We’ve been talking within Respawning recently about a ‘Golden Age’ of gaming. To be honest with you reader, I’m not convinced such a thing has ever existed, or will ever exist. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the old cliche goes, and if you’d told me any time before November 2016 that three games which would go on to become my top three favourite games of all time would be released within four months of each other I’d have called you an absolute weapon! I’ve rambled about these three games within numerous topics, but as it currently stands in September 2019, my top three favourite games of all time sit thus.

1) Final Fantasy XV – November 2016

2) Horizon Zero Dawn – February 2017

3) Dishonored 2 – November 2016

Just to clear, no, I don’t think a four month window constitutes an ‘age’ of gaming, I’m using it as an example that the notion of a ‘Golden Age’ is entirely opinion based.

Now, you may be a well educated, sensible and intellectual individual who loves video games yet totally disagrees with my three above mentioned games. To that I would suggest you’re a menace to society, but in order to maintain some journalistic integrity I am going to explain my position for you forthwith!

You see, the simple and obvious matter of fact is that had you asked me prior to November 2017 what the ‘Golden Age’ of gaming was, I’d have told you September 2001 to September 2003, for the four games I’ve listed below in order of release.

Dark Cloud – September 2001

Pokemon Stadium 2 – October 2001

Pokemon Silver – November 2001

Dark Chronicle – September 2003

These games dominated my childhood from December 2001 when I received a Nintendo 64 for Christmas, and then a Playstation 2 for Christmas the following year. I played them for hundreds upon hundreds of hours, and ruined a family trip to Disneyland Paris when my parents bought me Pokemon Gold for the train journey there, only to find to their dismay that I wouldn’t remove myself from the game until about a fortnight after we’d got home!

I don’t begrudge a second of the time I spend playing video games (except for a couple I’ll tear into in another article) as with any artform you have to take the good with the bad!

You might have noticed that not a single game from the Playstation 3 / Xbox 360 has made it onto the above lists and I would sympathise with any outbursts of fury for these consoles being overlooked. The first Forza Horizon is a phenomenal masterpiece, the journey through the Inferno of Hell in Dante’s Inferno is legendary and Grand Theft Auto 5’s reign of financial and critical success is nothing short of awe inspiring (but still fuck you Rockstar Games).

The true ‘Golden Age’ of gaming should be a target for games developers, and not a span of months or years that people look back on to wistfully think ‘we shall never see their like again’. The future is bright for gaming! The at present undisclosed details of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Scarlett could hold tremendous promise, and with the assurance of backwards compatibility, I am at the edge of my seat to see what Sony and Microsoft conjure to keep the masses entranced for another generation.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on the notion of a ‘Golden Age’ of gaming. I want to hear what time frames you consider as your own personal ‘Golden Age’ in the comments, and I look forward to debating it with you.

I’ll be back next week to spout more gaming opinions at you, and so I will see your face then!

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