Friday 5 February 2021

The History(s) of Video Games

This decade on Super Adventures, the site has covered around 1300 games, and I don't think I've spent enough time thinking about all the ways I could make lists with those games. Just imagine, instead of spending hours playing games, choosing screenshots, writing what happened in them etc. I could just put a bunch of game titles in a column and call it an article!

I need to put the games in some kind of order though, so I've decided for this article I'm going to sort them chronologically. This is going to be a big long list of years. Though they're not going to be the years the games were released in, they're going to be the years the games take place in.

This article is basically going to treat the games like they all take place in the same shared timeline where all the events happened, especially the ones that contradict each other. Because judging by how the number of characters added to each new Smash Bros. sequel keeps increasing, in a few decades all these games will all take place in the same universe. Unfortunately I can't mention events without mentioning events, so there may be a few minor SPOILERS here. But I'm not going to go ruining the plot of games or anything like that... hopefully.

A Long Time Ago
Typical Jedi attire from 14 ABY
Part of the fairy tale charm of Star Wars is that the stories have always been a bit vague about when it all takes place. Maybe these games are set before dinosaurs walked the Earth, maybe they're set in the 1930s, all we know is that they took place a long time ago.

But we do at least know exactly when they take place relative to each other, allowing us to put together a timeline using the first movie as year 0 (BBY = years before the Battle of Yavin, ABY = years after the Battle of Yavin). So we know that Jedi Outcast takes place 3 years after The Mandalorian's first season... except not really, because Kyle Katarn isn't canon anymore. Damn you Lucasfilm!
3956 BBY Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
0 BBY Star Wars: Dark Forces
Star Wars
Super Star Wars
Star Wars: Rebel Assault
Star Wars: X-Wing
3 ABY Star Wars: Rebel Assault II - The Hidden Empire
Star Wars: TIE Fighter
Star Wars: Yoda Stories
4 ABY Star Wars Arcade
5 ABY Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II
12 ABY Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast
14 ABY Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy

Before Common Era
Palaeozoic Era
An overlynx city on the island of Atlantis
There's aren't many games that take place hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs walked the Earth, and even fewer have made it onto Super Adventures, but I can think of a couple of them.

story actually begins 4.6 billion years ago, but it takes you 3 billion years to evolve into a fish before you can start playing. Life on planet Earth continued to evolve and become more advanced, and a couple of hundred million years later a species of overlynxes living on the island of Atlantis developed their own civilisation. They were doing pretty well for themselves until aliens created a race of genetically engineered super soldiers called 'humans' and sent them over to invade the Earth (Interpose).
500,000,000 BCE E.V.O.: Search for Eden
250,000,000 BCE Interpose

Mesozoic Era
A tyrannosaurus rex on a skateboard
The Mesozoic Era is the time where dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Some of them lived out in the wild, without any technology more advanced than a skateboard. Other dinosaurs wore clothes, lived in cities and occasionally worked as detectives. Dinosaur civilisation grew to be fairly advanced, with brick buildings, cameras and bone-based telephones called telebones. Unfortunately the era ended with a massive extinction event around 66 million years ago, but they had a good run.

I shouldn't really include Chrono Trigger here because it doesn't take place on Earth, but the date lines up too well that I couldn't resist. They even call it '65,000,000 BC'.
85-65,000,000 BCE Dinosaur Detective Agency
Radical Rex
65,000,000 BCE Chrono Trigger

Early Civilisation
Fred Flintstone sliding down a brontosaurus' tail
Science would have us believe that humans and dinosaurs never coexisted, but I've played The Flintstones, I've seen Fred Flintstone slide down a brontosaurus' tail. I don't remember seeing anyone mention a year in the game though, so I've put it and B.C. Kid at the dawn of the Stone Age, which is as close to the dinosaur age as they can get.

Humans first started walking around 4 million years ago, but they didn't start using stone tools and rudimentary clothes until hundreds of thousands of years later. Stone cars and televisions soon followed, as human technology evolved to rival that of dinosaur technology at the height of their own civilisation (it still sucked compared to what the Atlantean overlynxs had built though).

