5 PC Games That Defined the 90s

Encaen

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5 PC Games That Defined the 90s

Whether or not you ever played an ASCII game on a BBS, if you've been playing games for a few years, you're probably familiar with some of these classics.

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Hoplon

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Also GTA (yes the first one) Quake 2: first of mouse look shooters, and of course HALF LIFE.
 

josemlopes

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If we are going to repeat id games we might as well include all the id games from Wolfenstein 3D to Quake 3.

The other spot could have been this:
 

Joos

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Quake 1 surely. I remember buying a 3D only graphics card from 3Dfx with pass through cables when the GLQuake.exe was released. Ah, the battles me and my fellow students would have. Also, where is Diablo?
 

tehroc

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Not even one of the great Ultima games that were released in the 90s? Ultima 7 was my 90s RPG of choice.
 

Sarah LeBoeuf

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This is a really solid list, Doom and Wolfenstein 3D in particular defined my childhood, but I'm surprised by the lack of point-and-click adventures. I think at least one LucasArts classic should've been in the top 5.
 

Encaen

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tehroc said:
Not even one of the great Ultima games that were released in the 90s? Ultima 7 was my 90s RPG of choice.
There were definitely some amazing RPGs floating around in the 90s, but I don't think they had the general impact on gaming that the games in this list had. I learned to mod games with Might and Magic: World of Xeen. I sunk unimaginable hours into repeated playthroughs of Betrayal at Krondor. I played many different entries in the Ultima series. Despite my affection for the genre, I think this list represents what really started to bring PC gaming into the spotlight.

That said, if you want to see what The Escapist staff thinks of RPGs in the last few years, check back tomorrow afternoon!
 

LaoJim

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The problem with this thread is "define the 90s" rather than just listing good games released in the 1990s. Civilization is probably one of the most ambitious and important games ever released, but I couldn't honestly say there was anything specifically about it that "defined" the 90s (in the same way that Pac-Man or Super Mario Brothers defined the 80s). Doom probably qualifies, but did StarCraft (released in 1998) really start to gain momentum until after the 90s were over? The problem with video games is that, until recently, they didn't quite have the same reach that books, movies and music had and so played a lesser part in defining decades. That said, I'll have a go at this.

Tomb Raider is surely the PC game that crossed over most into popular culture at this time.
SimCity (though released in 1989) lead to a genre of management games (Railroad Tycoon, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper etc) that were very 90's
 

Covarr

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Wow, not a single game on this list I actually liked, except Wolfenstein, which I didn't play until 2008 (but did love).

Naw, my PC childhood consisted of SimCity 2000, Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside (among other Humongous games, but for fairness I'll only list my favorite), Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (the PC version let you play as the cops), Half-Life, and Snood.

P.S. Thanks
 

FightingFurball

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LaoJim said:
The problem with this thread is "define the 90s" rather than just listing good games released in the 1990s. Civilization is probably one of the most ambitious and important games ever released, but I couldn't honestly say there was anything specifically about it that "defined" the 90s (in the same way that Pac-Man or Super Mario Brothers defined the 80s). Doom probably qualifies, but did StarCraft (released in 1998) really start to gain momentum until after the 90s were over? The problem with video games is that, until recently, they didn't quite have the same reach that books, movies and music had and so played a lesser part in defining decades. That said, I'll have a go at this.

Tomb Raider is surely the PC game that crossed over most into popular culture at this time.
SimCity (though released in 1989) lead to a genre of management games (Railroad Tycoon, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper etc) that were very 90's
What about Diablo? It certainly had a lot of impact.
 

Ickabod

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I was going to say, Civilization. But in reading another post, I can't say that it "defined" the decade. But it should be in the conversation at least.
 

Rituro

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A game that defined the '90s? X-COM. Microprose used to be a giant in PC gaming; this, along with Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon, were two of their biggest hits.

I'd also throw in Transport Tycoon, for being Chris Sawyer's first "Tycoon" game. You may be familiar with his next one: Rollercoaster Tycoon.

EDIT: Oh, and a million points to this --
Hoplon said:
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...
and of course HALF LIFE.
 

DarkhoIlow

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This list feels like that other one that PCGamer did for top 25 RPG's of all time and they included South Park Stick of Truth, Skyrim and ME2.
 

ForumSafari

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So...no Quake?
No Command & Conquer?

I know these lists are subjective and I agree that all of those games are era defining...but no Command & Conquer? Really?
 

pilouuuu

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I'd add Monkey Island. It is simply amazing and it left spoiled for life about adventure games. Few experiences managed to better than it in gaming.
 

sageoftruth

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josemlopes said:
If we are going to repeat id games we might as well include all the id games from Wolfenstein 3D to Quake 3.

The other spot could have been this:
Ah yes. This was truly the Minesweeper of the 90s.
 

Signa

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While I never played Myst or Starcraft, I can say that they certainly do belong on this list. The only one I'd contest is Wolf3D, but only because Doom blew it out of the water just a year later. It was two paradigm shifts in as many years, so it makes lists like this seem a little funny.