All The Major 2024 Game Anniversaries Worth Celebrating

Silent Hill (1999) 2024 game anniversaries

The year has just begun, and it has given gamers everywhere a reason to party: all the 2024 game anniversaries. From the deft-defying stunts of Uncharted 2 to the childhood adventures of Earthbound, count on gamers throwing celebratory bashes and busting out the controllers. hori

Note to celebrants: remember to remove the lampshade before pressing start.

Golden Axe (January 27, 1989)

Golden Axe
Image Credit: Sega.

One of Sega's classic arcade games, Golden Axe arrived 35 years ago. It brought co-op action between two players. Riding dragons and all manner of creatures stepped this game up for many who love the beat-em-up genre. The impressive animations of the time made this game memorable to players.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (February 2, 1994)

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 VIDEO Game (1989)
Image Credit: In-game screenshot, Sega – Fair use/Wiki Commons.

Thirty years ago, the third Sonic game spin dashed its way to store shelves. It brought along the powerhouse Knuckles into the series. Tails, as a playable character, flew through the stage for the first time. The game features thrilling levels, just like the past two games with Angel Island Zone, Marble Garden Zone, and Ice Cap Zone, which all felt unique from each other.

Apex Legends (February 4, 2019)

Apex Legends
Image Credit: EA.

The battle royale genre grows older with Apex Legends turning five in 2024. Respawn Entertainment brings its high-intensity FPS gameplay to the competitive space and succeeds. Sliding down hills is a dream, and the shooting feels precise. A wide variety of characters, each with their own abilities, adds to the fascinating gameplay table as well. Despite its age, Apex Legends draws many fans to this day. Some say it doesn't replace a Titanfall successor, however.

Final Fantasy VIII (February 11, 1999)

Final Fantasy VIII (1999) ball with Squall and Rinoa
Image Credit: Square Enix.

One of the most divisive games in the series, Final Fantasy VIII features Squall and the gang defending Balamb Garden from the likes of Sorceress Edea. Classic JRPG gameplay and a thoroughly engaging narrative come hand in hand in this PS1 title. However, some fans pan the game for its gritty experience and lacking a combat system when compared to its predecessor. The beloved Triple Triad card mini-game stands out, on the other hand.

Final Fantasy VIII is probably the boldest entry in the series,” said Wealth of Geeks on its ranking of Final Fantasy games. “That’s a big reason why we love it, and it's slotted so high on this list.”

Punch-Out!! (February 17, 1984)

Punch-Out NES
Image Credit Nintendo.

Little Mac battled his way to victory in the arcade release of Punch-Out!! 40 years ago.

In this boxing game, dodging and weaving incoming attacks provides plenty of entertainment as players learn each foe's patterns. People who played it back in the day chose between an uppercut and a basic jab. The original release also has Little Mac in a wireframe form, unlike the console versions. 

Silent Hill (February 23, 1999)

Silent Hill (1999)
Image Credit: Konami.

25 years ago, players got spooked by the foggy streets of Silent Hill. Famous villains like Pyramid Head still haunt the minds of many who played the game back in the day. It currently has an 86 Metacritic score from 17 critics who praised the game.

“With multiple endings, secrets, and hidden items, you'll find replay value deep within the game,” said PSX Nation, according to Metacritic. A new remake by The Medium developer Bloober Team arrives this year. 

Killzone 2 (February 26, 2009)

Killzone 2
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Now a forgotten PlayStation franchise (due to Guerilla focusing on the Horizon series), Killzone 2 marked graphical excellence during the PS3 era. The rain looks gorgeous, and the masks of the Helghast truly stand out among the dark setting. Each weapon feels heavy, adding some realism to this sci-fi title. Shooting felt powerful, making many fans of this series after a disappointing PS2 predecessor. Of all the 2024 game anniversaries celebrated here, this one deserves a revival the most.

Resident Evil 5 (March 5, 2009)

Resident Evil 5
Image Credit: Capcom.

As the first co-op title in the franchise, Resident Evil 5 received mixed reviews from fans of the series. On the other hand, it still stands up even to this day. It features exhilarating bosses, some decent puzzles, and a bonkers story that's somehow entertaining to follow. This can be played alone, but it is recommended to play with a friend; the AI co-op partner poses a near-impossible challenge.  

Hearthstone (March 11, 2014)

Hearthstone
Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

Does anyone feel old yet? This digital World of Warcraft collectible card game took the world by storm 10 years ago. It features fast, easy-to-understand gameplay that felt like a rush back in the day. It didn't even matter if players weren't Warcraft fans: the mechanics became so frigging fun to enjoy.

As the game carried on, on the other hand, it became overrun with too many gimmick cards and mechanics. It lost its simplicity. 

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (March 18, 2004)

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (2004) Game
Image Credit: Nintendo.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures became a strange, yet thrilling experiment on the GameCube 20 years ago. Four players use their Game Boy Advance systems to control Link in the game. It revolves around puzzles designed for four players. Those who take on the challenge need to work together to succeed. It was something new for the fantasy series that many loved back in the day, and one of the 2024 game anniversaries worth celebrating.

Katamari Damacy (March 18, 2004)

Katamari Damacy
Image Credit: Namco.

Releasing on the same day as The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Katamari Damacy provides an intriguing puzzle adventure. Players take on the roll of The Prince, rolling a ball and sticking objects around the world to it. It gets absurd as the hilarious King of the Cosmos looks over the protagonist. As the game proceeds, the stakes get higher as players roll over skyscrapers and other big objects.

Super Metroid (March 19, 1994)

Super Metroid
Image Credit: Nintendo.

Some argue Super Metroid takes the place of the best SNES game. The creepy atmosphere, entertaining level design, and cool bosses all make for an outstanding sci-fi adventure. The big map also rewards players who return to prior areas with new abilities. Super Metroid partly became the origin of the well-regarded Metroidvania genre. 

