When we think about older RPG’s from the late 90’s-early 00’s time period there were many classics from that era of gaming including FFVII, FFVIII, Suikoden II, Xenogears, Grandia II and many others. But when comes down to popular 3D JRPG’s from ‘99-‘00 there were games such as Chrono Cross & Skies Of Arcadia that deserved sequels but never received them. Chrono Cross was first released on the PS1 in Japan back in November 1999 before coming to America in August 2000. Chrono Cross was the critically acclaimed sequel to the iconic 16-bit Chrono Trigger game for the SNES from ‘95. Despite, the Chrono Cross received for its storytelling, visuals and battle battle system Square Co./ Square Enix was unable to produce a sequel. It has been mentioned by Hiromichi Tanaka who worked as the producer for Chrono Cross many years ago that ideas on creating a sequel were tossed around at some point. While the idea for creating a new Chrono game was eventually dropped on the early 00’s Shinji Hashimoto from Square Enix seemingly expresses frustration about the matter at E9 2009. Hashimoto may have believed that the overall sales for Chrono Cross was too low and that the fan support for another installment was not high enough for Square Enix to care.
Skies Of Arcadia which was developed by Overworks initially appeared on Sega Dreamcast in ‘00 was quite possibly the best RPG to have appeared on that console. Initially, a sequel for Skies Of Arcadia was planned around ‘03 but apparently it never materialized. Back in January 2020 one of the developers Kenji Hiruta who worked on Skies Of Arcadia had expressed interest on Twitter in developing a direct sequel to the ‘00’s RPG classic. The likelihood of seeing a sequel for Skies Of Arcadia is not too different from the possibility of Square Enix producing another Chrono game. Following the 90’s the Chrono series has seemingly lost its appeal with Chrono Trigger from ‘95 being the most high profile game in the series. Skies Of Arcadia was one of the most captivating RPG’s of the 00’s decade and at this point it seems like the only way will get a sequel is through a Kickstarter campaign. As far as which game is more deserving of a sequel between Chrono Cross & Skies Of Arcadia is definitely one that is open to debate.
As many people know the MegaMan series is legendary and has been around since the NES era of gaming from the 80’s. While the more famous titles within the series includes MegaMan I-V along with the MMX series from ‘93-‘01 a lot of people seemingly forget about the Legends from ‘97. MegaMan Legend last was the first ever 3D installment within the entire series. Following its release Mega Man Legends generally received positive reviews from critics and gamers alike. However, it seems like MegaMan Legends from ‘97 is not remembered to the same extent as the other installments from the 90’s. While MegaMan Legends had appeared on multiple game systems back including Nintendo 64, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation Portable; it never received an official HD remake of any sort for game systems such as PS3, Xbox 360, etc. While the gameplay from Mega Man Legends deviated from the fast paced run n gun action seen in 2D MM installments the storytelling aspect was considered a strong point among many.
The idea of having a 3D action-adventure third person shooter MegaMan game was pretty unique especially since some people had doubts on whether or not Capcom could pull it off. While we recently got to see the release of the MegaMan Legacy Collections 1 & 2 back in ‘18 Mega Man Legends was absent and hardly anyone complained about it at all. The demand to see an HD Remake of MegaMan Legends is not strong enough among gamers for Capcom to make that a reality; that also goes for its successors MegaMan Legends 2 from 2000. The fact that MegaMan Legends 3 which was supposed to appear on the Nintendo 3DS in 2010 was cancelled tells you that there was very little interest within that series in general. While MegaMan Legends was pretty unique in its own right it still was not as memorable or fun as the 2D run n gun titles from the NES/SNES era from the 80’s & 90’s.
When it comes down to classic arcade games from the early 90’s one of the more memorable from that time period that comes to mind is WWF Royal Rumble from 1993. WWF Royale Rumble was developed by Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim Entertainment and was released for the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was one that looked and left significantly different than what people saw in the WWF Wrestlefest title from ‘91 since it deviated away the arcade styled look and gameplay which Technos Japan had created. Instead WWF Royal Rumble added some realism in terms of gameplay mainly in relation to its grappling system. Also, it was one of the first pro wrestling games where players could utilize illegal tactics after accidentally knocking out a referee. WWF Royal Rumble included multiple game modes such as Singles Match, Tag Team Match, Triple Threat Tag-Team and Royal Rumble all features which added to the games overall replay value. Also, WWF Royal Rumble featured an all-star roster of some of biggest names in pro wrestling including Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon and more depending on which version of the game was purchased.
