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This aesthetic is not to be confused with McBling or Cyber Grunge (both mistakenly referred to as "Y2K" on social media).

Y2K Futurism (also known as Cybercore, Cyber Y2K, or Kaybug, and originally just Y2K prior to semantic shift) is an aesthetic that was prevalent in popular culture from roughly 1997 to 2004, succeeding the Memphis Design/Memphis Lite and Grunge eras and overlapping with the Gen X Soft Club, McBling, and 2K1 aesthetics. After Y2K Futurism ended, it was succeeded by Frutiger Aero.

Named after the Year 2000 problem, Y2K Futurism is characterized by slick futuristic fashion, technology, and music, signaling the optimism[1] for the 3rd Millennium or 21st Century. Some of its aspects include tight leather pants, shiny clothing, silver eye shadow, spiky up-dos, Oakleys, gradients, translucence, and Blobitecture. Y2K is mostly classified as a subcategory to Retro-Futurism, but some elements also cross over with Vaporwave, since it shares Vaporwave's angst towards late-stage (corpo-)capitalism, and its nostalgia for "a future that never came".[1]

The term "Y2K Aesthetic", coined by Evan Collins of the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute in 2016, originally referred specifically to Y2K Futurism. However, usage of "Y2K" later became more broad on social media, and this aesthetic now falls under the broader Y2K umbrella term.

History[]

Origins (1985–1994)[]

Y2K Futurism has its origins in the underground UK rave scene of the Late-1980s/Early-1990s. Rave flyers at this time featured designs that would later become known as the Y2K style, and artists released albums which would form the basis of Y2K-era electronica, i.e. The Prodigy's Experience (1992), Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works (recorded 1985–1992), and The Future Sound of London's Accelerator (1992). This period also saw the early works of the Sheffield-based Designers Republic, founded in 1986. The game Ridge Racer was released in 1993, an early example of Y2K aesthetics and music.

Rising Popularity (1994–1997)[]

Signs of the Futuristic Y2K aesthetic first going mainstream appeared around 1994 to 1996. The Corporate Gen-X Cyber style began appearing in ads, and CGI began rising following the success of Toy Story. Windows 95 was released, and started the Internet boom with the release of Internet Explorer. Gaming began transitioning to the fifth generation (Sega Saturn, original PlayStation, and Nintendo 64) with Y2K games such as Wipeout and Super Mario 64, but fourth-generation titles like SNES's Donkey Kong Country 1–3 remained prominent.

The films Hackers, Trainspotting, and Scream were released as early examples of Y2K, as well as the music video for Michael and Janet Jackson's "Scream". Teen Pop artists like the Spice Girls, Robyn, and Backstreet Boys also made their debuts in Europe, but were not yet popular in America. Campaigns like Nintendo's "Play It Loud" era and style might have been a precursor to Y2K, as well. However, older aesthetics such as Alternative and Grunge still remained dominant during this time.

Mainstream Adoption and Peak Popularity (1997–2000)[]

Y2K became well-defined by 1997, replacing the mid-'90s era which had been known for its grittier aesthetics such as Grunge. The Spice Girls' single "Wannabe" was released in the U.S. and gained international popularity, leading to a new era in Teen Pop, and in a Super Bowl ad that year the group heralded the arrival of "Generation Next". Furthermore, Post-Grunge started to become popular with bands such as Creed and Foo Fighters, Nu-Metal began its mainstreaming with Limp Bizkit, Deftones, and Incubus, Hanson released "Mmmbop", and more music videos by artists such Puff Daddy ("Mo Money Mo Problems"), Will Smith ("Gettin' Jiggy wit It", "Men in Black"), and the Spice Girls ("Say You'll Be There") were done in the Y2K style. Electronica/big beat artists such as The Prodigy, Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky increased in mainstream visibility, as did rave culture.

