Best Era in Video Gaming?

Poll results: What do you consider to be the best era in video gaming?

Late 90s (Sep 1996 - Dec 1999)
33.33% 4 votes
Mid 90s (May 1993 - Aug 1996)
25.00% 3 votes
Early 00s (Jan 2000 - Apr 2003)
25.00% 3 votes
Other
16.67% 2 votes

Poll ends . 12 votes cast so far.

CatsTuxedo
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Such a discussion has certainly been held in a number of circles, but personally, I feel it isn't all that practical to sum such a matter up in terms of whole decades, since popular culture can change so much in just a few years, especially the technology. That said, thirds of decades makes much more sense as to accommodate the said advancements in tech and changes in taste.

Since I wanted to provide visual reference as to what was out in these specific periods, I wanted to keep things simple and narrow down the big choices to what I felt would be the likeliest bets, but of course, discussions concerning other periods are welcome.

Mid 90s (May 1993 — Aug 1996)


Late 90s (Sep 1996 — Dec 1999)


Early 00s (Jan 2000 — Apr 2003)
LightningBolt
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Your descriptions and arbitrary borders are strange, you should instead categorize by generations of gaming consoles.

For example, my favorite generatio would be the sixth generation of consoles, those being SEGA Dreamcast, Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube, and Nintendo Game Boy Advance, primarily. Nostalgia and childhood mainly, but also just a lot of games I love or enjoy a lot came out around this era. Seventh is second best, then Fifth, and I'm not huge on the rest as of now.

I know that generations exclude PC as a concept but I count it as I play on that the most and I'd give the same answers for it that I did the rest.
CatsTuxedo
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@LightningBolt
Yeah, I wanted to be inclusive of PC and arcade titles, and dividing it up this way seemed like the best way to do that, since they'd generally been a gen ahead of console games in tech for some time.

Also, categorizing by console generation doesn't really take into account developers finding their footing and working their way toward making full use of the console's capabilities, which doesn't tend to happen until near the end of a console's life cycle; can you really compare the Genesis games of the late 80s to those of the mid 90s?
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…Wow, those eras are really short. Under those rules, I went with 1993-1996. I think that, as a whole, late 2D was the best time in gaming, but there's nothing stopping people making games like that now, and indeed, many do. But I am in a (I think) minority in thinking that technical limitations was a very good thing for game design. Now that we are capable of a lot more in our games, people try to do a lot more, which leads to a lot of feature/scope creep, a lot of designing to simulate realism, and other things that interfere with making good gameplay. Good games are still possible under those restrictions, but it's harder to do so.

I think late 2D was the best time because 3D games are harder to do correctly. A lot of gameplay systems don't work in 3D properly, 3D assets are more costly to produce and render, and every step we take to make games resemble reality will encourage developers to make games work more like real life. The 3D era was also a time of great experimentation, which while can end up making some really good stuff, also cut short a lot of potential for sequels of great 2D games. Thankfully we had handhelds to stem the bleeding before the indie scene.

On a personal note, late 2D was when I started gaming, but I didn't hit my stride until 3D came along. Because of this, when I learned about emulation, most of the games I hadn't played were from the 2D era, so I got juiced up on a lot of good 2D games in a short timespan, which likely contributes to my stance. (I also learned I liked turn based RPGs at this time, and they're still my favorite genre)
CatsTuxedo
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If I were to give my own opinion, I'd definitely put my vote on the late 90s; that time was the stuff of legends, with '98 in particular being gaming's absolute apex. Can't think of any period before or after that equals that sheer amount of industry-shaking games that're still sticking around today (Ocarina, FF7, StarCraft, DDR, etc). The mid 90s get a close second, and Mario 64 alone is a good reason for that.

I definitely have a fondness for the early 00s since the games still maintained an element of inventiveness even when the production teams got bigger, and they held onto that a bit into the mid 00s, but afterward, I feel like things got too big and the sense of individual voices faded; they started putting so much money into games that they got less risky for the sake of making back their budgets, and even bigger production teams means more people have to agree on any given aspect to keep the production momentum, hence the loss of a sense of voice.
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@CatsTuxedo
I definitely have a fondness for the early 00s since the games still maintained an element of inventiveness even when the production teams got bigger, and they held onto that a bit into the mid 00s, but afterward, I feel like things got too big and the sense of individual voices faded; they started putting so much money into games that they got less risky for the sake of making back their budgets, and even bigger production teams means more people have to agree on any given aspect to keep the production momentum, hence the loss of a sense of voice.


Agreed on this. Games take far too much time to produce nowadays, which pushes many developers to take less risks, rely more on sequels, and just plain reduces the raw amount of games made. This has all sorts of negative effects compounding on top of each other, hurting the industry as a whole. Some genres require such a large cost though, so this isn't really a problem that can be cleanly solved.
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