The SNES version of WWF Royal Rumble included the likes of Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Perfect and Yokozuna. The Genesis version of WWF Royal Rumble featured exclusive characters such as: Hulk Hogan, Rick Martel and IRS making it tough for people to choose one version over the other. WWF Royal Rumble in general was seen as a upgrade from the WWF Super Wrestlemania game from ‘92. WWF Royal Rumble was eventually followed by two sequels including Rage in the Cage for Sega CD in ‘93 and WWF Raw from ‘94. While there are some who preferred the cartoonish arcade like gameplay that titles such as WWF Wrestlefest & WWF Wrestlemania Arcade; there was fair portion of pro wrestling fans who admired the emphasis on realism in games such as WWF Royal Rumble. While it may not have been the most high profile wrestling game from the 90’s its still seen as a classic by many people today.
When down to memorable old school wrestling games from the early 90’s one of the few titles from that time period that comes to mind is the arcade classic known as Saturday Night Slam Masters. This was game that was both developed and published by Capcom and released back in ‘93 before it was ported to the Super NES and the Sega Genesis. Saturday Night Slam Masters was an exciting button mashing video game where each character had two special attacks in addition to finishing maneuver. Similar to just about another other wrestling game ever made players had to defeat their opponents via pinfall or submission. Saturday Night Slam Masters included game modes such as Singles Match and Team Battle Royale that involved players battling a series of CPU controlled opponents. The game included at least ten different characters to choose from including Mike Haggar from the Final Fight series.
The gameplay & graphics for Saturday Night Slam Saturday was solid overall and it ended up becoming one of the most popular arcade fighting titles of the mid 90’s. Despite, not being on the same level of popularity as WWF Wrestlefest from ‘91; Saturday Night Slam Masters had features such as 4-player gameplay that was also present in the arcade smash WWF Wrestlefest. Despite, Saturday Night Slam Masters not being as successful as WWF Wrestlefest it was still a arcade styled fighting game that appealed to both kids and adults. While the Genesis version of Saturday Night Slam Masters was viewed once a negative light the Super NES version of the game shined slightly more; despite not being as good as the original arcade version of the game due to console limitations. While it might not be considered one of the most high profile pro wrestling titles of the 90’s; Saturday Night Slam Masters was without doubt one of the most underrated games within that genre as it pertains to that decade in general.
As far as unique video games from the early 90’s are concerned the Total Carnage title from ‘91 was a game that was quite interesting to many people. For those who do not know Total Carnage was initially developed and published by Midway prior its arcade release before being ported to multiple game systems including the SNES, Game Boy, Amiga, MS-DOS and other game systems. Total Carnage was a overhead multidirectional shooter game that was very similar to Smash TV from 1990. Games like Total Carnage along with its spiritual prequel Smash TV were seen as innovative back in the early 90’s because it differed from the 2D side scrolling run n gun games that often appeared on the NES during the 80’s. While the arcade version of Total Carnage was praisedthere were some minor criticisms of the SNES version of the game since it was seen as inferior in terms of quality. Total Carnage was a pretty cool game with a basic plot that involved two player gameplay; people could choose either Captain Carnage or Major Mayhem as they try to stop dictator General Akhboob from conquering the world.
Total Carnage gave players a variety of weapons to use including a rapid fire gun, rocket launchers and flamethrowers as they destroyed various foes in each level. In fact, the stages in Total Carnage were so long that there were only three of them each with a challenging boss battle at the end. The cool thing about Total Carnage was the fact that players got to pick up where they left off by using as special passcode after a game over. Total Carnage stood out in arcade centers back in the early 90’s especially considering the fact that shooter games were somewhat popular during that time period. While Total Carnage was not a huge success financially but it was considered to be a game that was every bit as fun as Smash TV was in arcade centers in the early 90’s.
