Did video games exist in the 90s?
The 90s were a decade of great progress in games. Some of the most popular video games in the 90s are still echoing their fame to this day. It all started in the 1950s and 1960s. With the general boom in the technological advancement, computer scientists began designing simple games and simulations on minicomputers and mainframes way before their explosion in popularity.
Computer games in the 90s were very much a thing, and more gaming consoles started invading the market gradually.
Popular video games in the 90s
Let’s get back to the nostalgic time of the ’90s and take a look at some of the most popular games back then. Note that these don’t come in any particular order, and you can take a look at our video above if you want to see game demos directly.
You can’t spell the 90s and video games without saying Final Fantasy somewhere in between. Throughout the ’90s, SquarEnix released 8 Final Fantasy games, 12 if you count the spin-off and the re-releases.
Needless to say, it was a hit globally and in Japan. For instance, the first entry in the series for the NES sold more than 600 thousand copies garnering $45 million in Japan alone, and the North American release in 1990 sold more than 700 thousand copies.
It was apparent that the series has a bright future and unlike what the creator—Hironobu Sakaguchi—thought, this project would not be his final game development project, and Final Fantasy wouldn’t be his final game.
Now the story of the game is as convoluted as the number of entries and the naming convention in the series and it helps a lot that all the games have different plot lines and characters each.
Now you might think there are a lot of plot lines that we are going to need to explore, but I’ll save you the hassle and give you the short version. There is a group of characters battling an evil antagonist that dominate the story world—you still with me hang in there— the character wants to defeat that evil antagonist and save the world, so they form a rebellious movement.
The 6th entry in the series was released in 1994, and it is still considered to be one of the best games ever made to this day.—when we all know it’s Tetris— The 7th “FF” was also a big hit with a large volume of 3D characters. This 7th version was released in 1997.— the same year where Steve Jobs return to run apples—
Final Fantasy was so popular, especially in Japan where it was known as “Dragon Quest.”— throughout this video today you’ll see a pattern here where most of the games would usually have a different name in japan compared to the global release—Final Fantasy excels in all the major areas of RPG games thanks to its unforgettable soundtrack, engrossing story, well-designed combat mechanics, and charismatic characters.
Metal Gear Solid: Solid Snake
In the mid ’80s, action games were the leading genre in gaming, with the games spawned getting several releases and getting renowned for years to come. Most of games at the time involved laying down leds on your foes until everyone that isn’t you is dead. Metal Gear solid had a different take on the action game introducing stealth elements, puzzle solving, and hide mechanics to the game.
Kojima (the designer of the game at the time) joined Konami MSX department in 1986. He first assisted and directed a game called Penguin Adventure, he also wrote and directed an action platformer he dubbed Lost World, that was subsequently tossed out by the executives at Konami at the time.
His last chance to impress his employers and save his job was a pitch about a game where instead of having gamers charged forward blasting. It encouraged the player to hide, looking back this was a huge gamble at the time but on July 12, 1987, Metal Gear was released and it was a huge success.
Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake, debuted on the MSX2 Home Computer on July 19th, 1990 three years after the original Metal Gear.
During those three years, another sequel called Snake’s Revenge has been released in North America. Hideo Kojima claimed in an interview with MSX magazine that he was unaware of the game until one of its developers told him about it. Hideo further elaborates that according to him Snake’s Revenge was “ not the authentic Snake”.
Similar to the original game, Kojima led as the Game’s designer, aided by a loyal team of programmers, concept artists, character designers, and composers, recreating Metal Gear’s deadly fortress, Outer Heaven.
This time however, the story takes the player to a place called Zanzibar Land (an imaginary Province in Central Asia) to set the stage for operation “Intrude F014”. The player is tasked with infiltrating a highly secured facility in the militant state Zanzibar to rescue a kidnapped scientist and destroy the revised Metal Gear nuclear weapon.
Super Mario 64
What are we going to say about Mario 64 that hasn’t already been said, IGN Reviewer Doug Perry wrote in his review of the game in 1996:
Super Mario 64 is the greatest video game to date, and one which all games, regardless of genre, will be judged henceforth. Nintendo set itself a nearly impossible goal and achieved it with SM64.Doug Perry, IGN, Sep 26, 1996.
There were no Dark Souls back then, different time guys!
Who doesn’t know Super Mario? One of the most popular games in the world.
Super Mario was a hero and a role model for young children. He was the brave one who defies monsters and goes through many difficulties and challenges in order to save the princess and the mushroom kingdom and get rid of the evil monster.
In 1996, the first RPG in the Mario series was released. Its difficulty level is easy for players and children who are new to RPGs. There are plenty of action elements on the stage, and the place where elements that can be enjoyed are scattered is truly Mario’s.
Half-Life was released in November, 1998. It was Valve’s debut product.
In this game, you play as Gordon Freeman, a Theoretical Physicist on his first day at the Black Mesa Research Facility. After the worst first day ever, where a teleportation experiment goes horribly wrong opening a portal to an alien planet called Xen, aliens flood the facility.
