2014 and the PC port that released in 2015. There’s even plenty of content still coming to the game’s online component.
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific reason why the game has been so successful on the eve of its fifth anniversary on the market. Its single-player portion is excellent, offering players a gigantic open-world version of Los Santos to discover and roam around in for themselves. Its online portion is also quite addictive, especially after developer Rockstar’s implementation of heists in March 2015. There’s no telling whether the steam will die down for Grand Theft Auto V anytime soon, though Red Dead Redemption 2‘s imminent release might help some players jump ship.
Game Anniversaries in September 2018: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (10th Anniversary)
LucasArts’ Star Wars: The Force Unleashed released on September 16, 2008 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, iOS, and even the N-Gage (remember that?). Its narrative served as an in-between story bridging the gap between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy. In it, Darth Vadar oversees the apprenticeship of Starkiller, a completely original character that is tasked with hunting down Jedi while keeping his existence hidden from the evil Emperor.
Critics praised The Force Unleashed for its compelling story upon release, though its gameplay did leave a little to be deserved. Regardless, the game and its sequel serve as a lasting tribute to developer LucasArts, whose staff was almost completely laid off following Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars license back in 2012. Other Star Wars games have also had bad luck from the canceled Visceral game, 1313’s death, and Star Wars Battlefront 2‘s loot box controversy.
Game Anniversaries in September 2018: Pokemon Red and Blue (20th Anniversary)
Though Pokemon fans out there celebrated the franchise’s 20th anniversary back in 2016, the games didn’t come to North America until September 28, 1998. Thus, September 2018 marks the series’ true anniversary stateside. Indeed, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue launched for the Nintendo Game Boy two decades ago, spawning one of the world’s most ubiquitous video game franchises to date. Including its most recent entries, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon, the series has sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide, earning it the distinction of the best selling RPG series of all time.
It’s hard to imagine someone who could hate Pokemon, as its friendly but strategic gameplay is easy to learn but hard to master. The original games in the series were one of the first in the medium to introduce the concept of trading with other users via link cable too. This allowed people from all walks of life the opportunity to come together and exchange monsters that they wouldn’t be able to obtain through normal progression. Here’s hoping the franchise continues to exist for as long as gaming sticks around.
Game Anniversaries in September 2018: Dance Dance Revolution (2oth Anniversary)
Dance Dance Revolution released in Japanese arcades in September 1998. Not unlike Mario, Tetris, or Space Invaders, the franchise has transcended the medium and ascended to pop culture status due to its ubiquity. It helps that the game is as addictive as it is fun, serving as a great exercise tool and stress-reliever. It remains one of Konami’s lasting contributions to the medium and a great title to rely on when you’re hanging out with friends at an arcade and just want to show off your moves.
Game Anniversaries in September 2018: Spyro the Dragon (20th Anniversary)
Spyro the Dragon managed to put developer Insomniac Games on the map when it released on September 9, 1998 for the original PlayStation. It’s not hard to see why, as the titular purple dragon and his dragonfly sidekick, Sparx, were as charming as the title’s accessible level design and gameplay. With a platformer revival currently underway, it’s no wonder why publisher Activision decided to bring Spyro’s first adventures back via the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
The game managed to perform well upon release, selling an impressive five million copies worldwide and earning critical praise for its imaginative graphics and high replay value. Though Spyro hasn’t enjoyed the same fame as other PlayStation mascots like Crash Bandicoot, the purple dragon has enough merits to warrant him a spot as one of gaming’s most esteemed companions.
Game Anniversaries in September 2018: Sonic CD (25th Anniversary)
Sonic CD released on September 23, 1993 and is regarded today as one of the most peculiar Sonic titles to have ever been released by Sega. Intended as a port of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the game was later reworked into something completely distinct and original, perhaps in an effort to sell more Sega CD systems. Its core gameplay revolved around platforming segments and ring collection, just as any other titles in the series. New to Sega CD, however, was a time travel feature that allowing players to experience different forms of stages and alternate soundtrack mixes.
Despite its relatively strange origins, the game is considered by Sonic fans today as one of the best titles the series has to offer. Sega is well aware of Sonic CD‘s popularity and has brought back various aspects of the game in subsequent titles via characters Metal Sonic and Amy Rose and stages found in Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania. Fans will undoubtedly see more nods in future Sonic games, as the blue blur shows no signs of fading away anytime soon.
Though September 2018 has its own fair share of noteworthy titles to pick up, the month is a good reminder to cherish the games that make up the industry as it stands today. Games like Spyro the Dragon or Star Wars: The Force Unleashed are worth going back to in between Spider-Man playthroughs, if only to realize how far these imaginative worlds have evolved since their origins.