Computer Games of the Nineties

In the Christmas of 1991 my parents updated our home gaming experience by purchasing a Sega Megadrive (Genesis for the North Americans). The console came in a package with Sonic the Hedgehog, arguably the definitive platform game of its era.

Sonic1

Sonic the Hedgehog is the character most associated with SEGA in the 90s. The first game was released in 1991.

I loved the design of the Megadrive, because I thought it looked very futuristic. The games also looked out of this world to me. I couldn’t believe how far graphics had come in just a few years from the Sinclair ZX Spectrum to the Megadrive.

I also remember looking at the control pads, which were larger than the Nintendo’s and thinking that it had been design perfectly to fit into your hands while playing. It also had three buttons labelled ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’. Three buttons!!!

Sega Controller

Sega Controller…with THREE BUTTONS!!!

By far my top twenty favourite and most memorable games (Sonic the Hedgehog has already been mentioned above) from the Sega Megadrive are (Not in order of importance):

1. Megalomania

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Released in 1991, the concept of the game was to build up armies through various time periods to destroy your enemies.

2. Golden Axe

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Released in 1989, this hack and slash arcade style game sees a barbarian, a dwarf and a scantily clad warrioress fight demons with the help of magic potions.

3. Streets of Rage

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Released in 1991, this classic beat ’em up would spawn two sequels.

4. Road Rash

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Released in 1991, this racing game had a difference…you could knock off your opponents by punching, kicking or using weapons. It was so popular that it also spawned several sequels.

5. NHL Ice Hockey 

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Released in 1991, this game proved useful in more than one way. It helped me learn the names of Canada’s major cities.

6. FIFA International Soccer ‘95

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Released in 1994, this game fixed a lot of the gameplay annoyances of its predecessor E.G. poor passing control.

7. John Madden’s American Football

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Released in 1990, this allowed me to learn how to spell Cincinnati and Philadelphia properly. The game was quite fun too, especially in two player mode.

8. Desert Strike

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Inspired by the Gulf War, this 1992 release was impossibly hard to complete. Good fun though.

9. Jungle Strike

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The sequel to Desert Strike, this 1993 release was just as fun….and just as hard.

10. Micro Machines ‘96

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Released in 1995, this highly addictive game was awesome in both single and two player modes.

11.Shining Force II

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Released in 1993, this was the first role playing game that I ever played. I loved it.

12. Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion

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Released in 1990, this cute yet fun game was quite addictive. Enough so to have me play it over and over again.

13. Toejam and Earl

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Released in 1991, the object of the game was to guide these two aliens to finding pieces of their broken spacecraft. Highly addictive and incredibly entertaining.

14. Altered Beast

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Released in 1988, this arcade style beat ’em up, set in Ancient Greece, saw Zeus resurrect a fallen warrior to rescue the Goddess Athena. Oh and at points he could turn into various beasts like werewolves, bears and dragons.

15. Ecco the Dolphin

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Released in 1992, this unlikely hero was incredibly popular and became one of the best selling Megadrive games of all time.

16. Cannon Fodder

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Released in 1993, this game saw you complete missions with a small group of elite soldiers who would get promoted after every mission. Very addictive but controversial for mixing war and humour.

17. PGA Tour Golf

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Released in 1990, this game is mostly remembered by me for beating my father at it. Easy to play and highly addictive in two player mode.

18. Flashback

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Released in 1993, this ground-breaking game became one of the Megadrive’s best sellers. With a compelling story line and a mixture of action and problem solving, definitely a game that is long overdue a remake.

19. Wrestle War

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Released in 1989, this simple but enjoyable wresting game was one of the first we ever bought.

20. Alien Storm

Alien_Storm_Cover

Released in 1990, this arcade shoot ’em up/beat ’em up saw three heroes defending the earth from invading aliens.

My grandfather bought version II of the Megadrive which was a smaller design. He also purchased the MegaCD that attached to the side of the console. This was my first glimpse at the next generation of computer games on CD rather than cartridge.

I didn’t know anyone who bought the 32x attachment (See below).

32x and Mega CD

32x and Mega CD

I only actually remember playing two games on the MegaCD. Tomcat Alley, a jet fighter game set in the sort of Top Gun cinematic theme, and a cartoonish looking driving game which consisted of you just being prompted to push buttons at certain points in the game to move onto the next cinematic scene.