Now Gordon has to fight through not only aliens, but also military soldiers that are trying to cover it up by eliminating everything in the facility, Gordon has to find a way to the Alien Planet Xen to defeat the Alien boss and save the world.
Half-Life became so popular thanks to its graphics, realistic gameplay, realistic narrative, and above all uninterrupted control over the player, as the story is mostly told in scripted sequences rather than cutscenes which were the standards at the time.
It has won over fifty awards. The game has inspired many developers, and later on, we saw the release of several special games that took some of the basic ideas from Half-Life, most notably Counter-Strike.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda is a series of adventure video games. It was first released in 1998 and was published by Nintendo. The series was acclaimed by millions of players around the world, which expanded the popularity of open-world games. The story takes place in the kingdom of Hyrule where the main character is a boy named Link who has to rescue Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon.
The Pokemon series has had a great impact on society and the video game industry. This game was released in 1996, and it was developed several times.
Its existence has continued to this day without losing its popularity or being lost. Rather, it is increasing with the passage of time, and its popularity has increased very significantly. The famous series Pokemon was inspired by this game, and it went viral all over the world.
You’ve probably heard of Street Fighter. It was one of the most famous games back in the 90s. It is a fighting game for the Super Nintendo and Neo Geo released in 1996. A total of 18 unique characters fighting in the world of street fighting…some for training, and some for revenge.
In addition to the basic actions familiar from the series, “Aerial Guard” that prevents attacks while jumping, and “Down Avoidance” that regains posture when receiving a down attack has been added.
If you consume the Super Combo Level Gauge, you can use the powerful special moves “Super Combo”, “ZERO Counter” to quickly release the guard and counterattacks, and “Original Combo” that speeds up the movement for a certain period of time.
Metal Slug is an action Run’n’gun shooting game, where you control the player character through different stages and locations where the enemy awaits while making full use of shots, jumps, and grenades. Each level would come to a close with a boss battle at the end.
It was first released in 1996 and got many new versions later on. The Metal Slug series is one of the most popular games on Neo Geo, thanks to its exciting level backdrops, levels variety, and art style.
The game is still fun to paly even to this day, with the latest spinoff in the series Metal Slug Tactics planned to be released sometime this year for the Nintendo switch.
Bomberman was specifically made for the Neo Geo. It’s an action-based maze arcade game made in 1997. It is one of the most popular Neo Geo games.
In this game, gamers take control of Bomberman’s character, and you basically place bombs to block monsters in the maze to destroy them. Once all the monsters are dead, you move to the next level, and it gets harder with every new level. Bomberman also offers a multiplayer mode that.
Need for Speed
Need for Speed is one of the most popular racing games in the world. It was launched in 1994 and had great success, making it one of the most important games of the ’90s. Its main goal was to make the player experience the feeling of driving a sports car, and maybe achieving that goal is what made it so popular.
The game continued to make great progress with each new version. The vehicles were improved and again the track and the racing background was improved to become one of the most realistic racing games ever made after it started its career with random polygon graphics as one of the most important games of the nineties.
Resident Evil is a combination of horror, adventure, and science fiction, which is the reason for its success. It was released in 1996 and continued for several parts.
What distinguishes this game is its strong and rich plot that reached the world of cinema and made several films.
Briefly, the story of the game revolves around a group of scientists who work to develop a drug that would improve the genes of humans and change them positively. One of them ended up producing a devastating virus for the purpose of using it as a biological weapon and controlling the world. But, the virus spread in the palace and the surrounding forest, which led to the emergence of walking dead and giant wild animals.
Tomb Raider (1996)
This game marks the birth of the famous Tomb Raider series. This series is famous for the character of Lara Croft, an intrepid archaeologist who takes you on her adventures to explore different places and solve huge cases.
The game is inspired by Egyptian antiquities, Tank Girl, and Indiana Jones.
The team made a clear effort to build the dimensions of the character so the game had a distinctive spirit. And it was not just about playing in and facing opponents and jumping without a goal, but rather, it included exciting stories and complicated puzzles.
StarCraft is a military Sci-fi real-time strategy series of games. Its first release was in 1998, and it was very popular back then.
The story of the game is about three intelligent species fighting for dominance in a fictional world in the 25th century, more specifically, in a part of the Milky Way called the Koprulu Sector
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
This game was released in 1999. It is a skateboarding video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision.
It was inspired by the real skateboarding champion, Tony Hawk, who was a gamer and actually helped in the development of the game by helping the developers understand the skateboarding moves.
It is ranked as one of the top three games of all time on Metacritic. What probably made it that popular is the prevalence of skating back then, especially for young people who already loved gaming as well as the good graphics back then, the music, the maps, the moves, and the gameplay where there is really good skater customization.
When you go back and look at these games, you will feel the huge difference between them and today’s games due to the huge technical development that has cast a shadow on the quality of graphics and visual elements in general.
However, these games continue to be the main source of ideas that came later, and many of them are still being played today through successive versions that have made these series popular with millions of people.
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