I'm oddly nostalgic about 1995 even though it really wasn't a great year for me all things considered.
It became obvious why when I looked at the full timeline, it was the year when the most game consoles were available ever.
Over a dozen game consoles had new games produced that year, including a pair of major launches.
Realistically, only about 10 of these systems were available at the average game store but even that's better than any other year.
Imagine walking into an Electronics Boutique and seeing that kind of variety, it was an incredible time.
2007 was a great year too, 9 consoles were widely available. Like 1995, two of them were seeing their first generation titles flood the market.
Unlike 1995, this was the start of the high definition era and a couple systems now produced games that were practically lifelike.
2013 also had 9 active systems and there are good arguments for it being the best year for gaming. The story of 2013 is very similar to 2007 where several new consoles overlapped their replacements. I find 2017 a little more interesting though because of the wider variety of mature console libraries available then. There's only one new console launch in 2017, or even close to 2017, making it very different from these other years. Buying the one new console in 2017 was quite a challenge though.
To compare these years visually:
Which of these should be crowned the best though? Let's weigh each:
The initial PlayStation launch library was possibly the strongest launch lineup ever
The launch of the PlayStation and Saturn caused the prices of other systems to fall, there were great deals aplenty for previous-generation games
The Super Nintendo hit its peak with titles like Chrono Trigger, EarthBound, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
The used NES game market had bottomed-out, they weren't yet considered collectible and even rare games could be had for cheap
What's not shown on this picture is the launch of Windows 95 which re-energized the PC game market
In a rush to get out before Sony, Sega launched the Saturn before games were ready, early adopters had many dry months before they'd see new games
The Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, CD-i, LaserActive, and Lynx were technically available but few stores actually had them
Maybe too much was available, someone new to gaming would have no idea where to begin
The console war kicked into high gear again with tons of quality releases for each system
Something for everyone - the Wii and DS were appealing to casual gamers while the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 took aim at the hardcore market
First collaboration between Nintendo and Sega
Great deals on Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 games for new owners of backwards compatibile systems
The PlayStation 2 was far from dead, God of War 2 was an exclusive title in 2007 and one of the biggest releases of the year
The cheapest PlayStation 3 model was $500
The first collaboration between Nintendo and Sega was an Olympics game
The PC game market was stale, unless you liked MMORPGs or The Sims there wasn't much to get excited about
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had large libraries with tons of games already selling at half their original cost
Nintendo Switch launches with the best game of the decade
The majority of the best games on the Switch are also available on the Wii U
Last-gen games are as cheap as they will ever be
The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii were technically receiving new releases but were really just basement dwellers at this point
Actually buying a Nintendo Switch required the willingness to camp out at stores and/or fight other shoppers
And the winner is... the nostalgia fan in me is leaning toward 1995 but the realist says 2007 probably deserves the nod.
I suppose this is a subjective question where many different opinions are valid.
The "best year ever" really depends on what generation and game styles you prefer.
For me, I'll take the heyday of the 4th generation with the emergence of 3D gaming over any other time.