Lego Star Wars

Lego Star Wars 2005

Developer: Traveler’s Tales Games
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
System: PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox (March 29, 2005)


Believe it or not, a time once existed in which we heard that someone was making a Lego-themed game based on a film franchise and thought, “Well, that’s weird.” Things were so simple back then.

Lego Star Wars came out and blew us all away with its clever puzzles, creative world, and cutscenes that presented a better version of the Star Wars prequel trilogy than the movies that they were re-creating (it must have been because they cut all of that crap dialogue). And the game was only four hours long, so it was also shorter than those films. It was just a better deal all around.

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Plus, Lego. And Lego makes everything better.

Where are they now?

Where aren’t they now? Since this first game, developer Traveller’s Tales has been churning out more Lego games based on the Indiana Jones series, DC and Marvel superheroes, Harry Potter, and several other huge franchises. This fall, we’re getting Lego Dimensions, a crossover extravaganza that is TT’s answer to collectible-figure video games like Disney Infinity and Skylanders.

Not so bad for the company that made that crappy game based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula where you punch bats.

Evan Killham — Writer


Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus looking up

Developer: Team Ico
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
System: PlayStation 2 (October 18, 2005)


Whenever I think back on Shadow of the Colossus, only one word comes to mind: scale. I’d seen big monsters in other games before, but none of them captured that David vs. Goliath feeling quite like Shadow of the Colossus did. One fight in particular still stands out. I was fighting a flying serpent-like creature that would burrow into sand. I knew arrows could pop its air sacs and bring it near ground level, but I couldn’t figure out what to do next.

My “aha” moment came an hour or so later when I realized I had to jump off my horse and use the creature’s wings to climb on top of it. I hung onto its furry back while it tried to shake me off. That’s still the most badass thing I’ve ever done in a game.

Where are they now?
Sony Japan’s Team Ico studio has been busy dealing with its own stubborn colossus. Its next game, The Last Guardian, was supposed to come out for the PlayStation 3, but it disappeared from the spotlight after the initial reveal a few years ago. It resurfaced at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow with a 2016 release date.

Giancarlo Valdes — Writer


Star Wars: Republic Commando

Star Wars Republic Commando guy

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
System: Xbox (February 17, 2005)


A decade ago, diehard Star Wars fans were still holding on to the possibility that George Lucas was going to bring together his ill-fated prequel trilogy with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith that May.

Adding fuel to that fire was the excellent first-person squad shooter Republic Commando, which debuted two months earlier in March. It put players in control of a team of clone troopers who all had different skills and purposes.

It’s perhaps most notable for stepping away from a reliance on Jedi; you never play a character with Force powers, and that self-imposed limitation likely forced the LucasArts development team to get creative. The result was easily one of the most enjoyable adaptations of the galaxy far, far away of that era.

Where are they now?

LucasArts is dead, and Disney now owns Star Wars. But we’re once again getting our hopes up for a new set of films, and Star Wars: Battlefront — a multiplayer shooter from Battlefield developer DICE — is set to wow fans, like Republic Commando did, a few weeks before the next movie’s release.

Jeff Grubb — News Writer


Civilization IV

Civilization 4 wtf

Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
System: PC (October 25, 2005)


No game better encapsulates the idea of a “return to form” better than Civilization IV. The long-running turn-based strategy series had settled into a bit of a stale routine prior to 2005, when the 4X strategy of explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate found new virtual heights. Civilization IV was the most modification-enabled installment in the series at the time of the release, written in the highly-customizable Python programming language.

The game’s theme, “Baba Yetu,” also became the first video game tune to receive a Grammy nomination (and a win) when it was rereleased under composer Christopher Tin’s debut solo album, Calling All Dawns. But even beyond its musical accolades, Civilization IV retains its spot as a high-water mark in one of the most prestigious franchises in video gaming.

Where are they now?

Firaxis released two expansions to Civilization IV — Civilization IV: Warlords in 2006 and Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword in 2007 — and used its engine to re-create the 1994 turn-based strategy game Sid Meier’s Colonization, releasing it as a standalone game by the name of Civilization IV: Colonization in 2008. The Civilization franchise itself continued, Firaxis releasing Civilization V in 2010 and Civilization: Beyond Earth in 2014.

Gavin Greene — Writer


Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS cover up close

Developer: Nintendo EADG 1
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Nintendo DS (November 14, 2005)


This handheld racer represents the checkpoint between the original and modern entries in the Mario Kart series. The speed and handling are as tight as any home version, and the item selection is diverse without feeling bloated. Meanwhile, the venues make great use of Mushroom Kingdom locales like Super Mario 64’s Tick-Tock Clock and the airships from Super Mario Bros. 3.

No tricks. No gliders or anti-gravity zones. Just pure driving.

It’s also one of the first Nintendo games to feature online play, and you can blame it for the loss of old-school power slides. Pulling off repeated slides to get turbo boosts, or “snaking,” is necessary to win, so the developers limited the mechanic in later games to keep in line with the brand’s fun-for-all sensibilities.

Where are they now?

The series eschewed console-related naming conventions with its Wii U outing, Mario Kart 8. Thanks to DLC, players no longer have to wait a generation to get new tracks or racer. (And when did Link learn how to drive?)

Chris Hoadley — Writer and Community Moderator


BONUS ROUND


50 Cent: Bulletproof

50 Cent: Bulletproof eyes

Developer: Genuine Games/High Voltage Software
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
System: Sony PSP (November 17, 2005)


Hey, if Shaquille O’Neal could get his own fighting game, then why couldn’t rapper 50 Cent get his own third-person shooter for PlayStation2 and Xbox? (We’re just as shocked as you that it didn’t come out on GameCube) Bulletproof is loosely based on the real-life event in 50 Cent’s life that left him with alive after eating nine bullets. Of course, in the video game world, Fiddy gets to exact violent revenge on those who tried to kill him. Bulletproof was really memorable largely as a butt of many jokes.

Where are they now?

Bulletproof was not good, and most remember it as one of the more bizarre licensed games ever made. Still, it somehow got a sequel, Blood in the Sand, in 2009. Even more bizarre, Blood in the Sand wasn’t half-bad. Sadly, that was the end of the epic 50 Cent video game universe.

Mike Minotti — Community Manager and Writer


 

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