The Super Mario Bros series has been around since the mid 80’s during the NES days of gaming. When it comes down to popularity the very first Super Mario Bros game is quite possibly one greatest video games of all-time not only because it helped shape the platform genre of gaming but it was also very successful as well. The original Super Mario Bros game has reportedly sold over 40 million worldwide since its original release and the series itself had only grew in popularity as time passed. While Super Mario Bros 2 was a pretty fun game that allowed players to choose multiple characters including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad it was not as successful as its prequel. Despite, the improvements in gameplay featured in Super Mario Bros 2 it sold less than both its predecessor and successor and was often seen as the black sheep of the trilogy. While the original Super Mario Bros 2 game reach over 7.4 million in sales since ‘88; Super Mario Bros 3 managed to reach over 13 million in sales and was almost every bit as popular as the very first installment within the series. Super Mario World from 1990 which appeared on the SNES was arguably the best game within its series during the 90’s in general.
Super Mario World had a beautiful overworld along nice looking 2D sprites, stages and animation with the inclusion of Yoshi. Players could spend days, weeks or even months trying to complete Super Mario World since the game itself had multiple overworld maps and became more challenging towards the end of the game. Super Mario World ended up reaching over 20 million in sales since appearing on the 16-bit SNES console and is considered to be of the greatest installments within the entire series. We then got Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES which was a 16-bit remastered collection of the first three NES Mario games from the 80’s; with the addition of Mario Lost Levels. Super Mario All-Stars was a huge success sales wise and sold over 10 million copies worldwide since ‘93. We also got to see other 2D classics on the SNES & Game Boy throughout the 90’s such as Super Mario Land 1 & 2, Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario RPG which were all critically acclaimed classics that sold millions worldwide as well. The Super Mario Kart game from ‘92 was a nostalgic classic where players were introduced to iconic stages such as: Koopa Beach, Choco Valley and Rainbow Road. By the mid 90’s the world got to see Super Mario 64 & Mario Kart 64 two games that are legendary among the gaming community. While Super Mario 64 managed to sell roughly under 12 million copies for the N64 Mario Kart 64 arguably had the best soundtracks that one would ever hear in a racing game.
While the Mario games from the 90’s were more iconic there was no doubt that in terms of quality the titles we have seen from the 00’s onwards were far more superior games in comparison. In fact, the 00’s was the decade where we got to see the releases of titles such as Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Bros, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart Wii along with Super Mario Galaxy. The New Super Mario Bros series was like a breath of fresh air to many people during the mid to late 00’s because the 2D gameplay was reminiscent to the older installments within the series from the mid 80’s-early 90’s. However, the New Super Mario Bros games provided players with 2D gameplay with 3D visuals in a addition to simultaneous multiplayer mode which not he done on the NES/SNES during the 80’s or 90’s. The New Super Mario Bros game from ‘06 along with its Wii sequel from ‘09 sold over 30 million copies individually and are among the best selling titles within the entire series. We also got to see the release of Mario Kart Wii in ‘08 which became the second best selling Mario game of all-time reaching over 37 million in sales. While Mario Kart Wii might not be the most memorable installment within the Mario racing series it was highly successful due to popularity of Nintendo’s Wii console from late 2006. Prior to the release Mario Kart Wii Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii console in November 2007; Super Mario Galaxy was a critically acclaimed 3D platformer with a fantastic soundtrack and a and a solid plot where the setting takes place in multiple galaxies opposed to Mushroom Kingdom. Super Mario Galaxy had reached roughly under 12 million copies in sales since its Wii release back in late ‘07 is considered to be one the best 3D platformers within the series along with Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Odyssey.
