1990s in video gaming

1990s in video gaming

The 1990s were a decade of innovation in video gaming. It was a decade of transition from pixels to full fledged 3D graphics and gave rise to several genres of video games including, but not limited to, the first person shooter and real time strategy game. Handheld gaming began to become more popular throughout the decade, thanks in part to the release of the Nintendo Gameboy. Arcade games, although still relatively popular in the early 1990s, begin a decline as home consoles become more popular.

Consoles of the 1990s

Fourth generation consoles

Starting in 1987 and ending in 1996, the fourth generation of video game consoles consisted primarily of games and systems programmed for the 16-bit era. During this generation, 2D graphics had improved over the previous generation and experimentation began to occur with 3D graphics, although 3D games were more prevalent on the PC at the time. The fourth generation also was the first time compact discs were considered a viable port for video game retail sales with the Phillips CDi. Some of the most notable systems released during this generation were the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1990), the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis (1988), and the Neo Geo (1990). [http://www.vintagegamesite.com/hwfourth.php] Nintendo's Game Boy was also released during the fourth generation, which would later become the most popular series of handheld gaming systems during the 1990s. [http://www.ciao.co.uk/Nintendo_GameBoy__Review_5406949] A rivalry between Sega and Nintendo occurred during this generation, starting the first ever console war.

Fifth generation consoles

Approximately starting in 1993 and ending in 2002, the fifth generation of video games are most widely known to be the 32/64 bit era and for being the transition period for video games to evolve into the third dimension. The Nintendo 64 (1996), Sony PlayStation (1994), and Sega Saturn (1994) are considered to be the big three gaming systems of this generation. With the introduction of the PlayStation and Saturn, compact discs (CDs) began to replace cartridges however the Nintendo 64 remained loyal to them due to the load times on CDs at the time and became one of the last cartridge based systems in mass production.

Introduction of 3D environments and polygons

Said to be one of the most revolutionary video games, Super Mario 64 was praised for how it took to 3-D environments of wide open spaces and graphics at the time. [http://top100.ign.com/2003/1-10.html] Many games that moved onto 3-D also tried to mimic Mario's success. Instead of pixels, polygons became a standard sight to be in video games from then on as they looked more lifelike when programmed into the right shapes.

Lara Croft of the "Tomb Raider" series became the first video game sex symbol, becoming a recognisable figure in the entertainment industry throughout the late 1990s.

Rise of the first-person shooter

The first-person shooter (FPS) typically features the player as the protagonist. Most often the player does not see the face of who they are playing, but will always see the weapon of choice located in the players hand in the lower left or right hand corner. FPS are usually violent and feature blood and gore, which as sparked controversy from parent groups.

With the introduction of the fifth generation of games, 3-D graphics become the standard by end of decade. Although FPSs had been some of the first games to become 3-D.

"Doom" (1993) bursts onto the world scene and instantly popularizes the FPS genre, and even how games are played, as Doom is among the first games to feature multiplayer capabilities. It is not until "Quake" (1996), however, that game developers begin to take multiplayer features into serious consideration when making games. "Half-Life" (1998) features the next evolutionary step in the genre with continual progression of the game (no levels in the traditional sense) and an entirely in-person view, and becomes one of the most popular computer games in history.

Online gaming develops

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) see their entrance into the computer game world in the 1990s with "Ultima Online" in 1997. "Ultima Online" provided a core idea of what later MMORPGs would become. The game featured a massive continent on which players could interact with others from around the world, kill mythical creatures, and cast spells. In its early years the MMORPG didn't gain widespread popularity, not until "EverQuest" and "Asheron's Call" debuted in 1999. MMORPGs would become a common form of social interaction in the 2000s. [http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001625.php]

Lag became a notable problem to MMORPGs; depending on your connection speed, the number of players on at one time, or if the servers were experiencing problems, lag remained a common complaint for MMORPG players. [http://reviews.cnet.com/pc-games/ultima-online-pc/4505-9696_7-31573215.html]

Live action and interactive movies

In the early-to-mid 1990s, several video game developers experimented with plot twists and providing alternative storylines and endings into their games. They even went as far as to film live action scenes and scripted popular actors to play the parts. "Night Trap", released in 1992, was highly acclaimed for implementing live action scenes into video games and later the Wing Commander series dove into live action as well. "" was given an unheard of budget of US$12 million and starred Mark Hamill of "Star Wars" fame. The "Wing Commander" series was known for providing several alternate endings depending on how the player followed the story and interacted with the characters.