In an attempt to compete with rival companies such as WCW and ECW, WWF entered the edgier "Attitude Era" and had gotten rid of its Memphis Design styles (from the "New Generation Era") by March 1998. South Park and King of the Hill premiered, and Cartoon Network debuted the Toonami block which mainstreamed anime in the U.S. The PS1 and N64 were now in full swing with games such as Final Fantasy VII and Goldeneye. The movies Titanic and Men in Black were released which are regarded as Y2K phenomena. Y2K fashions such as frosted tips, soul patches, and JNCOs were becoming popular.

Between 1998 and 2000, Y2K Futurism experienced a massive surge in popularity with phenomenon such as Nu-Metal (Korn, Limp Bizkit), Teen Pop (NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, TRL), The Matrix, and TOM replacing Moltar on Toonami. Apple's iMac G3 was released in 1998 which showcased Y2K designs. Pokémon was released in the U.S. in late 1998, leading to Pokémania. Sega's Dreamcast was an early example of sixth generation consoles. The 1999 music videos for TLC's "No Scrubs" and Jennifer Lopez's "If You Had My Love" also prominently featured Y2K Futurism. Y2K's popularity peaked around Late-1999/Early-2000, coinciding with the turn of the millennium and apex of the Dot-com Bubble.[2]

Continued Popularity and Last Years (2000–2004)[]

The Y2K Era gradually declined afterward due to events such as the Dot-com Bubble Burst, 9/11, and the War on Terror, though residual aesthetics from the era still remained popular until roughly 2004. This overlap period is sometimes referred to as 2K1, a mixture of Y2K Futurism and the incoming McBling influences.

2004 was the last hurrah of the Y2K Era. Cartoon Network switched from the "Powerhouse" era to "CN City" era, with most of their '90s programs ending and Toonami moving to Saturday nights. Nickelodeon went through a similar transition also, with '90s Nicktoons, the SNICK block, and pre-movie SpongeBob SquarePants ending. The final major Nu-Metal albums were released in 2004, and emo soon overtook nu-metal as the dominant "alternative" music genre via the popularization of MySpace and artists such as My Chemical Romance. McDonald's retired the McDonaldLand characters (except for Ronald McDonald) and rebranded from the "We love to see you smile" slogan to the infamous "I'm lovin' it" slogan. The first Web 2.0 conference was held in October 2004, early social media sites such as MySpace were rising in popularity. Marvel's Blade series, known for its heavy use of Futuristic Y2K aesthetics and music, ended. The Rock retired from WWE, and Brock Lesnar temporarily left to join the NFL, leaving John Cena to become the face of the company.

Post-Y2K and Frutiger Aero (2004–2016)[]

By 2005, the Futuristic Y2K aesthetic had more or less faded in the mainstream. After Y2K ended, it gave way to the Frutiger Aero aesthetic, which coincided with the advent of Web 2.0; Frutiger Aero is widely considered Y2K Futurism's successor aesthetic, containing various similarities but being distinct as an aesthetic in its own right.

Contemporary Use/"Neo-Y2K" (2016–present)[]

Since the Mid-Late 2010s, Y2K Era imagery and pop culture has begun to make a resurgence in various circles of the Internet, niche entertainment, and even mainstream entertainment due to the 20-year nostalgia cycle. Examples of Y2K revival songs include "1999" by Charli XCX, "2002" by Anne Marie, and "Motivation" by Normani. Evan Collins coined the term in 2016, having noticed the aesthetic had not yet been explored by the Vaporwave scene as much as earlier, more ubiquitous periods[3] (particularly '80s/Early '90s aesthetics like Memphis Design and Synthwave), and wanting to give it more exposure. Collins runs the Y2K Aesthetic Institute along with Froyo Tam. They archive works exhibiting the aesthetic, in the fields of graphic design, flyers, game console design, video game concept art, interior design, architecture, fashion, etc. and chronicle both art from the era the aesthetic was popular, as well as modern depictions of the aesthetic. Tam has also made Ferrite Core DX and other open-source typefaces inspired by Y2K typography.

Another example of modern-Y2K aesthetics being used is the indie puzzle game known as CROSSNIQ+, which utilizes the more bold, thick-line aesthetics seen in Y2K cartoon styles. Also run by Krieger and The Y2K Institute is u::r::here, a free virtual gallery dedicated to showing off Y2K art and aesthetics.

