1999 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater helps players get lifted years before Lil Wayne and Odd Future give props to extreme sports culture.
2000 – PlayStation 2 debuts, marking manufacturer’s push toward mature audiences. Deep in suburbia, virtual dollhouse The Sims skyrockets to all-time bestselling status.
2001 – Microsoft’s Xbox battles Nintendo’s GameCube with help from sci-fi blaster Halo, whose razor-sharp solo and multiplayer elements rewrite the rules of interactive gunplay (no MMG).
2002 – Borrowing a page from Scarface, GTA kills it again with Vice City, transporting players back to a spoof of ’80s Miami, where white blazers and dookie ropes rule supreme.
2004 – The gesture-tracking Nintendo DS lets players reach out and touch someone. With its cyber universe, World of Warcraft convinces fantasy fans to dust off their loincloths and embrace Internet addiction.
2005 – Xbox 360 takes HD graphics, online play and game downloads mainstream. Guitar Hero ignites the music-game craze, filling closets with obnoxiously oversized plastic controllers.