The last of the dinosaurs eventually died out, replaced by the mighty dragons. For a while humans also shared their world with various other humanoid species, like Elves, Orcs and Hobbits (Lord of the Rings), but in 3113 the loss of magic and the destruction of the island known as Atlantis led to the end of the Fourth World and the era of the Fifth World (Shadowrun)

Not much else happened during the era, except for a few time travel incidents, an alien invasion or two, and the Romans completely failing to occupy a small village of indomitable Gauls.
3,500,000 BCE The Flintstones
B.C. Kid/Bonk's Adventure
12,000 BCE Chrono Trigger
4000 BCE J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings - Volume One
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2000 BCE Legends (Egypt level)
1378 BCE Serious Sam: The First Encounter
1200 BCE Daikatana (ancient Greece)
400 BCE Legends (China level)
50 BCE Asterix

Common Era
First Millennium
Castle Camelot
The final years of the Eastern Han dynasty saw China fall into civil war, with the three kingdoms of Wu, Shu and Wei fighting for control of the country. With flashy spear combat and magic (Dynasty Warriors)

Meanwhile Europe got a bit medieval and King Arthur ruled over Britain... until he and the Knights of the Round Table were trapped in the Cave of Glass by Queen Morgana. Fortunately the wizard Merlin was able to transport the New York Knights football team back in time to replace them (King Arthur & The Knights of Justice).
200ish Dynasty Warriors 8
Dynasty Warriors Advance
500ish King Arthur & The Knights of Justice
500 Legends (England level)
560 Daikatana (Dark Ages Norway)
600 Chrono Trigger

11th Century
Exciting political things happening, probably
The unification of Scotland and the Norman conquest of England in 1066 brought them further into European feudal politics. That's when things really got interesting... if you're any good at Crusader Kings II anyway.

This is also Chrono Trigger's present day era, and it strays a bit from Earth history here by having teleporter technology and time travel.
1000 Chrono Trigger
1066 Crusader Kings II

15th Century
A nightclub in 15th century North America
The 15th century was the beginning of the European colonisation of the Americas and the start of the Spanish Inquisition, but more importantly it was the first time that Count Dracula got a stake through his heart due to a member of the Belmont Clan.

26 years later he came back and got staked by another Belmont. It became a bit of a pattern for him after that.
1400 Legends (America level)
1450 Castlevania Legends
1476 Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

16th Century
Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel
The 16th century was the time of the Spanish Armada, the start of the European Renaissance, and a good time for artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo DaVinci. This is when the Mona Lisa was painted and the Sistine Chapel got its ceiling decorated. The 1500s also featured the creation of the world's first theme park.

But the games I played set during this century were all about Belmonts whipping Dracula.
1576 Castlevania: The Adventure
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge

17th Century

Count Dracula ruining Simon Belmont's wedding
1691 was a busy year for Dracula, as he got defeated by Simon Belmont in like five different realities. Then a few years later Simon put his pieces back together and killed him again. It didn't stick.
1691 Castlevania
Vampire Killer
Castlevania Chronicles
Haunted Castle
Super Castlevania IV
1698 Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

18th Century
Secret of Monkey Island Scumm Bar screenshot PC VGA
A typical pirate bar from the 18th century
The Golden Age of Piracy spanned the 1650s to the late 1720s, so pirate games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Claw fit in around here. This was when the legendary buccaneer Guybrush Threepwood faced off against the ghost/zombie/demon pirate LeChuck and found the treasure of Big Whoop. Europe had demons of its own during the Industrial Revolution, and much of England was wiped out by them in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, while Dracula was being killed again by Richter Belmont and his own son Alucard.

There was also a bit of tension between America and Britain at the time, leading to the War of Independence in 1775. Soon after, founding fathers like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin drafted the US Constitution, with help from time travelling roadie Hoagie (depicted in Day of the Tentacle).

It's also possible that Zorro takes place here but who knows?
1780s Day of the Tentacle (past)
1792 Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Castlevania: Dracula X
1794 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
1797 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

19th Century
A typical cowboy saloon from the 19th century
In 1861 the United States fell into civil war, leading to the era of the cowboy game. Wild West stories typically take place between the 1860s and 1890s so Outlaws, Lucky Luke and Tequila & Boom-Boom should probably go here. Not Tin Star and Wild Guns though, on account of all the robots.

