Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Who doesn’t like a bit of video game nostalgia? If you were a 90s kid, you will recognize these games and reminisce. Nothing is better, am I right?
When we grow up, there are moments in our childhood that we look back on and get flooded with feelings of bliss and an overwhelming urge to relive those moments.
My brother, Dodds, and I, Tug, grew up playing Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and PlayStation 1 and 2 before permanently making the switch over to Xbox (Xbox 360). Now we favor PC instead of console.
We mostly played outside catching Garter snakes, crawdads, getting wet when we weren’t supposed to, and exploring forests.
That said, we usually played video games when we had to go inside when it got too dark or “watched” movies like “Brink!”. I used quotations for the word watched because we set up our room to become pro “Soul-Skaters” during the movie.
Furthermore, I know when looking over these games memories and joy flooded my body. We hope it does the same for you as well! We would love to hear your memories about any one of these games.
Ah, Blockbuster. All of us 90s kids should remember Blockbuster. Whenever the last Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon closes for good, it should be transformed into a Blockbuster museum, but I digress.
Blockbuster was a huge part of our childhood from renting movies for the weekend to renting PlayStation (PS1) games that we would finish overnight or it would just overstay our parent’s welcome.
This was one of the highlights of my childhood. I can think back on it and feel that excited feeling when we headed on down to Blockbuster to rent a PS1 game.
Blockbuster did not adapt very well to modern times and now it lives on with DISH. If they had adapted to modern times I have no doubt they would be larger than Netlfix.
Virtua Fighter 2 (Sega Saturn) 1994
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter 2 was released in 1994 and my brother and I played it a couple of years after on Sega Saturn. If you remember Sega Saturn you will never forget the blue guy coming in and yelling, “Sega”.
I played as Akira Yuki, Jacky Bryant, Shun Di, or Lau Chan. Mainly Jacky then switched to Akira. My brother always played as Lion Rafale. I now realize why I went through so many characters and my brother didn’t… He always beat me with Lion.
Nothing was more frustrating than my brother beating me every time with only one move using Lion… The low kicks. I also got kicked out of the ring many times or rage quit before that could happen.
And when I would go down, he would do the flip kick move. I was so heated. Not to mention he would move with his character always getting in my way 😂. We got into some heated arguments because he figured out the system at just 4 years old. Our mom couldn’t stand the arguing anymore so she kicked us off the game.
My brother was usually the best at gaming even taking the thrown against people older than us. He ran video games.
There were always people saying that Dodds could never beat my friend and, when Dodds played against the “unbeatable” friend, they always got destroyed. I have been witness to this my whole life.
Moreover, the most memorable sounds were, “Fight one. Ready. Go!” and, “K.O.”. Both were very basic and didn’t quite flow but I have an overwhelming feeling that I cannot really explain when hearing it again.
Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) 1996
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 was released in 1996 Watching gameplay of Super Mario 64 really brings me back. I cannot remember much of it until I watch the gameplay…and, wow, the memories flood in.
Even though I was only 6 years old at the time I played it, I remember running around the lobby and jumping into the paintings. That was so cool.
There are times in my life when I wish my mind can just project memories as they were. Maybe Elon Musk can invent a microchip to do just that. I would never put it in but I like the idea.
I may not have fully understood what I was doing at the time, but I played better than anyone else as far as I was concerned at 6 years old.
The most memorable sound that I can remember is grabbing a star and Mario saying, “Here we go”, then jumping back out of the painting.
Frogger (PS1) 1997
Frogger He’s Back!
This game was one of the most iconic games of my childhood.
I got the chance to play it again recently and it was a tough game; I’m not exactly sure how my brother and I beat it at ages 7 (me) and 5 (Dodds) but we did. I cannot remember how long it took us but it was insanely addicting at the time.
When I play it now, it just does not do much for me besides taking me down memory lane. It’s fun, but nothing like it was.
Also, playing it now I realize how zoomed up the camera is to the frog making it tough to react quick enough to dodge boulders or a stampede for example.
