1. Tetris, 1984
Created by the Soviet programmer Alexei Pazhitnov, this block-shaped puzzle game was first launched in Japan, and since that day, it has remained a worldwide phenomenon. After Nintendo ported the game to the NES and GameBoy consoles, there was no stopping this blocky madness. Although the game is mildly addictive, the gameplay was proven to relieve anxiety in some people, which is a big win for everyone.
2. Super Mario Bros., 1985
In 1985, Nintendo came to the market with its revolutionary NES console and swept the competition under the rug. Mario and Luigi were leading the charge, stomping on all the goombas and eating all the shrooms in the Mushroom Kingdom. As crazy as it sounds, that very first Mario game is still as fun to play as it was 36 years ago.
3. Legend of Zelda, 1986
By combining a huge world map, fun puzzles, and many types of special weapons, Shigeru Miyamoto, the game’s designer, created something that has become an instant classic. You know it’s a good product when someone amazing like Robin Williams chooses to name his daughter Zelda in honor of this very game.
4. Mortal Kombat, 1992
Mortal Kombat is the reason why the ISRB rating even exists. This series of games has always tried to stand out from the myriad of other fighting games that flooded the market in the early 90s. And they did it with style… and buckets of CG blood. Unique character designs, brutal combos, and finishing moves made this game legendary.
5. Doom, 1993
Doom was a real breakthrough in the first-person shooter genre and became a progenitor of hundreds, maybe even thousands of FPS games throughout the decades. This game was released in 1993 by id Software and quickly became a global hit, selling over 2 million copies.
6. The Need for Speed, 1994
The Need for Speed, released by Electronic Arts in 1994, was the first racing game in the hugely successful NFS series. For its time, it had incredibly realistic graphics, a fairly large selection of cars, and various racing modes. With each new installment in the series, the graphics improved, and the player’s capabilities expanded. By October 2009, it had sold about 140 million copies.
7. Heroes of Might and Magic, 1995
The first Heroes of Might and Magic game was released in 1995, with much better graphics and a well-developed storyline than previous games in the fantasy genre. The players were plunged into a magical world full of unicorns, knights, and dragons as warlords, leading their armies against the enemy. The first three installments of this franchise were so influential that they were placed in the video games hall of fame.
8. Tomb Raider, 1996
The brave and beautiful archaeologist-slash-butt-kicker Lara Croft was a wet dream of many young men in the 90s’ thanks to her low-poly bazonkers, twin pistols, and no-BS attitude. Look, nerds didn’t know any better back then, okay? Despite being objectified for years, Lara has still managed to become one of the most influential female game characters of all time.
9. Pokemon Red/Blue, 1996
In today’s world, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t even heard of Pokemon or Pikachu. But back in 1996, the massive franchise revolving around catching and battling cute monsters we all know and love today was taking its first baby steps. My favorite has always been the easily irritable Victreebel.