How could I forget to make a list of the best PC games of the 1990s? This was really one of the best times to get into computers (everyone was getting one) and finally try out PC gaming. Back in the 1980′s, computers entered the home market, but the problem is that they were all divided into different operating computers such as DOS, Macintosh, Commedore 64, and many more. That all of the sudden changed when Bill Gates given us Microsoft Windows in the mid 1980s and began getting good in the 1990s. Since then it gotten better and better until Windows XP being the last good one. Everyone in the 1990s needed to get themselves a computer for many reasons, but Microsoft Windows influenced everyone and their families to get one. Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. We were able to write documents, put in information, play better games, and even “surf on the net.” Before the Sony Playstation was released, the PC gaming market was releasing games for all ages for an audiences and PC games in the 1990s was the most varied game releases ever. Though a lot has changed in the PC gaming industry (and it still continues to evolve today) adventure games died out of popularity but there was a innovations such as 3D gaming, educational games, turn-based and real time strategy, western role-playing games, and first person shooters. Today, classic PC games are still loved by many of the hardcore PC gamers and it’s time to countdown the best games to play when we first started using our mouse and keyboards.
Number 10. – Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
I really like to look at this PC classic as one of the very first mature games. Sure there have been disturbing visuals, mature content, and horror in games, but Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers did everything to take itself very seriously. So how was Sierra going to do that anyway? How about getting a storyteller like Jane Jenson to deliver a captivating super natural crime-thriller. How about put it in a genre where casual gamers find it simple to play. And how about getting a very impressive voice cast to give their best voice performances ever? Yep, you got yourself Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Leah Remini, and so many more! This was a bait to get get the intellectuals to get into video games. For a game that delivers on Supernatural situations and managed to make it so engaging, is really remarkable. It’s all thanks to the innovative sound system that computers are now capable of doing and at the time finally gave us a movie like experience, along with Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle. No doubt this was the best adventure of 1993 and it’s one of the best of the genre for being so intelligent and surprising all at once.
Number 9. – X-COM: UFO Defense
There really isn’t any turn-based strategy game that can go toe-to-toe with X-COM. It really is one of the finest strategy games to ever appear on the personal computer at the time. Putting the player in charge of a worldwide defense against an alien invasion, the original X-COM combined elements of sophisticated base management, high-tech research, engaging roleplaying, thrilling tactical combat and a tense, terrifying story to create an experience that has yet to be duplicated by any other series. Leading your squads on missions to reclaim crashed UFOs or fighting house to house in an effort to repel alien terror attacks on major cities throughout the world were the highlights of the game. X-COM has plenty of other pleasures in store, from juggling personnel and equipment to keeping the nations of the world happy enough to sustain your budget. It really is a thinking game like chess, but you can’t see where your enemies are and when they will show up. But for the fact that never as there a game that takes so many hours of learning curve and so much time to master it, the end result was so ever rewarding.
Number 8. – Sid Meier’s Civilization
Here’s the reason why I don’t like 4x Strategy games, they’re all literal imitations of Civilization! Sorry fans of the genre, but it’s true! What other 4X strategy game out there could really be different than playing as a ruler, creating your own empire, deciding to make warfare or diplomacy, gain new knowledge and to evolve the empire, make enemies or allies, and create all sort of benefits for your power. Sid Meier really made such an ambitious game to be educational as the player understands what it means to be a leader and also learn how to make decisions for the society that you are leading. Everything that was offered here is an everlasting staple on strategy games as a whole! I may, dislike the 4X Strategy games for just being copycats of Civ, but the original Civ & its sequels is all that matters in this uninspiring genre.
Number 7. – The Neverhood
This is perhaps one of the most underrated point-and-click adventure game of all time! I never seen so much effort and creativity displayed in a singular game that makes it worth coming back, time and time again. You play as Clayman and you’re put in this world of clay of Neverhood where you don’t know where you are and how you got there, so it’s best if you’re left to find out all of the mystery of this world. The Neverhood’s biggest appeal is it’s just so damn witty and light hearted. It has more backstory than any other game I can think of where they give the player so much to learn from the Neverhood. Most impressively this game is entirely created out of clay. Sure, outside of Clayfighter, this is the very game that does it well and the creators of Earthworm Jim could ever be this inventive. Even if you’re not a fan of adventure games, you have to see for yourself why claymation is so special for movies, television programs, and especially video games (which we don’t have enough of).
Number 6. – The Curse of Monkey Island
Who may enjoy The Curse of Monkey Island? Everyone. You have to be a dreadfully staid gamer if you do not find yourself entertained by this title. While fans of the previous games in the Monkey Island series may get the biggest laughs out of the twisted plot connections across the trilogy while reminiscing elements that are oddly familiar, no previous knowledge of the Monkey Island series is needed to enjoy this game wholeheartedly (which is good because you can skip the awful Monkey Island 2). It was almost as if Lucas Arts’s previous releases that used the SCUMM engine where all building up to the mastery of this very title. The voice-acting is solid, and the animation quality and presentation almost looked like a 90s cartoon. Unlike most adventure games, The Curse of Monkey Island has many action sequences in this game. At the beginning there is the cannon firing, but the real action begins with the hilarious ship to ship combat after you leave Plunder Island. This mini game is a combination of the classic game Pirates! and the insult sword fights from Secret of Monkey Island. LucasArts has learned a lesson from fan feedbacks about the action sequences in Full Throttle, so adventure gamers who do not like action play can relax because your adventure experience should not be affected by your combat skills. This game is simply the pinacle of adventure games and it is the of the reason why Monkey Island is still the most talked about series in the whole adventure game genre. It has so many epic and awesome moments and the humor is just so irritably funny. In the end, The Curse of Monkey Island is more than just a worthy sequel to a classic LucasArts series, it is simply the best adventure game ever!
