If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet (which, since you’re here, we’ll assume you have), you’ll have been exposed to the recent prominence of a meme showcasing anything and everything that “only 90’s kids will remember”. Little things like using a pen to wind a cassette tape…or having a cassette tape.
But what defined our respective childhoods better than the video games we spent hours playing, back in the days when you were generally carefree and responsibility was a daunting nightmare waiting out of sight and mind in the distant future. You had no time for worries, after all, you were too busy trying collect all the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, or trying to take down Megacorporation Shinra and their extraterrestrial experiment.
If you hadn’t already guessed, those are, more or less, the plots of Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy VII, respectively. Just two games that had you hooked when you were a child and two games that continue to receive sequels and re-mastered editions.
Speaking of which, we all remember the original Doom from 1993, by Id Software. For many of you, it might have been the original first person shooter, the video game that, with nothing but an unnamed space marine, and a horde from hell, got you hooked on the genre. Look at your objective and go shoot/find your way to it. That sums up practically every video game before 1997 when the Grand Theft Auto series began and showed us what freedom to explore and decide things for ourselves felt like (other than, you know, going outside?).
Who could forget watching your character from a top-down perspective, exploring Liberty City for the first time (and certainly not the last), earning money, and stealing cars?
This was yet another series to set itself apart from the blur of every other title being churned out of a growing video games industry, and there were a lot like it.
You took history lessons from Age of Empires, and you practiced driving with Super Mario Kart. You tested your reflexes with Mortal Kombat, and you challenged your brain with Myst. That’s what you remember, isn’t it? What was it about these games that made them so memorable? Even now, some of you might go back from time to time to relive a moment of your childhood through those relatively simple virtual worlds. They all defined their genres and stood out with character. Remember Halo: Combat Evolved? Remember donning Master Chief’s helmet and trying to discover Halo’s secrets with the aid of your trusty Cortana (before she was forced upon us with Windows 10)? That too stood out and gave us science fiction in video games as we had never seen it before, long before Mass Effect. What about the Prince of Persia series which itself, stemmed from a unique early platformer? That too gave us fantasy and mystery unlike anything we had seen before.
If you played these growing up, the you can say you’ve witnessed the evolution of the video game industry and you’ve experienced what it had to offer when it first began to blossom into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. You spent your childhood in worlds brought to you by the brilliantly creative minds that would go on to shape the world of video games. We’ll keep seeing new iterations of these beloved games, and as technology develops (like the emergence of VR kits), the legacy of your childhood games will continue and adjust to entertain a new generation of kids, who’ll learn and enjoy everything you did, just as much as you did. That and we just can’t resist those moments returning re-mastered. That’s the whole reason why Doom got a reboot, and the whole reason why people are talking about Half-Life 3 (calm down, nothing confirmed) for Playstation VR in 2018, and which one of us isn’t excited for the new Crash Bandicoot. They had you hooked as kids and they’d have you hooked now.