1865 was the beginning of Japan's Keiō era, when a 3000 year old super intelligent super villain schemed to turn the planet into a racoon world with ancient alien technology, and was stopped by a warrior with a dragon and a bunny girl costume.

Meanwhile Victorian England reached its steampunk era, which featured big hats, shiny metal gadgets, and a Chaos Engine corrupting space and time. Also Dracula came back again. This time there wasn't a Belmont around to sort him out though, so Keanu Reeves had to go on a mission to rid Europe of vampires by kicking them to death in their coffins.
1840 Lost in Time (past)
1848 The Oregon Trail
1872 Keio Flying Squadron
1873 Keio Flying Squadron 2
Late 1800s The Chaos Engine
1890s Dracula the Undead
1897 Bram Stoker's Dracula

20th Century
I didn't write about History Line, but the intro jumped straight into my mind so I'm using this shot anyway.
Unfortunately Dracula's niece escaped Keanu Reeves' holy boot and orchestrated the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to spark World War I in a scheme to resurrect her uncle.
1917 Castlevania: Bloodlines

Blood Elvira calendar
An Elvira calendar from 1928
The 1920s was a decade of Art Deco and jazz, of electrical appliances and motion pictures. It was also a decade of paranormal gunfighting, with Patrick Galloway taking care of his friend's family curse and Caleb getting revenge against the dark god Tchernobog.
1923 Clive Barker's Undying
1928 Blood

A typical American street in the 30s
America banned alcohol in 1920 and this prohibition continued until 1933, making the 30s a good time for gangster games like The Untouchables and Mafia. Plus the decade had the perfect aesthetic for hard-boiled private detectives like Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and Jack Orlando.

The 1930s was also a time of movie serial heroes like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, so it makes sense that this is where you'll find Indiana Jones and his imitators like Earnest Evans.
1930 Mafia
1938 The Rocketeer
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
1939 Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Russian soldiers throwing potatoes at a German prisoner in Moscow, 1941
The 30s ended with Nazi Germany invading Poland, making the 40s the decade of World War II. An alliance of nations fought against the Nazi regime in games like Medal of Honor and Commandos, facing off against their super science and the occult. US Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowicz defeated Hitler after shattering his mech suit, but the war continued and Blazkowicz eventually suffered a head injury that left him lying in a coma as the Nazis ultimately conquered the world.

Meanwhile construction began on the underwater city of Rapture.
1940 The Saboteur
1942 Wolfenstein 3D
Call of Duty 2
1943 Return to Castle Wolfenstein
1944 Call of Duty
Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Walker (Berlin stage)
1945 Rick Dangerous

The aftermath of Rapture's New Year's 1959 celebration
Rapture was completed in 1951 and hundreds of people disappeared around the world as they were secretly invited to move into Andrew Ryan's objectivist paradise. By New Year's Eve 1958 the city had fell into civil war, accelerating the population's decline into insanity as they altered their own DNA to give themselves combat magic (BioShock).

Also Marty McFly returned to 1955 Hill Valley to prevent Biff Tannen's manipulation of the timeline.
1953 The Clue!
1955 Super Back to the Future, Part II (past)

  A delicious and balanced maple flavour CalorieMate meal, from 1964* (*not actually introduced until 1995)
After the end of World War II, the world was split into two - East and West. This marked the beginning of the era called the Cold War. That means that the 60s were a decade of spy action, with B.J. Blazkowicz back in action, along with Naked Snake, Cate Archer and James Bond.

The 60s were also a time of great technological progress, as nations and terrorist groups began manned space missions, with H.A.R.M. constructing a space station and the Nazis constructing a base on the moon. Giant mechs also became a concern, as the German resistance fought back against Deathshead's mechanical nightmares in Europe, while CIA unit FOX fought to stop Colonel Volgin's Shagohod project in Russia.  
1960 BioShock
Wolfenstein: The New Order
1964 Goldfinger
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
1967 The Operative: No One Lives Forever
1968 Contract J.A.C.K.
No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way

A 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
The spies were still busy during the 70s, with James Bond ending up in a blaxploitation movie and Naked Snake starting up his own PMC. Not much going on with the city of Rapture this decade, but another rich megalomaniac called Stromberg planned to create his own underwater civilisation. His plan ran into some pushback from the British and Soviet governments however, when he attempted to destroy the rest of humanity (The Spy Who Loved Me).
1973 Live and Let Die
1974 Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me

Arcade graphics from the year 198X
The 80s featured humanity's first contact with a race of E.T.s in the California suburbs. A year later, a deep space mission encountered another kind of alien, with... dramatic consequences (Spirits of Xanadu).

