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Feature Article

GameSpot is 18! What else was happening in games 18 years ago?

Finally legal to drink. In Mexico.

Way back in 1996, a small, unassuming website was launched to little fanfare. From humble beginnings, that site quickly grew into a global phenomenon, and today is one of the best-known brands in the world. That site, of course, is Google. Also launched in 1996 was another small site called GameSpot, and today, May 1, is that site's 18th birthday.

A lot of things have changed in video games in 18 years, but one thing has remained the same--GameSpot's focus on giving our readers the best reviews, news, and videos about gaming. So what was it like way back in 1996 when GameSpot first launched?

This was the hot console release for that year.

The Nintendo 64 was released in North America and Japan in 1996, and was the last Nintendo home console to use ROM cartridges.
The Nintendo 64 was released in North America and Japan in 1996, and was the last Nintendo home console to use ROM cartridges.

And this classic game was one of the launch titles.

Super Mario 64 was the first time the portly plumber appeared in a full 3D game. We reviewed it and gave it a 9.4.
Super Mario 64 was the first time the portly plumber appeared in a full 3D game. We reviewed it and gave it a 9.4.

Nintendo also released (in Japan) another game that would kick off one of the biggest franchises ever created.

Pokemon Red and Blue were the first games in the Pokemon series, and were released in Japan in 1996. The games wouldn't be released outside of Japan for another two years.
Pokemon Red and Blue were the first games in the Pokemon series, and were released in Japan in 1996. The games wouldn't be released outside of Japan for another two years.

3D action games were becoming much more common, with this game making waves at the start of 1996.

Duke Nukem 3D, released in January 1996, was the last time people cared about Duke Nukem.
Duke Nukem 3D, released in January 1996, was the last time people cared about Duke Nukem.

This title was another influential 3D shooter released in 1996, and was one of the first to popularize online multiplayer. Can you guess what it is?

The original Quake, released in June 1996, was decidedly less sci-fi than the other games in the series.
The original Quake, released in June 1996, was decidedly less sci-fi than the other games in the series.

Other huge franchises also saw their start in 1996, such as this one.

Resident Evil was scary back in 1996. Nowadays, not so much.
Resident Evil was scary back in 1996. Nowadays, not so much.

Gaming's most popular heroine made her game debut, too.

The very first Tomb Raider game was released in October 1996. And thanks to a successful 2013 reboot, Lara still remains relevant today.
The very first Tomb Raider game was released in October 1996. And thanks to a successful 2013 reboot, Lara still remains relevant today.

And the left buttons of PC mice everywhere were worked overtime because of this game.

The Nintendo 64 was released in North America and Japan in 1996, and was the last Nintendo home console to use ROM cartridges.
The Nintendo 64 was released in North America and Japan in 1996, and was the last Nintendo home console to use ROM cartridges.

But was this actually the biggest game fad for 1996?

This is a Tamagotchi. This was huge in the 1990s.
This is a Tamagotchi. This was huge in the 1990s.

Nah, probably not. But there was one other significant game-related event in 1996. The birth of this company.

So Valve is also 18, just like GameSpot. Wait... 1996... 6 divided by 18 is 3... so... Half-Life 3 announcement this year!
So Valve is also 18, just like GameSpot. Wait... 1996... 6 divided by 18 is 3... so... Half-Life 3 announcement this year!

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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  • RandolphRam

    Randolph Ramsay

    Randolph is the editor in chief of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

    VGHM 2014

    VGHM 2014