Games of the Twentieth Century. The year 1997

For world history, this year is no worse or better than any other. Someone died, someone was born, somewhere a war began, and somewhere, on the contrary, it stopped. But for the history of games, 1997 is very important. It was the year when Ultima, the ancestor of all modern online games, and Fallout, the first in the series, appeared, whose sequels continue to please us even today.

Theme Hospital

  • Genre: economic strategy
  • Developer: Bullfrog Productions
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts

If you think all doctors are echidic, cynical, unshaven and limp, we hasten to disappoint you - not all. Some like to sleep on the job, some have been caught up in all sorts of dirty dealings, and some -- would you believe it! - I really love their profession.

Theme Hospital Screenshot

Doctors alone won't keep a hospital going for long. They will definitely need nurses, a maid (to water the flowers, to clean up after the patients) and, most importantly, a receptionist who assigns patients to rooms! And planning the layout of these rooms is a separate story! If you need less space for general diagnostics, then the X-ray cabinet will take a big bite out of the hospital building. It's also necessary to create conditions for specialists who are tired from their work to rest. And don't forget about a separate room for the research department - what if you get an unknown disease, how will you cure it? Of course, you can guess at random, which would be such a prescription and cut out the patient, but so and so in the grave can bring ... This is immediately a big fat minus to the reputation of the clinic, fewer visitors in the future and lower income. How do you pay staff salaries then? And in order to leave the provincial hospital and move to something more prestigious, will have to prove their suitability as manager - the money to prove the net profit. Would you be good at it?

Theme Hospital Screenshot

What Happened Next: economic strategies in the confined space of a medical institution are rare birds. And Theme Hospital is one of a kind altogether: there was nowhere else with this kind of humor. That is why it survived the transfer to several consoles (last time - in 2008), but did not have a full-fledged sequel, unless you count a few amateur projects.


  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Black Isle Studios
  • Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

It's hard to believe that a bombed-out, radioactive desert populated by deadly critters and even more dangerous people could be so familiar. But it can. And since Fallout hit the shelves, one by one, new Sanctuary Dwellers have gone into it. The task is the same for all of them - to find a chip to fix the water purification system in their hometown sanctuary. But how differently they solve it: some sweep through the Wasteland in a deadly whirlwind, sparing neither adults nor children. Some sneak silently by, unnoticed, but those he meets on his way, not even a crumpled crumpled apple in their pockets.

Fallout Screenshot

And someone goes, proudly raising his head, carrying the "good and eternal", persuading and persuading.

Naturally, the chip will be found and the Sanctuary will get its water, one way or another. And at the same time a lot of small and large problems will be solved, and many inhabitants of settlements and cities will die or stay alive. Even knowing what awaits in the end, the Sanctuary dweller still goes all the way to the end and once again takes the inevitable denouement for granted.

And the only thing that can poison his joy of a new encounter with the deadly wasteland, so familiar, is envy of those who will enter its expanse for the first time. Those who will greet the super mutants with caution rather than greet them as old acquaintances with a burst of heavy machine gun fire...

Fallout Screenshot

What Happened Next: a year later came the second part, where there was everything and more. And then came a strange time when every rumor about the beginning of Fallout 4 development was met with wary disbelief and poorly concealed hope. And just recently, when there was no more of either, the third part did see the light of day. And it seems that the series is not going to disappear.

While we were playing Fallout...

  • The Kyoto Protocol was signed. The countries that signed it pledged to reduce or stabilize greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the effects of global warming.
  • A user _eci published the source code of WinNuke, which causes a blue screen on a remote computer using a DoS attack.

Blade Runner

  • Genre: quest
  • Developer: Westwood
  • Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment

The year is 2019 A.D. Artificially created beings, replicants, are very similar to humans, but stronger, faster and more resilient... They are also outlawed on Earth, and specially trained police officers, "running on a razor blade," are engaged in calculating the replicants and destroying them. It's not called "killing," it's called "retiring."

Blade Runner Screenshot

The life of a "runner" is paranoia in its purest form. You can't trust anything or anyone. Not even yourself. Anybody can turn out to be a replicant - even yourself! The only way to accurately determine who is who is the Voight-Kampf test, a long and tortuous affair...

