Iconic video games 90s kids used to play


1990s video games
90s video games
Image
adapted from (clockwise from top left): Steam, Internet Archive, Steam, Steam

Talk to any millennial out there and most of them will agree that being a kid in the 1990s and early 2000s was the absolute best. 

We may have had to make do with slow dial-up internet and chunky computers with DOS (Disk Operating System), but we also grew up during an exciting turn of the technological era. That means we were the first generation to enjoy unadulterated entertainment with a massive boom of 90s video games and market-changing gaming consoles like the PlayStation and Game Boy.

If you’re a nostalgic soul, you’ll be glad to know that these iconic video games 1990s kids used to play can still be found today. Here’s where to get them:

Check out our other nostalgic articles here:


1. Audition Online (2004)


Audition Online
Image credit: Steam

Before we were old enough to go clubbing, we had Audition. The dance and rhythm online multiplayer game blew up in the mid-2000s, and just like a real club, you could socialise with other players in-game. Much like a virtual version of arcade dance machines like Dance Dance Revolution, playing Audition simply required you to hit specific arrow keys to the beat of a song.

Fans can rejoice at the fact that nothing much has changed about the current free-to-play version that’s available on Steam. You can play DJ and create playlists of your favourite tunes, customise your avatars, and explore more than 20 game modes ranging from group battles to team dances. 

Price: Free
Compatibility: Windows 2000 and above
Get it from: Steam 


2. SimCity 2000 (1995)


SimCity 2000
With hundreds of buildings to choose from, you can find some futuristic ones in the mix.
Image credit: Origin

If you enjoyed building cities with Legos as a kid, SimCity 2000 would’ve been where you could really let your imagination run wild. Not only can terrains be customised, but the game gives you free reign to build everything from zoos and schools, to highways and power plants so you can pretty much play God. 

SimCity 2000 and its sequels are available on Origin, but the game is currently going for 75% off at USD1.49 (~$2) on GOG.com.

Price: From $6.90
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above | Mac OS X (10.6.8)
Get it from: Origin and GOG.com


3. The Curse of Monkey Island (1997)


The Curse of Monkey Island
Image credit: Steam

The Curse of Monkey Island may have been the 3rd instalment of the Monkey Island series, but it stood out to us as kiddos because of its signature cartoon-like graphics. The game itself followed a simple point-and-click format where you selected dialogue and decisions. But its entertaining seafaring adventure plot was what made it so engaging.

On top of the standalone game, hardcore fans can get a bundle of 4 remastered Monkey Island games on Steam for $26.24.

Price: From $7.50
Compatibility: Windows XP and above | Mac OS X (10.7.0)
Get it from: Steam


4. Tomb Raider (1996)


Tomb Raider
One of the top 90s video games of all time, the Tomb Raider series now has 17 games under its belt.
Image credit: Steam

Lara Croft may have debuted as the badass heroine of Tomb Raider all the way back in 1996, but the action-adventure game and movie franchise has stood the test of time till today. The game may now have its fair share of new-gen revivals, but true fans can still find the iconic OG version online. 

You can also get your hands on a massive library of 39 Tomb Raider games and add-ons on Steam for $239.65. For those who’re just nostalgic, GOG.com has a Tomb Raider 1+2+3 bundle that’s going for 75% off at USD2.49 (~$10.40).

Price: From $7.50
Compatibility: Windows XP and above
Get it from: Steam and GOG.com


5. Mortal Kombat (1993)


Mortal Kombat
Now that you’re an adult, your parents can’t nag you about how violent these 90s video games actually were.
Image credit: WikiHow

Mortal Kombat was one of the holy trinity of arcade fighting games, along with Street Fighter and Tekken. Its legacy still lives on till today as the most recent version was released in 2019. 

But if you miss the good ol’ days of spending your pocket money battling it out with your buddies at the arcade, a Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3 bundle is available for purchase on your PC or Mac.

Price: USD5.99 (~ $8.30)
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above | Mac OS X (10.7.0)
Get it from: GOG.com


6. Crash Bandicoot & Crash Team Racing (1996 onwards)


Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot was an icon of 90s video games for the PlayStation
Image credit: Steam

Anyone who has ever come into contact with a PlayStation 1 or 2 would know who Crash Bandicoot is. The game franchise was all the rage from the late 1990s well into the mid-2000s, with a multitude of adventure and racing games, including the iconic Crash Team Racing

It was naturally a huge deal when the series was finally remastered for new-gen consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One, complete with new levels and circuits. But if you don’t own a console, the original game reboot Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is also available on Steam for PC players.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Price: From $46.90
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above | PlayStation 4
Get it from: Steam or PlayStation Store

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Price: From $58.70
Compatibility: PlayStation 4
Get it from: PlayStation Store


7. Sonic Adventure 2 (2001) 


Sonic Adventure 2
Image credit: Steam

Hardcore 1990s gamers have argued that the short-lived Sega Dreamcast was a console that was ahead of its time. A number of iconic games were introduced on the console, one of it being Sonic Adventure that debuted in impressive 3D graphics. 

