While the upcoming year has plenty of exciting titles to look forward to, like Halo Infinite, Horizon Forbidden West, Resident Evil Village, and more, the next 12 months also bring a multitude of milestone gaming anniversaries. The following are several January 2021 gaming anniversaries worth celebrating.
1. That Dragon, Cancer (5th Anniversary)
Numinous Games’ That Dragon, Cancer was released on January 12, 2016, for PC, Mac, and Ouya. The game tells the story of a married couple and their son, Joel, the likes of which is diagnosed with terminal cancer at twelve months of age. It suffices to say that this point-and-click adventure title is an extremely emotional experience that’s difficult to forget days, weeks, and years after completing it, especially for parents. Five years after its launch, it’s challenging to find anything quite like it.
The game’s launch day, January 12, coincides with Joel’s birthday. This year, it would be beneficial for all of us to stop and take a moment to realize how much we take for granted.
2. Dead Space 2 (10th Anniversary)
As if the first Dead Space wasn’t enough, Isaac Clarke returned for more necromorph mutilation when Visceral Games’ Dead Space 2 was released on January 25, 2011, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Set abroad at a large space station called the Sprawl, the game introduced a myriad of nightmare-inducing experiences that satisfied the most hardcore of horror enthusiasts. Fighting off a horde of pale screaming children or severing the razor-sharp limbs of an acid-filled behemoth are a few of the many haunting highlights Dead Space 2 has to offer.
3. LittleBigPlanet 2 (10th Anniversary)
Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet 2 was released on January 18, 2011, exclusively on PlayStation 3 to near-universal critical acclaim, as the game improved upon the “Play. Create. Share.” tagline its predecessor introduced. In fact, this sequel became a platform of its own, importing everything the LittleBigPlanet community made in the first iteration and allowing fans to tinker with a brand new suite of impressive tools. That’s not to mention that the game’s visuals and soundtrack are incredibly charming, allowing non-creative types to enjoy the title without ever rendering a level of their own.
4. RuneScape (20th Anniversary)
If you’ve been playing games for a while, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of RuneScape. Jagex’s classic MMORPG quickly gained popularity after it released on January 4, 2001, for PC, eventually becoming the largest free game of its kind. It seems appropriate that the franchise was released on Steam last October as, 20 years after its launch, there’s still no stopping this old-school legend. Fans looking for a simple and accessible online role-playing classic should look no further. At this point in time, almost any PC can run it.
5. Duke Nukem 3D (25th Anniversary)
3D Realms’ Duke Nukem 3D was originally released on January 29, 1996, for MS-DOS. Alongside Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, the game popularized the first-person shooter genre and evolved the medium with its interactive environments, fluid multiplayer, and unabashed raunchiness. Most importantly, the game felt satisfying to play as enemies were blown away with a wide range of explosive weapons in Duke’s arsenal. The franchise may still be reeling from the disaster that was Duke Nukem Forever, but that shouldn’t deter shooter fans from revisiting the best title it has to offer.
Time will tell whether January 2021 will deliver any classics worth celebrating in the future. IO Interactive is set to complete its modern Hitman trilogy with the launch of Hitman 3 on January 20, while Bloober Team’s promising psychological horror title, The Medium, releases on January 28. If every game launching this month ends up being disappointing, players should rest assured knowing there are plenty of older titles worthy of their time.