Supermario64

Here’s an interesting one for you. British video games retailer GAME conducted a poll of 2000 “self-confessed console and PC aficionados” in  Britain to see which year in gaming they believed to be the most memorable. 14% of those polled declared 1996 to be their most memorable year. If you recall, 1996 was the year that Tomb Raider first appeared, the year that the Nintendo 64 launched, bringing with it Super Mario 64, and the year that Crash Bandicoot first appeared on the PlayStation. Titles like Resident Evil and Tekken 2 also launched in Europe and North America during this year, making it an understandable choice.

It was far from being a clear winner, however. As you can see in the poll results below, the top five choices were pretty close to each other:

“1. 1996 (14%): Tomb Raider and Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 launched. We were singing along to Baddiel and Skinner’s Three Lions and Brit Pop was at its height.

2. 2002 (13%): Halo and Elder Scrolls III on the Xbox and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. BBC 6 Music arrived on our airwaves and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

3. 1991 (12%): Street Fighter II and Super Mario World on SNES and Lemmings was out on the PC. It was the start of the Iraq war and the year Bryan Adams made history when (Everything I Do) I Do It For You entered its 15th successive week at number one.

4. 1985 (11%): Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong Jr on the NES and Ultima IV and Oregon Trail on the PC. It was the year Eastenders went on air and the mullet was considered the most desirable hairstyle for men and women alike.

5. 1980 (10%): Pac-Man and Centipede in the arcade, Space Invaders on the Atari 2600 andZork on the PC. It was the year John Lennon was shot dead and David Bowie was at number one with Ashes to Ashes.”

GAME’s poll also asked the public which console they felt to be the best. Predictably enough, the Nintendo Wii tops the list, although I find it interesting that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 follow it so closely. I would have expected either the Super Nintendo or the PlayStation 2 to grab the second place spot. I was also a little surprised at how high up the list the Sega Master Drive is, but hey, the people have spoken:

“1. Wii (15%)

2. Xbox 360 (10%)

3. Playstation 3 (9%)

4. Playstation 2 (8%)

5. Sega Mega Drive (7%)

6. Playstation 1 (6.5%)

7. Super Nintendo (6%)

8. Game Boy (5%)

9. N64 (4.5%)

10. Nintendo DS (4%)”

What do you think of GAME’s poll? What year in gaming would you have called the most memorable?