Here we sit in 2019, lamenting what has happened to video games over the last few years. There has been a whole host of problems such as microtransactions, CS:GO gambling and all we really want is to go back to a simpler time, like 2006.
It was a wondrous time for video games as there were 8 available platforms to get lost in. You could choose between 2 generations of home console, handheld consoles, and the PC master race (obviously). We also saw the early days of the innovative motion controls, though at this time in their life they were undeniably fucking awful. Though it was the games, in the end, that made 2006 THE year for games.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Kicking off my list as to why 2006 was the best is the first ever game I bought for myself more than once (4 times in fact).
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was a fantastically broken mess of a game with some of the most memorable moments. From a super secret murder party in a mansion to taking countless drugs to break the game.
The game may not have aged well but it will still provide some outrageous and hilarious moments. There is a beautifully crafted world for you to explore and cause mayhem in as well as maybe do some serious things. Maybe take on a quest line or ten.
Though to be honest that not really the real reason to play it. As I’ve said, the game is a broken mess. There is one main way to absolutely fuck the game straight up and that is the multiplication of items in your inventory. By repeatedly doing so you can ultimately crash the game and there is no better way to do it than with watermelons.
If you haven’t bothered to play Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, then check out every way to break the game and maybe go grab yourself a copy. Its been 13 years, I doubt it’s going to cost you much. Oh, and have fun making your character, seriously, it’s questionable.
The game was memorable in 2006 because it showed that even if a game wasn’t ‘beautiful’ it could still be a great game and focused itself of Story and Gameplay. The number of features which exist in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion show that graphics aren’t all that and introduced another generation to non-linear gameplay.
Did you find my previous suggestion lacking in action? Then look no further than Dead Rising. The game which was effectively Dawn of The Dead: The Game, minus the complications of gaining the legal rights to the name (Capcom still got sued though, somehow).
Dead Rising was one of the first games to really push the limitations of what the Xbox 360 was capable of handling by having over 100 enemies on screen at any one time. It also allowed you to pick up nearly everything in sight to be used as a weapon.
What I personally enjoyed most about Dead Rising was the time constraint which was applied on to you. The game gives you 72 hours to complete your objective of how a zombie outbreak has broken out in small-town America. Now I could talk about the level of depth about corporate conspiracies or I could not. So I won’t.
Despite there being a focus on the games constricted length of play, it doesn’t mean you NEED to do the story. Instead, you can explore the indoor mall setting and instead rack up a meaty kill count using park benches, parasols, and high caliber weaponry.
If you get bored of fighting the unlimited horde of the undead, you can instead opt to venture around looking for fellow survivors or take on the slightly less-than-sane psychopaths who appear throughout.
Dead Rising is the ultimate playground game for senseless violence. With a large, varied space to explore and the most unorthodox range of weaponry (including an actual MegaMan Blaster, better work hard for that one folks), you will find yourself playing through countless times just to try everything at least once.
Dead Rising pushed the boundaries of what the Xbox 360 could do really early on and showed just how capable it was and has since pushed the limits even further.
Kingdom Hearts 2
Time to talk about something that left the world wanting and waiting. Kingdom Hearts 2 was released on the PlayStation 2 (Gods own console) and didn’t see a direct sequel until now.
Kingdom Hearts 2 saw the return of the most ambitious crossover ever. The collaboration of two contrasting companies, one notable for angsty protagonists and the other known for magical happiness.
You take on the role of an original character outside of the two worlds and join forces with Goofy and Donald Duck to take on a shadowy organization… for some reason or another, I honestly forgot why though.
The real magic (pun intended) is the Disney worlds which you explore and how the original stories we all know and love from these timeless classics have been adapted to fit in with the unfolding drama. You can also take into your party and battle alongside characters such as Aladdin and Simba.
The story pulls you in fairly quickly with the level of complexity it holds and the plethora of characters. If you do manage to complete the game it is really easy to see why everyone was yearning for a sequel.
The story-telling of Kingdom Hearts 2 has always been the peak for me and on a level others need to aspire to. Character development goes so deep and the worlds are absolutely beautiful, especially for a game which was released on the PlayStation 2 (did I mention it is the GREATEST console ever yet?)
You probably weren’t expecting this were you? The other choices I have made in my list have a great level of depth and now its a host of party games. Just hear me out.
I refer to my earlier statement about what we had available to us in 2006 and I mentioned the piss poor newborn motion controls. More specifically, those of the Nintendo Wii. Released late in 2006 the solely AV output console has since evolved and has been the foundation of some of today’s more innovative gadgets.
I particularly loved Wii Sports. It finally meant I could do fun activities with all my friends without having to leave the house, and I didn’t really need to play the games as they were intended.
There are four ‘sports’ to choose from for you and your pals to participate in (assuming you care for other people). I was always partial to a spot of bowling, more to the point, the mode which eventually saw you trying to knock down, like, 250 pins in one go. Let me tell you when you finally manage to hit a strike like that, you enter God-tier in life.
If you are lucky enough to have a friend around then you can find out which of you is the better fighter with some friendly contact sport. I discovered, that despite being a long-haired, sk8r boi back in 2006, I was the best boxer amongst my friend group, which mainly consisted of people that enjoyed a spot of mischief and Friday night drinking on a park bench with a pack of Richmond cigarettes to share among everyone. I digress.
The Nintendo Wii was the turning point videogames were inevitably going to take. Wii Sports was the foundation for so much in terms of motion controls as basic as it was at the time, eventually we were given Motion Plus controls but without this masterpiece of a game we may not have seen such developments for a long time.
In all seriousness though, 2006 had a beautifully varied range of things to play. Regardless of what you were playing on at the time, there was likely to be new releases throughout the year for your console and there was never a lack of anything to play. It was great to see that no one genre dominated the market, looking at you Battle Royales!