Ten must-have classic games that made history

History is full of classic games that have earned their own merits, a place in the  “Olympus” of videogames. Whenever I stop to think about this subject I feel very fortunate, since I was born at a time that allowed me to enjoy almost all the key moments that the history of videogames has experienced in the last 40 years, and that period has been precisely the richest and most important.

I could tell you many things, my first experiences with the Atari 2600, those unforgettable moments enjoying classic games when the arcades were booming, or delve into the evolution of the industry through its different phases, and the different consoles and computers I had, but this would not be the first time that I would tell you about the history of videogamesor give rise to an article, but this would be enough material for a book.

All in all, I feel the need to share with you my dear readers, a little piece of those experiencesand I am going to do it by recalling ten classic games, before 2000, that marked a turning point in the history of video gamesi think that any game lover should enjoy them if they didnâ¤?t have the opportunity to do so at the time. Some of them have not aged very well, but they still have that “something” that made them unique.

Ten must-have classic games

1.-DOOM (1993)

Ten must-have classic games

The id Software classic and the father of the first-person shooter genre (the grandfather was Wolfenstein 3D). On a technical level it was a real revolution, thanks to its graphics engine that was able to generate a very successful and affordable fake 3D effect, since it worked very well even on low-powered configurations.

DOOM is one of the oldest classic games that has always been installed on all my computers, and  “without additives”, that is to say, without mods, in its original version. It is true that graphically it has not aged well, but its design, its atmosphere and its soundtrack, together with its careful gameplay, gave shape to a unique experience that made it the most popular game in the world an immortal title.

Fundamental to understand the origins of today’s first-person shooter games. It is a pity that it is no longer possible to enjoy the impact it had at the time, but I can assure you that it was so enormous that even today DOOM still has a very special “something” that no game has been able to repeat Grab your shotgun and get ready to go hunting in hell itself.

2.-Street Fighter II (1991)

Ten must-have classic games

The classic version that came to the arcades was quite a spectacle. The character sprites were huge, were very detailed and had such neat animations that it was easy to notice the “forcefulness” of the blows. In this sense, I remember that the sound effects were also “very much to blame”, as they matched perfectly.

On a technical level it was a real marvel in every way. The soundtrack is still a delight, and has been the subject of numerous re-releases with improvements and instrumental versions, but most importantly, the gameplay is so good that it has made it another one of those “immortal” titles. No matter how much time passes, Street Fighter II is one of those classic games that always entertainsand that you always enjoy playing either alone or with others.

We must not forget that, in addition, Street Fighter II is to fighting games what DOOM was to first-person shooters. If you have never played it, give the original a try, I’m sure you won’t regret it. It’s not a complicated game, and if you practice you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

3.-Streets of Rage 2 (1992)

Ten must-have classic games

A true work of art, and a demonstration that Mega Drive was a console that had much more potential than some developers would have us believe This game redefined the concept of “beat em up”and it did it in a big way, since it staged a sublime graphic finish, so much so that it had little to envy to other titles exclusive to the arcades.

Streets of Rage 2 is one of the most important classic games of its genre for everything it represented at a technical level, but also for its sound and gameplay. This title featured a total of four perfectly differentiated characters that offered a different experience, and that had their own special moves. This allowed for more varied and richer combos and combat, and it put an end to that boring monotony that would end up occurring in games like Final Fight.

As far as the sound is concerned, it is clear to me that Streets of Rage 2 is one of the titles with the best soundtrack of its generation, and an example to follow in this sense even today. Yuzo Koshiro did an excellent job with such good tracks that they were even played for a while in the most select clubs in Japan. Yes, you know that Japan is another world, here that would have been unthinkable.

4.-Mortal Kombat (1992)

Ten must-have classic games

Today it doesn’t impress, but at the time Mortal Kombat was a real bombshell and sparked a huge “fever” for the use of real actors. Their movements were recorded on video and introduced into the video game, a technique that became known as  “digitized graphics”. Its success was such that, shortly after its release, a huge number of “clones” began to arrive, which, in general, passed with more pain than glory.

Mortal Kombat dared to stand up to Street Fighter II and established its own style, with a fast and intense gameplay, a “realistic” graphic finish for the time, so much so that it was the subject of a very marked controversy, and was even censored. It also introduced important changes in the gameplay, thanks to the adoption of the lock button, and innovated with the  “Fatalities”.

This franchise has had better and worse moments, that�s true, but in the end it has managed to keep its essence intact to this day, even after making the leap from digitized graphics to three-dimensional graphics. I recommend you to try the original because it was the one that marked the revolution, and therefore deserves to be in this list of classic games, although personally my favorite of all the classic installments of the saga is Mortal Kombat II.

5.-Heroes of Might and Magic (1995)

Ten must-have classic games

One of the best role-playing and turn-based strategy games in history, and the beginning of a franchise that, unfortunately, has fallen into disgrace. I played it for the first time in my modest Pentium at 133 MHz, and following the dynamics of  “go, one more turn and I quit” i ended up “cutting” at two o’clock in the morning.