Best-selling video games of the 1990s

This is a list of video games that were released in the 1990s and have sold over five million copies.

* "Pokémon Red", "Blue", and "Green" (GB, 1996 – 20.08 million approximately: 10.23 million in Japan,cite web |url=http://www.the-magicbox.com/topten2.htm |title=Japan Platinum Game Chart |publisher=The Magic Box |accessdate=2008-05-22] 9.85 million in US)cite web |url=http://www.the-magicbox.com/Chart-USPlatinum.shtml |title=US Platinum Videogame Chart |publisher=The Magic Box |accessdate=2008-08-03 |date=2007-12-27]
** "Pokémon Red" (4.83 million in US)
** "Pokémon Blue" (5.02 million in US)
* "Super Mario World" (SNES, 1990 – 20 million)cite web |url=http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6121&Itemid=2&limit=1&limitstart=1 |title=1990 |work=The Nintendo Years |pages=2 |author=Edge |publisher=Next-Gen.biz |date=2007-06-25 |accessdate=2007-06-27]
* "Pokémon Gold" and "Silver" (Game Boy Color, 1999 – 14.51 million approximately: 7.6 million in US, 6.91 million in Japan)
** "Pokémon Gold" (7.15 million approximately: 3.75 million in US, 3.4 million in Japan)
** "Pokémon Silver" (7.36 million approximately: 3.85 million in US, 3.51 million in Japan)
* "Super Mario 64" (N64, 1996 – 11 million)cite web |url=http://www.ownt.com/qtakes/2003/gamestats/gamestats.shtm |title=All Time Top 20 Best Selling Games |accessdate=2006-12-01 |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060221044930/http://www.ownt.com/qtakes/2003/gamestats/gamestats.shtm |archivedate=2006-02-21 |date=2003-05-21]
* "Gran Turismo" (PS1, 1997– 10.85 million shipped)cite press release |url=http://asia.playstation.com/eng_hk/index.php?q=node/1517 |title=Gran Turismo Series Shipment Exceeds 50 Million Units Worldwide |date=2008-05-09 |accessdate=2008-05-12 |publisher=Sony Computer Entertainment] cite web |url=http://www.polyphony.co.jp/english/list.html |title="Gran Turismo" Series Software Title List |date=April 2008 |accessdate=2008-05-29 |publisher=Polyphony Digital]
* "Final Fantasy VII" (PS1, 1997 – 9.8 million, includes "Final Fantasy VII International")cite web |url=http://na.square-enix.com/e306/titles/ccff7/ |title=Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- |accessdate=2007-02-06 |publisher=Square Enix]
* "StarCraft" (Win, 1998 – 9.5 million, may include "")cite web |url=http://www.vivendi.com/ir/download/pdf/VIVGames_EuropeRoadshow_June2006.pdf#page=4 |title=Introduction to Vivendi games |date=June 2006 |publisher=Vivendi |accessdate=2006-11-26 |format=PDF |pages=4]
* "Gran Turismo 2" (PS1, 1999 – 9.37 million shipped)
* "Mario Kart 64" (N64, 1996 – 8.47 million approximately: 6.23 million in US and PAL region,cite web |title=Japan vs. US Sales |url=http://ign64.ign.com/articles/072/072580p1.html |publisher=IGN |date=1999-11-30 |accessdate=2006-11-26] 2.24 million in Japan)
* "" (GB, 1998 – 8.26 million approximately: 5.1 million in US, 3.16 million in Japan)
* "Donkey Kong Country" (SNES, 1994 – 8 million) [cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/gba/action/donkeykongcountry/review.html |title=Donkey Kong Country Review |accessdate=2006-11-26 |author=Frank Provo |date=2003-06-11 |publisher=GameSpot]
* "GoldenEye 007" (N64, 1997 – 8 million) [cite web |date=2002-09-24 |url=http://www.rareware.com/company/press-microsoft1.html |pages=2 |title=Microsoft Acquires Video Game Powerhouse Rare Ltd |publisher=Rare |accessdate=2006-11-26] cite web |url=http://www.n-europe.com/news.php?nid=8816 |publisher=N-Europe |title=Feature: Fire Nick Bennett |date=2006-02-11 |accessdate=2006-11-26 |author=Conor]
* "Half-Life" (Win, 1998 – 8 million)cite web |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52849-2004Nov15.html?nav=rss_technology |title=Half-Life 2's Real Battle |author=Mike Musgrove |publisher=The Washington Post |date=2004-11-16 |accessdate=2006-11-26]
* "Super Mario Kart" (SNES, 1992 – 8 million)
* "Tomb Raider II" (PS1, 1997 – 8 million)
* "" (N64, 1998 – 7.6 million)cite web |url=http://www.rpgamer.com/news/japan/rp033104.html |publisher=RPGamer |accessdate=2006-11-26 |date=2004-03-31 |title=Xenogears vs. Tetris |author=Rob Parton]
* "Metal Gear Solid" (PS1, 1998 – 7 million) [cite web |url=http://sec.edgar-online.com/2004/07/22/0001193125-04-122301/section5.asp |work=Konami Corp - KNM Annual and Transition Report (foreign private issuer) (20-F) |title=Item 4. Information on the Company |date=2004-07-22 |accessdate=2008-01-14 |publisher=Konami]
* "Tomb Raider" (PS1, 1996 – 7 million) [cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/adventure/tombraider10thanniversaryedition/news.html?sid=6160665 |title=Eidos Celebrates with Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary |date=2006-10-30 |accessdate=2006-11-29 |publisher=GameSpot]
* "Crash Bandicoot" (PS1, 1996 – 6.8 million) [cite web |url=http://gamasutra.com/features/20060804/boutros_06.shtml |title=Crash Bandicoot |work=A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games |pages=6 |author=Daniel Boutros |date=2006-08-04 |accessdate=2006-12-08]
* "Street Fighter II" (SNES, 1991 – 6.3 million)cite web |url=http://ir.capcom.co.jp/english/data/million.html |title=Platinum Titles |publisher=Capcom |accessdate=2008-08-12 |date=2008-06-30]
* "" (GB/GBC, 1993/1998 – 6.05 million approximately: 3.83 million, 2.22 million for the "DX" version)
* "Final Fantasy VIII" (PS1, 1999 – 6 million) [cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps/rpg/finalfantasy8/news.html?sid=2440392 |title=FFVIII Sells Six Million Copies Worldwide |date=1999-12-14 |accessdate=2006-11-29 |author=Yukiyoshi Ike Sato |publisher=GameSpot]
* "Myst" (Mac and Win, 1993 – 6 million)cite web |url=http://www.spokesmanreview.com/pf.asp?date=052201&id=s966647 |title=Beyond the Myst |publisher=The Spokesman-Review |accessdate=2006-11-26]
* "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" (Gen, 1998 – 6 million) [cite web |url=http://gamasutra.com/features/20060804/boutros_05.shtml |title=Sonic the Hedgehog 2 |work=A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games |pages=5 |accessdate=2006-12-08 |date=2006-08-04 |author=Daniel Boutros |publisher=Gamasutra]
* "" (PS1, 1998 – 5.7 million)cite web |url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=76588 |title=Final Fantasy X hits 5 million, world quakes |date=2002-07-09 |accessdate=2008-08-03 |publisher=Computer and Video Games]
* "" (PS1, 1997 – 5.17 million approximately: 3.87 million in US, 1.3 million in Japan)

Other

* Fighting games like Capcom's "Street Fighter II", Sega's futuristic "Virtua Fighter" and the more violent "Mortal Kombat" from Acclaim prompted the video game industry to adopt a game rating system, and hundreds of knock-offs are widely popular in mid-to-late1990s.
* The real-time strategy (RTS) genre is introduced in 1992 with the release of "Dune II". ' (1994) popularizes the genre, with "Command & Conquer" and ' in 1995 sets up the first major real-time strategy competition and popularizes multiplayer capabilities in RTS games. "StarCraft" in 1998 becomes the second best-selling computer game of all time. It remains among the most popular multiplayer RTS games to this day, especially in South Korea. "Homeworld" in 1999 becomes the first successful 3d RTS game. The rise of the RTS genre is often credited with the fall of the turn-based strategy (TBS) genre, popularized with "Civilization" in 1991. The "Civilization" franchise is the only TBS franchise that remains popular.
* "Final Fantasy" first debuted (in North America) in 1990 for the NES, and remains among the most popular video game franchises, with 12 new titles to date, with another in development, plus numerous spin-offs, sequels, movies and related titles. "Final Fantasy VII", released in 1997, especially popularized the series.
* Pokémon entered the world scene with the release of the original Game Boy "Pokémon Red" and "Pokémon Green" games in Japan in 1996, later changed to "Pokémon Red" and "Pokémon Blue" for worldwide release in 1998. It soon becomes popular in the U.S. and is adapted into a popular children's anime series and trading card game, among other media forms. Its popularity remains well into the 2000s with several new games and spin-offs.

References


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