Time flies when you’re having fun. This is especially true when it comes to video games. As all of us prepare for the onslaught of new titles that November usually brings, it’s important to be grateful for those games that laid the foundation for the worlds we immerse ourselves in today. This list of the month’s major game anniversaries celebrates the titles that have made the medium we all love that much more enjoyable. Let’s take the time to appreciate the highlights of gaming’s past Novembers.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (5th Anniversary)
From the outset, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds seeks to shake up tradition. For starters, players are free to complete the majority of the title’s dungeons in whatever order they see fit. Obtaining and using items is completely different, as this 3DS game employs an item rental system that gives fans access to certain series staples like a bow, staff, and bombs so long as they are rented from a merchant named Ravio.
A Link Between Worlds also bears a semi-open world structure—something that may be considered a precursor to the vastness of Breath of the Wild. The title’s innovative wall-merging gameplay is also worth mentioning, if only for how well it blends with the franchise’s pre-established action adventure mechanics. Even in this Nintendo Switch era, the 3DS is worth picking up if you missed out on A Link Between Worlds back when it released on November 22, 2013. You won’t regret cracking open those dual screens in 2018. We promise.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – Left 4 Dead (10th Anniversary)
Remember when Valve used to make non-card games? The original Left 4 Dead, which released on November 17, 2008 for PC and Xbox 360, pits four survivors against hordes of the living dead. Its focus on cooperative play allows it to be immensely replayable with friends and strangers online and offline. Somehow, the cinematic, George Romero-esque feel of it never loses its luster as you make your way down a familiar alleyway over and over again.
If you’re a solo player, the game allows fans to take on the zombie apocalypse with a group of AI-controlled comrades that are actually somewhat useful in combat. Despite this, the AI in the title also works to undermine players via the “Director,” a mechanic that controls resource scarcity and the amount of enemies that appear in a particular area. It all makes for an ever-changing, dynamic experience that’s hard to put down even to this day.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – Beyond Good and Evil (15th Anniversary)
Ubisoft’s cult classic Beyond Good and Evil follows an investigative reporter named Jade who becomes entangled in a government conspiracy that threatens the fate of the entire planet. While it was considered a commercial failure when it released on November 11, 2003 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC, that didn’t stop it from garnering critical acclaim for its well-thought-out story and imaginative design. Animations and graphics are also a step up from other titles that launched around the same time.
With a sequel on the horizon, there’s been no better time to dive back into Jade’s world to appreciate how it managed to push the medium forward from a narrative perspective.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – Mario Kart: Double Dash (15th Anniversary)
Mario Kart: Double Dash released on November 17, 2003 for the GameCube. To this day, it remains the only Mario Kart game that allows players the opportunity to speed down circuits with a human or AI-controlled partner. One player controls the steering wheel while the other uses items. Of course, partners can alternate roles whenever they see fit.
It’s surprising that Nintendo hasn’t continued Double Dash‘s novel cooperative concept in other Mario Kart installments, especially given the rise of online play. Imagine cruising down Rainbow Road with a buddy in tow, taking out other racers with a Luigi death stare. One can only hope that Double Dash‘s legacy lives on in another entry eventually.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (20th Anniversary)
This entry is probably going to make you feel really old. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time released two whole decades ago on November 21, 1998 for Nintendo 64. As the first Zelda game with 3D graphics, players are tasked with navigating across the fantasy world of Hyrule in order to stop the mischievous Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce, an item that will grant him his every wish.
A lock-on system, context-sensitive buttons, and large draw distances are only some of the innovations that Ocarina of Time brought to the industry. Indeed, this Zelda game is credited by a few critics as reshaping the 3D adventure genre completely. It’s no wonder why the title currently holds the highest Metacritic rating of all time. It’s just that damn good.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – Half-Life (20th Anniversary)
Valve’s debut game, Half-Life, released on November 19, 1998. Considered one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time, the title is designed to completely immerse players in its storytelling. Fans have control over protagonist Gordon Freeman at almost all times, experiencing the horrors unfolding at the Black Mesa research facility entirely through his eyes.
In many ways, Half-Life is responsible for changing the popular perception of first-person games as mindless shooting galleries. It’s not surprising that most titles in the genre have incorporated more thoughtful single-player experiences since Valve’s arrival on the scene. We can all appreciate the game’s significant contribution to the medium despite the general consensus that we probably won’t see a third installment in the series anytime soon.
Game Anniversaries in November 2018 – Splatterhouse (30th Anniversary)
Namco’s Splatterhouse gave horror enthusiasts a suitable outlet to geek out over whenever they had the chance to hang out at their local neighborhood arcade. An amalgamation of Friday the 13th, Evil Dead 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and other gory film classics, this side-scrolling beat ’em up certainly isn’t meant to be played by kids. The game’s novel interpretation of boss fights is what made it stand out because it doesn’t exactly offer anything new from a mechanical standpoint.
Rather than beating bosses to a pulp from the get-go, Splatterhouse has players thwart each villain’s various objectives, then circumvent their unique styles once the battle does amount to fisticuffs. This is by no means a revolution, though does provide an interesting change of pace to the familiar boss fights we’re all very familiar with. For this reason, we should be thankful that Splatterhouse launched all the way back in November 1988.
The first-person shooters, action adventures, and bloody arcade romps on this list have all provided the groundwork for some of the current generation’s biggest blockbuster hits. They will serve as inspiration for the next generation of intrepid developers, too. For this reason, it’s important that we take the time to thank the hard working men and women who allow us the opportunity to lose ourselves in these fully realized worlds. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, there’s no better time to show our gratitude.