Tomcatalley_mcd

Released in 1994, this Top Gun style game was ahead of its time in my humble opinion.

By the mid-nineties I had also begun playing PC games at a friend’s house. We were Sci-Fi geeks at the time so our gaming consisted of mainly Star Wars and Star Trek games, our particular favourites being Star Trek 25th Anniversary and Tie-Fighter.

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Released in 1992 this game featured the voices of the original actors and included all the humour and fun of the original series.

Tie Fighter in particular was an amazing game. In it you play the role of a pilot for the Empire and have to complete missions that mostly consists of blowing up the Rebels. You start off with a normal tie-fighter and as the game progresses get to pilot other more advanced vessels. You are given four types of missions too. Primary missions: these must be completed in order to progress to the next mission, secondary and tertiary missions: needed in order to unlock medals and special features, and you also have secret missions given to you by a sinister looking cloaked figure. These were usually missions straight from the Emperor. The game seemed to last forever but we loved it, spending hours away from the hideous sunlight of summer days until his mother came and turfed us out, and made us experience fresh air.

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Released in 1994, this is possibly the greatest game ever made. I got lost in this universe for days on end.

I first became aware of the Sony Playstation in 1996 when visiting a schoolboy chum who was playing Tomb Raider. If memory serves I believe it was one of the first games that I say in 3D that didn’t just look like blocks of polygons. I didn’t buy the first Playstation until the end of the nineties when my parents scoured the county to find one. My birthday is in January you see and usually all the best toys are sold out. My parents found one for me though and I was as happy as a pig in the proverbial.

Tomb_Raider_(1996)

This 1996 release kick-started every school boys libido. Great game, great story, and definitely set the bar for later adventure games.

Playstation

The original Playstation

My Megadrive was donated to my younger brother who seemed very happy with the arrangement and I began my journey through the next generation of gaming. He would later acquire a SNES of which I think Mario and Donkey Kong were probably the best games.

Super Nintendo (SNES)

Super Nintendo (SNES)

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Released in 1992 in Europe, this was one of the most memorable games of the SNES, for me at least.

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Released in 1994, this platform game gained critical acclaim for its graphics.

Games like the aforementioned Tomb Raider as well as Duke Nukem 3D, Worms, Abe’s Odyssey, Resident Evil, Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding and Metal Gear Solid, kept me occupied in the gaming world for the next few years.

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Released in 1996, this shoot ’em up was controversial due to its violent and sexually explicit content.

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Released in 1995, the concept of this game was simple and quickly became legendary.

Abe's_Oddysee_Cover

This 1998 release sees you guide Abe to help free his race from slavery whilst destroying the meat packing Rupture Farms.

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Released in 1996, this game saw you fight your way out of a creepy mansion filled with zombies and other freaky creatures. It spawned several sequels as well as films.

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Released in 1999, this fab game was insanely addictive and kept me up into the wee hours of the morn with friends trying to get 100% on every level.

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Released in 1998, this game saw you guide Snake into a secret facility to stop a potential nuclear attack. This game helped popularize the stealth type games and paved a way for more advanced and complex game play.

Before leaving the nineties I discovered the most addictive PC game that I had experienced to date. It was called Age of Empires and would become so successful as to spawn a several sequels and expansion packs as well as a few spin off games.

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Released in 1997, this addictive strategy game, set in the ancient world, followed the chronology of some of the greatest civilizations in the world.

The game consisted of campaigns and random map scenarios. In the campaigns you got to choose different civilisations (Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians and Japanese) and would help them rise to dominance from the stone age to the iron age by defeating your enemies in the various scenarios and missions that the game offered.

My father also enjoyed this game and would waste hours completing the same missions over and over again but like I said the game was incredibly addictive.

What are your memories of computer games in the nineties?

Did you miss my post about Computer Games of the Eighties?

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3 responses to “Computer Games of the Nineties

  1. My most prevalent 90s gaming memories are of Super Metroid, DOOM and DOOM 2, and Super Mario 64, but there were so many wonderful games at the time! Great post, great memories. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Computer Games of the Eighties | Lawrence of Canadia·

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