‘90s retro games that changed our childhood
Today the world has moved to 5G and gaming has become self-expression with on-the-go gaming devices like specialized power-packed gaming smartphones. But the ‘90s was an era charged with creativity and the renaissance of video games, ask any millennial today and most of them will tell you what an amazing time it was to be a kid in the ’90s. Retro games welcomed and revolutionized the technology era with dial-up internet and chunky monitors.
Here’s your trip down the memory lane with some of the best retro ‘90s games that shaped our childhood:
- Doom (1993)
A game that needs no introduction. The father of dystopian murder simulation, Doom was a game-changer (pun intended). What Mario did for jumping, Doom did for first-person shooting games. Distinguished by being a pioneer in its field, the game was way ahead of its time with 3D graphics, violence, an intense storyline and hordes of gory demons from Hell. As a tribute, 27 years after its initial release, the first 3 versions of Doom were made available for purchase on Steam.
Platforms: MS-DO, Android, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Saturn
- Tomb Raider (1996)
This game was the beginning of the famous Tomb Raider series, a game inevitably stuck in the minds of 90’s players. Lara Croft, a bold archeologist, takes you on her rich adventures in a world unlike any other. Tomb Raider was inspired by Egyptian antiquities and cult classics like Tank Girl and Indiana Jones. It wasn’t all about fighting opponents and jumping around guns-blazing, the game included exciting puzzles mixed with remarkable graphics and music. Tomb Raider was first released on Sega.
Platforms: Sega Saturn, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Mac OS, N-Gage, Pocket PC, iOS, Android
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- Mortal Kombat (1992)
Finish him! Did someone say martial arts and street fighting retro games in the ’90s? Mortal Kombat hands down remains one of the most popular fighting games in the history of the genre. An arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway Company, Mortal Kombat was issued on almost every home platform at the time. Praised by critics and raved by fans, the game was an instant bestseller with its recent version, Mortal Kombat 11 out in 2019.
Platforms: Sega Mark III, Sega Genesis, Microsoft Windows, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Prince of Persia (1989)
Prince of Persia is a fictional cinematic game designed and implemented by Jordan Mechner for Apple II and published by Broderbund, set in ancient Persia where players control an unnamed hero who must wade through a series of dungeons to defeat Jafar and protect the imprisoned princess. The game won the approval of critics and is often considered a huge leap in computer graphics of the ’90s.
Platforms: Apple II, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, MS-DOS, iOS, Amiga
- GTA: Vice City (2002)
Another cult classic behind the digital revival of the ’90s, our kickass GTA: Vice City. An open-world, action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games as part of the Grand Theft Auto series, the game takes place in a fictional ‘Vice City’, and follows the exploits of a gangster, Tommy, after his release from prison, slowly building a criminal empire in Miami.
With iconic music, versatile storylines and game-changing characters, GTA: Vice City lived up to the reputation of GTA: III.
Platforms: Android, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, Xbox, iOS, PlayStation 3, macOS, Fire OS
- Sonic: The Hegdehog (1991)
Taking the gaming world by storm, for an entire generation of gamers, this is where it all started. Sega’s brainchild against a mustached Italian plumber (ahem… Mario), Sonic attempts to defeat Dr. Robotnik, a scientist who has imprisoned animals in robots. Gameplay was fairly simple, like collecting rings as a form of energy, and an even easier control system, with one button to jump and attack.
Platforms: Sega Genesis, Sega Mark III, Microsoft Windows
- Death Race (1990)
Nintendo players described Death Race as the “spiritual ancestor” of the GTA series. A mighty high claim we’d say.
Death Race is a combat vehicle video game developed by American Values Cartridges, set in eight American cities that the player visits consecutively: San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, Raleigh, and New York.
In each city, the player drives an armored sports car equipped with surface-to-air missiles and fast fire cannons, where his performance is measured by the number of kills. Players can use the money earned in the game to upgrade their car’s engine, tires, rifles and missiles.
Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System
- Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991)
Seen as a unique revolutionary moment in its kind, Street Fighter’s launch is credited with promoting the fighting genre during the 90s and inspiring other producers to create their own fighting video series. The game sparked a renaissance in the video game industry, having an impact on competitive video games and wider pop-culture such as movies and music.
If you are one of the select few who hasn’t been introduced to its awesomeness, Street Fighter II is a 1v1 competitive fighting game developed by Capcom, originally released for arcade systems, and is the second installment in the Street Fighter series.
Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Arcade game, PlayStation
- Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Redefining stealth in the ’90s was Metal Gear Solid, a mission game absolutely unparalleled in its time, developed by Konami and released for the PlayStation, it was directed, produced and written by Hideo Kojima.
Unlike other games, Metal Gear Solid knew how to tell a story. Players control Recruiter Snake, a soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to neutralize the terrorist threat from the defected Special Forces unit. Snake must free the hostages and prevent terrorists from launching a nuclear strike. Techniques used in the game are still of incomparable magnificence.
Platforms: PlayStation, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
An action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda was the first game in its series with 3D graphics. Developed by Nintendo and led by five directors, the story and music were given great attention.
Praised by critics for its visuals, sound, gameplay, soundtrack, and writing, it has been widely cited as one of the greatest retro games of all time, with numerous publications ranking it the greatest video game ever. The game was a commercial success with more than 7 million copies sold worldwide. Ocarina of Time truly shaped the future of RPG games.
Platforms: Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii
There you have it! The games that are reminiscent of your childhood in the ’90s.
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