Doom popularized first-person shooter games with its insane, in-your-face action combined with a multitude of weapons. The game’s impact on video games can still be felt today.
2. Donkey Kong Country
Players must guide Donkey Kong and Diddy as they search for the Kongs’ stolen banana hoard in more than 40 levels in the classic 1994 Nintendo game. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I wish it was that Diddy, too.
3. Super Mario 64
The ’90s were a big decade for our favorite Italian plumber. With a live-action movie and a ton of video games, Super Mario grew immensely popular, thanks to Super Mario 64, one of the best iterations of of our mushroom-eating, fire-shooting mustachioed man.
4. GoldenEye 007
GoldenEye 007 not only continued to popularize the first-person shooter genre, but also proved that multiplayer shooters on home consoles could work. Don’t forget the Gold PP7, too!
5. Metal Gear Solid
The first entry in the Metal Gear Solid franchise might also be the best of the bunch. Playing as Solid Snake, you crept (in a cardboard box, sometimes) through a military base in a twist-laden, suspense-packed plot.
6. Final Fantasy VII
Great Final Fantasy game, or greatest Final Fantasy game? Cloud Strife and the rest of the team made FFVII a classic RPG. This game was also the first in the series to use fully-rendered 3D characters.
In fighting for control of the deepest sectors of the Milky Way Galaxy, StarCraft players got to enjoy a fabulous real-time strategy game. Starcraft remains one of Blizzard’s key titles to this day.
8. Pokemon Blue and Red
Not many games can boast that they spawned a huge cultural phenomenon like Pokemon. Now there are card games, TV shows, movies, and more, and it all started with Pokemon Red and Blue.
9. Star Fox 64
Star Fox 64 was the first Nintendo 64 game to utilize the Rumble Pak (a feature that has influenced video game controllers to this day). Plus, the graphics were gorgeous.
Released in 1996, the original Diablo combined dungeon-crawling and world-building in a way that made the game one of the decade’s greats. It remains a key franchise for Blizzard.
11. Crash Bandicoot
Before Naughty Dog dropped the Uncharted series, the developer released Crash Bandicoot. There are more than 18 games in Crash franchise, though nothing comes close to the first three on the PS1.
12. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic, that blue streak of the animal kingdom, returned with this 1992 release. The game won great praise for its improved sense of speed and longer gameplay.
13. Resident Evil
This terrifying zombie game introduced a universe so deep, so detailed, so nefarious, that it inspired a sprawling game and film franchise.
14. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
This fun, sword-slashing, action-packed Zelda installment the Zelda franchise tended to make hours disappear in a haze of fireballs and flying digital arrows.
15. Command & Conquer: Red Alert
The second RTS on our list, Command & Conquer is the first entry in a terrific alternative-history series. With its ability to customize your base and build a world-defeating army against your friends, this game was a real time-eater in the ‘90s.
16. Earthworm Jim
How could anyone forget the super-suited up Jim, a humble worm somehow tasked with saving Princess What’s-Her-Name? God, the ‘90s were weird.
Half-Life is a 1998 first-person shooter video game developed by Valve. It was released for PC and built using the GoldSrc engine, a modification of the Quake engine popular at the time.
18. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a competitive fighting game originally released for the arcades in 1991. It is the second entry in the Street Fighter series and the arcade sequel to the original Street Fighter released in 1987.
19. Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat is a video game franchise originally developed by Midway Games’ Chicago studio in 1992. Following Midway’s bankruptcy, the Mortal Kombat development team was acquired by Warner Bros.
Quake is a first-person shooter video game, developed by id Software and published by GT Interactive in 1996. It features music composed by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. It is the first game in the popular Quake series.