The Best Year in Gaming: The Sweet Sixteen, Northwest Conference

Welcome back to our Best Year in Gaming March Madness bracket competition! We’ve completed round 2 and are now in the middle of the Sweet Sixteen of our competition, narrowing things down to a final four years for the competition.

Yesterday we looked at some tough matchups in the Southeast conference. And in an unforgivable lapse of judgment from our Patrons, 1997 beat 1994 to advance to the Elite Eight. On the other side of things, 2002 knocked 1996 out of the competition.

Results: 1997 and 2002 win

Today we’re returning to the Northwest Conference for our Sweet Sixteen matchups. Our first matchup here has 1998 taking on 2000 in what’s likely to be a little bit closer than the 2022 matchup, but only in the sense that people will wince a little bit more as they pass over 2000 for 1998.


1998 is our one-seed for a reason, widely regarded as the best year in video games – though it’ll face some tough competition in the Final Four, especially when it comes to the combined tabletop + video game discussion. It’s just hard to compete with the combined might of Half-Life, Resident Evil 2, Ocarina of Time, StarCraft, Fallout 2 and Baldur’s Gate. 2000 isn’t going down without a fight, though – 2000 has the best year of the Dreamcast – Power Stone 2, Skies of Arcadia, Jet Grind Radio, and Grandia II are a very solid lineup – plus Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate 2, Diablo II, and the launch of the PlayStation 2. And on the tabletop it can boast Chrononauts, Mage Knight,  and Carcassone. 

Let’s jump over to our other matchup, where we have another 90s powerhouse going up against a much more recent year.


A lot of 1993’s value comes out of Magic: the Gathering, but it’s far from the only strong game released that year – Secret of Mana, Star Fox, Virtual Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and the second edition of Warhammer 40,000 all make the year stand out as a strong competitor here. Meanwhile 2019 just beat 1992 to get here, riding hard on the strength of AAA titles like Death Stranding, Sekiro, and Resident Evil 2 Remake, plus stellar indie titles like Untitled Goose Game, Blasphemous, Baba is You, and Disco Elysium. It’s also a year ready to throw down on the tabletop with Unmatched and Marvel Crisis Protocol.

If you’re interested in voting on the outcome, head over to our Patreon and join our Discord server to vote. Otherwise, check back tomorrow for the winner and the next matchup in the Southwest Conference.
This article is part of a larger series on the best year in gaming. For more years, click this link. Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at