The most major community forum that is based on Y2K aesthetics is Agora Road's Macintosh Cafe, which coins itself as a "nostalgic Y2K community". There are some smaller ones, such as the Orion's Arm forum, although that one is primarily about the fictional universe itself.*The aesthetic seems to be breaking into pop culture, such as the Charli XCX and Troye Sivan song 1999.

  • Music artists like DV-i, nuphory, System ST91, and Porter Robinson (under the alias of Virtual Self) produce Y2K-inspired electronic music in genres such as trance and atmospheric drum and bass. Dance System incorporates Y2K visuals and ambient into 2000s house music in his debut album Where's the party at?.
  • Virtual YouTuber Yuuki Takemoto experienced the Y2K Era, and incorporates it into her videos and art.
  • The artist named "Ivy Hollivana" seems to invoke a lot of the Y2K imagery in her music videos.
  • In NYC there is a store called happy99 which takes inspiration from Y2K styled art, toys, fashion and even architecture. They even have promos in their twitter where one is inspired by Y2K CGI and VFX while the other video is inspired by PS1 era games like Parappa the Rapper and DDR.
  • Planet 1999 released Devotion in 2020, features elements of Y2K such as Zip Drives, Furbies, Classic Mac computers and the mascot of the video evolving like a Pokémon or a corrupted version of Vibri from Vib Ribbon at the end of the album.
  • Kaizo Slumber is an electronica musician, of whom he incorporated various visual key elements from this aesthetic in his clips.
  • In 2023 DJ Crazy Times and Ms. Biljana Electronica released the viral hit song "Planet of the Bass", a parody of Y2K era Eurodance.
  • In East Asia, Cyber Grunge fashion is a mixture of Futuristic Y2K, Grunge, and Streetwear influences.
  • The clothing company Champion in 2022 had a shirt with a caterpillar on it that had a very Y2K style to it.
  • Many LGBTQ artists during pride month like to combine the concept of pride with the Y2K aesthetic.
  • The recent "Neo-Y2K" movement has modernized the Y2K aesthetic, incorporating elements of modern digital art, Glitchcore, Vaporwave, and various video game aesthetics and blending them with the color palettes and themes of Y2K. Notable artists of this aesthetic microgenre are Nuphory, TRAELMYX (also known as ::Y2KAE::, Vulpeox, and kur0myx), and SAM WAITIN. The microgenre is also much more closely related to the musical scene compared to old-school Y2K aesthetics, with all three of the aforementioned artists making some form of dance music.

Visuals[]

Ivy_Hollivana_–_Dear_Deathwaters_(2019)

Ivy Hollivana – Dear Deathwaters (2019)

Perhaps the future of the Y2K Sound?

Graphics and Art[]

Y2K Futurism aesthetics use both graphic design and CGI. Graphic designs usually feature thick lines, bold minimalism, and heavy use of iconography. CGI art is more blobby looking, having more gradients in contrast to Metalheart or Chromecore. Common colors used in Y2K art are, but not limited to, chrome, icy blue, ocean, bright oranges, glossy white, and black (for linework).

One of the earliest definers of the Futuristic Y2K aesthetic is the Designers Republic, a Sheffield-based graphic design studio best known for their work on the video game series Wipeout as well as various album artwork, especially for artists on the electronica label Warp Records. Founded by Ian Anderson and Nick Phillips in 1986, they were best known for making art that subverts brash consumerism and the uniformity of corporate culture. Like Vaporwave, much of their work also drew inspiration from Japanese anime, which was beginning to rise in popularity around the same time.

Toys and Technology[]

Being that this was the era that the cell phone was first starting to become popular among your average consumer, you can find a lot of nods to the original models of cell phones (such as the original Nokia phones or the clamshell/flip phones) within the Y2K Futurism aesthetic.