Pokemon Snap (March 21, 1999)

Pokemon Snap
Image Credit: Nintendo.

Who knew taking pictures of cute animals would be so fun? This ingenious puzzle game has players strolling across areas within a moving cart. They interact with the environment by throwing apples and other objects at the Pokémon, leading to unexpected events. When this occurs, the Pokemon could evolve or open a new path. Players at the end of each run get points based on the quality of each picture from the camera. Fans of the franchise played this game over and over again. 

Rollercoaster Tycoon (March 21, 1999)

Rollercoaster Tycoon (1999)
Image Credit: MicroProse Software, Inc.

Running a theme park, setting up rides, and making sure there's enough money going around is a thrill in Rollercoaster Tycoon. Hundreds of fans still play this game regularly to this day. Modern titles like Planet Coaster and Park Beyond have this game to thank. 

Far Cry (March 23, 2004)

Far Cry (2004)
Image Credit: Crytek.

Many wondered if their PC could run Far Cry due to how it impressed 20 years ago. The specs fans needed to play the game were wild, and the question was brought up many times whenever players get a new computer. Its open-world nature provided an epic scope to the FPS genre as adventurers explored its jungle wilderness. 

Final Fantasy VI (April 2, 1994)

Final Fantasy VI gameplay intro
Image Credit: Square Enix.

Considered as one of the best Final Fantasy games, the sixth entry honors the 2D era of the series with this swansong. The opening scene with the robots moving past the blustering snow is iconic, and the music highlights the drama of the story. The narrative left an impact with many, and some have said this is more deserving of a remake than Cloud's adventure.

In fact, the game's director Yoshinori Kitase said in a Square Enix video, “There are many Final Fantasy VI fans inside the company and they often ask me: ‘When are we making six?'”

NBA Jam (Sometime in April 1994)

NBA Jam Tournament Edition 1994
Image Credit: Midway.

Boom-shaka laka! NBA Jam might be the most iconic sports game out there. This arcade title from 30 years ago excited basketball fans with fast action, impressive dunks, and overall great gameplay. Some of the teams players could check out even revolved around non-sports players like George Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.

Minecraft (Sometime in May 2009)

Minecraft Video Game
Image Credit: Mojang.

One of the most popular games in the world, Minecraft began in May 2009 when its first beta was released to the public. It instantly gained attention as it gave so much freedom to its players. Over the years, they've built massive structures, customized their characters, and survived against the likes of the creepers. YouTuber channels like Pewdiepie and The Yogscast made countless Minecraft YouTube videos, drawing many into the game. 

Ape Escape (June 22, 1999)

Ape Escape (1999)
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment and Ubisoft.

This PS1 classic Ape Escape became the first console title to use dual analog sticks. As Spike, players catch monkeys with a net and many other gadgets along the way. The puzzles and platforming elements excited many who checked out the right analog stick for the first time. Ape Escape deserves a remake. 

Earthbound (August 27, 1994)

Earthbound
Image Credit: Nintendo.

Despite not selling well initially, Earthbound stirred many gamers who managed to pick up a copy in 1994. The funny, yet somewhat dark JRPG surged the imagination of players with its unique battle system and odd sci-fi story. 30 years later, Earthbound still leaves an impact on players today and was a huge inspiration for the popular Undertale series. 

Destiny (September 9, 2014)

Destiny
Image Credit: Bungie.

Developer Bungie without Halo seemed wild to many, but Destiny, when it was first released 10 years ago, amazed players around the world. It featured epic bosses and impressive controls and hooked gamers into checking out the game. The story did disappoint at first but improved as time went on.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (October 13, 2009)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Naughty Dog outdid itself when Uncharted 2: Among Thieves dropped onto the scene 15 years ago. This adventure features blockbuster action with bombastic scenes, hilarious banter between Nathan Drake and his friends, and exciting gunplay with all manner of weapons at Drake's disposal. The puzzles may be a highlight for many too.

Oh, and add stunning graphics for the time as well as in one level, Drake tries to work his way through a moving train filled with foes. The sequel truly succeeded its predecessor in every way.

Half-Life 2 (November 16, 2004)

Half Life 2
Image Credit: Valve.

Valve stepped up the FPS genre 20 years ago with its narrative-focused design and intriguing use of physics. The spectacular graphics (at the time) wowed many, and those who played it thought it was the next generation of video games. Half-Life 2 became a beloved game overnight. Hopefully, someday Valve counts to three. 

Pokemon Gold & Silver (November 21, 1999)

Pokemon Gold (1999) and Pokemon Silver (1999) box art
Image Credit: Nintendo.

Possibly one of the best sequels ever made, PokémonGold & Silver elevates the original title by including more fascinating pocket monsters to collect, a new Japanese-inspired region, a superb soundtrack (even if it's just 8-bit), new Pokémon types to experiment with, and a phone to call your mum and prior opponents. When someone beats the game, it even reveals that the original region, Kanto, is back with all new challenges to take on. 

Tank (Sometime in November 1974)

Tank (1974 arcade game)
Image Credit: Kee Games and Namco via For Amusement Only e.V. – Flipper- und Arcademuseum Seligenstadt (Youtube).

Half a century ago, Tank charged through arcades. Published by Atari, Tank tasked players with taking out an opponent first. They drove tanks into battle and shot their foes. Tank might be simple, but it was a success for Atari back in the day. 

Author: Chris Penwell

Title: Freelance Writer

Bio:

Chris has been a freelance games journalist for over 10 years with experience from Destructoid, GGRecon, Gamepur, and other outlets. He loves to play narrative games like Kingdom Hearts and Beyond Good & Evil.