The best video games from the 1990s

posted by Chris Valentine

The 1990s is widely viewed as a golden era for video games, with many gamers looking back on the decade with a particular fondness.

SEGA and Nintendo were the pioneers during that period, with the two Japanese companies going head-to-head with a series of innovative consoles.

Mega Drive and Playstation were amongst the machines developed by SEGA, while Nintendo had the likes of Super NES and the N64.

Each company had games that became legendary brands in the gaming industry, with some enjoying a lifespan that has lasted for over two decades.

Read on as we look at some of the best video games from the 1990s.

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda series revolves around ‘Link’, the elf-like player character and hero of the game. Link is tasked with rescuing Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon, an evil warlord turned demon who is the main ‘baddie’.

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

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

Many games in the series are considered by critics to be the finest ever made, and The Legend of Zelda is undoubtedly one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises.

Super Mario World

Super Mario World is a side-scrolling platform game developed and published in 1990 by Nintendo for their Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

The story follows Mario’s quest to save Princess Toadstool and Dinosaur Land from the series antagonist Bowser and his children, the Koopalings.

The gameplay is similar to that of earlier Super Mario games, with players controlling Mario or his brother Luigi through a series of levels in which the goal is to reach the flagpole at the end.

Super Mario World is often considered one of the greatest video games of all-time. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling SNES game in history.

It spawned some of our favourite SNES games, including Super Mario Kart and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.

Street Fighter II

Released in 1991, Street Fighter II 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.

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.

Donkey Kong Country Series

The Donkey Kong Country series is a spin-off from the original that proved hugely popular in amusement arcades across the world.

Players control Donkey Kong and his friends and must complete a series of side-scrolling levels that include enemies, obstacles and collectibles.

The original Donkey Kong Country trilogy was released on Super NES between 1994 and 1996, and was later ported to the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance and Virtual Console service on Wii.

The initial version of Donkey Kong Country received critical acclaim and sold more than nine million copies worldwide, making it the third best-selling SNES game.

The Donkey Kong franchise has enjoyed longevity within the gaming industry, selling around 81 million units to date.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil is a survival horror that features outbreaks of zombies and other monsters. First released in 1996, the franchise had 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 can transform humans into zombies as well as mutate other creatures into horrifying monsters.

Resident Evil was very popular on Playstation, with sequels to the original eagerly anticipated by gamers around the world during the late 1990s.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog was developed after SEGA requested a mascot character to compete with Nintendo’s Mario series.

Its success spawned many sequels and helped SEGA become one of the leading video game companies during the early 1990s.

The first major 3D Sonic game, Sonic Adventure, was released in 1998. Spin-offs have explored other genres, including racing and sports games.

The series has shifted 800 million copies by 2018 and the franchise also crossed over into a variety of different media including animation, comic books and a Hollywood film.

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