Also popular around this time was the Blobject, a type of design product (often a household object) distinguished by smooth flowing curves, bright translucent colors (part of the then-popular clear craze fad), and an absence of sharp edges. Products of the time include Apple's Bondi Blue iMac G3, and Nintedo's Atomic Purple Game Boy Color. The word is a portmanteau of "blob" and "object".

Toys[]

  • Tamagotchi (1996-present)
  • Digimon Digivice (1999-2021)
  • iCybie (2000)
  • Poo-Chi (2000)
  • HitClips (2000)
  • LEGO Galidor (2002)
  • QRIO (2003)
  • VideoNow (2003-2006)
  • JuiceBox (2004)
  • Game Boy Advance Video (2004-2005)
  • Zizzle iZ (2005-2006)

Technology[]

  • Sega Saturn (1994/1995)
  • PlayStation (1994-2000)
  • Windows 95 (1995)
  • Nintendo 64 (1996)
  • Palm OS (1996-2007)
  • Motorola StarTAC Rainbow (1997)
  • Apple EMate (1998)
  • Game Boy Color (1998)
  • Diamond Rio PMP300 (1998)
  • iMac G3 (1998)
  • Windows 98 (1998)
  • Sega Dreamcast (1998/1999)
  • Aibo (1999-2003; later revived in 2018)
  • Mac OS 9 (1999)
  • Windows 2000 (1999)
  • Nokia 3310 (2000)
  • Windows Me (2000)
  • AOL Mobile Communicator (2000)
  • Motorola Pagewriter (2000-2001)
  • Windows CE 3.0 (2000-2001)
  • PlayStation 2 [Original and Slim Models] (2000-2004)
  • Blackberry RIM 957 (2001)
  • Game Boy Advance (2001-2005)
  • Nintendo GameCube (2001)
  • iPod [Original Model] (2001)
  • Xbox (2001/2002)
  • Mac OS X 10.0-10.4 (2001-2005)
  • Windows XP (2001)
  • Blackberry 7200 (2002)
  • iMac G4 (2002)
  • eMac (2002)
  • Windows Longhorn (cancelled; originally planned for 2003 release, later became Windows Vista)
  • Windows Mobile 2003 (2003)
  • iPod Mini (2004)
  • iMac G5 (2004/2005)
  • Windows Blackcomb (unknown; cancelled, originally planned for 2005 release prior to Longhorn/Vista Reset)
  • Nintendo DS [First Model] (2004/2005)
  • Windows Mobile 5.0 (2005)

Blobitecture[]

Blobitecture, also known as 'blobism’, is a term given to a post-modern architectural style characterized by curved and rounded building shapes, or 'blob architecture'. Blobitecture buildings appear to have an organic form that is soft and free-flowing, yet comes together to produce a complex whole. Blobitecture buildings started popping up around the Late '90s/Early 2000s to reflect a lot of the trends at the time, giving the buildings something of a "futuristic" look at the time (by the standards of what constituted futuristic at that time period).

Fashion[]

Y2K Futurism is a very new concept, but with certain brands that were popular at the time still existing, one could easily predict these brands could potentially play a huge role in Y2K Futurism. Also, it should be noted a lot of Holosexual aesthetics and style can turn up in Futuristic Y2K fashion as well (due to its usage in futuristic fashion at the time). Low-rise skirts are usually really popular in this aesthetic. Japan's Fruits magazine, published from 1997 to 2017, has also been popular among Y2K fashion revivalists.

Music[]

Nu-metal and Industrial rock were closely associated with the Y2K period, particularly in the United States and France, and received particular attention after the Woodstock '99 festival. The subgenres epitomized the more masculine aesthetics of the Y2K period, combining Hip-Hop and Electronic styles with Heavy Metal. Artists such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Deftones, Filter, Incubus, Coal Chamber, American Head Charge, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and Rob Zombie epitomized this controversial strain of Y2K culture. Subcultural styles like Mallgoth, Rivethead, and Cybergoth epitomized part of the Dark landscape style, a subtle offshoot of the landscape aesthetic heavily inspired by nu-metal and industrial culture in the landscape era.