The most memorable Zone was the Sewer Zone with all of the oil, slime, newspapers, and farting sound effects. That was probably the toughest Zone I played. This is especially so because of the oil you had to maneuver on while avoiding obstacles like the spiked logs. I will just listen to the soundtrack for that Zone because the farting sound effects were that good…joking.
There were other ones that stood out as well like the cloud Zone. All levels in the Cloud Zone were Peaceful levels but stressful at the same time. You would slide off of a bird if you stayed on for too long or thought you made a jump on a bird when in fact you missed timed it by a hair. Not to mention the balloons. One color increases in elevation while another decreases in elevation. If you jump on one for the first time you may lose a life before reacting quick enough to advance to the next balloon.
The menu was the coolest thing and progressing through the Zones was satisfying. For those who don’t know or cannot remember, they were blocks and each block usually was cut up into 1-5 levels.
We went on to play Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge upon release and it would have made this list if it were released in the 90s.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1) 1997
Crash Bandicoot 2
Crash Bandicoot 2, what a hoot. Staying up late on the weekends and playing it over and over again was our thing.
We would get some friends to come over and run through levels without dying once; once you die, you have to give it up to your friend.
You’re probably thinking it is incredibly difficult to go too long without dying and you would be right. There are a lot of Nitro TNT, one touch and you’re toast! Not to mention levels where you are on the polar bear cub and you need to play pretty well or you’ll be swallowed by Orcas.
This was our thing to do and games like Medal of Honor: Frontline was a bit easier to complete without dying once. It’s not a 90s game but it was a thing to do as a kid. When you are younger, you tend to rewatch movies or replay games over and over whereas when you are older it is less likely to happen.
Looking back on Crash Bandicoot 2 brings back a lot of pleasant memories with my brother and friends. The signature Dr. Cortex look and voice along with the boogada boogada Aku Aku would yell.
Pokemon Red Game Boy Color 1998
Wow! Pokemon Red for Game Boy Color was a game we would play religiously back in the day with our neighbor friend, Dane. He always had the coolest toys and games.
For me, walking through the grass to catch some Pokemon was a bit stressful but exciting. I blame it on the fight music that would come on. You would get a lot of the same Pokemon to the point where anything new was exciting.
For Game Boy it was a massive open-world that just seemed like it would never end. The music was trash but it was still iconic and you could recognize it anywhere or you could hear it coming up the street…wait, that’s just the ice cream truck.
Pokemon was just coming out when I was growing up and it was insanely popular. All of the us would get together and show off our Pokemon cards and play our Game Boy. Well, my brother and I would use Dane’s Game Boy and he was fine letting us take over all day. Well, he didn’t say anything about it so I assume he was cool with it.
Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 64) 1999
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. was a legendary game and it still is. Initially released in 1999, this is a game we did not have, unfortunately. The reason being, our Nintendo 64 didn’t really work anymore. It could not read the cartridges. I can tell you this much, my lungs got a good exercise blowing out debris in the cartridge. Who doesn’t remember that?
Nonetheless, we played it religiously. Our neighbor friend, Dane, had it and we would always go over to his house and play the hell out of it.
I never stuck with a specific character. I remember playing Kirby, Fox, Samus, and Donkey Kong the most.
Kirby was probably the most fun and a complete beast. Inhaling your opponent and copying their ability or spitting them out was something that seemed difficult to do most of the time but it was a great time nonetheless.
Nothing gave you a feeling quite like hitting an opponent so hard they go flying off the platform and all you can see is a camera bubble view of them on the screen. Hearing the crowd yell in shock and excitement was gratifying. If you get the best of your opponent then there is no return for them as they are met with an explosion!
Then they panic and hope to get back in the ring. It wasn’t until they were low in health that guaranteed them to be knocked out of the ring.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape (PS1) 1999
Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Rayman 2: The Great Escape holds very fond memories and is a close second to Frogger in giving me an insanely strong nostalgic feeling.