The world also saw a major increase in the use of time travel, with Doctor Emmett Brown inventing a time travelling DeLorean, Bill & Ted borrowing historical figures for their history report, and the Terminator dropping by to kill Sarah Connor.

The decade ended with John McClane resolving a hostage situation at Nakatomi Plaza, a new bat-themed vigilante preventing a clown from poisoning Gotham City, and Tokyo being obliterated by a psychic singularity.

198X also takes place this decade but it's vague on exactly when (it has to be right at the end though, with those graphics).
1982 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
1983 Spirits of Xanadu
1984 Beverly Hills Cop
The Terminator games present day
1985 Super Back to the Future, Part II (present day)
A View to a Kill
1986 Shenmue
GoldenEye 007 (dam mission)
1987 The Living Daylights
1988 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Die Hard
Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza
1989 Batman
Hotline Miami
Licence to Kill

The 90s
Things got a lot busier in the 90s (mostly because it was the 'present day' for all the video games that came out that decade).

The decade started with the Gulf War, and the Desert Strike crew soon returned to the Gulf to stop another dictator. Meanwhile FOXHOUND carried out operations in Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land to tackle the rising problem of walking battle tanks.

Zombies were also a real problem this decade due to the Umbrella Corporation's experiments with the t-Virus, and there was a sharp rise in dinosaur attacks due to the InGen Corporation filling two islands with the creatures. Alien attacks also increased dramatically, with the space pirate Scab trying to steal the FIFA World Cup in 1994 (Soccer Kid), and at least two separate invasions in 1999 (Banshee and UFO).

The other major concern facing humanity in the 90s was near complete annihilation, with a biological weapon wiping out much of the world's population (Snatcher), and devastating global nuclear wars in 1997 (Terminator 2), 1998 (Wasteland) and 1999 (Buck Rogers). Even Chrono Trigger's world got to join in the fun as the alien space parasite Lavos emerged and sprayed explosive spines across into the air to destroy civilisation.
1990 Die Hard 2: Die Harder
1991 GoldenEye 007 (Severnaya mission)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
1992 F1 ROC: Race of Champions
Lost in Time (present day)
1993 GoldenEye 007 (Kyrgyzstan mission)
Jurassic Park
Time Trax (past)
Walker (Middle East stage)
1994 Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Soccer Kid
1995 Gargoyles
GoldenEye 007 (main story)
Metal Gear
The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery
Terminator: Future Shock
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1996 Demolition Man (prologue)
Rise of the Triad: Dark War ("One year in the future.")
Tomb Raider
1997 Deadline
Parasite Eve
Tomorrow Never Dies
1998 Jurassic Park: Trespasser
Snake's Revenge
Resident Evil
Resident Evil 2
1999 Banshee
Chrono Trigger (Day of Lavos)
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
The World is Not Enough
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
UFO: Enemy Unknown

21st Century
Stylish gang violence in 2008
Humanity survived the turn of the millennium, but the US now faced a new threat: gang violence. Cities like Liberty City and Stilwater became a warzone, with gangsters carrying out brutal crimes while performing extreme stunts in stolen cars.

The world was also invaded by aliens again, in 2000 (Hybrid Heaven), 2007 (Duke Nukem 3D), 2009 (Incoming), and whenever Half-Life takes place.

