It's a random Thursday night and the dorm room is packed. A group of friends find themselves huddled around the TV, its soft glow the only light as they trade headshots and grenades with one another on-screen. Shots fired. Enemies down. Pizza slices on paper plates, cups filled with soda and beer, and maybe some music thumping away in the background. The year? 1998.
By Robert Marrujo:: That's the year Nintendo and Rare unleashed GoldenEye 007 on an unsuspecting world. At the time, anyone who wanted to play a solid, engaging first-person shooter had to own a PC. Home consoles simply didn't offer those sorts of experiences needed a keyboard and mouse for the sort of precision that shooters required. Rare didn't agree.
GoldenEye had long been gestating at Nintendo. The Japanese developer had fought for and finally acquired the rights to produce a video game based on the James Bond movie of the same name.
What might be hard to believe in a gaming landscape dominated by the likes of Call of Duty and Overwatch is that neither of those franchises would probably exist as they are today if not for GoldenEye. Rare's masterpiece was a sea change for the industry. Suddenly, not only were home consoles a viable platform for first-person shooters, but they were now at the epicenter of huge social and competitive gatherings around them.
Titles like Halo, Metroid Prime, and more took the basic blueprint of GoldenEye and expanded and innovated upon it. It was proof positive that shooters didn't have to simply be mindless corridors of foes to mow down with shotguns. Instead, developers were free to incorporate genuine exploration, platforming, and more into their first-person games. With the advent of online multiplayer, developers also began to lay the groundwork for today's eSports scene with the DNA of GoldenEye at its core.
So thanks to Rare and Nintendo for delivering one of the most important games of the past 20 years. Franchises like Halo and Call of Duty might have eclipsed the success of GoldenEye, but there's no escaping the incomparable legacy that this title has. Here's hoping that one day fans are able to experience this game on contemporary consoles. Until then, gather some buddies and track down an N64 and copy of GoldenEye to relive the glory days of late 1990s video games!