Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn (PC)
I'd be remiss if a self-described RPG-nut like me didn't put Baldur's Gate II on the list. Revered by RPG gamers as one of the all-time greats in the genre, Baldur's Gate II took everything we loved in the original, and gave us much, much more - including romances between the PC and party members and side quests tailored to your class. Based on the now antiquated 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rule set, few titles have put together such an engrossing and deep world.
Personal Highlight: Nearly any dialogue involving the now legendary NPC Minsc and his pet Boo, a miniature giant space hamster. While Minsc is most likely certifiably insane, he's just so loveable. To quote the lummox himself, "Go for the eyes, Boo! GO FOR THE EYES!!"
Other Notable Releases in 2000: Perfect Dark (N64) Rare's highly anticipated follow up to smash hit GoldenEye wows gamers and critics and lives up to the hype. Deux Ex (PC) blends action and role-playing games in a cyberpunk theme. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PS1) amps up everything from the original and is met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
Grand Theft Auto wasn't a new game; PC gamers had long been aware of the overhead, 2D car hijacking title. But with GTA III, everything changed; moving to a 3D open-world, a phenomenon was born. Made famous to the general public as the game in which you could shoot police officers and pick up hookers, GTA III was so much more and defined the sandbox genre.
Personal Highlight: Too many to mention. GTA III was built for unique, absurd, and wild situations.
Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)
The Halo series hardly needs an introduction. Halo picked up the torch from GoldenEye and brought FPS fever to college campuses. Remember, this is before Xbox LIVE, and Halo was played split-screen or at network parties and became the crown jewel of the new Microsoft console.
Personal Highlight: That pistol. I love that pistol. And I hear I'm not alone. That thing was deadly.