Most folks today are learning more and more about online gaming thanks to technological advancements. Since many people played almost exclusively on gaming consoles for the past 2 to 3 decades, they missed out on the classic PC gaming experience. The first golden age, the 1990s, gave us innovative titles that changed the course of gaming history.
Nowadays, you’ll come across countless websites reviewing top online games. Unfortunately, some of us aren’t even aware that most of these draw their inspiration from the PC games of the ’90s. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see the most popular online multiplayer titles that existed during this excellent decade.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
This Real-Time Strategy game was released on Sep 30, 1999, by Microsoft. There was fierce competition within the RTS genre but Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings managed to rock the PC world for a long time. This could be attributed to the fact that, unlike other games at the time, this title featured a realistic Medieval Europe, where players had to go through actual historical battles. Also, the audio was quite impressive. Today, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings is considered as one of the greatest classics.
Command and Conquer
Command and Conquer was another popular RTS title in the 1990s. It was launched in 1995 by Virgin Interactive Entertainment and was quite a big deal back then. It came with a fictional modernized setting, where gamers took on the role of either the Brotherhood of Nod or the GDI (Global Defense Initiative). The features that contributed most to its fame are the storyline and user-friendly interface. In fact, the existence of many RTS games today could be attributed to the original Command and Conquer.
Released in December 1996 by Blizzard Entertainment, Diablo distinguished itself in several ways. Firstly, its combat was in real-time and featured randomized dungeons with different objects. This means that gamers never had the same experience twice, unlike other fantasy titles. Additionally, it had an online multiplayer capability. Its sequels added and refined various elements but the original game obviously set a standard for the genre that’s felt to this day.
Launched on the 10th of December, 1993 by GT Interactive, Doom is perhaps the most important First Person Shooter (FPS) ever created. It set a path for all other games in its genre – in fact, other games that came after it were labeled “Doom Clones”. It played on almost all devices that could support video games. Very few gamers haven’t had the opportunity to experience this bloody masterpiece.
You know a game is great when it’s still played nearly two decades down the line. Today, you’ll find that this particular game is made available on various app stores for play on mobile devices.
Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem 3D is yet another FPS title from GT Interactive. Its release date was January 29, 1996. Just like Doom, it came with its fair share of controversy due to its bloody nature. This particular title took things a bit further with the way it objectified women as well as how it portrayed sex. Even with the controversy, Duke Nukem 3D was a work of art with great levels of design, interactivity and seamless gameplay. This title is continually remade, meaning it is still a very popular game even today.
Bethesda’s Fallout titles are quite popular with both console and PC gamers today. They are great games but still owe their existence to the original Fallout titles. The initial game was launched in 1997 by Interplay Productions and paved the way for various series of titles including The Brotherhood of Steel, Super Mutants, Wasteland, and the iconic Pip-Boy. This game gives you an excellent perspective of how the 3D games started.
Half-Life was released in November 1998 and brought with it something new to the gaming industry. While the likes of Doom and Duke Nukem 3D helped to popularize FPS, Half-Life took the genre to a whole new level. It brought a strong emphasis on narrative, something unheard of in the genre at the time. Half-Life’s storyline was seamlessly incorporated into gameplay, creating a sense of immersion for the player. Besides its exciting sci-fi design, this game featured excellent gameplay technicalities that propelled the genre to greater heights.
Game manufacturers would eventually take this title’s core and create other games such as Counter-Strike, which is among the most played games currently.
Quake is another online multiplayer title that played a great role in modernizing FPS games. It was launched in June 1996 by IG Interactive and featured full 3D settings. As such, Quake allowed gamers to shoot down and up while traveling through multi-level dungeons. Its online multiplayer feature was also quite exceptional at the time. The game could also be stored on CD and even had a soundtrack that perfectly suited the game mission.
Star Wars: Dark Forces
As mentioned above, the 90s saw several “Doom Clones”. Star Wars: Dark Forces was one of the best, released in 1995 by LucasArts. In this game, players could jump, look up and down and crouch. Generally, this title was so advanced no wonder it made headlines as one of the best-selling PC games of the 90s – it even inspired several sequels and a toy line. Additionally, a number of its story points would feature into the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which was kind of a deal back then.
Bonus Options for Gaming Enthusiasts
While there aren’t too many 90’s games to play online, you’ll still find a number of classics with a modern twist for enthusiasts to enjoy.
As you can see, the journey of online multiplayer games started in the 1990s and has advanced in leaps and strides. Today, not only has the graphics and sound quality improved but when it comes to playing online, you’ll also find a huge number of top massively multiplayer online role-playing games, commonly abbreviated as MMORPGs to enjoy.