Its sequel Sonic Adventure 2 was the final instalment of the franchise before the Dreamcast was discontinued, solidifying its status as a classic. Thankfully, we can still appreciate the action-adventure game in all its glory as it’s now available on Steam.

Price: $10.50
Compatibility: Windows XP and above
Get it from: Steam and Humble Bundle


8. Earthworm Jim (1996)


Earthworm Jim
Image credit: Steam

Space suits, aliens, and whimsical worlds pretty much sum up Earthworm Jim. This side-scrolling adventure game was filled with vibrant, colourful levels and cartoon-worthy enemies. You didn’t just have to shoot your way through the game too – you had to utilise Earthworm Jim’s “wormy” abilities like using his head to smack enemies away.

The 1996 game ended up sparking a few sequels, and you can relive playing through them on Steam today. Be sure to also check out the Earthworm Jim 1+2: The Whole Can ‘O Worms bundle on GOG.com to get 66% off at USD3.39 (~$4.70).

Price: From USD9.99 (~$13.85)
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above
Get it from: GOG.com and Steam


9. Half-Life (1999)


Half-Life
Image credit: Steam

It’s safe to say that Half-Life was the reason behind the popularity boom of cyber cafes. It has been hailed as one of the most iconic first-person shooter games of all time, and debuted dramatic cutscenes and puzzles which were not common in the 90s. 

Now, more than 20 years later, it still holds an “Overwhelmingly Positive” review status on Steam. Fans of the franchise can also get Half-Life Bundles ($37.65) with a total of 8 games and expansion packs.

Price: From $10
Compatibility: Windows XP and above | Mac OS X (10.6.8)
Get it from: Steam


10. Counter Strike (2000)


Counter Strike
Image credit: Steam

First-person shooter (FPS) games may have started dominating the gaming world when Y2K rolled around. But if there’s one title every 1990s gamer was playing, it was Counter Strike. It may have started out as a Half-Life modification, but once Valve developers scooped it up, the game went on to claim its title as an FPS icon. 

It has since been adapted for modern audiences as Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) but the OG version still holds a solid place in our hearts.

Price: From $10
Compatibility: Windows XP and above | Mac OS X (10.6.3)
Get it from: Steam


11. Diablo (1996)


Diablo
Image credit: StrategyWiki

If there’s a game that’s a sure stress-reliever, a good hack-and-slash run will do the trick. Pair that with cool moves, spells, character upgrades and the ability to play with your buddies, and you have a winning formula. That’s pretty much Diablo in a nutshell. 

The game may have gone on to spawn a couple of sequels since the 1990s, with a highly anticipated Diablo IV in the making. But those who’ve been supporting the franchise for over 25 years can find the original game and its Hellfire expansion pack on GOG.com. It’s currently on sale at 15% off at USD8.49 (~$11.77).

Price: USD9.99 (~$13.85)
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above
Get it from: GOG.com


12. Ragnarok Online (2003)


Ragnarok Online
Image credit: Steam

Ragnarok Online was a massively popular online multiplayer role-playing game in the early 2000s, and it’s now a free-to-play game on Steam. Choose a character to play from the 32 available classes, each with unique abilities and roles. There are also quests to complete in order to level up and earn special character customisations.

Price: Free
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above
Get it from: Steam


13. Age of Empires II (1999)


Age of Empires 2
Play real-time matches online
Image credit: Steam

Considered to be the best instalment of its series, Age of Empires II is a classic that sits in the strategy games’ hall of fame. You could basically create settlements from scratch, evolve them throughout the Middle Ages, and send your troops to conquer towns of your enemies. 

The original version of the game was given a much-anticipated HD remaster in 2019’s Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, complete with all its previous expansions and a new campaign. And if you’re really missing the 1990s experience, simply change your settings to the old AI for the OG gameplay.

Price: From USD19.99 (~$27.70)
Compatibility: Windows 10 64bit
Get it from: Humble Bundle or Steam


14. Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (1994)


Warcraft
Image credit: Dos Games Archive

World of Warcraft may be a cult classic that’s still available for subscription, but those looking to relive the 1994 game that started it all can do so on GOG.com. Warcraft: Orcs and Humans was one of the games that popularised the real-time strategy format in the 1990s. And you could choose to play as heroes from the fictional land of Azeroth, or bloodthirsty Orcs.

It’s now 15% off at USD5.09 (~$7.05) on GOG.com, and can be played on both PC and Mac computers.

Price: USD5.99 (~$8.30)
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above | Mac OS X (10.11+)
Get it from: GOG.com


15. Tyrian 2000 (1999)


Tyrian 2000
Image credit: GOG.com

Tyrian 2000 was a 1990s version of the classic 70’s game Space Invaders, featuring 2D scrolling graphics. It’s now free on GOG.com, for those who miss arcade-style classics.  

