The ’90s were a very interesting time for video games. The technology was advancing quickly, and the leaps that these platforms took would turn gaming into something way bigger than anyone ever imagined. September 12th is National Video Games Day, and to celebrate, we put together a list of some of the most influential video games from the ’90s. These classic games continue to have a massive impact on the gaming world, and they’re still SO much fun to play.

Super Mario 64

Release Date:

June 23, 1996

Platforms:

Nintendo 64

Genre:

Adventure

Why We Love It:

Super Mario 64 was the first game released for Nintendo 64. It’s highly regarded as one of the best games of all time because of its groundbreaking 3D gameplay and its incredibly intricate levels. It did more than just define Nintendo and the Super Mario franchise. It set a standard for every game after it. Simply put, Super Mario 64 gave us a glimpse into the future of gaming.

Doom

Release Date:

December 10, 1993

Platforms:

Microsoft Disk Operating System

Genre:

First-person shooter

Why We Love It:

Doom was truly revolutionary when it came out in 1993. The graphics were amazing for the time and the LAN-only multiplayer feature was unique. But what makes Doom stand out the most is the fact that it popularized an entire gaming genre: the first-person shooter.

GoldenEye 007

Release Date:

August 25, 1997

Platforms:

Nintendo 64

Genre:

First-person shooter

Why We Love It:

Doom may have popularized the first-person shooter genre, but GoldenEye 007 perfected it. Before GoldenEye, first-person shooters were limited to PCs. When this legendary game was released in 1997, console gaming changed forever. Not only were the graphics amazing, but the game featured several new game modes, including a lengthy story mode and a split-screen multiplayer mode.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Release Date:

September 29, 1999

Platforms:

PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast

Genre:

Sports

Why We Love It:

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater took the gaming world by storm in 1999 and introduced skateboarding to the mainstream. The game included real-life professional skateboarders, beautifully detailed levels with several challenges, and a handful of epic game modes that provided nonstop fun. THPS became an instant classic and in 2021 it was remastered for the newest gen consoles.

Mario Kart 64

Release Date:

December 14, 1996

Platforms:

Nintendo 64

Genre:

Racing

Why We Love It:

Six months after releasing the wildly popular Super Mario 64, Nintendo struck gold again with Mario Kart 64. It’s not only one of the best racing games of all time, but it’s one of the best multiplayer games, too. Mario Kart 64 is just as enjoyable today as it was when it first came out.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Release Date:

November 21, 1998

Platforms:

Nintendo 64

Genre:

Action-adventure, puzzle

Why We Love It:

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time took many of the techniques that Super Mario 64 used and improved upon them. The 3D open world is stunning, the story is an epic adventure, and the side quests provide hours upon hours of fun. The game has long been considered one of the greatest. In fact, it was given the highest Metacritic rating ever (99/100) until 2021 when The House in Fata Morgana – Dreams of the Revenants Edition was given a 100/100 score.

Tomb Raider

Release Date:

October 25, 1996

Platforms:

Sega Saturn, Microsoft Disk Operating System, PlayStation

Genre:

Action-adventure

Why We Love It:

Tomb Raider is influential for many reasons. The story was brilliant, the graphics were beautiful for the time, and it’s one of the most successful games that PlayStation has ever released. But the main reason Tomb Raider was groundbreaking is because it was one of the first games to feature a woman protagonist. The gamble paid off, making Laura Croft the most badass main character ever.

Pokémon Red and Blue Editions

Release Date:

February 27, 1996

Platforms:

Game Boy

Genre:

Adventure

Why We Love It:

Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue were as addicting as it gets. The gameplay was simple yet flawless and the overall adventure was unmatched, especially considering it ran on a handheld platform. These games were the first of several entries in the Pokémon gaming series, and many still believe they are the best.

It’s time to brush the dust off your old Nintendo 64 or PlayStation 1 and get ready for the ultimate throwback gaming session. Don’t forget to check out the epic gaming merch on our site!