10 Most Influential Video Games From the ’90s
When you think of the ’90s, you can’t think of it without these 10 Most Influential Video Games. They have created a lot of inspiration and ideas for the games we play today. Ranging from their unique story lines, strategic abilities, and replay value, these titles deserve credit where credit is due. Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at the 10 Most Influential Video Games From the ’90s.
Diablo – 1996
We start off with Diablo coming in at #10 on our 10 Most Influential Video Games From the ’90s list. Don’t mistake this for being the least influential, though. Diablo holds the #1 spot for PC on Gamespot’s list, coming in with a score of 9.6/10. This is due to its high replay value, multiplayer universe, and addictive gameplay. Surprisingly, Diablo was released during a time when people weren’t so interested in RPGs as they used to be. It struck a nerve, though, and brought back attention to the genre. It also brought a lot of attention to internet gaming with Battle.net, which was widely used for it. With this kind of success, developers left and right were trying to emulate the design of Diablo. They wanted to be a part of something great, and Diablo was at the lead.
Grand Theft Auto – 1997
Grand Theft Auto is said to be both a good and bad influence. Critics say the game can make murderers out of its players, but others claim it’s just an all-out fun game. Either way, it has something not many others have. Instead of being the hero, you play the bad guy (so to speak). This new environment was refreshing for a lot of people. It was new and exciting. GTA’s influence can be seen by the series’ success in its following years. The newly released GTA V, released September 17 2013, broke sales by earning $800 million dollars in the first 24 hours. Talk about influential!
Resident Evil – 1996
Where would Playstation be today if it weren’t for Resident Evil, named one of the first “survival horror” games of its time? While other titles in the horror and gore genre made it all too cartoon-like, Resident Evil ignored comfort zones and made it realistic. By making something that can truly frighten a player, it brought credibility to Playstation as being a more mature system for its time. That’s not all, either. Resident Evil played a big part in the games we play today when it pushed the envelope, inspiring future ones to create something just as real and terrifying.
Half-Life – 1998
In the late ’90s, the world met Gordon Freeman, a witness to an experiment that goes horrifically wrong. Half-Life was a first person shooter, but unlike any other. Earning the “Best-Selling First-Person Shooter of All Time (PC)” in the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2008, it’s best to say this game has its influence. (A lot of it, too.) People have claimed Half-Life to be a revolutionary game for its genre, totally immersing the player in the scenes and even being called the best FPS since DOOM. It has won many top spots on other “Most Influential” gaming lists, and it’s no surprise it’s on ours, too.
Myst – 1993
Myst is unlike any other game of its time. It’s not so much that you play it, it’s that you experience it. At the time it was released, it was the first game to come out on cd-rom and its graphics surpassed others with its clear touch of reality that really made you feel you were in the world. The environment, as beautiful as it is, was your only interaction with the world. With all of its unique aspects, Myst became the driving force of revival in PC gaming during its time. Along with DOOM, it influenced the popularity of video games more so than any other PC game.
Civilization – 1991
You’ve probably heard of Age of Empires, a very influential title when it comes to real-time strategy games? While it may be so, we cannot ignore the fact Civilization came first. In 1991, the game was released with just one objective: build an empire that can last. (Sounding familiar yet?) This game has been an inspiration for many to follow, and the recognition it has received is phenomenal. The Computer Gaming World’s Anniversary Edition in 1996 featured it as the best game of all time. Ranking at #4, it was on IGN’s list in 2000 for the top PC games of all time. It’s not hard to see why Civilization has earned our #5 spot of 10 Most Influential Video Games From the ’90s.
DOOM – 1993
How about a revolutionary game for the action junkies? Look no further than DOOM. Critics and gamers pretty much have the same view on it: “influential”, “best of the best”, and, “breakthrough”. DOOM inspired many clones as well. You know what they say — imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Super Mario 64 – 1996
Let’s talk about the best-selling Nintendo 64 game of all time: Super Mario 64. This “Game of the Year” is praised with contributing to the initial success of the Nintendo 64 console. Its 3D platform style has been an inspiration for many games that came afterward. Did you also know it was the first to use a “free” camera where the player could control it independently from the character? This attribute has become a standard for many video games today.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – 1998
It’s hard to find a review that isn’t close to perfect scoring for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Even in the Guinness World Records for 2008 and 2010, it was called the highest-rated game that was ever reviewed. To many fans, this title is “flawless” in its gameplay, design, and sound. Its influence comes in various forms. The target lock mechanics that were used in OoT have become common in more present releases, and the context-sensitive button style is frequently used as well. Ocarina of Time has also been the inspiration for many of the later titles in the series, becoming the back story for most of the later plots.
Street Fighter II – 1991
With all this talk about revolutionary games, how could we forget Street Fighter II? This gem came out of nowhere, shocking the gaming industry with everything it had. Players no longer relied on high scores to compete — now they had “face-to-face” battles with someone that wasn’t the computer. The joystick was perfectly accurate, and the graphics were stunningly detailed. The combo mechanic was introduced here as well. Street Fighter II had an impact on the arcade gaming industry that matched the popularity of Pac-Man in the ’80s. This is the face of a truly influential game, and that’s why it’s #1 on our list of the 10 Most Influential Video Games From the ’90s.