28 Best 90s Video Games of All Time

Best 90s Video Games

It’s not simple to choose the top 90s video games from such a legendary gaming era, but this article will discuss some of them.

The 1990s were a period of great innovation and upheaval in the gaming industry. We saw three generations of consoles during it, each one leaping forward in terms of technology. Several new gaming genres were also popularized.

In 1990, the 16-bit console reigned supreme. The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, the Super Nintendo, the Neo Geo, and the Game Boy were part of the fourth generation of consoles.

Sega and Nintendo’s rivalry triggered the second major console war and a battle for 2D supremacy. In 1993, the 32/64 bit era began, marking the transition from 2D and cartridges to 3D and CDs.

Also, the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo 64, one of the final cartridge-based consoles in production, were the defining consoles of this generation.

The Sega Dreamcast, the first system with a built-in modem and web browser, as well as a full SD resolution, launched the sixth generation in 1999.

Gaming evolved and grew in tandem with these technological advancements. The first-person shooter, real-time strategy, and survival horror genres became popular and characterized during this time.

Let’s Proceed and discuss some of the best 90s Video games.

Table of Contents

  1. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon And Blade Of Light
  2. Donkey Kong 64
  3. Mortal Kombat II
  4. Sonic The Hedgehog
  5. Final Fantasy IV
  6. Street Fighter II
  7. Unreal Tournament
  8. Doom
  9. Super Mario Kart
  10. Virtua Racing
  11. NBA Jam
  12. Theme Park
  13. Super Mario World
  14. Grim Fandango
  15. The Elder’s Scrolls: Arena
  16. Tekken
  17. Command & Conquer
  18. Pokemon Red and Blue
  19. Resident Evil
  20. Super Mario 64
  21. Tomb Raider
  22. GoldenEye 007
  23. Ultima Online
  24. Gran Turismo
  25. Silent Hill
  26. Crazy Taxi
  27. Mario Party
  28. Half-Life

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon And Blade Of Light

The first game in the fantasy tactical role-playing franchise Fire Emblem is Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon And The Blade Of Light.

There are currently 15 main games and three spin-offs in the series, the most recent of which was released in 2017, with a new title, Three Houses, set to release later this year.

The game’s initial sales were slow, but it became a massive phenomenon that launched the popular series. Many people began to credit the game with popularizing the tactical role-playing genre after the hype grew.

Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64 should be on more of these lists, but it always seems to be overlooked. Other Rare classics, such as Banjo-Kazooie and Conkers Bad Fur Day, are always mentioned, but Donkey’s 3D adventure is one of the best games ever.

The donkey had only ever run and jumped on enemies in a 2D world until this game. Donkey and his pals, on the other hand, use fruit-based weapons like the coconut blaster in his N64 debut. Also, they have some incredible abilities that players must discover.

Furthermore, Players must switch between characters to progress because each Kong has a unique technique for reaching new areas. It’s Rare’s best collecting gameplay and popular among Banjo fans.

Mortal Kombat II

The Mortal Kombat cartoon was a hit in the 1990s, making playing with these characters on Genesis or SNES even more exciting.

The game follows the same format as any other fighting game you’ve ever played. Button mash with kicks and punches, with special moves thrown in for good measure.

The difference was that some fights ended with the possibility of executing a ‘fatality’ killing activity, and they usually pulled off someone’s head or fried their skin in these situations.

However, to find out who is the ultimate fighter, play against the computer or multiplayer couch co-op in a best-of-three rounds match. Shang Tsung, Bagsy!. No matter what anyone says, this is one of the best 90s Video Games. 

Sonic The Hedgehog

Sega and Nintendo had a fierce rivalry in the 1990s with their respective games and consoles. Sega requested a mascot character to compete with Nintendo’s Mario, and Sonic The Hedgehog was born. Sonic The Hedgehog’s first few games were all about high-speed platforming.

Sonic’s 2D fast-paced side scroller gave way to Sonic Adventure in 1998, the first 3D Sonic game, as the 1990s progressed. Sonic has grown in popularity as a solo player and in collaboration with his one-time rival Mario.

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV video games were one of the first role-playing games to have a plot that was both complex and engaging.

It also included features that have since become standard fare in both the Final Fantasy series and RPGs. The active-time battle system and unchangeable character classes are among them.

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Furthermore, the series continues to have a considerable impact, and in January 1997, Final Fantasy VII became the first game in the series to use 3D character models and full-motion video. It is still a classic title and one of the best games of all time. This is one of the best 90s video games.

Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II is widely regarded as the benchmark for one-on-one fighting games. It became a system seller for the SNES console after popularizing fighting games.

Also, it had the most precise joystick and button controls seen at the time on an arcade level. This allowed players to execute multi-button special moves and combos with greater consistency, later becoming a fighting game staple.

It was also one of the first games in which players competed against each other. A true game-changer that remains one of the highest-grossing video games of all time (adjusted for inflation).

Unreal Tournament

Unreal Tournament ruled the roost before games like Overwatch and Fortnite messed with people’s minds and made everyone late for dinner.