The graphics for any 90s game was terrible when looking back on it but at the time it was amazing. I wonder if that is going to be the same when looking back to this decade 15-20 years from now? You’d have to have some beefy hardware to make it even more realistic than it already seems.
Moreover, my brother and I did not have the best of childhoods. There was a point in our childhood when we slept on lawns, in cars, and we hopped from house to house in Las Vegas.
It was a game that took us away. It completely distracted us from life. The irony of “The Great Escape” has just now come to my realization.
Our mother left us alone in a house for three days and we just played Rayman 2 the entire time. It was just us and Rayman… Our great escape. Fond memories in a bad situation, nonetheless! You can always find light in the dark.
When I watch some gameplay of Rayman 2 memories flood in of just sitting in the living room taking turns playing Rayman. It was a tough game at the time and there are trigger sounds and visuals that are just blissful.
The main menu was one of those triggers. You would hop around inside a valley to get to the net level that was in the stars. That menu music was iconic.
Another trigger for me is the creatures in the cages saying help with a panicked and sad voice. Breaking them open was always gratifying.
Rayman 2 was during a stressful and sad time in our lives, but it brought us peace and joy. This is why I will always hold Rayman 2 close to me.
Twisted Metal 4 (PS1) 1999
Twisted Metal 4
Whatever happened to Twisted Metal? Several of the games were listed in the Sony Greatest Hits program and I enjoyed the heck out of Twisted Metal. It needs to make a comeback.
I think 10 years would be the perfect time to make a comeback. And they need to do a remake of Twisted Metal 4 with Rob Zombie as the greatest comeback yet.
The whole setting of picking characters, hearing the character’s story, and the type of characters like Meter Maid and Pizza Boy for example. Those are the two characters I remember off of the top of my head.
Looking back on this game I realize how garbage the graphics were. By no means does that take away from the nostalgia, but I, of course, remember the graphics being top-notch.
If any of you have played this game you know exactly what level was the most iconic. Let me know if you guessed it in the comments below. It’s without a doubt Sweet Tooth’s Bedroom.
How insanely cool was it to be a car in a bedroom, especially as a kid?
Another level that really stands out to me is Neon City. I just remember distinctly the futuristic train and following the tunnel to find a hovering transportation craft that will pick you up and drop you off. This is where I loved to get all the goodies like the missiles and health.
Not to mention all of the characters had the same exact scream when they died. How could you ever forget that?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (PS1) 1999
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Tony Hawk was a legend. There was a time in my childhood I was a skater and I could attribute that ambition to this game.
My friend and I had some cool ramps that we would skate down and we would love to go to the skate park. If you have never been down a ramp on a skateboard let me tell you, it is tricky. You need to put all weight down forward otherwise you will be on your butt.
The music to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was the greatest, I still listen to it from time to time.
Sometimes your character would be hard to control where he was going especially if you were trying to get a letter or tape. It was quite frustrating at times. I wonder how I would do now?
Another cool and funny thing was how your skater would completely defy the laws of physics. You would be able to climb hills and gain speed without doing anything. If you got off a quarter pipe from the side you would be completely sideways until you hit the ground. Sometimes that would cause a wipeout.
Timing your moves to last until the very moment your wheels hit the halfpipe or quarter pipe was a challenge. I wiped out quite a bit doing that but the wipeouts were always fun. Imagine if it were today’s graphics with those brutal falls.
There are many more games out there that I have played and are also nostalgic but these are the games that had the biggest impact on me as a kid.
Looking back on all of these games is definitely therapeutic. It just gives me such a good feeling but I know if I play any of those games it will not be the same and I am fine with that.
I hope you enjoyed this and could share a bit of nostalgia with me. Let me know what game or games were nostalgic and hold a special place in your heart in the comments below.
I love everything there is about gaming. That is just about what I always do because that is my true passion. When you don’t find me indulging myself in gaming content, you can find me coding or somewhere outside where all you can hear and see is nature.