One of the most well-known music associated with Y2K in the United Kingdom was big beat, a subgenre of electronic music that used "heavy breakbeats and synthesizer-generated loops and patterns". Bands and music producers such as The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Junkie XL, and Propellerheads performed this music during the '90s. However, the genre has since become less prevalent in the mainstream, with modern examples being few and far in between.

Another known genre at the time was trance, which has been more modernized and mainstream. Famous DJs from this period like Push, Ferry Corsten, Tiësto, Chicane, PPK, ATB, Signum, and Lange demonstrated well the euphoric and futuristic vibe of the Y2K aesthetic. Other tracks that became hits during the turn of the Millennium were "Better Off Alone" by Alice Deejay, Darude's "Sandstorm", and Rank 1's "Airwave".

BassloversUnited (2)

The cover art for "Insanity" by Basslovers United.

Hands Up is a microgenre of music that originated in Germany, consisting of songs that could equally fall under genres like Trance, Electronic Dance Music and Eurodance all at once. With most artists in the genre hailing from Germany, some of the most popular ones include ItaloBrothers, Manian, Cascada, Basslovers United, Paffendorf and 666. Other well known Hands Up musicians are Basshunter, from Sweden, DJ Splash, from Hungary, or Clubraiders, from Austria. The genre stopped being mainstream by the early 2010s, although these songs continued to be featured in Nightcore remixes.

Other genres used during the Y2K Era were jungle, drum n' bass, and trip-hop (like Portishead, Massive Attack or Tricky). Much like big beat (and what ultimately inspired big beat to begin with), these genres have a heavy emphasize on techno-style music, with fast beats and use of synthesizers. To this day, these genres are still used in EDM scenes all over.

Bubblegum Eurodance was also common during the Y2K Era. Aqua, the Danish band responsible for the 1997 hit "Barbie Girl", is often attributed as being the most popular example of this genre, with an honorable mention going to the Italian group Eiffel 65, known for their 1998 single "Blue (Da Ba Dee)".

The Y2K aesthetic can also be seen in the music video to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication". The video takes the form of a fictional open-world video game that depicts each of the band members on an adventure in a California setting.

R&B and hip-hop also transitioned from the Golden Age/G-Funk/Boom Bap Era to the Jiggy/Bling/Shiny Suit 97 Era (widely known as the Hype Williams era, because of the prevalence of these visual cues in his music videos), with producers like Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, and The Neptunes. Many R&B and hip-hop artists used Y2K aesthetics in music videos, including TLC in their "No Scrubs" video, Aaliyah in "Are You That Somebody", Jennifer Lopez in "If You Had My Love", and Janet Jackson in "Doesn't Really Matter".

Alternative rock and post-grunge were popular at this time and used in media such as Hollywood films and AMVs. Rap/hip-hop were similarly popular, and the popularity of it during this time influenced 2000s soundtracks later in the decade such as the ones for Homestuck and Scribblenauts and 2010s soundtracks like the OST for Persona 4: The Animation.

Since Y2K was about embracing the future, the tone of music also reflected this. Electronic music was the go-to genre to capture this era as a musician, and other popular genres at the time were Eurodance, Jumpstyle, Britpop, R&B, etc. Some Record labels associated with Y2K Futurism include System Records and Eldia.

Songs[]

Music Videos[]

Media[]

Early_2000s_Commercials

Early 2000s Commercials

A compilation of Y2K-themed commercials.

Film[]

  • The 6th Day (2000)
  • Akira (1988)
  • Battlefield Earth (2000)
  • Bicentennial Man (1999)
  • Charlie's Angels (2000)
  • Clockstoppers (2002)
  • Cube (1997)
  • Cube²: Hypercube (2002)
  • Cypher (2002)
  • Digimon: The Movie (2000)
  • Equilibrium (2002)
  • The Fifth Element (1997)
  • Gattaca (1997)
  • Ghost In The Shell (1995)
  • Go (1999)
  • Hackers (1995)
  • Human Traffic (1999)
  • Jason X (2001)
  • Lost in Space (1998)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • Men in Black (1997)
  • Men in Black II (2002)
  • Minority Report (2002)
  • Pinocchio 3000 (2004)
  • The Net (1995)
  • The One (2001)
  • Spy Kids (2001)
  • Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
  • Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003)
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
  • Virtuosity (1995)
  • X-Men (2000)
  • Y2K (1999)
  • Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Television and web series[]