You can find some of the best weapons in any game in this first-person shooter; they make Turok’s cerebral bore look like a feather duster.

Furthermore, it only fits that an Unreal Engine powers everything in the background of an Unreal Tournament.

The deathmatches in this game look incredible, even better than the graphics we associate with the best Dreamcast games of all time. This is one of the best 90s video games.

Doom

Okay, so it’s missing five levels, and there aren’t any SNES-only levels. Still, it’s the only home console port that includes all of the personal and boss levels, which, in my opinion, is crucial!

However, Sony has the best-looking home console version of Doom, with the PS1 port being hailed as a complete success. Which game you buy will invariably be determined by the consoles you own, and maybe you’ll buy them all!

Furthermore, Doomguy is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the first-person shooter genre.

Doom is a hellishly addictive game that everyone should have in their collection, and the Master Chief wouldn’t be running around the Halo without him. This is one of the best 90s video games.

Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart was not only a great game to play, but it was also a pivotal title in the Mario franchise. Also, it was the beginning of the kart racing sub-genre and Mario’s successful transition away from being just a platform game character.

Furthermore, Mario Kart has since grown into a popular franchise in its own right and is frequently regarded as a Nintendo console must-have.

The original and several sequels were critically and commercially successful, and the model is still used in several other kart-racing games today.

Virtua Racing

Virtua Racing started as a proof-of-concept for a new 3D graphics platform. You so well received it that you turned it into an arcade game.

While some games had used 3D graphics before, such as Winning Run and Hard Drivin’, Virtua Racing vastly improved on them.

Also, the polygon count was much higher than in other games at the time, and a higher frame rate added to the scene complexity.

It also featured multiple camera angles and 3D non-player characters, giving it a level of realism never seen before in racing games. Also, the game laid the groundwork for 3D racing games. This is one of the best 90s video games.

NBA Jam

NBA Jam was one of the first arcade games to feature NBA-licensed teams and players. It was a huge hit, and in 1994, it broke the record for the highest-earning arcade game of all time.

The game paved the way for a new generation of sports games focused on fast-paced action and exaggerated realism. Also, this model, which NBA Jam adopted, would later be replicated in other popular sports games such as football, hockey, and baseball.

Theme Park

Bullfrog Productions was a pioneer in the 1990s regarding construction and management games. Theme Park was their first success in this genre, and it served as the foundation for subsequent games in the genre.

They created the game to work on multiple levels. While building a theme park is fun, players can also increase the difficulty by adding more complex management tasks to the mix.

Furthermore, they later used much of the game’s code in the 1997 release of Theme Hospital, another classic simulation game.

Super Mario World

Super Mario World is one of the most popular and best-selling games of the 1990s, having sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

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The storyline may seem very familiar to those who haven’t played it before. Bowser is no longer a threat to Peach. However, players must save both Dinosaur Island and the game this time!

Play as Luigi, use Yoshi to nomm up enemies, and stomp on baddies until you’re satisfied. If you haven’t played this game, we demand that you be removed from this website immediately.

Also, do us a favor, pick up a copy, and play it through from beginning to end before heading to the excellent ‘Game Over’ sign in the sky.

Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango is a fast-paced collectibles game. Players guide Manuel “Manny” Calavera through the underworld, searching for items, conversing with NPCs, and solving puzzles.

The game has a ‘day of the dead’ feel; imagine Coco crossed with a Mafia-themed Film Noir film, and you’re probably on the right track.

Manny observes objects and people as they pass by, allowing players to interact and converse at various points. Manny is incapable of death because he is already dead.

Also, this is a common feature in LucasArts games. Allowing players to focus on the game rather than worrying about life collection.

The Elder’s Scrolls: Arena

The Elder Scrolls: Arena is the first Elder Scrolls game, an open-world fantasy role-playing game. It was one of the first games to include a realistic day/night cycle, which would later become standard in similar games.

For Bethesda, it signaled the start of a new chapter. The title doesn’t fit because the game was initially intended to be an arena combat game.

The title doesn’t quite fit. Side quests were added to the game’s world during development. Also, these eventually supplanted the arena, which you abandoned in favor of more role-playing elements. This is one of the best 90s video games.

Tekken

Tekken is a fighting video game that spawned the massively popular Tekken series, which saw its most recent release in 2017. You can control each of your fighter’s four limbs individually in Tekken.

You can play the game however you want with customizable round numbers and time limits. New sub-bosses and unlockables were also included in the PlayStation release, drawing a lot of gamers’ interest. It is regarded as a pivotal title in the PlayStation’s early success.

Command & Conquer

Command & Conquer is a real-time strategy game from the mid-to-late 1990s that won numerous awards. It was a commercial and critical success, with 30 million copies sold by 2009.

It is frequently credited with defining and popularizing the genre, though some argue that this honor belongs to Warcraft II.

Furthermore, in reality, the two games appeal to slightly different audiences, with Command & Conquer favoring realism. Instead of orcs and goblins, you had the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod, two rival factions.