And what to do after the test? Shoot first or hide the gun and talk first? And after the talk, should I handcuff him or let him go free? Absolutely nothing to be sure - and we have to act solely on the basis of intuition.

The life of a detective in the game consists of dozens of moments, which are very rarely repeated, even after the standard procedure "save-load. You save the game, meet a stooped man in a cape and hat. Load the game, meet... a pretty good-looking artist in a red jacket. And the next time you encounter him, it might even be someone else. Have to treasure every meeting, every word you hear - because it may never be heard. Episode by episode, clue by clue, the detective plot is approaching a denouement that will depend not only on what you will do, investigating the case assigned to you, but also on what you will not do.

Blade Runner Screenshot

Moment by moment, but they will all one day be lost in time, like tears in the rain...

What Happened Next: As far as the world of Blade Runner is concerned, there was nothing next. Yes, and the idea of a "non-linear quest" in which the outcome depends on the actions (or inaction) of the player, did not become popular. Although some samples come across - the same Fahrenheit, for example.


  • Genre: arcade race
  • Developer: Stainless Software
  • Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

...The green light comes on and the cars rattling, clanking, losing their gears, rubber, wheels, doors, shame and conscience on the way, rush off and rush forward somewhere. "Somewhere", because even though the route is indicated in advance and the signs are posted, who needs them? It is boring to drive along the highway, trying to keep up with the set time! Eventually, those who want to hone the art of driving and practice entering the turn at maximum speed braking the wheels, all together go play Need for Speed or something like that.

Carmageddon Screenshot

And in Carmageddon you will find more funny ways to win. For example, to kill all the opponents. And really, why are they on the same track with me? We must show them who's boss! To speed up more forcefully, and nail a careless driver to the wall - oh, how merrily from him the wheels rolled! We don't really have any weapons, but if you look on the level, you'll find some. And overloader, hitting all around the current, and oil reserves, which can be poured under the wheels of someone who "sat on his tail.

And along with the weapons on the map scattered a bunch more stuff, enhancing or just changing the machine. Especially fun is the "pinball" converter. This is when the car starts bouncing off obstacles, like a ball. The only pity is that it is possible to get so far that it is impossible to get out when the action of the converter is over.

Carmageddon Screenshot

Well, for those who are annoyed with all these silly people, there is one more variant of victory: to pass all the pedestrians. Let them be made robots or zombies under the pressure of censorship, but we know and remember...

What Happened Next: despite the protests of the censors and the peace-loving public, the game became a hit. Naturally the sequel and the second part did not allow it to remain the only and unique one. The essence remained the same, changing only the appearance and the tracks with special tasks. And in 2000 appeared and the third part of the series, in which to crush the painted people has been more difficult and not as profitable as in the previous ...

Grand Theft Auto

  • Genre: arcade action
  • Developer: DMA design
  • Publisher: BMG Interactive

The series began as a simple arcade thriller with a top view, where of all the advantages were only an open world and the ability to steal any vehicle. At that freedom of action was full, on each level our task was to collect a certain sum of money, and how - to create mayhem, to carry out missions or to steal cars, - a question of secondary importance. Tasks the hero received on the phone, and they usually consisted of getting to the destination point, shooting everyone there, and then getting away.

Grand Theft Auto Screenshot

Surprisingly, the process dragged on, not least because the city was very interesting to explore. It was huge, with a huge number of nooks and crannies, where something interesting was hiding - from new weapons to the very real tank.

And, of course, the lion's share of the fun was playing catch-up with the police. Committed too many illegal actions, the hero put on his tail the guards of the law - both foot and "horse" - and a long, enthusiastic loop on the nooks and crannies, trying to shake off the chase.

Grand Theft Auto Screenshot

What Happened Next: in addition the action moved to the streets of London, where at first it was very difficult to get used to the left-hand traffic. GTA 2 seemed to be an expanded edition of the first one - the same principles, but a lot more features. GTA III had a full 3D theme, in Vice City the protagonist spoke for the first time, in San Andreas one city was replaced by the whole state. In 2013 the last part of the series was released, and now RockStar is working on the sixth one.

While we were playing GTA and Carmageddon...

  • Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car accident. The tragedy occurred in a tunnel under the Alna Bridge on the Seine Embankment. The cause of the accident has never been determined.
  • The famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot dead. He was the victim of serial maniac Andrew Kunenen, who killed himself when the police tried to arrest him.

Krush, Kill 'n Destroy

  • Genre: RTS
  • Developer: Beam Software
  • Publisher: Melbourne House

Still, there's something strangely appealing about games set in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. Post-apocalyptic landscapes, scorched earth, destroyed buildings, mutated animals and peopleā€¦ It is worth these pictures to appear on the monitor screen, and at least the interest of the players is secured. Of course, keep it will have to other - the plot, innovations, discoveries in gameplay.

Krush, Kill 'n Destroy Screenshot

Playing as a nuclear war survivor fighting with their mutant kin for every drop of valuable oil - what could be more interesting? Except to play as mutants against the remnants of old humanity. And those who are truly hooked on the atmosphere of this world, were willing to forgive much: the fact that the game, in fact, a clone of Command and Conquer, and the fact that the computer opponent is predictable and does not shine with intelligence ... Even the strange and incomprehensible system of upgrades could be forgiven, especially when, having finally sorted it out, you get powerful vehicles, huge animals and aviation at your disposal. What was really depressing was the lack of a network mode. Once the two campaigns were over, there was nothing to do in the game - not even the opportunity to fight with the computer on some map, as in Red Alert, was given.

Krush, Kill 'n Destroy Screenshot

What Happened Next: and then there was KKnD: Extreme, which finally added online play and a single-player mode against a computer opponent. Then there was the second part, which was not saved even by the interesting innovations, such as the possibility of choosing which armament will be installed on the produced on the base vehicles. The second part was not just a copy of C & C in a dystopian setting - it was a copy of the copy. At this point the series ended, remaining in the memory of only the most loyal fans.

Quake 2

  • Genre: FPS
  • Developer: id Software
  • Publisher: Activision

Quake 2 wasn't the founder of eSports - even before it people were raging about Doom and Quake number one. But it was with it that the heyday began. Big tournaments with valuable prizes (up to Carmack's personal Ferrari keys), mass adoption of keyboard+mouse combinations, spread of professional slang...

Quake 2 Screenshot

The second Quake game is often praised for its online mode and blamed for the single player campaign, saying it was made for the sake of appearances. The campaign was entertaining, after all, the developers really knew how to design levels and balance the game play. Varied interiors, interesting monsters, lots of secrets, and even a storyline. Narrated the war of humanity with a certain Stroggs. They made a living catching organisms all over the galaxy, implanting them with mechanical implants and turning them into members of their race. The protagonist was the only survivor of the landing on the planet Stroggos and tried to do alone what a whole army should have done - break into the depths of the enemy fortifications and kill the big boss Macron. He was scary and terrifying, shooting at the player with a real BFG, but with the right skill he could even kill him with a pistol. Also in Quake 2 there were flies that flew over enemy corpses. Not that they had any effect on gameplay, but they were memorable for some reason.

Quake 2 Screenshot

The development team listened to public opinion and Quake 3 came out without a single player campaign. Few people regretted it - everyone was captured with the network mode. But the fourth part wasn't very successful.

While we were playing Quake 2...

  • The DVD format was implemented, and the first DVDs and players started to appear in the stores.
  • Intel developed Pentium II processor with increased cache size to 32KB and MMX SIMD-instructions block.
  • Developer studios Irrational Games, Lionhead Studios, Pyranha Bytes, Quantic Dream and NCSoft appeared.

Age of Empires

  • Genre: RTS
  • Developer: Ensemble Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft

At that time, two titans of real-time strategy ruled the ball - the Command & Conquer and Warcraft series. All the others either tried to imitate them, or did not achieve much popularity. And so it was up to the appearance of Age of Empires.

It took more inspiration from Civilization than from its direct competitors. We started with a primitive tribe that could barely fish, cut wood, and build huts. But as technology evolved, one era gave way to the next and you could see solid stone houses instead of cane huts, swords instead of wooden clubs, and the first battleships rolled off the slipway.

Age of Empires Screenshot

The game didn't cover that long of a period of history - roughly until late antiquity. But even during this period of time four centuries had time to change, from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. The appearance of buildings and units changed as well, and it was especially interesting to watch.