Mega Man is set in 200X, so the game takes place during this decade as well. Metroid is set in 20X5, but that's CC (Cosmic Calendar), not AD, so it might take place ten thousand years from now for all we know.
2000 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Hybrid Heaven
2001 Max Payne
2002 Medal of Honor (2010)
2003 Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
2004 Immercenary (present day)
2005 Constantine
Forbidden Siren 2
Metal Gear Solid
2006 Saints Row
2007 Duke Nukem 3D (according to the calendars).
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Tanker chapter)
2008 Grand Theft Auto IV
Saints Row 2 (but it's somehow also set five years after the first game).
2009 Incoming
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Plant chapter)
Resident Evil 5

Civilization had progressed little in the last 20 years
In 2010 a new virus called VITAS was discovered, which went on to destroy a quarter of the world's population. A year later, the return of magic to the world led to the Year of Chaos, where human mothers began to give birth to elves and dwarfs, and dragons began to awaken. This began the era of the Sixth World (Shadowrun).

Alien invasions continued to be a recurring problem for humanity throughout the 2010s, plus Tokyo exploded again and by 2012 the Earth was in ruins due to yet another apocalypse.

Really Max Payne's life didn't seem all that bad by comparison, even though he did have to personally put a bullet into practically every street criminal, outlaw paramilitary unit, and corrupt cop in São Paulo.
2010 2010: The Graphic Action Game
The Firemen
2011 Saints Row: The Third
2012 Max Payne 3
Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 - An easy one.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
2013 Saints Row IV (also somehow at least five years after the third game).
2014 Battlefield 3
South Park: The Stick of Truth
2015 Super Back to the Future, Part II (future).
Terminator: Future Shock
The Peace Keepers
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2017 Giant Machines 2017 - Another easy one.
2018 SeaQuest DSV
2019 Akira
Blade Runner
Duke Nukem Forever (12 years after Duke Nukem 3D).
Shock Wave: Invasion Earth 2019
Walker (Los Angeles stage)

Detroit, 2027
Hey, this is where we are! Half-Life 2 also takes place somewhere around here, which means yet another alien invasion/apocalypse. 2026 also saw the beginning of World War III, which ultimately killed 600,000,000 humans and left most major cities in rubble (Star Trek). By 2028 solar flares had ruined the planet's atmosphere, turning 80% of the surviving population into zombies (Carmageddon). Things got even worse on August 23, 2029, when the asteroid 99942 Apophis collided with Earth, destroying human civilization once again (Rage).

This was also the decade that VR really started to take off, with all humanity becoming enslaved inside an MMO that looks like a 3DO game by 2027 (Immercenary). Cybernetic augmentation also took off in a big way, with humanity being split between the wealthy and fortunate who had been enhanced and those who hadn't, despite the surgery leading to a dependency on an immunosuppressive drug. The corporations grew in power and by the end of the decade the US police force was scrapped due to corruption, with private security forces taking their place (SiN).
2020 Time Commando (it's all VR, so despite the time travel you never really leave this time period).
2027 Deus Ex: The Fall
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Immercenary (VR world)
2028 Blood II: The Chosen
Carmageddon (censored version)
Metal Slug: Super Vehicle-001
2029 Skynet future in Terminator games like Terminator 2029

Police precinct and museum in 2032
By the 2030s, Earth was a paradise, with the last of our weapons stored in museums or sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara merged as one giant city called San Angeles, and creation engines were developed to create matter for free (Demolition Man and Hostile Waters).
2030 Daikatana (near-future San Francisco)
2032 Demolition Man
Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising
2037 SiN

5-inch floppy disks were obsolete by 2046
In 2040 the Earth's ecosystem lay in ruins due to environmental disasters and the Resource Wars, with the the majority of humanity living off scavenged trash under the towers of the elite (Phantom 2040). A year later, in 2041, a Chaos Dunk tragedy at a basketball game in post-cyberpocalyptic Neo New York led to the sport being outlawed, and its players hunted and killed (Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden).

By 2042 all resource problems had been solved, war had been abolished (again), and a process had been developed to use water as fuel (Consortium). Human society became almost entirely governed by robots servants (Rise of the Robots), but Neo Kobe City suffered from a series of murders, with robots killing humans and wearing their skin as a disguise (Snatcher). There was also a rise in digital drug addiction, with people entering a simulated matrix reality using 'Tek'.

In 2049 the entire population left its home planet to colonise other worlds, with the robots left behind to clean up all the pollution. One of the robots accidentally had his head replaced by a nuclear missile and became the new insane evil ruler of Earth (VectorMan).
2040 Phantom 2040
2042 Consortium
2043 Rise of the Robots
Undercover Cops
2044 Crash 'n Burn
2045 TekWar: The Game
2046 Snatcher

Basketball violence in 2053
By the 2050s human civilisation was in decline. The gap between the rich and poor had only increased and a lethal pandemic called the Gray Death spread across the globe (Deus Ex).