Pokemon Red and Blue

Pokémon Red Version and Blue Version were first released in Japan in 1996 as Pokémon Red Version and Green Version. The Blue Version followed later that year as a special edition.

They were then released in North America and Australia in 1998 and in Europe in 1999 as Pokémon Red and Blue.

Moreover, the games not only spawned a multi-billion dollar franchise that continues to this day. But they also set records in their own right.

They sold over 300 million copies worldwide and were listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 under the categories of “Best selling RPG on the Game Boy” and “Best selling RPG of all time.”

Resident Evil

Resident Evil was the first game in not only the Resident Evil series but also the genre. This title is credited with coining the term “survival horror,” The series has since been a pioneer in the genre.

It was initially planned for release on the SNES as a remake of an earlier horror game called Sweet Home. However, after several redesigns, it was eventually released as a PlayStation title, establishing the series’ controls, inventory system, and save system conventions.

Super Mario 64

The first Super Mario game to feature 3D gameplay is Super Mario 64. It also has an open world with large areas to explore, missions to complete, and occasional linear obstacle courses. The game established the genre of 3D platformers.

Also, it is widely regarded as one of the best video games of all time, and it was the first to receive an Edge magazine perfect score.

The game is the most popular title for the Nintendo 64, having sold over 11 million copies by 2003. It’s also frequently cited as a source of inspiration for later games.

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Tomb Raider

Since its inception, the Tomb Raider franchise has spawned many titles, including a complete reboot in 2013. It’s easy to forget how far Lara has come in today’s world of complexity and diversity in gaming.

Lara Croft was one of the first female protagonists in video games, debuting in 1996. It was groundbreaking to see a game with only one controllable female character.

Also, the risk paid off, and the film received positive reviews. It’s also widely regarded as a precursor to many of the 3D action-adventure games that would follow. This is one of the best 90s video games.

GoldenEye 007

In the gaming world, Goldeneye 007 is nothing short of a phenomenon. It was a critical success and the Nintendo 64’s third best-selling game. It became a commercial success and paved the way for first-person shooters to be seen as viable console games.

In terms of gameplay, Goldeneye 007 marked a shift away from the genre’s over-the-top approach and toward a more realistic approach.

It was equally enjoyable for its stealth elements, atmospheric single-player missions, and multiplayer mode. It is frequently referred to as one of the all-time great games.

Ultima Online

One of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games was Ultima Online. It debuted in September 1997 and, within six months, had amassed 100,000 subscribers.

This was a complete surprise and resulted in some lag while the servers caught up with demand. However, around 15,000 subscribers were expected, according to the studio.

Instead, the game became one of the most popular at the time, as well as the first major hit of the online-only game genre. It would become the standard for future MMORPGs. This is one of the best 90s Video games.

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo was five years in the making, but it was well worth the wait. The goal was to create a more realistic racing game than had previously been seen, and they succeeded admirably.

To make the physics and handling honest, the game uses real-life cars and trucks and cutting-edge technology. 

Furthermore, it also had a gameplay mechanic that required players to keep playing to unlock new trophies and vehicles.

In critical reviews, the game received an average of 95%. It also received numerous accolades, including “Best Driving Game” and “Best Graphics.”

Silent Hill

Silent Hill is a PlayStation-exclusive survival horror game. It follows an “everyman” character as he searches for his missing daughter from a third-person perspective. There are five different endings to the story, one of which is a joke.

Furthermore, the game focused on a psychological horror style with an added focus on the atmosphere, as opposed to the B movie style of many other titles in the genre.

According to many gamers, it was successful in becoming one of the most terrifying horror games of all time.

Crazy Taxi

An open-world racing game unlike any other. Crazy Taxi assigns your goals and objectives to achieve. You must pick up passengers and transport them to their destination using any means necessary. The gameplay design was one-of-a-kind and simple to pick up but challenging to master.

Furthermore, since Crazy Taxi’s massive success on the Dreamcast, the formula has been copied a lot, sometimes too closely.

One such case involved a lawsuit filed by Sega against the creators of The Simpsons: Road Rage, a game that has a strong resemblance to The Simpsons: Road Rage. This is one of the best 90s video games.

Mario Party

Mario Party currently holds the record for being the longest-running mini-game franchise. It all started in 1998 with the first Mario Party game and is still going strong today.

The gameplay has changed slightly over time to reflect the technology of the time, while the core board game with mini-games concept has remained the same.

Furthermore, players would use their palms to rotate the N64 controller’s analog stick for one of the mini-games in the first game, resulting in blisters. Nintendo issued an apology in the form of free gaming gloves to those affected.

Half-Life

Half-Life was Valve’s first game, and it was quite a title. Dr. Gordon Freeman, the protagonist of the first-person shooter, was almost entirely under your control.

His story is told through scripted sequences that you see through his eyes, creating a very immersive experience.

The groundbreaking game was awarded over fifty “Game of the Year” awards. The game’s immersive nature and use of combat and puzzle-solving to progress through the story would have a long-term impact on other first-person shooters.

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