The best videogames from the ‘90s

Gamers in the 1990s were part of a new era, one that kicked off the greatness of modern gaming as we now know it. Go back with us as we sit down way too close to the wood-paneled 20-inch TV and rediscover which of the best games of the ‘90s still withstand the test of time.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

Hey, listen! This entry in the Legend of Zelda series was the first to show gamers a brand new perspective: a fully immersive 3D world that took you on a journey over endless fields, through haunted manors, deep inside the stomach of a whale, and eventually even had you travelling through time! To this day gamers continue debating the many intriguing complexities of the plot, and long-hidden secrets still await discovery by intrepid heroes on their quest to rescue the princess and defeat the evil lord Ganon. 

The best videogames from the ‘90s

Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Let’s mosey! Take on the role of a spiky-haired mercenary on his quest to save the planet from an evil power company that runs the world, a predatory monster from outer space, and a beloved champion of the people turned insane villain. This game made millions of gamers cry, scream, and laugh in equal measure…without ever losing its core message about the importance of discovering your own identity and purpose in life. This incredible classic will never be “just a memory” for many fans who grew up on it.

DOOM (1993)

If you’ve ever wanted to be a super-gruff soldier of fortune strapped to the teeth with an entire armory’s worth of guns and left stranded on a Martian base overrun with demons spawned from the nether realm, DOOM checked all the necessary boxes to scratch an itch that most gamers didn’t even know they had. This “first person” action game was the first of its kind, and it single-handedly created an entirely brand-new style of games. Modern action games owe their roots to this masterpiece that literally invented the whole genre.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Move aside Mario, you’re too slow! The Sega team knew that they had to create a mascot that could compete with Nintendo’s platforming plumber, and they decided that the key to success was to embrace pure speed. Their cocky blue hedgehog wouldn’t meander about slowly rescuing princesses, but rather sprint through colorful levels faster than the speed of sound (hence, “Sonic”) and stomp out the evil Doctor Robotnik in record time. The original game still holds up today, with entire “speedrunning” communities still playing and setting new world records.

The best videogames from the ‘90s

Street Fighter II (1991)

Gamers almost lived in arcades in the ‘90s, plunking down our allowances one quarter at a time until we finally set a high score. The second entry in the Street Fighter series was one of the first fighting-style games to escape the arcades and find a way into our homes. Though appearing simplistic at first glance, there’s a lot of strategy behind understanding when to attack, when to defend, and when to “Shoryuken!!!” And, as a result, this classic “beat-em-up” still features annual tournaments for gamers of all skill levels.

The ‘90s were a great time to play videogames, with gamers finding themselves right on the edge of innovation (especially after the drought of the ‘80s, when gaming was thought to be over with). Many titles continue to hold up decades after their initial release, and are definitely worth revisiting the next time you feel that “retro gaming” urge! Whether you prefer the intensity of fighting games, the wonder of grand adventures, or narrative stories that continue to amaze with their complexity and depth, there’s bound to be something from the 1990s that will entertain and amuse you.

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