Every year gamers look forward to upcoming releases that make the year stand out. Evidently, fans speculate potential announcements and theorize about possible announcements. However, one thing that is important to recognize is when a game or franchise reaches its 20th anniversary. In brief, games turning 20 is a huge milestone, as it allows developers and players to reminisce about the original release. Developers released ports, remasters, and even remakes on their respective games’ anniversaries. Here’s a list of video games turning 20 years old this year with a brief description and expected possible celebrations.
10 Video Games Turning 20 Years Old This Year
1) Sonic Heroes
In 2001, SEGA deviated from the console business after realizing the Dreamcast did not meet sales expectations. They switched to being a third-party developer and focused on other platforms. However, this would only be an interesting beginning for their popular blue blur. To explain, Sonic was going multi-platform now so sonic fans couldn’t be the only target audience. This is where Sonic Heroes came to creation as the first multi-platform Sonic game. They introduced a unique game-play style of team platforming and the story diverged from the Sonic Adventure series. After 20 years, fans remember this game nostalgically. Fortunately, it’s possible that SEGA could be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sonic Heroes this year. Takashi Lizuka, the Sonic series producer, stated in a recent Gematsu interview that much more Sonic content is coming in 2023. Could we get a remake, remaster, or port of this classic game? Keep your eyes open!
2) Kirby Air Ride
In the year 2000, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was released and was the first 3D graphic Kirby game. At a time when 3D visuals were arising, Nintendo looked to ride the wave. As a result, Kirby Air Ride was released on GameCube 3 years later. While this is the only Kirby game on GameCube, it’s one of the greatest games on the console. Whenever you cogitate about the GameCube, Kirby Air Ride comes to mind for a lot of fans. It offered great multiplayer experiences to compete with friends in races and mini-games. It’s questionable if Nintendo will recognize this classic this year. However, the Super Mario Strikers series recently got a third game on its 15th anniversary. Strikers is iconic on the GameCube along with Kirby Air Ride. It’s not improbable to believe we’ll get something new on Kirby Air Ride this year, as Nintendo is currently reminiscing.
3) NBA Street Vol. 2
The early to mid-2000s was the best time for sports games. To explain, there was a focus to try to appeal to a wider audience than the sports crowd. Thus, games like SSX, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, NFL Street, NFL Blitz, and Wii Sports existed. The NBA Street franchise was a giant in this genre and NBA Street Vol. 2 delivered like no other. This series brought popular NBA athletes into the demeanor and tone of streetball. It was essentially 3-on-3 basketball where you can do flashy tricks and dunks. In fact, win enough games and you could purchase fun content such as players and courts. Vol. 2 offers a robust tutorial with 26 lessons and an engaging story mode. Today, this game is still reviewed fondly.
4) Tak and the Power of Juju
There was a huge boom in the platformer genre in the late 90s and early 2000s. Games like Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Banjo-Kazooie, and Donkey Kong 64 were giants. One of the platformers that stood out in that era was Tak and the Power of Juju. Developed by Avalanche Software, this platformer was about jumping and attacking through a 3D stage filled with obstacles. However, Tak features a unique ability to use animals to deal with obstacles in your path. Orangutans, rhinos, monkeys, emus, and sheep were all great helpers. You also had special moves unlocked throughout the game called “Juju powers”. These moves were also great at helping you get past hurdles. Looking back 20 years later, I don’t see this game talked about anymore. If interested, I suggest giving it a try!
5) Toontown Online
Just like platformers, MMORPGs had a huge start in the early 2000s. EverQuest, World of Warcraft, RuneScape, and Final Fantasy 11 are games that come to mind. The Walt Disney Company desired participation in the MMO business and created Toontown Online. That’s right, this is one of the video games turning 20 this year! This game offered great customization, a turn-based battle system, and mini-games such as kart racing. Its overall goal was to be a very fun MMO for kids to do many different things. The game was discontinued in 2013, but there’s a created fan server called Toontown Rewritten. If curious, join in on it!
6) Mario Kart: Double Dash
Dating back all the way from 1996, the Mario Kart games continue to be staples in the video game world. Mario Kart Double Dash was a special installment that made its mark on the franchise. It introduced the concept of having 2 characters per kart. One character drives the kart while the other throws the item. You can switch characters mid-race and it’s very cool to watch. This was a lot of players’ first Mario Kart and some view it as their favorite. It’s so great to see how much it holds up after these past 20 years.
7) Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
The Shin Megami Tensei series has been a JRPG giant for the past 36 years, spanning 15 games in total. Inevitably, it would make its way onto the PS2 which housed many great JRPGs. As a result, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne was released on the console. Adopting turn-based combat, this game allows you to recruit wild demons you beat just like its predecessors. It includes a great robust soundtrack from Shoji Meguro and a unique cel-shaded art style. In fact, this game had an HD remaster recently for its 17th anniversary. Highly suggest checking it out!
8) Megaman Network Transmission
The Megaman Battle Network series is coming up with a legacy collection this year in April. Fans are extremely excited and this gives us a chance to look back on a classic for the GameCube. Developed by Arika, Megaman Network Transmission was a unique game in the franchise. This game changed things up by incorporating 2D platforming while still keeping the RPG elements of the Battle Network games. The Street Fighter EX series composers, Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso had a huge hand in this game as well. If you ever listened to their music, they make explosive tracks for this game. With the Battle Network Legacy Collection coming, who knows if this game will also come back in 2023!
9) Simpsons Hit & Run
The Simpsons is one of the biggest television series of all time. There have been many games made from them, but Simpsons Hit & Run is the most popular one. If you grew up playing PS2 with friends, no doubt you knew somebody who had this game. This was basically just a Simpsons version of Grand Theft Auto. You could free-roam the city, drive your car, attain collectibles, and do missions. It captured the personality of the original TV show very well. If you love Simpsons and GTA, I highly recommend checking this one out.
10) Viewtiful Joe
There’s no better way to end off this list than to include Viewtiful Joe. A staple video game icon for the early 2000s, this game is a 3D cel-shaded side-scrolling beat ’em up. It presented an ability called VFX power which allowed you to either slow down or speed up time. This ability is useful against puzzles and enemies and knowing which to go for is key in particular moments. It’s so crazy to see that this is one of the video games turning 20 this year.