  • 2030 CE
  • Action Man (2000)
  • Alias
  • Animorphs
  • Battle Angel Alita
  • Beast Machines: Transformers
  • Beast Wars: Transformers
  • Ben 10
  • Blaster's Universe
  • Bounty Hamster
  • Bubblegum Crisis
  • Cleopatra 2525
  • Code Lyoko
  • Crash Zone
  • Cyberchase
  • Cybergirl
  • Daring & Grace: Teen Detectives
  • Dexter's Laboratory
  • Digimon Adventure
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Friday Night Download/Download (2007)
  • Futurama
  • Galactik Football
  • Heavy Gear: The Animated Series
  • Invader Zim
  • Johnny Test
  • Kim Possible
  • La Femme Nikita
  • Macross Plus
  • Max Steel (2000)
  • Megazone 23
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • ReBoot
  • Robotboy
  • Saikano
  • Serial Experiments Lain
  • Shadow Raiders
  • Silversun (2004)
  • Squirt (1996)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Space Ghost: Coast To Coast
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
  • Texhnolyze
  • TekWars
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • Totally Spies!
  • Vandread
  • Voltron: The Third Dimension
  • X-Men: Evolution
  • Wipeout (1999)
  • Winx Club
  • The Zeta Project
  • Zixx

Webfiction[]

Orion's Arm may be the final sci-fi literary work since the 20th century to develop a world bigger by many people—which embraced prominent internet trends at the time—but would later make an aesthetic combining said aesthetic, Frutiger Aero, Hexatron, Biopunk, Weirdcore, Randumb, Webcore, Robotcore, Technical Scene, Xpiritualism, Silicon Dreams, Gen X Soft Club, and Abstract Tech. Homestar Runner was also a major part of Y2K era culture.

  • Homestar Runner (2000-ongoing)
  • Orion's Arm (2000-Ongoing)

Video Games[]

When people think of Y2K Futurism gaming, most could tell us about the Fifth (PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, GameBoy Color) and Sixth (Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance) generations of consoles, as well as arcade hardware such as the Sega Naomi and Konami System 573 their respective lines of games, and their Low Poly visuals (particularly noticeable in the 5th Gen games).

During the late '90s and early 2000s, Sega produced one last console before withdrawing from the hardware industry. The Dreamcast, released in 1999, had shown Sega's ability to make creative and innovative games. The most Y2K Futurism-esque game was 1999's Space Channel 5, a rhythm game intended for a "casual female audience" that was applauded for its retro art style and soundtrack, encapsulating a lot of what people admired about Y2K aesthetics.

Another Dreamcast game that could be considered Y2K Futurism-inspired is 2000's Jet Set Radio, which, while not having the slick designs of Space Channel 5, captured other aspects such as Japanese punk fashion and early 2000s hip-hop. Jet Set Radio would also use iconography-inspired graphics for its UI. Jet Set Radio Future, its 2002 sequel, integrated even more Y2K aesthetics into its art and gameplay, as did the series' spiritual successor, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.

Rez, released by Sega/UGA in 2001 for the Dreamcast and 2002 for the PS2, had a wireframe-y Y2K Futurism aesthetic, as the game centered round a computer virus nicknamed Swayzak invading the mainframe of a computer to reveal the true being at her core.

On the other hand, the series of Dreamcast network games, including ChuChu Rocket!, released in 1999 for the Dreamcast and 2001 for the GBA, as well as Dee Dee Planet, in production around 1999 until cancelled in 2001, had a heavy Y2K Futurism iconography and bold minimalism as the main aesthetics of both games. In particular, secret movies that can be collected within Dee Dee Planet contains visual compilations of Y2K imagery and graphics that was popular around the year of its production, thus cementing the game within the zeitgeist of Y2K Futurism.

