With most of the year’s hottest titles out of the way, this upcoming month is the perfect time for fans to try out games they may have missed a while ago. From free-to-play mobile titles like Angry Birds to story-driven first-person shooters like Marathon, there’s something for everyone on our list of December 2019 gaming anniversaries.
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Angry Birds (10th Anniversary)
Like it or not, Angry Birds transformed the mobile gaming landscape when it released on December 11, 2009. Inspired by Flash games like Crush the Castle, the title’s easy-to-learn touch-based mechanics have been enjoyed by nearly 2 billion people worldwide. It’s no surprise that this one game laid the foundation for a multi-million dollar franchise that includes two feature films, an animated series, and plenty of merchandise. People may not be talking about Angry Birds as much as they used to, but the series remains one of the mobile gaming industry’s most successful brands.
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (15th Anniversary)
While its edgy atmosphere put some people off, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within managed to mostly live up to the precedent that its predecessor, Sands of Time, established. It even sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide shortly after it released for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and PC on December 2, 2004. While Ubisoft did preserve the rewind and speed-up abilities found in the first game, it added a variety of new features like dual-wielding and finishing moves to keep the experience fresh. It’s a shame that this franchise hasn’t seen a proper console or PC iteration since 2010, though there’s a chance that Ubisoft may have a few surprises in store next year.
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Garry’s Mod (15th Anniversary)
Garry’s Mod changed the internet when it released for PC on December 24, 2004, as many memes have been born thanks to the game. The title allows fans to import and manipulate characters, environments, and objects from Valve titles and third-party software and gives them the ability to mess around with physics and blow things up just because it’s fun. Garry’s Mod remains one of the best platforms for user-generated content today, as Steam Workshop indicates that over a million entries have been submitted so far.
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | The Legend of Dragoon (20th Anniversary)
It’s strange that Sony hasn’t revisited The Legend of Dragoon since it released for the original PlayStation in Japan on December 2, 1999. Considered a JRPG classic by some PlayStation fans, the title sold nearly a million copies worldwide less than 10 years after its launch. Now is a great time for Dart to return, as the genre is popular among Western audiences again thanks to titles like Final Fantasy 15 and Persona 5. The game did sell better in North America than it did in Japan, after all. Bluepoint Games seems like a great fit, considering how well it was able to re-imagine Shadow of the Colossus for PlayStation 4. Make it happen, Sony!
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Shenmue (20th Anniversary)
It’s appropriate that Shenmue 3 released last month, as the original game in the series, Shenmue, released for DreamCast in Japan on December 29, 1999. Though the title wasn’t a commercial success, it revolutionized gaming with its surprisingly realistic environments and subdued atmosphere. In some ways, the title feels an exploration of the seemingly mundane things that we take for granted. Shenmue is an art piece that deserves to be tried at least once by everyone, if only to experience firsthand how creative video games can be.
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Marathon (25th Anniversary)
Though Bungie today is best known for its Destiny and Halo franchises, the studio is also responsible for creating the Marathon series. The first game released for the Apple Macintosh on December 21, 1994 and evolved the first-person shooter genre with its intricate sci-fi plot. While it didn’t completely reinvent multiplayer, it did include an eight-person deathmatch mode that could be enjoyed with friends on the same computer network. Now that the developer has plans to move away from Destiny, it’s possible that it could revisit the Marathon universe in the near future.
December 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse (30th Anniversary)
It’s no wonder why Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse is series developer Koji Igarashi’s favorite entry, as the title’s musical score and settings are arguably the best that Castlevania has to offer. That’s not to mention that Dracula’s Curse is a great improvement over its predecessor, as the game focuses much more on platforming and allows players to choose which paths they would like to follow. It’s hard to believe that the title released for the Nintendo Entertainment System on December 22, 1989, as its multiple endings and level design rival that of some of today’s best action platformers. It even gives Igarashi’s new IP, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a run for its money.
Of course, December is also a great time to catch up on titles one may have missed earlier this year. 2019 has been a great year for gaming, with titles like Resident Evil 2 Remake, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and more surpassing fan expectations. Next year may be just as exciting, as Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and The Last of Us Part 2 are all slated to release just before new hardware from Microsoft and Sony launches. The next 12 months may even include a few titles worthy enough to be commemorated on a list of major gaming anniversaries.