In 2053 another Chaos Dunk occurred in Manhattan, now part of a sprawling metropolis known as Mega-City One (Judge Dredd), with a death toll in the millions. It was followed by a devastating nuclear strike that finally brought World War III to an end (Star Trek). Nuclear war had left most of the Earth uninhabitable by 2055, so humanity moved out to form two colonies in the Alpha Centauri system, Vekta and Helghan (Killzone).

But the Earth was rebuilt and megacorporations seized power (Shadowrun). Several factions gained influence as humanity fell into war and economic depression during a period known as the 'Collapse' (Deus Ex)
2050 Johnny Bazookatone
Shadowrun (SNES)
2052 Deus Ex
2053 Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden
2055 Virtuoso
2056 Kabuki: Quantum Fighter
2058 Shadowrun (Mega Drive)

Barrier City #42, 2065
By the 2060s the Earth was in ruins due to an alien invasion. The last survivors of humanity found refuge within cities protected by energy shields that prevented the alien ghosts from getting inside (Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within), or within domed communities sitting on pillars far above the clouds (The Jetsons).
2062 The Jetsons: Invasion of the Planet Pirates
2065 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (not a game, but I wrote about it anyway.)
2069 Electrocop

Nuclear detonation near Boston, 2077
Much of humanity now lived in walled city states on Earth, while the miners working on Mars suffered in terrible conditions. In 2072 Chicago was reduced to grey goo by a nanite bomb, three years later the Martian miners fought back against the Ultor Corporation, and on October 23, 2077 human civilisation was wiped out once more by another global nuclear war (Fallout)
2072 Deus Ex: Invisible War
2075 Red Faction
2077 Fallout 4 (prologue)

Somehow life continued in the wasteland
A digital plague known as the nanophage spread across Poland, killing thousands, and a megacorporation seized power again (Observer). Meanwhile the rebellion on Mars continued and construction worker Douglas Quaid travelled there to solve the mystery of his own obsession with the planet (Total Recall).
2080 Red Faction II
2084 Observer
Total Recall
2087 Wasteland

European cyberpunk metropolis in 85 NC (New Calendar)
The world had fallen further into dystopia, with most nations now under the control of corporations who fought for dominance with cybernetically augmented agents (Syndicate). Many people were implanted with a 'CHIP' to alter their perception of reality and make them more susceptible to manipulation and less likely to rebel against the misery and poverty they live in. Meanwhile the US fell under control of a fascist theocracy called the 'Hand of God' that banned cybernetics and virtual reality (Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller).

Also human-assisted robot (HAR) fights really took off as a sport in this decade (One Must Fall: 2097), along with hover racing and Speedball (Speedball).
2095 Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller
2096 Syndicate
2097 One Must Fall: 2097
I'm fairly sure Wipeout 2097 would go here if I'd played it too.
2098 Future Cop: L.A.P.D.
2099 Down Load

Far Future
22nd Century
Space racism in 2183
22nd century Earth was a harsh place, with much of the United States now a barren wasteland (Wasteland 2, Rage, Fallout). People survived in underground vaults and giant Mega-Cities (Judge Dredd) and much of humanity was now kept as pets by the ruling race of tentacles (Day of the Tentacle) or the sadistic computer AM (I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream)

Space travel became common in this era and many discoveries were made. New species of aliens were discovered by the starship Von Braun (System Shock 2) and the crew of the Nostromo (Alien), while scientists on Mars discovered an alien outpost (Mass Effect) and a gateway to Hell (Doom 3). Meanwhile Conrad B. Hart discovered that shapeshifting aliens had infiltrated society and were planning to conquer the human race and Commander Shepard discovered that the Reapers were coming to reap the advanced cultures of the galaxy.

A united humanity eventually proved its worth to the other powers in the galaxy and in 2161 they earned their place on the council of the newly created United Federation of Planets (Star Trek). Meanwhile the Solar System was in the grip of a fierce civil war between the Alliance and the Coalition. Realising that they weren't going to win, five sleeper ships escaped to start new colonies in the Sirius Sector (Freelancer), while the Andromeda Initiative headed out to a new galaxy in six arks (Mass Effect).