Yet more Sega games that embodied this aesthetic are Sonic R (1997), Sonic Adventure (1998), Sonic Adventure 2 (2001), and Sonic Heroes (2003), particularly SA1 with its janky-yet-charming visuals and atmospheric Y2K music.

On the Sony end of the spectrum, no game series does a better job of embodying the Y2K Futurism aesthetic than the Wipeout series, with art done by the aforementioned Designers Republic, even with recent iterations like Wipeout HD (2008) and Wipeout 2048 (2012). Metal Gear Solid, developed by Konami, had a lot of Y2K aesthetics too. Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere also used Y2K Futurism aesthetics in its user interface, fictional aircraft designs, and soundtrack.

Most PlayStation Magazine demo discs, particularly the ones released in Europe from 1997 to 2004, are known for their very heavy use of Y2K Futurism visuals in its menu interface, typically CGI for PS1 discs, and graphic designs for PS2 discs. Music tracks that were used in these menus are associated with the popular Y2K electronic sounds around these years.

Other companies attempted to use Y2K aesthetics as a promotion for consoles, controllers, and games. Even Flash games on websites had the Y2K Futurism aesthetic, such as Cartoon Network's Toonami games (Toonami: Trapped in Hyperspace in particular being a whole 3D FPS similar to Y2K aesthetic games Descent and Virus: The Game).

Some other games that could be considered Y2K Futurism aesthetic would include as follows:

  • Almighty Human Project
  • Beatmania (6th MIX + CORE REMIX)
  • Bust a Groove
  • Cave Story
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
  • Dance Dance Revolution
  • Dropship: United Peace Force
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • Gex: Enter the Gecko
  • Half-Life
  • Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA
  • Kinetica (2001)
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Marvel vs. Capcom/Capcom vs SNK
  • Messiah
  • Mr. Driller (Project Driller)
  • Oni (2001)
  • Planet Dob
  • Pop'n Music
  • Pump It Up
  • Ridge Racer
  • San Francisco Rush 2049
  • Sinistar Unleashed
  • Slap Happy Rhythm Busters
  • WarioWare (Made in Wario)
  • Xenosaga

Recently, the indie game scene started to get inspired by the Y2K Futurism revival wave and the developers to revisit the aesthetic. One of the first games is CROSSNIQ+, a puzzle arcade game mimicking the Dreamcast puzzles made by Max Krieger. BallisticNG is a futuristic racing game inspired by the Wipeout series. Another example is Hypnospace Outlaw and its upcoming sequel, Dreamsettler. Hypnospace, a game taking place in 1999, has its last parts of the game taking place in an upgraded operating system with Y2K Futurism stylization, and its upcoming sequel Dreamsettler takes place in 2003, with an OS inspired by Y2K-stylized operating systems of its time, like Mac OS X and Windows XP.

The upcoming indie game Neon White, and varied indie first-person shooter games SPRAWL, Ghostware: Arena of the Dead, and EXOCIDE, all yet to be released soon, embrace this aesthetic as well. Roblox is also involved, as it had in early development a lot of Y2K Futurism-esque elements and nowadays Y2K skins and accessories are made by the community for example.

Artists[]

Other[]

Y2K Futurism aesthetics were used in architecture, such as the Encounter Restaurant at LAX, which opened in 1997, and was the filming location of the US music video for Moloko's "Fun For Me."

Even theme park attractions used the Y2K Futurism aesthetic. One of the earliest examples of Y2K Futurism could be considered The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, which opened at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park in December 1994. Disney would later capitalize on the Y2K aesthetic with DisneyQuest, a virtual reality entertainment center located in Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney, with a second location in Chicago, Illinois. They also had the ESPN Zone dining and interactive experiences in major cities. On the other side of the pond, Sega opened Sega World Sydney in Darling Harbour, Australia, and Sega World London at the Trocadero in London. Sega also partnered with DreamWorks to establish GameWorks, a series of arcades found at major cities.

Resources[]

External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic:

Vendors[]

Pinterest Boards[]

References[]

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