We then look at the 10’s decade and Nintendo gave us some outstanding games such as: Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Super Mario Maker along with Super Mario Odyssey. Despite, being exclusively on the Nintendo DS Mario Kart 7 reached over 11 million units in sales following its release in 2011. It was also in ‘11 where Super Mario 3D Land was released for the Nintendo 3DS and managed to reach roughly under 13 million in sales. Super Mario 3D Land in some ways felt like a prelude to Super Mario 3D World which included multiplayer gameplay where players could select Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. Super Mario 3D World was the type of platform multiplayer game that Nintendo fans wanted to see in the Super Mario series since 90’s. Despite, being an incredible 3D platformer Super Mario 3D World had only reached over 5.8 million in sales which overall is pretty good. However, the Wii-U console was considered to be a flop sales wise in comparison to its competitors along with previous consoles that Nintendo had released with the exception of GameCube. Super Mario Odyssey from ‘17 was without a doubt the best Mario platform game that we got from Nintendo during the 10’s decade. Super Mario Odyssey felt like the 10’s version of Super Mario 64 and included cinematic cutscenes and soundtracks that made the game feel somewhat like a kids movie. Super Mario Odyssey not only received praise from various gaming publications but it also managed to reach over 18 million units in sales since its release in late 2017.
While the 80’s & 90’s may have been the period where Nintendo released its most iconic Mario games the overall quality of the titles that came out during the 00’s-10’s decade was without a doubt more superior. In fact, many would probably agree that the Mario series has aged like fine wine since the 80’s. It seemed like Nintendo has released more successful Mario games within the past two decades than they did in the 80’s & 90’s. Despite, Nintendo producing more successful Mario games during the 00’s & 10’s decade the very first game from ‘85 is still the most popular game within the entire series after being around for 35 years. While everyone has their own respective opinions on which decade was the best for in relation to the Mario series; everyone can agree that Nintendo has done an incredible job on the series fresh for over three decades which is an incredible milestone within the gaming world.
The Sega Genesis was one of the best game systems of the late 80’s-early 90’s. Since its release back in ‘89 the Sega Genesis had reached over 30 million units worldwide in terms of sales. Despite, not selling quite as much as its competitor the 16-bit SNES the console itself is iconic. The Sega Genesis is the console that introduced Sonic the Hedgehog to the world and gave us games such as GunStar Heroes, Streets Of Rage 2 along with the Shining and Phantasy Star series. In fact, Sega is known more their 16-bit video games than anything the company had produced on the Sega Saturn or Dreamcast between the mid early 00’s. While Dreamcast did have a few games such as Shenmue, Crazy Taxi, Power Stone & Sonic Adventure 2 that stood out the console itself did poorly in comparison to the Sega Genesis from a sales standpoint. Its not that Sega generally make terrible 3D games the issue is more rooted in the fact that console wars have become more competitive. The products that entities such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo produce seems to evolve with each passing generation.
While Sony & Microsoft have systems that feature some of the best 3D video games ever made Sega is not known for producing high definition three dimensional titles that reached astronomical numbers in sales. Some would argue that Sega would be better off producing more 16-bit games in the future similar to Sonic Mania became it appeals to retro gamers more their 3D titles. The idea of seeing more games on the Retro Engine sound very cool especially consideringhow polished Sonic Mania looked following its release in 2017. Sonic Mania had also been one of Sega’s more high profile games that attracted mainstream attention within the past few years. If Sega decided to return their roots and focus more on creating 16-bit video games it would be a breath of fresh air within the gaming world. There have been pixal art titles such as Stardew Valley & Shovel Knight from the 10’s decade that appeared on various game systems and were big attractions because of their retro-like appeal. If Sega decided to focus more on producing pixel art titles similar to how they did with Sonic Mania it would be to the delight of many people within the gaming world.
When we think about popular Mario games that should happened back in the 90’s one of the few titles that comes to mind is Super Mario Land 4. As many people know the Super Mario Land series started on Game Boy back in ‘89 with the final game coming out in ‘94; which also happened to be the very first Wario game ever released. Wario was the main antagonist in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins from ‘92 and was pretty solid villain until Nintendo made him into a anti-hero in the following game. It would have been interesting if Nintendo had decided to give Wario his first game outside of the Super Mario Land series. Nintendo turning Wario into a anti-hero arguably killed the Super Mario Land series which is sad since it could have possibly continued until the late 90’s-early 00’s on Game Boy Color/Advance. If the Super Mario Land series lasted up until early 00’s then Nintendo could have possibly of introduced Waluigi within the series as top villain; opposed to giving him forgettable debut in the Mario Tennis game for the N64 during 2000.