Mega Man X4 also takes place during this century as it's set in 21XX, but they're weirdly sketchy on the specific year.
2100ish I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
2102 Wasteland 2
2105 Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
2112 Donk! The Samurai Duck
2114 System Shock 2
2129 Time Slip
2134 Judge Dredd (Arcade)
2135 Rage
2137 Alien: Isolation
2142 Flashback
2145 Doom 3
2149 Radix: Beyond the Void
2161 Fallout
2165 Rage 2
2179 Alien Trilogy
Aliens: Colonial Marines
2183 Mass Effect
2185 Mass Effect 2
2186 Mass Effect 3
2190s Day of the Tentacle (future)
2193 Time Trax (present day)
2197 Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Final years Chrome

23rd Century
Star Trek 25th Anniversary PC bridge
The bridge of a Constitution-class starship in the 2260s
The 23rd century began with colonists on the Moon working to reclaim the Earth after a 20 trillion ton asteroid collided with it, wiping out civilisation (Millennium 2.2). Scattered communities fought to survive in the ruins, with a New California Republic forming in the western side of what used to be the United States (Fallout 2).

Earth had to fight off two alien races during this century, the Strogg and the Daleks, but they were victorious and humanity entered a new post-post-post-apocalyptic golden age. Captain Kirk took command of the USS Enterprise in 2265 and began a five year mission of space exploration and sci-fi adventures.
2200 Millennium 2.2
2230 Malice
2241 Fallout 2
2246 Quake 2
Quake 4
2251 Unreal II: The Awakening
2254 Doctor Who: Dalek Attack
2260s Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (NES)
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (PC)
2277 Fallout 3
2281 Fallout: New Vegas
2287 Fallout 4
2288 Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Starship Bridge Simulator

24th Century
The bridge of a Galaxy-class starship in 2370
The 24th century was a time of trouble for Earth's colonies, as the Halcyon system came close to collapse due to extreme capitalism (The Outer Worlds), while Helghan forces attacked Vekta (Killzone). Maris also had its problems, as the Nohzas civilisation decided it would be a nice place to lay their eggs... as soon as all the humans were killed (Zillion).

Earth, on the other hand, had been at peace so long that humanity had lost the instinct to fight. The government was obviously concerned about this, so they developed a video game to turn people violent again. Unfortunately the simulation went and captured people instead, holding them as hostages (Gain Ground).

Starfleet was up to its sixth USS Enterprise at this point, under the command of Captain Picard, but it was a golden age for the Federation. At least it was until the Borg invaded and took on their fleet near the star Wolf 359.
2300 Chrono Trigger (bad future)
2348 Gain Ground
2355 The Outer Worlds
2357 Killzone
2360s Star Trek: The Next Generation - Echoes from the Past
2367 Star Trek: Borg
2369 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Crossroads of Time
2370 Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity
2374 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen
2376 Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force
2377 Star Trek: Borg (prologue)
Star Trek: Bridge Commander
2380 Star Trek: Elite Force II
2387 Zillion

25th Century
The 25th century was all-action
The 25th century is famously when space hero Buck Rogers came out of hibernation (a whole 50 years after Duck Dodgers). Earth at this point was under the totalitarian rule of Kage Mishima, who maintained control by holding both the only cure to a plague and also a magic time-travelling sword (Daikatana).

Earth suffered the Great War in this century, where countless little dudes were slaughtered by a mech with infinite ammo (Walker). This was possibly the same World War XVII that devastated many of Earth's colonies across the galaxy (Top Gear 3000). Meanwhile the mining planet of Hillys was under siege by alien invaders called the DomZ, and under control of an apparently benevolent military force called the Alpha Sections (Beyond Good & Evil).
2412 Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter
2420 Walker (Great War stage)
2435 Beyond Good & Evil
2455 Daikatana (present day)
2456 Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday is set some point after this year.