The highest degree of development was the building of one of the wonders of the world, the pyramids or the Colossus of Rhodes. The nation that was able to do it first and survive for a while was automatically the winner. But, of course, that was not the only way to win - no one canceled war, either. Battles here took place as in any other RTS - troops were produced in barracks, allocated with a frame and sent to the enemy. But the units of the later stages of development noticeably outnumbered the laggards, and a fair number of battles were won at the expense of technological superiority.

Age of Empires Screenshot

Also Age of Empires could boast a huge variety. No kidding - twelve nations, several campaigns, a countless number of soldiers and buildings. While you will try everything.

What Happened Next: soon came a wonderful second part about the Middle Ages and a not-so-great third part, about the time of the conquest of America. As well as a number of imitators, of which the most notable were the domestic Cossacks. Now the series is climbing online.

Ultima Online

  • Genre: MMORPG
  • Developer: Origin Systems, Electronic Arts
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts

Before Ultima, no virtual world could boast such dense populations. First thousands, and then hundreds of thousands of players flooded the universe with the soulful name "Sosaria" for the Russian ear.

It's interesting: after the events of Ultima III: Exodus, Sosaria was renamed to Britannia, in honor of its ruler - Lord British.

Ultima Online Screenshot

The principles on which Ultima was based are mostly alien to the modern player. No experience, levels or classes - just a list of skills, each of which can be developed up to 100 (with some tricks - up to 120), but so that the total was no more than 700. They improved only by direct application, and if to improve the sword was a simple matter - just fight and watch the growth (albeit very, very slow), then to become a grandmaster in the domestication of animals or protection against magic, had to finesse.

When he died, he lost everything and could only seek out his own corpse to retrieve it. And only if he is not overtaken by someone else. Sometimes there weren't enough monsters on the map for everyone - whole lines lined up. And how many ways to cheat...

But in Ultima, you could buy a plot of land, build a house on it, and decorate it to your liking. You could meet the creator of the project - Richard Garriot himself was present in the world as a character named Lord British - the ruler of Britannia. And when he was unexpectedly killed in the game, the screenwriters had to urgently come up with further developments, because the death of such an important character could not but affect the history of the world.

Ultima Online Screenshot

What Happened Next: a whole series of additions to the game that did not only add! And samurai, and a race of elves with riding unicorns, and the division into two worlds, one of which could kill each other, and the second - can not. The game still exists today, although, understandably, it no longer enjoys its former popularity. The second part was announced, but the project was frozen, and Richard Garriot decided to give up gaming and flew into space.

Incubation: Time is Running Out

  • Genre: TBS
  • Developer: Blue Byte
  • Publisher: Blue Byte

Incubation might have remained obscure if it had not been released in the early days of graphics gas pedals. It was one of the first games that could demonstrate their capabilities. By today's standards it is, of course, a bit scary, but back then the fully three-dimensional environment, vivid special effects and intricate monster models were very tempting. The camera tried hard to show the battlefield from some interesting angle, and although most players still included the canonical view from above, the shots and hits were shown up close and in great detail.

Incubation: Time is Running Out Screenshot

Incubation was also brutally interesting in terms of gameplay - a turn-based tactic where three to five action points were allotted to each of the fighters per turn. Most moves, whether shooting, opening a door, or stepping aside, took one point each, but it took as many as two points to switch to defense mode (where a fighter automatically shot everything in his field of view on the enemy's turn). With such a shortage, you had to rely solely on teamwork - one opens the door, the other goes inside, and the third covers them both.

In the process, fighters grew in levels, gained new skills and more powerful weapons, but enemies still evolved faster. Some could only be wounded in the back, others had to be killed in one go, as in between they fully regenerated health, and others were hiding under impenetrable armor, opening only for the shot, and they had to catch interceptions. Moving platforms and rickety bridges that collapsed under their weight also added to the fire.

Incubation: Time is Running Out Screenshot

What Happened Next: was a chiseled addition where even ammunition was in short supply and fighters regularly had to wield bayonets in close combat. And then the fashion for turn-based tactics ended, and Blue Byte switched to real-time strategy.