Before 2k: A Video Game Timeline

As time passes, people tend to forget the things that got them to where they are. 

The DvDs and VCRs that we grew up on were tossed to the side as streaming services came along.

The countless letters and postcards that we’d save were shredded as E-Mail services emerged.

Even the blogs and forums that sparked the internet’s sense of community were forgotten about in favor of full-fledged social media networks.

When recounting many of the innovations that helped bridge the gap from infancy to maturity for the things we enjoy and love in the 21st century, one thing in particular tends to be cast aside time and time again: video games.

Video games weren’t always in 4k definition, featuring fully immersive online experiences. And they didn’t just jump from 8-bit pixel games to what we have now, either. The often forgotten-about generation of video game history falls in the 1990s, where gaming took the leap towards 3D graphics and many of the game modes that still thrive to this day. 

This progress can be mostly attributed to the emergence of some iconic consoles: the SNES (1990), the Nintendo 64 (1996), the Playstation (1994) and the SEGA Dreamcast (1999).

The processing power found in these consoles allowed for the production of some breathtaking, revolutionary 3D games. Nintendo, in particular, used this decade to boost their status as a giant in the industry. With the releases of cult classics such as Super Metroid (1994), The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time (1998), Super Mario Kart (1992), Pokemon (1996) and Super Mario 64 (1996), just to name a few, the company dominated the early stages of 3D video games. 

Another big change that came in the gaming universe in the 90s was the emergence of First Person Shooter games, or FPS games.

Games such as Half-Life (1998), Duke Nukem 3D (1996) and Doom (1993) helped set this shift into motion. These games redefined what FPS games could actually do with new game engines, and harnessed their new 3D prowess to usher in new norms in shooting games. 

The games listed above are among the many to be released in the 1990s that left a visible impact. They may not be as shiny and new as today’s games, but they truly set the standard.

Next time you pick up your PS4, Xbox or Nintendo Switch controller, take a moment to think back on all the fun you had playing the games of your childhood. Hell, maybe even pop in that old memory card. 

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Sean Pedernales is a Senior Communications Major at The College. Sean is the sports editor for CisternYard Media, and when not at school, can be found in Charlotte, NC with family. If that’s not interesting enough, Sean has also received a black belt in Taekwondo, eats (probably too much) chipotle, and has owned a hedgehog.


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