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The best video games from the 1990s

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  • Video game technology has developed massively over the past 20 years, but it’s fair to say that the 1990s remains one of the most memorable decades for gamers across the world.

    Japanese companies Nintendo and SEGA were the dominant forces in the industry, with both releasing consoles that became household names.

    Super NES, Game Boy and the N64 were amongst the machines developed by Nintendo, while SEGA had the likes of Master System, Mega Drive, Game Gear and Playstation. Read on as we look at some of the best video games from the 1990s.

    Resident Evil

    Resident Evil is a survival horror that features outbreaks of zombies and other monsters. The first version was released in 1996, taking place in a mansion overrun with zombies.

    The franchise has grown to encompass numerous sequels of various genres and had sold over 85 million copies worldwide by 2018.

    The main storyline of the game primarily concerns a group of individuals who battle against the Umbrella Corporation as well as characters in relation to them.

    These have developed the T-virus which, among other things, can transform humans into zombies as well as mutate other creatures into horrifying monsters.

    The game was hugely popular on Playstation, with sequels to the original eagerly anticipated by gamers during the late 1990s.

    The Legend of Zelda

    Originally released in 1986, The Legend of Zelda series became one of the best N64 games during the 1990s.

    The game revolves around ‘Link’, the elf-like player character and main good guy. Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon, a warlord turned demon who is a force for evil in the game.

    The plots commonly involve a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three golden triangles representing the virtues of Courage, Wisdom and Power that together are supreme.

    The series expanded to include 19 entries on all of Nintendo’s major game consoles, as well as numerous spin-offs.

    The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most prominent and successful franchises, with many of its games considered by critics to be amongst the greatest video games of all-time.


    Doom was a first-person shooter game first released in 1993. It is considered one of the most significant and influential titles in video game history, having helped to pioneer the first-person shooter genre.

    The original game was split into three nine-level episodes and was distributed via shareware and mail order. Doom was played by around 15-20 million people within two years of its release, helping to spawn a brand new gaming subculture.

    The Doom franchise was continued with the follow-up Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994) and numerous expansion packs, including Master Levels for Doom II (1995), and Final Doom (1996).

    The game even spawned a movie starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in 2005, although even the self-styled ‘Great One’ panned it during an interview for its lack of quality four years later.

    Despite this, the innovative storyline of the Doom game means it will forever hold a place in the hearts of gaming aficionados.

    Super Mario 64

    Awarded the Game of the Year in 1996, Super Mario 64 is the best-selling Nintendo 64 game of all-time. It established the basics of 3D gaming with a story and setting that was both interesting and visually impressive.

    It was also the first game to use the free camera where the player could control it from the character itself. Such was the popularity of the game it had become the second most popular title on Wii’s Virtual Console by 2007.

    Like many previous games in the series, experimentation is integral to the experience of playing Super Mario 64. Inquisitive players are the ones who get the most out of the game, particularly those who are prepared to give up huge chunks of time exploring the different levels.

    With magnificent graphics, lush animations and rich textures, Super Mario 64 is one of the finest games ever made.

    Street Fighter II

    Developed by Capcom in 1991, Street Fighter II was touted as one of the best in gameplay as it was the first game to involve multi-player action through a single medium, rather than just concentrating on high-scores.

    Street Fighter II follows several of the rules already established by its original 1987 predecessor. The player engages opponents in one-on-one combat in a series of best-two-out-of-three matches. The objective of each round is to deplete the opponent’s vitality before the timer runs out.

    The game differs from the original due to the selection of multiple playable characters, each with distinct fighting styles and special moves. It won multiple awards, with the accuracy of the joystick and detailed graphics providing a stunning gaming experience.

    Allowing for inflation, all versions of Street Fighter II are estimated to have grossed over $10 billion in revenue, placing it alongside the likes of Pac-Man and Space Invaders as one of the most popular video games in history.

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