The very first Super Mario Land game from ‘92 was a huge success and it reached at least 18 million worldwide in terms of copies sold. Super Mario Land 2 was also very popular on Game Boy as well mainly because it was something slightly different from what people saw on the SNES in terms of Bowser constantly being the main antagonist. Wario definitely could have remained a villain little bit longer and Nintendo could have dragged the Super Mario Land series out more since Game Boy Color became a huge attraction during the late 90’s. Even though, there is an unlicensed Super Mario Land 4 game that’s playable online many people wish that Nintendo gave us a official release of the game itself back in the 90’s.
SM64 is considered to be one of the most legendary 3D Super Mario games of all-time especially since it was the very first that we got to see within the series in general. Super Mario 64 from the mid 90’s was remembered for its critically acclaimed gameplay, graphics and soundtrack making it the second best selling video game for the Nintendo 64. Since its release back in ‘96 Super Mario 64 had reached over 9.8 million copies in terms of worldwide sales before the N64 was ultimately discontinued in 2001. As far as soundtracks are concerned Nintendo arguably produced some of its best work with Super Mario 64 with legendary soundtracks for different levels such as: Koopa’s Road, Bomb-Omb Battlefield and Dire Dire Docks. The soundtracks in SM64 seemed far better than anything from the 2D Mario installments from the NES/SNES era of gaming. Also, there are hardly any 3D Mario games that came after SM64 that had a memorable soundtrack that was on the same level in terms of quality with Super Mario Galaxy from ‘07 possibly being an exception.
The soundtracks in SM64 blended naturally with each level and the amount of creativity that went into the game itself added to its overall replay value. While the soundtrack for SM64 was awesome it should be noted that Nintendo had produced many memorable music scores especially during the 90’s in general. In fact, some would put Mario Kart 64 above SM64 in terms of having more memorable soundtracks with likes of Rainbow Road, Toad’s Turnpike and Raceways. There was definitely a magical aura that some of the N64 Mario games had back then that we rarely see nowadays and its something that long time fans of the series still cherish to this day. While everyone has their own respective opinion on which Mario game has the best soundtracks there is no doubt that SN64 would have to be in the top five on many people’s list.
As many people know Donkey Kong is one of the most iconic names within the gaming world. Ever since the very first Donkey Kong arcade game from ‘81 Nintendo has produced numerous titles within the series that were considered to be classics as it pertained to the platform genre of gaming. However, many people would argue that some of the most successful and high profile games within the entire series came due the 90’s within the SNES/N64 era of gaming. As far as 16-bit platformers are concerned games such as the Donkey Kong: Country trilogy from ‘94-‘96 were considered some of the best titles that Nintendo had produced for SNES. In fact, the Donkey Kong trilogy had reached roughly under million copies worldwide in terms of sales; while each game could give the likes of Super Mario World or any of the three Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Genesis a run for their money. Also, we got to see Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64 a game that was also successful since it reached over 5.2 million copies in sales since its release in 1999. The success of Donkey Kong 64 was followed after the release of Diddy Kong Racing from ‘97; not only was it the first racing game within the DK set but it too also ended up becoming one of the best selling games for the N64 overall.
Diddy Kong racing reached roughly under five million in sales before the N64 was ultimately discontinued in retail back in 2001. It should also be noted that the Donkey Kong title from ‘94 for Game Boy reaches over three million in sales and is a memorable classic that retro gamers enjoyed as well. If anything the DK series may have reached its peat in popularity during 90’s mainly because the platform genre of gaming declined following that decade. While games like Donkey Kong Country Returns & Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze were attractions on the Wii/Wii-U console during the 10’s decade the series itself was not nearly as popular as it was during the 80’s & 90’s. While everyone has their own respective opinion on which DK games were among the very best many would definitely argue that the most memorable titles within the series came out during 90’s.