10 Iconic Video Games from the 1990s
The 1990s were an exciting era for video games. This decade was mostly successful due to tough competition between Nintendo and Sega, which produced a tremendous technological innovation.
This can be easily seen by taking a quick look at the 80s, where 1985 was one of the biggest years for video games. This is when the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America and allowed Nintendo to dominate the gaming market. However, Sega became a strong competitor in 1989, and console manufacturers began a major marketing battle for dominance.
During the 1990s, gaming came into its own and became firmly entrenched in our pop culture.
Today, many people are turning to classic consoles and emulators that allow them to run games that were published more than 20 years ago.
If you are willing to take another look at the iconic games of the 1990s, here’s our suggestion of the most addictive titles that will keep you entertained even today.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 1992 (Sega Genesis)
As one of the most popular platform video games of its era, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was Sega’s effort to popularize its Sega Genesis console. This was, in fact, the system-defining video game for this console.
Many believe this game set a new standard for speed in a platform. Sonic explored a forest, a casino, and a factory, where each level was filled with loop-the-loops and corkscrews that were inspired by rollercoasters, which quickly became the most popular features of this franchise.
Doom – 1993 (PC)
Doom was the game that first introduced the public to first-person shooting games. Released in 1993 as a shareware demo, Doom quickly became one of the most popular game series ever.
Doom was also important from a technological aspect. It brought WAD files that were easy to modify. This allowed players to edit levels, graphics, and music, which was unheard of in the early 90s.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – 1993 (Game Boy)
The original Legend of Zelda was released in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and soon became what is today considered a classic.
No one believed that a game designed for a black-and-white handheld system could achieve such massive success. Even though its controls were simple, people were captivated by its gameplay that allowed them to freely roam and explore different environments.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was a prime example of how Nintendo managed to build a franchise using several different platforms. Nintendo later updated it with colors and added new content to promote the launch of the Game Boy Color in 1998.
Super Metroid – 1994 (Super Nintendo)
Super Metroid was set on a planet called Zebes, where the main character named Samus Aran had to rescue a baby Metroid. The player would start with minimal weapons and was forced to explore and find more weapons and new abilities. This was what set this game apart from the rest and attracted fans of the original Metroid game, in addition to expanding the fan base.
Super Metroid received raving reviews due to its atmosphere, gameplay, music, and graphics. Even today, many are convinced this is the greatest video game of all time.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest – 1995 (SNES/Game Boy Advance)
Donkey Kong Country 2 brought the next-level design that was backed up by the memorable soundtrack. This is what set this game apart from its predecessor, the original Donkey Kong Country 2.
This game was later re-released for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 and was even available on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007.
Super Mario 64 – 1996 (Nintendo 64)
Super Mario 64 was impressive due to its full-fledged 3D environment. In addition, a big technological leap was needed to be made to allow Mario to be able to do all kinds of acrobatics in 3D, like jumping, walking, running, and taking big leaps. Suddenly, Mario could interact with different kinds of environments in new ways: running up the hill, standing or running over snow and ice, and more.
Resident Evil 2 – 1997 (PlayStation)
Even though the original Resident Evil was extremely successful, its successor was mainly responsible for promoting the survival horror genre. Back in the day, this was one of the most terrifying games available.
Resident Evil 2 brought numerous horrifying locations, in addition to more enemies like the dreaded Licker. This game wasn’t only twice as scary as its predecessor, but also twice as big and required two discs.
Pokémon – 1998 (Game Boy)
Even today, Pokémon is hugely popular, as the last year’s iOS game proved. However, many of those who are playing the iOS game aren’t aware that the 1998 Pokémon game was the phenomenon that triggered this franchise’s popularity.
Pokémon was released in 1998 in Red and Blue versions for the Nintendo Game Boy. Each of those versions came with a specific number of creatures you could catch, and, to get them, all you had to do was trade with the other version. This kind of innovation, and the game’s addictive gameplay, made this little black-and-white game unforgettable.
Banjo Kazooie – 1998 (Nintendo 64)
Banjo Kazooie was inspired by Super Mario 64 in more ways than one, but this didn’t stop this game from becoming a classic. Taking place on a spiral mountain, evil witch Gruntilda kidnaps Banjo’s sister Tooty, so he heads out to rescue her with his bird friend Kazooie. While exploring nine worlds, the music notes open new areas in the hub-world.
This title is remembered today for its addictive gameplay, colorful graphics, and an unforgettable music score.
Gran Turismo 2 – 1999 (PlayStation)
Often seen as the best game in the series, Gran Turismo 2 helped define how games are made and played today.
After its release, everyone was astounded by the game’s 600 cars from a variety of manufacturers. The game offered an enormous selection of roads and tracks, and it introduced endurance races and license tests.
Gran Turismo 2 is one of those games that are easy to learn but hard to master.
Many of us will agree that the 1990s were the most exciting era for video gaming. Aside from tremendous technological leaps, the 1990s also gave us numerous video-game franchises that still attract millions of players.
If you ever played games belonging to franchises like Age of Empires, Civilization, Diablo, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, or Warcraft, you should know that these games originated from this amazing era.
Guest Post credit to: Jeremy from Stylin Online
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