It’s easy enough to get the hang of Tyrian 2000 too – just maneuver your spaceship to avoid obstacles, and shoot as many enemies as you can along the way. You’re also able to add upgrades and pick up powerups to clear challenging levels in timed battles and arcade modes.

Price: Free
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above | Mac OS X (10.6.8)
Get it from: GOG.com


16. Worms United (1995)


Worms
Image credit: Dos Games Archive

Back in the 1990s, Worms pretty much put artillery video games on the map with its unique format of using weapons to kill members of the opposing team. It went on to spawn 21 more games, its latest being 2016’s Worms W.M.D. 

Newer versions of the franchise are available on Steam from $15, but you can get a dose of your childhood fave by playing the original and its expansion pack Worms Reinforcements via GOG.com.

Price: $5.99
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above
Get it from: GOG.com


17. Rayman (1999)


Rayman
Image credit: Ubisoft Store

Rayman was the kind of wholesome and kid-friendly game our parents preferred over gorier options during its time. This side-scrolling adventure game was filled with whimsical and vibrant levels and similarly cute enemies.

Rayman Forever, a bundle comprising the original 1999 game and 2 expansions, can currently be found on the Ubisoft store at a whopping 75% off for just $1.50.

Price: $1.59 (U.P. $6)
Compatibility: Windows XP and above
Get it from: Ubisoft and GOG.com


18. Theme Hospital (1997)


Theme Hospital
Image credit: Origin

A more obscure game on this list, Theme Hospital would have appealed to gamers who loved simulator games like The Sims and SimCity. But instead of controlling a city or a household, you got to be the creator of a hospital. 

What made it fun was the ability to design treatment rooms, hire staff, and encounter strange illnesses like balloon-like inflated heads and Elvis impersonators.

Price: $5.90
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above
Get it from: Origin


19. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)


Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
The game was considered a huge technological win during its time
Image credit: Steam

Third-person action adventure games are a staple in today’s gaming world, but even 20 years ago, we had some pretty impressive 3D graphics and gameplays. Among the games that revolutionised this style was the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Besides its dynamic gameplay and camerawork, what made this title so fun was its incorporation of puzzles and gorgeous backdrops. 

Price: $12
Compatibility: Windows XP and above
Get it from: Steam


20. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Image credit: Steam

There has barely been a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game that didn’t gain critical popularity. But a massive game-changer for open-world gaming in the early 2000s was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. With its solid story and gameplay, reviewers have slathered it with the title of “one of the greatest games ever made”. 

You don’t even need a former-gen console or computer to play it – for a reasonable fee of below $10, you can now relive it on your mobile phone too. 

Grand Theft Auto 1
Image credit: Rockstar Intel

For hardcore GTA fans, Rockstar Games even has a library of free original 1997 game demos. You may need to tweak some of your system settings to play it, but Rockstar says they’re legit.

Price: From $9.98
Compatibility: Windows XP and above | Android 7 and up | iOS 8.0 and up
Get it from: Steam, Google Play, App Store and Rockstar Games


21. Final Fantasy VII (1997)


Final Fantasy 7
Image credit: Steam

Final Fantasy VII may have received its well-deserved 2020 remake, but fans of the original cult fave can still play the 1997 role-playing game for old times’ sake. After all, it’s considered to be one of the best 90s video games ever, not to mention, the most successful instalment of the Final Fantasy franchise.

Tackle the game as iconic hero Cloud Strife and choose commands like attacks and summoning monsters that’ll move the story along.

Price: $14.99
Compatibility: Windows XP and above
Get it from: Steam and Humble Bundle


22. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)


Halo: Combat Evolved
Image credit: Steam

Another first-person shooter classic you can still find online is Halo: Combat Evolved. It was the first game that set precedence for the classic Halo franchise, and it has been optimised for modern-day PCs. 

Here you’ll get to battle aliens in a vibrant sci-fi world while playing co-op with your buddies. For those with a competitive spirit, an online multiplayer mode is also available.

Price: $15
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above
Get it from: Steam


23. Bonus: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999)


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Image credit: Nintendo Life

If you owned a gaming console when you were a kid, chances are you’ve heard of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Since most of us couldn’t actually skate like the iconic Tony Hawk, his slick moves could be satisfyingly replicated via this 1999 video game.

You can’t currently play the game unless you have it on a working PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color or Dreamcast. But fans will be ecstatic to know that a remastered version is slated for a September 2020 release on the Xbox One and PC.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2020
Image credit: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Price: From $37.73
Compatibility: Windows 7 and above | Xbox One
Get it from: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2


90s video games from your childhood


It takes a little digging, but platforms like Steam, GOG.com, and Humble Bundle actually have a ton of affordable gems from our past. And the best part is, these 90s video games don’t require computer system hacks to support old games – they’re compatible with most modern-day computers. 

From iconic strategy games, to adventure 2D side-scrollers and first-person shooters, these nostalgic video games are the blast from the past we don’t need to forget anytime soon.

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