The video game industry continues to amaze and entertain its audience in unprecedented ways. There’s a truly remarkable level of immersion that’s now possible in video games and still no end in sight for what’s possible with this evolving technology. The video game industry wouldn’t be where it is today without learning from its past, and the 1990s were an especially formative decade.
There are several formative gaming franchises that came out of the ‘90s and are still in high regard, but there are also old classics that have been left in the past. Sometimes it’s a good idea to move on from an expired idea that’s no longer relevant. However, certain gaming franchises from the 1990s would excel with a new modern entry.
10 Dino Crisis Is A Survival Horror Action Hybrid Where Giant Lizards Reign Supreme
Capcom has found a tremendous amount of success in the ground-up remakes of their classic Resident Evil games. However, they’ve reached a point where fans now seem more interested in a Dino Crisis remake than more updates to their zombie phenomenon. Dino Crisis came out in 1999 for the original PlayStation and was created by Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the original Resident Evil. The game makes its dinosaur threats properly frightening, but modern technology could do so much more with them. It’s been nearly three decades since Dino Crisis 3, a sci-fi shooter in space, and it sadly looks like that will remain the franchise’s swan song.
9 Army Men Is A Playful Subversion Of The Real-Time Strategy War Genre
The real-time strategy and tactics genre has only become more popular over the years, but some of the quirkier trendsetters in the area were the Army Men games. Starting in 1998, this inventive take on real-time war games leans into its cute aesthetic as a clever way to get around the censorship of the time. The Army Men series starts strong, but there are diminishing returns later on in the series life and it deserves a proper revival. The series’ last console release was back in 2008, with mobile games following in the subsequent years.
8 Silent Hill Is A Draining, Psychological Experience Unlike Any Other Horror Game
Silent Hill emerged at the end of the 1990s as Konami’s moody and emotional answer to Capcom’s Resident Evil series. The Silent Hill games are much more steeped in melodramatic guilt where the environment and enemies are metaphors for the protagonist’s heavy conscience.
There are creepy, contemplative heights from the Silent Hill series that have yet to be topped by other survival horror titles. The last official Silent Hill games came out in 2012 and despite several teases from developers, it seems like the moody psychological horror series will remain a fixture of gaming’s past.
7 1080° Snowboarding Is A Fun, Fast-Paced Racing Alternative
The sports genre has thrived in gaming, but snowboarding is an area that’s been somewhat limited in its gaming representation beyond a few standout series. 1080° Snowboarding was an early gem on the Nintendo 64 that helped demonstrate what the console could do with this type of activity. Nintendo has tackled a variety of different styles of racing games, but there’s curiously only one sequel to this N64 game, 1080° Avalanche for the GameCube. Audiences are eager to see what Nintendo could do with a modern 1080° title. Why not bring the Wave Race series back along with it?
6 Primal Rage’s Beast-Based Combat Stands Apart From Other Mature Fighting Games
The 1990s were a prime period for especially violent fighting games like Mortal Kombat. Many of these imitators come across as hollow, but 1994’s Primal Rage has a ton of personality as it pits a multitude of dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts against each other in combat. A sequel to Primal Rage was produced and set to be released in 1997, only for it to get canceled at the last minute. The only fighting franchise that gets close to the energy of Primal Rage is Killer Instinct, which has also largely faded into obscurity. There’s never been a greater desire for monster battles.
5 NiGHTS Into Dreams Remains A Uniquely Original Platforming Experience
The Sega Saturn didn’t connect with mainstream gaming audiences in the same way that the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 did, but titles like NiGHTS Into Dreams are stunning accomplishments that show what this console could do.
Designed to be the Saturn’s app killer platforming alternative to Super Mario 64, NiGHTS features a sublime and unique style of gameplay that benefits from the revised analog 3D controller. NiGHTS was a gaming triumph in 1996, but there are even more places that this series could go. A clunky Wii sequel in 2007 and a high-def port of the original in 2012 are not enough.
4 Power Stone Is Chaotic Combat With Copious Customization
Capcom isn’t struggling when it comes to iconic fighting franchises. However, one plucky series that made a big impression in the 1990s, only to subsequently get forgotten by Capcom, is Power Stone. A Dreamcast fighting staple, Power Stone provides explosive combat with creative characters and puts an emphasis on big transformations, destructible environments, and a wide array of weapons. Power Stone 2 goes even further in this regard with four-player action that includes evolving environments and a comprehensive customization system. Power Stone 2 can easily hold its own against Super Smash Bros. and it’s a tragedy that it hasn’t gotten a chance to evolve in the modern gaming generation.
3 F-Zero Is Ready To Soar Past The Finish Line
The Mario Kart franchise has become Nintendo’s primary racing series, but the F-Zero games represent a faster and more delirious experience that a lot of audiences prefer. F-Zero has the honor of being a Super Nintendo launch title and subsequent entries were present on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube. It even has its own anime series. Over the years, F-Zero was pushed into more of a franchise for Nintendo’s mobile hardware and it’s now been nearly 20 years since there’s been fresh F-Zero content. Nintendo’s consoles have never been more prepared to return to the fast-paced world of F-Zero.
2 Panzer Dragoon Is A Stylish Rail Shooter That’s In A League Of Its Own
Sega cultivated a lot of striking franchises during the 1990s and the Panzer Dragoon games became a staple of their underappreciated Sega Saturn console. Players ride armored dragons in these inventive rail shooters that are rich in lore and world-building. Curiously, Panzer Dragoon Saga shifts from rail shooter to massive JRPG and actually succeeds in the bold genre transition. A remake of the original Panzer Dragoon was released in 2020 with another planned for the Saturn sequel, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, which is a testament to this niche franchise’s legacy. Hopefully, these releases are a precursor for a proper modern sequel.
1 Pilotwings Is A Flight Simulator With Lots Of Flair And Personality
There can be a fine line with certain releases between a full-fledged game and a fancy tech demo or proof of concept. Pilotwings is an early Super Nintendo game from the start of the 1990s that makes impressive use of the SNES’ Mode 7 mock 3D graphics but is more or less a creative flight simulator. Subsequent Pilotwings releases have been sparse, with an N64 entry in 1996 and the unexpected Pilotwings Resort for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011, both of which are more substantial experiences. Many don’t view Pilotwings as a game-changing franchise, but a new title on the Switch could incorporate full story mode and other modern features and bring it back to relevancy.