What Gaming Was Like The Last Time Cicadas Emerged, 17 Years Ago

You may know them as Brood X, or Brood 10, or the Great Eastern Brood. To most people, they’re periodical cicadas—insatiable insects that emerge from subterranean slumber every 17 years for the sole purpose of fucking each other to smithereens. Over the past week or so, Brood X cicadas have started to crawl out of their cage, feeling just fine and kicking off a nightmare orgy the likes of which hasn’t been witnessed since 2004.

Ah, remember 2004? The fateful Year of the Facebook Founding? A whole lot has changed since then, particularly in the world of video games. This horny horde emerges to a gaming landscape that looks radically different from the gaming landscape of 2004. Let’s run down all the ways video games have or will break new ground this year in ways that would’ve been downright unthinkable in 2004.

In January 2021, IO Interactive released the third entry in a stealth series that casts you as a fit, bald, emotionless man who’s extremely savvy at assassinating people and looking sharp in literally any outfit. (This was IO Interactive’s Hitman: Contracts, the well-received third Hitman game, in April 2004.)

Everyone collectively lost their marbles over an action game that allowed you to pummel the daylights out of big scary huge monsters. (Capcom released the first Monster Hunter for PlayStation 2 in 2004.)

Brood X cicadas just missed this one, but had they emerged before March 31, they could’ve picked up a spiffed up re-release of Super Mario 64. (Nintendo released Super Mario 64 DS in 2004.)

A little game called Grand Theft Auto is poised to be one of the biggest money-makers of the year. (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, was that year’s best-selling game.)

A new entry in the Halo series is on the way. If it doesn’t get delayedAgain. One imagines the final game will probably look very different from the much-maligned debut footage. (Halo 2, the much-anticipated follow-up to Halo: Combat Evolved, was initially planned for a holiday 2003 release. It missed that window and was released for the original Xbox in 2004. Footage from an E3 2003 demo showed a part of the game that did not make it to the final build.)

Ubisoft will publish an open-ended game in which you shoot your way through a tropical locale and maybe question the nature of reality. (Ubisoft’s long-running Far Cry series started in 2004.)

In June, Ratchet and Clank from Ratchet & Clank will make their PlayStation 5 debut. Early footage suggests that the game will, to put it scientifically, rule. (Insomniac Games released Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal in 2004. It ruled.)

A new entry in the sword-swinging, anime-hair-having Tales series will, without debate, I have decreed, become an instant classic. (Bandai Namco released Tales of Symphonia stateside in 2004.)

As the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, the Great Eastern Brood will wind down their carnal festival of reproductive necessity around July, and won’t rise again until 2038. Hey, maybe by then, they’ll come face to face with another nearly unrecognizable gaming slate, one in which Grand Theft Auto VI tops the charts.

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