Ah, the ’90s – the golden age of video games. Sure, today’s games are sleek and high-tech, but the ’90s brought us some of the most memorable and groundbreaking titles that have ever graced our screens. And if you ever had to blow into a cartridge to get it to work, this list is for you. So grab your favorite joystick, and let’s relive 21 times ’90s video games absolutely blew our minds.
- “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998):
This isn’t just a game; it’s a masterpiece. “Ocarina of Time” introduced a 3D world filled with puzzles, monsters, and a story that felt like an epic journey. Link’s quest to save Princess Zelda set a new standard for adventure games and proved that video games could be art.
- “Final Fantasy VII” (1997):
Cloud, Sephiroth, Aerith – the names alone are enough to spark nostalgia. With its engaging storyline, complex characters, and cinematic cutscenes, “Final Fantasy VII” made RPGs mainstream and touched the hearts of gamers worldwide. The death of a certain character still hurts, doesn’t it?
- “GoldenEye 007” (1997):
No ’90s game list would be complete without the multiplayer mayhem that “GoldenEye” provided. This James Bond-inspired shooter allowed friends to battle each other in various maps, providing endless hours of fun and frustration. Oddjob, anyone?
- “Super Mario 64” (1996):
Mario’s 3D debut was nothing short of revolutionary. The free-roaming gameplay, the joy of collecting stars, and the sheer creativity of the levels made “Super Mario 64” an instant classic that continues to inspire platformers today.
- “Metal Gear Solid” (1998):
Hideo Kojima’s espionage thriller introduced us to Solid Snake and stealth gameplay. With its deep plot, innovative mechanics, and unforgettable boss battles, “Metal Gear Solid” was a game-changer that made us rethink what video games could be.
- “Resident Evil” (1996):
Survival horror as a genre owes a lot to “Resident Evil.” Its eerie atmosphere, challenging puzzles, and terrifying zombies had us on the edge of our seats. It’s also responsible for some of the cheesiest voice acting ever, but we love it all the more for that.
- “Pokémon Red and Blue” (1998):
“Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” was more than a slogan; it was a lifestyle. These games turned us into Pokémon Trainers, exploring a world filled with magical creatures, intense battles, and the dream of becoming the Pokémon Champion. The craze hasn’t stopped since.
- “Doom” (1993):
Fast-paced, violent, and addictive, “Doom” defined the first-person shooter genre. It transported us to a demon-infested Mars where we had to shoot our way to survival. It’s raw, visceral, and still as fun as it was back in the day.
- “Chrono Trigger” (1995):
With time travel, multiple endings, and a captivating story, “Chrono Trigger” was a technical marvel. Its influential design and lovable characters make it not just one of the best ’90s games but one of the best games of all time.
- “Street Fighter II” (1991):
Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile – the roster of “Street Fighter II” is iconic. This fighting game brought us face-to-face with friends and foes alike, as we perfected our special moves and battled for supremacy. It’s the reason you still shout “Hadouken!”
- “Sonic the Hedgehog” (1991):
The blue blur’s debut was a thrilling ride through loop-de-loops and spring-loaded platforms. “Sonic the Hedgehog” was not just Sega’s answer to Mario; it was a fast-paced adventure that captured our hearts and made us crave chili dogs.
- “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” (1997):
Mixing RPG elements with classic platforming, “Symphony of the Night” was a rich and atmospheric journey through Dracula’s castle. Its non-linear gameplay, stunning visuals, and haunting soundtrack make it a timeless classic.
- “Tomb Raider” (1996):
The introduction of Lara Croft was a significant moment for gaming. With her acrobatic skills and puzzle-solving prowess, she became an instant gaming icon. “Tomb Raider” gave us vast levels to explore and treasures to discover, redefining action-adventure games.
- “The Secret of Monkey Island” (1990):
With its witty humor, clever puzzles, and swashbuckling adventure, “The Secret of Monkey Island” showed that video games could be genuinely funny. The point-and-click genre was never the same after Guybrush Threepwood’s quest to become a pirate.
- “StarCraft” (1998):
“StarCraft” brought a new level of strategy and competition to PC gaming. Its balanced factions, engaging story, and complex gameplay set a new standard for real-time strategy games and spawned a legacy that continues today.
- “Mortal Kombat” (1992):
Blood, fatalities, and controversy – “Mortal Kombat” had it all. It wasn’t just a fighting game; it was a cultural phenomenon that brought the arcade experience home, complete with all the gore and glory.
- “EarthBound” (1995):
Quirky, touching, and unique, “EarthBound” was a standout RPG. Its modern setting, pop culture references, and emotional storytelling made it unlike anything else at the time. Though it was underappreciated upon release, it’s now regarded as a cult classic.
- “Diablo” (1996):
The dark and atmospheric world of “Diablo” sucked us in and never let go. The randomized dungeons and addictive loot system created an endless desire to delve deeper and fight stronger demons. Its impact on action RPGs is undeniable.
- “Crash Bandicoot” (1996):
With his wild eyes and spinning attacks, Crash became the face of PlayStation’s platformers. “Crash Bandicoot” brought us through jungles, ruins, and labs, with challenging levels that still make us break a sweat.
- “Command & Conquer” (1995):
From building bases to commanding armies, “Command & Conquer” offered a deep and engaging strategy experience. Its mixture of real-time tactics and resource management made it a beloved and influential title in the ’90s gaming scene.
- “Banjo-Kazooie” (1998):
Rare’s charming bear-and-bird duo embarked on a whimsical adventure that was both challenging and delightful. With its memorable characters, intricate level design, and joyous music, “Banjo-Kazooie” was a highlight of ’90s gaming.
These ’90s video games weren’t just products of their time; they were defining moments in the history of the medium. Whether it was the action-packed adventures or the mind-boggling puzzles, these games were landmarks that paved the way for future generations of gamers. They were more than games; they were experiences, friends, and parts of our very identity.
So, did your favorite make the list? Whether you agree or disagree, join the conversation over at All Ages of Geek’s Patreon, where you can support more content like this and geek out with fellow fans! Ah, the good ol’ ’90s – they don’t make them like that anymore.