This title had all the fun of the classic games, but it was without complicated learning curves or tedious moments that made us think about giving up. Despite its turn-based gameplay it was very dynamic, you always had an objective to accomplish, something to do or achieve, and a challenge to overcome.

Addictive to the max, with a great soundtrack, well optimized and with an acceptable graphic finish for the time. It also offered a local multiplayer mode, a real luxury for the time that gave rise to countless hours of fun and a a unique experience with my friends passing the mouse to each other. If its graphic finish is too much for you, try the second installment.

6.-Resident Evil (1996)

Ten must-have classic games

Strictly speaking, Resident Evil was not the creator of the survival horror genreand neither was he the first to combine three-dimensional graphics and pre-rendered scenarios, years before Alone in the Dark had already done so. However, he was the first to perfect the formula and take it to a simply impressive level.

I know the original installment hasn’t aged well, especially if you play it on console and not PC, it still offers a unique experience thanks to its atmosphere, its carefully crafted storyline and its numerous puzzles. On the other hand, it is also more than worthy heir to Alone in the Dark, and it is fair to consider it as the father of survival horror.

If you get the chance, try to play it on PCbecause you will be able to increase the resolution (on PS1 it works in 320 x 240 pixels) and with the 3D acceleration you will enjoy a much higher graphic quality in all the three-dimensional models.

7.-Diablo (1996)

Ten must-have classic games

It was not the first to use the isometric perspective, but it was the first to use the isometric perspective the father of what we know today as action role-playing, or ARPG in its classic concept. Blizzard gave shape to a game that did everything right: it had a very good graphic finish for the time, an excellent atmosphere, a well-tended story with unique moments and side quests that were worth doing (and discovering) and it was, moreover, tremendously addictive.

Graphically it is true that it has not aged well, and it is also true that the animations and the impossibility of running can generate some discomfort among younger players, but it is one of those classic games that has kept its essence intact, and it is worth playing to enjoy those unique moments it contains, such as our encounter with the butcher.

As an alternative, if you are not able to digest its graphics nor its gameplay, you have Diablo II, which marked a very big leap compared to the original, betting on a more marked component of farming and repetition of areas to obtain equipment and valuable items.

8.-Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Ten must-have classic games

One of those classic games that proves that perfection can be achieved by starting from an imperfect pass. It may seem a contradiction, but when we start playing it we realize that it fits perfectly. On a technical level, Final Fantasy VII chose to combine pre-rendered scenarios with three-dimensional characters, but in exteriors, and when we fought, everything was recreated in 3D.

This curious combination had another important nuance, and that is that the characters were only seen in all their splendor in combat, which left us with gridded monigots when we had to explore the cities and the map. This had, however, a positive side, and that is that it gave a “tender” touch to the game, and at the same time, it gave the game a “cute” touch made us enjoy the combat much morebecause the characters in them had a more adult and higher quality design.

By today’s standards, I know Final Fantasy VII may be one of those hard-to-digest classic games, but the truth is that it’s still one of those games that’s hard to digest a work of art, especially for the story, for the charisma of the characters, for the feelings it conveys and for the richness it offers in terms of gameplay. At the time I got to devote more than a hundred hours, and I do not regret it at all, in fact it remains one of my 20 favorite games.

9.-MDK (1997)

Ten must-have classic games

MDK was unique. This title proved that it was possible to create a high quality three-dimensional game without having to resort to 3D accelerator graphics cardsas long as we had a Pentium processor running at least 90 MHz, and a total of 16 MB of RAM. Yes, megabytes, in those days we measured in megabytes.

It is very clear to me that MDK was a real prodigy, a perfect game in every way. On a technical level, everything was perfectly matched, the main character was pre-rendered, but not out of place at all, and the 3D world we could walk through was rich, varied and perfectly detailed.

One of the best games of the decade, and of history. Interestingly, despite using a rather old 3D finish the game has aged well, and is very enjoyable, so I recommend you give it a try.

10.-Shenmue (1999)

Ten must-have classic games

The icing on the cake, no doubt about it. I know that for many people Shenmue has not aged well, it is a slow game that requires a lot of patience from the playerand it was clear to me after seeing the criticism Death Stranding received at the time that this is not something that abounds today, but this should not detract from the merit that Shemnue garnered in its day.

Its release came at the height of the transition, when Dreamcast came to market surrounded by critics and  “intellectuals” who said it was not much more powerful than a PS1. Shenmue silenced many mouths, and was one of the great standard bearers of this new generation that inaugurated the 128 bits of SEGA. It was also, in many ways, one of the forerunners of the “sandbox” genre.

I’m not going to lie to you, Shenmue hasn’t aged well and has moments where it can get boring, but it offers a unique experience and has some very rewarding moments. One of the great diamonds of Dreamcast, and one of the classic games most important, and misunderstoodof history.

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