On the morning of Tuesday, November 20th, 2007, a few million gamers traipsed wearily into their local shopping malls. Autumn had already been tough on the bank balances of avid gamers, and that week was particularly grueling: pre-orders were rolling in for Mass Effect and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, a soon-to-be best-selling bounty, as well as the coveted special-edition Rock Band bundle, a small fortune at $169.99. Other titles newly in stores? The instant classics Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Portal, The Witcher, and Bioshock.
A torrent of triple-A offerings being released in such a small window of time isn't exactly strange; the video-game industry loves to overwhelm holiday shoppers. This year, for example, has brought us sequels on top of sequels, including Rock Band 4, Fallout 4, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, Halo 5, Metal Gear Solid V, Black Ops III, the 13th Call of Duty outing, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, a new Guitar Hero, a new Witcher, and a new Need for Speed. But 2007 wasn't just another prestige-title dump. It was a deluge of ingenuity and innovation.