The 30 Best Video Games of the 1990s

The 1990s was truly the golden era of video games. Home consoles became more powerful and massively popular during this decade. PC gaming also took off. Here are 30 of the best 90s games that defined this iconic period of gaming history:

  1. Super Mario World (SNES, 1990) – Still considered one of the greatest platformers ever made, Super Mario World showed just how colorful and imaginative Mario games could be on the SNES.
  2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, 1991) – An epic adventure that set the standard for all action-adventure games to come. The brilliant world design still holds up today.
  3. Street Fighter II (Arcade, 1991) – Revitalized the fighting game genre and introduced iconic characters like Ryu and Chun-Li that are still popular today.
  4. Mortal Kombat (Arcade, 1992) – Launching the fighting game popularity to new heights but also sparking controversy over its graphic violence.
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis, 1992) – Taking everything great about the original and significantly improving the speed, gameplay, and level designs.
  6. Doom (PC, 1993) – Helping popularize PC gaming with its technologically advanced 3D graphics and visceral first-person shooting.
  7. Super Metroid (SNES, 1994) – Still considered one of the best platform-exploration games ever made, with fantastic level design.
  8. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (SNES, 1995) – One of the most beautiful and fun platformers on the SNES, with unforgettable music and animations.
  9. Chrono Trigger (SNES, 1995) – An epic time-traveling RPG that blended accessibility with deep storytelling well ahead of its time.
  10. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (PC, 1995) – Helping define the real-time strategy genre and inspiring countless other games.
  11. Tomb Raider (PlayStation, 1996) – Launching the PlayStation and Lara Croft into stardom as one of the most iconic game characters ever created.
  12. Diablo (PC, 1996) – Helping popularize the action-RPG genre on PC and pioneering online co-op gameplay.
  13. GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64, 1997) – Considered one of the greatest and most influential first-person shooters ever made, especially for its multiplayer.
  14. Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation, 1997) – An epic RPG that blended cinematic storytelling with polished gameplay and helped propel Sony’s PlayStation to new heights.
  15. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64, 1998) – Often cited as the greatest game of all time, this 3D Zelda adventure was a technical and creative masterpiece.
  16. Half-Life (PC, 1998) – Launching the golden era of first-person shooters with its seamless storytelling and interaction design.
  17. Starcraft (PC, 1998) – One of the most popular and influential real-time strategy games ever, cementing Blizzard’s dominance in the genre.
  18. Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation, 1998) – Perfecting the survival horror genre established by the first game with scarier enemies and atmosphere.
  19. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (PlayStation, 1999) – Introducing a whole new generation to skateboarding culture through an incredibly fun and addictive gameplay formula.
  20. SoulCalibur (Dreamcast, 1999) – Considered one of the most technically polished 3D fighting games ever, popularizing weapon-based combat.
  21. Gran Turismo 2 (PlayStation, 1999) – Considered the most authentic driving/racing simulator at the time and helping establish the franchise.
  22. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PlayStation, 1997) – The most polished and fun platformer in the popular Crash series, showing what the PlayStation was capable of.
  23. Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation, 1998) – Blending cinematic storytelling with tactical stealth-action gameplay to pioneer a new genre.
  24. Spyro the Dragon (PlayStation, 1998) – Fun, charming and colorful 3D platforming that helped define the genre in the PlayStation era.
  25. Rayman (PlayStation, 1995) – A delightful 2D platformer showing that creativity could still thrive outside 3D realms.
  26. Tekken 3 (PlayStation, 1997) – Taking the Tekken fighting formula to new heights of graphics and gameplay polish.
  27. Pokémon Red/Blue (Game Boy, 1996) – Launching one of the most beloved gaming franchises ever around collecting and battling cute pocket monsters.
  28. GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64, 1997) – Its revolutionary first-person multiplayer mode defined how many would socialize and compete for years.
  29. Age of Empires (PC, 1997) – Helping define the real-time strategy genre on PC and sparking many peoples’ interests in history.
  30. Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64, 1996) – Showcasing clever battle mode maps and gameplay to turn the Mushroom Kingdom into a go-kart paradise.

There were so many other excellent games as well, but this covers 30 titles that truly defined gaming in the 1990s across various systems and genres. Nostalgia levels are high when looking back at this special decade!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments