Games That Are 20 Years Old.

Games That Are 20 Years Old.


In the last two decades we have seen a great change in the Xbox ,four Nintendo consuls , three different PlayStations , a wheelbarrow full of handheld devices and a huge leap in both graphics and ambition within PC gaming.

But today we are going to look at video games that are or over 20 years old !

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10. Quake


Online first person shooters are immensely popular. It may be a commentary on man’s competitive nature and our desire to release our inherent aggressive tendencies in a way that will not cause harm to our fellow man. Or it may be because FPS are just fun, we’ll go with that, it sounds less crazy. But if you like a shooter because it’s fun or because it fulfils your base desires Quake can be traced as the first big online shooter.

Quake’s slick hyperactive moment and gameplay are a blast to play, the visuals and settings are something of a better looking DOOM but Quake’s greatest contribution to video games would be its popularisation of the online death-match, a common feature found in FPS to this day.

For extra feeling old points, the original Quake features a soundtrack made by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame. That should give you a good idea of the time period this game was made in.

9. Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamics

Find some gameplay of Tomb Raider, watch it for a bit, let the images sink into your brain. Once you have a good idea of the look of Tomb Raider, just tell yourself: ‘Lara Croft was a sex symbol’.

This sad fact brings up an interesting question: were we sick in the 90s or did we just lack imagination?

Tomb Raider came out in 1996, and has undergone several sequels, reboots, movies, movie sequels and soon, a movie reboot. And with the changes in gameplay going from adventure puzzle game to shooter to cover shooter it’s not hard to see Tomb Raider’s success and continued existence, despite overwhelmingly bad movies and games, to be attributed directly to the love for the character.

Platonic love – the other kind is creepy as hell.

We all have a favourite (1-3 being considered the best) and more than one person has fond memories of locking the butler in the freezer or moments of horror watching Lara convulse from drowning. These moments stick with you.

Tomb Raider is seen as a monumental game, when a female protagonist was allowed to carry her own franchise and succeed but screw that, Jill Of The Jungle came first and is still great to this day, Lara is a poor man’s Jill.

8. Resident Evil


Resident Evil is a long running franchise that, much like Tomb Raider, has produced some truly great moments (and some pretty awful films), all starting in early 1996, in a mansion somewhere in the mountains.

The original Resident Evil is a jarring experience if you’re not ready for it’s slow precise speed, but this rhythm is what makes it a classic. Tension and horror build on each other from the moment you encounter your first zombie, then the pre-rendered backgrounds and fixed camera make for some difficult gameplay moments, but age the game exceptionally well.

Even the low quality points are looked upon fondly, with bad voice acting being a unintentionally hilarious highpoint i.e. a ‘Jill Sandwich’.

7. Star Fox 64


Go to Google and type in “Do a barrel roll”.

You’re welcome.

This simple little phrase originates from a rabbit named Peppy in Star Fox 64. Releasing in Europe under the title Lylat Wars in late 1997, the game is just on the cusp of being 20 years old, although if you lived in Japan or America (where it was released in the Spring and Summer respectively) you can look at Lylat Star Fox Wars with the depressing knowledge that it is in fact older than most cars on the highway.

It’s still a pretty good game despite its relatively short play time and simple gameplay, and Star Fox would receive a remake on the Nintendo 3DS where it somehow feels more at home.

6. Diablo


It’s all about that loot. Released in North America in December 1996, it would take nearly a full year before the game hit European stores. It was worth the wait though, as Diablo would solidify Blizzard’s claim on making the purest E-crack imaginable.

Diablo has one of the most devoted fan bases of any game ever produced, and that obsessive drive to keep crawling and clicking comes from this title. Diablo II is considered the best of the franchise, with the third instalment regarded less favourably, though it’s hard for someone who didn’t grow up with the franchise to see what the big deal was.

Still, Diablo really did start the trend of addictive gameplay slowly dripping new enticements on players to keep them enthralled – mainly down to the excellent randomised dungeons providing a ton of replay value.

5. Command And Conquer


The real-time strategy genre is tied with the 90s. This isn’t to say there are no great modern incarnations, but if you needed to find one point in time in which the genre experienced anything akin to a golden era, it’s the 90s.

C&C was released in 1995 and developed by Westwood studios, who developed the popular Dune II, thought to be the father of modern real-time strategy games. Dune II may be the originator of many RTS tropes like unit micromanagement and resource juggling, but Command And Conquer took these ideas, made them better and never looked back.

There are a plethora of C&C sequels, ports and expansion packs each one adding to an already storied franchise. As a side note, the franchise’s use of real actors for cutscenes may be seen as something of a dead fad, but nothing is better than seeing Joseph D. Kucan’s Kane delivering some of the best scenery chewing dialogue in the history of acting.

4. Super Mario 64


For its time, Super Mario 64 was a defining moment in video games, setting the benchmark for not only the following Mario games, but for many other members of the N64 family.

Debuting in June 1996, with its anticipated release in Europe of March the following year, the game did nothing to change the plot of ‘princess gets taken and plumber goes on rampage’, but the manner in which it jumped from the Super Nintendo to the N64 demonstrates one of the greatest appeals of the Mario franchise – the ability to drastically change but keep the components that fans love.

Mario 64 long-jumped his way into the video game history books, showing what the genre of 3D platform games should – and could – strive to be.

3. Crash Bandicoot

Naughty Dog

Super Mario 64 may have set the tone with 3D platformers but Crash Bandicoot flipped the genre on its head. Often regarded as Sony’s answer to Mario, Crash plays a lot more like a Sonic game with its emphasis on speed and course-running. And if Sonic made 3D games like the original Crash titles, they probably wouldn’t be so poorly received today.

In late 1996, Crash debuted and caused an entire generation of kids to wonder: ‘what is a bandicoot? Are they good at jumping? Do they like jorts?’

Crash didn’t have the same free roaming capability as his Italian counterpart, but taken on face value alone, Crash is just fun. The game is full of obstacle set pieces that would become a trademark of later Naughty Dog titles.

The remastered N. Sane Trilogy combining the first three games has recently been released and is a good opportunity for fans to relieve the fun of battling mad scientists and running from boulders.

Just ignore the later titles when Crash got more ‘rad’ and tattooed. Those are sad, sad times.

2. Final Fantasy VII

Square Enix

Maybe not the best Final Fantasy, it’s a pretty close three horse race between VI, VII or IX, but certainly the most remembered and iconic game in the long running, non-sequential series. Final Fantasy VII was released in January 1997, that’s right not only can Final Fantasy buy cigarettes but it’s been able to for a few years now.

With a timeless, albeit convoluted, story about industrialisation and environmentalism, the game is celebrated for its gameplay, memorable boss battles, addictive side quests and amazing antagonist.

It’s interesting to look back at VII and realise that Final Fantasy’s first 3-D game was considered a visual revolution, it was a darker more polygon time remember. VII’s gameplay still holds up 20 years after its birth and moments of the story can still bring up strong emotions of joy, sorrow and anger amongst its many fans (especially those who spent all that time levelling up Aerith) (spoilers).

Its popularity is just as strong today as when it was initially released, with a remake presumably around the corner finally answering the demands of the fanbase who have wanted one since the Popeye armed figures became out-of-date.

1. Pokemon: Blue & Red… And Green


That’s right grandpa, you’re old; you may remember the original 150, their strengths, weaknesses, evolutions with perfect clarity but time has left you behind, there’s 802 Pokemon now by the way just to add salt to the wound. It’s super effective.

Now Pokemon won’t celebrate its 20th birthday in America or Europe until 2019 because the first games Pokemon Red and Green (wha?) where released in Japan first (yes Pokemon is Japanese, wouldn’t think it would you?) and the process of converting the Japanese text into English took a stupidly long time. It stands to reason when you look at how much text goes into the game, with enough paper and time you could feasibly play it as a tabletop game, whether a big enough table exists is another question.

Technicalities aside Pokemon is 20, but it continues on. It tends to be a recurring theme, the games we remember the most are still with us in some form or another. This is down to the industry wanting to make a buck (Pound, Euro, Yen etc…) and our unwillingness to see these stories and characters leave our lives.