Number 5. – Starcraft
Terrans, Zerg, Protoss; you know what this is! Starcraft was a fullfilling and very balanced military sci-fi, real time strategy that is packed with the biggest multiplayer community. Everyone, whether if they were a fan or not a fan of RTS, knew about Starcraft and knew how to play Starcraft. There’s just an unlimited amount of strategies that you can use to your advantage and every battle feels so exhilarating and exciting. That’s all thanks to the tension of detail and animation that feels seamless. Because of the many ways that you can play StarCraft and the fact that it’s so balanced that no army of race has anything over the other, it made it a tournament around the world and even a national sport for South Korea. We love Sci-Fi warfare and to have such an amazing game to give us all the control and interactivity, it fulfills our dreams to come true and we still can’t stop playing it.
Number 4. – System Shock 2
Just how many times did I already talked enough about System Shock 2? I’m at the point where I just feel like a broken record because it keeps ending up in almost every list that I made that fits the requirements that System Shock 2 has. For an ambitious game that has a lot of cool variety of gameplay, character growth, and scares, System Shock 2 was without a doubt an awesome experience. It had the coolest atmosphere and the most outstanding soundtrack I’ve ever heard from a game that it makes it worth coming back to. Now it is really troublesome to actually try all these cool things without upgrades because the cyber molecules that allows you to upgrade are hard to find. Not to mention that there are so many aspects in upgrades that are so complex that it’s hard to figure out how to get that upgrade. But at the same time you would want to be rewarded for that sort of thing so that this game won’t be too easy. It was indeed a scary game where unearthly nightmares came to life like never seen before. The progression of the game was really insane where the game gets so imaginative that it was more than what I was expecting. It was definitely a challenging game where I had to learn so much in order to get what I was expecting, but by the end of the game it feels rewarding. Though you might become so powerful that it makes the final boss with Shodan to be so easy and quick, I certainly liked that it was an improvement over the original which I said that it was my cyberpunk space adventure come to a video game. Though I do blame all the flaws upon Irrational Games where they had no experience with developing System Shock 2, it is, indeed, an intelligent, intense gem that should not go unnoticed.
Number 3. – Planescape: Torment
Out of all the video games that uses the Dungeons and Dragon’s licensing, Planescape is in my opinion not only the best D&D licensed game, but one of the best PC Role-playing games of all time. It took everything that was good about Bulder’s Gate and perfected the gameplay, graphics, animation, pacing, and everything else. Some might say it’s too bizarre and weird, but I found it a refreshingly deep and thoughtful interlude in such an amazing world. There’s much more to this game than anyone could describe, so many locations and creatures, quests and odd dialogues that it would take 10 reviews to cover them all. Planescape Torment accomplishes all this and more, capturing the player’s heart and intellect, taking him on a long, fraught journey through one of the most unique settings I’ve experienced in any medium and wrapping it up in a stunning, jaw-dropping finale. So. What can change the nature of a man? The answer to that is for each of us to discover on our own, but by the end of this game you’ll have a good idea where to look. Yeah. It’s really that good.
Number 2. – Grim Fandango
There’s a clear reason why this game, along with other Tim Schafer games, are given with so much praise and cult following. It’s because they go far beyond the imaginations and creativity seen from any media, not just video games. For Grim Fandango’s case, can you tell me another game since and after that is set in the afterlife where they took the film noir style and made an fantastic journey to paradise? It’s really sad to see that Lucas Arts really wanted to change their adventure games from the point-and-click SCUMM to the GrimE engine, which I think is the most unique engine I’ve ever seen. Everything about Grim Fandango is so lovable and so memorable that you can forgive the poor key board interface and tank controls (which I don’t mind at all). It almost as seems that traveling the land of the dead would have been a depressing game, but there have been so much comedy that feels like a breath of fresh air. Since then I’ve never seen another game that has been so creative (until Psychonauts) because of the combination aztec folklore, the aztec afterlife, mexican paper skeletons, film noir, and comedy into one. I admit that I’m one of those millions of fans out there that didn’t get a chance to play Grim Fandango until many years later, but it’s never too late to experience this ageless classic because nothing, and I mean, nothing has ever brought anything as unique as this!
Number 1. – Doom
It’s one word and it says it all. Who really needs a sequel of Wolfenstein 3D when all you have to do is to revamp the whole structure and formula, enhance the gameplay, and change the entire settings and sprites to hell filled with demons, zombies, and demonic aliens. I’ve had my say on Wolfenstein 3D being the founder of the first-person shooter genre, but Doom totally popularized it in ways nobody could imagine it! If adventure games didn’t interest people of the 90′s to start getting a computer and play games on it, Doom will! Sure Mortal Kombat got the world to recognize violence in video games, but Doom capitalized it because of its incredibly well detailed gore, haunting imagery, and even hardcore action gameplay. I never seen a game so insane and so imaginative that it’s still worth coming back for another replay. It allowed players to find secrets, use pistols, chain-gun, rocket launchers, chainsaws, and the BFG 9000 to kill as many enemies in first-person, and so many more! To even expand on the game, Doom popularized modding as to redesign character’s skins, create their own levels, and so much more that’s still continuing to this day. Not only that, but it’s one of the pioneers of internet-connected multiplayer for computers as well! This game was so massive at one point, any game that was influenced or trying to get in the first-person shooter market were automatically called “Doom-clones” and we had more than enough of them throughout the 1990s. However, Doom prevails because it is never once boring! No matter how much better modern game’s graphics get, how much better game presentation presents itself, and no matter how many more innovations later game and future games succeeds, Doom’s still is enjoyable because it’s an everlasting entertainment that is immortal! Very rarely I can say that same thing with any other video game…