The Best & Worst of an Era

September 30th, 2020 | Blog

Last week, I discussed the absolute best that the 1980’s had to offer in regard to video games. This week, we’re jumping 10 years forward to the 1990s to take a look at some of the best and worst video games that this era had to offer. Here are the best and worst of one of the most transitive decades in video game history.

5. (Worst) Twisted Metal (1995)

The idea behind Twisted Metal can be compared to the idea of Mad Max, only done with less finesse, a seemingly nonexistent storyline, and clunky mechanics. What started out as a deranged play on racing games turned out to be one of the biggest busts in gaming history. While the franchise continued to make games (as recent as 2012, which is arguably worse than their first attempt at making this game), players found themselves quickly bored with the “not-so-merry-go-round” gameplay. While the game was common amongst players, they quickly found that their money could have better been spent on another game.

5. (Best) Golden Eye 007 (1997)

Golden Eye 007 was one of the first games on the Nintendo 64 that featured gun violence. While this may seem controversial at first glance, it offered a nice tangent from their usual cartoony super character style. Players found themselves in the shoes of James Bond, an elite assassin on a mission to get his man. This masterpiece of a game also featured the first-person point of view, an ever-growing perspective that started to gain popularity during this time. As there haven’t been any remakes of the game in recent history, I feel it’s better left a diamond of the past. This allows the timeless title to retain its originality and all of its well deserved glory.

4. (Worst) Socket: Time Dominator (1993)

If you’re looking at this game and realizing that it looks extremely similar to Sonic The Hedgehog, you’d be in the same realm of thinking as everyone else. Made as one of the opening games for the Atari Jaguar, Socket and his adventures tanked at release as fans of Sonic already found their niche. The gameplay was a near rip off of Sonic titles, as it featured the same concepts. A fast duck that collected coins and tried to stop some evil bad guy from doing something terrible (quite the tired idea for a game if you ask me, especially when it was done right the first time). If SEGA had not made the game, there would have absolutely been a case for a lawsuit. There were plenty of horrible games made for the Atari Jaguar in this decade, which could be the reason why the once popular console developers became obsolete, but none were quite as terrible as Socket: Time Dominator.

4. (Best) Mario Kart 64 (1996)

You may have played the more recent Mario Kart games offered on Wii and other Nintendo consoles, but they had a predecessor that started it all. Arguably one of the best party games of the 90’s, as it offered multiple players to engage in the game simultaneously. Being a racing game, the developers of Mario Kart 64 knew they had to make the game interesting in its own way. One of the way they did this was by incorporating power ups that players could use to their advantage to plow through the competition. Another way this game became so popular was due to the fact that it incorporated characters made famous by other Nintendo games that stemmed from previous Mario titles (Donkey Kong, Wario, Bowser, Princess Peach, etc.). The game is still fun to play today, which is difficult to say for almost any other game on this list.

3. (Worst) Hotel Mario (1994)

I don’t even know where to start on this one, as most of you reading this probably didn’t even know this game existed. Honestly, its probably better that you haven’t heard of it. The game had the same idea as its predecessors, only this time the immaculate worlds that made Super Mario Bros so iconic are replaced by a boring hotel. Players will try not to fall asleep as they make their way through the various rooms of the hotel looking for the, once again, kidnapped Princess Peach. The best part of the game was its cutscenes, and even then, they were subpar at best. When the cutscenes of a title are better than the actual gameplay, maybe don’t release it. Truly a puke fest and a sizeable smudge on Philips Fantasy Factory’s record.

3. (Best) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999)

Anybody who calls themselves a gamer knows of this game, and probably loves it. You don’t have to be a skater to shred the streets with your customized character and fully immerse yourself in this title. While the game has been surpassed by newer titles with a similar idea, this game was the start of what a good skating game is. I remember not having a memory card for my Playstation and being unable to save my progress for the game. This, however, didn’t stop me from playing the game like it was my job. Truly one of the best games of its time and it should be remembered as such.

2. (Worst) Kasumi Ninja (1994)

If you’re looking at the cover image for this game and wondering if it’s related to the popular Mortal Kombat series, its not. In fact, had the game had any kind of success it probably would have been sued to the fullest extent for being, or attempting to be, a total and blatant copy of the popular PvP fighting game. As of today, the game sits at a 26% approval rating on Google, making it one of the lowest rated fighting games of all time. If you’re wondering what console this horrible excuse for a game is on, you may not be surprised to hear that it was featured on the equally horrible Atari Jaguar. Everything that Mortal Kombat was able to achieve, Kasumi Ninja executed exceedingly worse. While it may not be the sole reason that the Atari Jaguar wasn’t taken seriously, it was one of the biggest contributors to the downfall of the console.

2. (Best) DOOM (1993)

DOOM is arguably the conception of the first-person shooter genre, a genre that has been taking over the gaming industry ever since. Being one of the first computer games to offer the functionality and graphics that it did, DOOM changed the gaming world in ways that are still reverberating today. While newer DOOM titles are more for high quality graphics and a sense of reminiscing, the original DOOM’s nostalgia factor is unmatched. Due to the game’s extremely violent nature, it was used as fuel in the argument that suggests people who play these types of games are more likely to act out these fantasies in real life. This has since been proved false, but the controversy is still alive today, as the older generation is convinced that if you kill demons in a video game, you’ll probably kill humans in the real world (preposterous, if you ask me). While I don’t feel the controversy adds to the game’s spot amongst some of the best games in the world, I do feel it is part of the reason it became as popular as it did.

1. (Worst) Superman The New Adventures (1999)

If you played this game and are wondering why its at the top spot for the worst game of the 90’s category, let me explain. While the game may not be the worst title overall in this list, I feel that its where it belongs due to its inability to meet the expectations set out for it. The title’s hype was massive before its release, as for the first time, fans of Superman would finally be able to play as the Man of Steel. However, once the game was finally released, it was clear to gamers that their long wait was not worth the final product they received. This was not solely the fault of the developers, though. Warner Brothers and DC Comics should be held responsible as well due to their constant changes to the games story and content during the game’s final development stages. Even if this issue of poor storytelling was fixed, the insane amount of bugs and glitches that players experienced when playing the game still made the game nearly impossible to enjoy. The game sold extremely well, but player satisfaction remains at an all time low.

1. (Best) Resident Evil 2 (1998)

The Resident Evil franchise is one of my favorites, if not the best franchise I’ve ever experienced. That being said, the reason this game is in the top spot for the best 90’s video game is majorly due to my own biases. While it may not be on everyone’s radar, I find the game to hold unmatched sentimental and nostalgic value. During my elementary years (yes, I played ‘M’ rated games a youngster), I would find myself playing this game for hours on end. It got to the point where my parents would have to hide the game from me at night just so I could stop playing it and go to bed at a decent hour. Why was I so immersed in the game? Maybe it was due to the countless puzzles my underdeveloped brain spent hours trying to solve and understand. Maybe it was the zombies and other monstrous creations that I needed to neutralize to survive. Maybe it was an escape from a childhood I don’t remember too fondly. Regardless, the game is a masterpiece that has since been remastered by Capcom. If you didn’t get the chance to try the game then, I strongly recommend you try the recently released version of the game. The height of my gaming nostalgia lies within the time spent playing this game.

That’s it for the best, and the worst, of one of the most transformative eras in gaming history. If you remember a game fondly that I didn’t include in this list, let me know in the comments. Likewise, if you remember a game that was a total and utter let down, I’d like to hear about that too. While you’re at it, let me know what your favorite game franchise is and why. I look forward to hearing from you!


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