26th Century
Sexy naked hologram technology, from 2552
At some point around the year 2530, an alien alliance known as the Covenant decided that humanity was an affront to their gods and declared a holy war against Earth. By 2552 humanity was still holding on (it helped that the aliens didn't know where Earth was), but a devastating attack on the colony world Reach sent the starship Pillar of Autumn running straight into a mysterious ancient ringworld structure (Halo: Combat Evolved). Meanwhile drunken space captain Grayson Hunt drove his vessel straight into the battleship Ulysses (partly out of revenge, partly because he was really drunk) (Bulletstorm).

Earth had its own problems this century, due to a self-replicating AI with ambitions to replace the human race. Fortunately the scientists made sure that a psychokinetic boy had the key to destroy her (Galerians).
2552 Halo: Combat Evolved

27th Century

Wing Commander title screen
In the distant future, mankind was locked in a deadly war with a race of space cats called the Kzinti Kilrathi. An ace space pilot assigned to the Confederation carrier TCS Tiger's Claw called Christopher Blair was instrumental in shooting lots of them down (Wing Commander).

By 2688, humanity had achieved a utopia again, due to a really good song by two 20th century musicians: Bill S. Preston, Esq., and Ted "Theodore" Logan.
2634 Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces (Super Contra)
2654 Wing Commander

28th Century
Marathon takes place in 2794 and Terminal Velocity is set in 2704, but I never actually played them myself so I can't say anything about the 28th Century. Sorry.

29th Century
This is where Mass Effect: Andromeda would go if I'd written about it, with the ark Hyperion arriving in the Helios cluster in 2819. Marathon 2 is set in 2811 but I haven't played that either.

30th Century
Planet Leeds, Leeds System, 2960s
800 years after the civil war that drove them to flee Earth's solar system, the colonies started by the Alliance sleeper ships had formed colonies of their own (Freelancer).

Meanwhile outlaw thrill seekers, starved of fun by the Bureau of Reasonable Entertainment's suppression of anything too exciting, had a once-in-a-millennium chance to join a car race through the twelve star systems of the Galactic Conglomerate of Unified Planets in 2962. I suppose it was also the first chance anyone had gotten to join the race, unless there was intergalactic racing tournament held in 1962 (Top Gear 3000).
2960ish Freelancer
2962 Top Gear 3000

31st Century
Turrican II is set in the year 3025, so it seems plausible that Turrican takes place around here as well. Then again, after reading about their stories I'm not sure they're even set in the same reality

The MechWarrior games definitely take place during this century, as one of them's called MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. It was a time of high adventure, apparently, and an age of war unlike any before and since. Maybe because everyone fighting was either in giant robots or robot suits.
3024 MechWarrior

40th Century
I thought the Turrican and Mechwarrior games were going to win this, but then I discovered that Rex Blade takes place in 3900. That's the 40th century! This is the furthest into the future that Super Adventures has ever travelled, as far as I'm aware.

Though maybe I'm wrong about that! If I am, let me know.


If there's one thing I've realised while putting this article together, it's that we really need a wiki for fictional dates. This is information that absolutely no one needs to know and that means the internet is greatly diminished by its absence.

It's also taught me that any decade you can walk away from without being caught in an alien invasion or nuclear apocalypse is a good one, so maybe our world isn't so bad after all! A utopia would be nice though. Maybe we should skip the horrible cyberpunk era and just jump ahead to that.

Next week on Super Adventures: an actual game! I can't guarantee it'll be one you want to read about, I can only promise there won't be another list of dates. In fact I'm not even going to tell you what the game is. But if you want to tell me what it is, that's cool.

You can also let me know if I got any of the dates wrong or missed anything obvious out in this article. Comments are extremely welcome.


  1. Hey, next Up is Ultima Underworld! Cool!

  2. Regarding Zorro, I believe Most Zorro stories take place roughly about the Mexican war of Independence (the mobile Mask of Zorro nails down the year 1821 for "OG" Zorro / Don Diego), so that should probably be about the right time for the Zorro game as well).

  3. You're missing Defender of the Crown in 1149 -- just before lunch -- but that's probably because you haven't played Defender of the Crown, so I'll let you off.

    But you should play Defender of the Crown.

  4. You must have done some serious research and backtracking for this. A super fun read!

  5. It took me a few days to visit this post, but this was impressive.


Semi-Random Game Box