Best Online Games From The Early Days Of The Internet - The 90's

The 90s were an exciting time. The internet was new and exciting, and many innovations came out that gamers take for granted today. The criteria for best games from an entire decade have to be rather strict, however. For a game to be considered the best of the 90s it needs to have had financial success, innovative game design, and have influenced the way games are made today.

The list starts off with Counter-Strike. The most popular shooter in history, having sold millions of units. This game was one of the first realistic shooters. Without Counter-Strike there would be no Modern Warfare or Battlefield. Counter-Strike still achieves success today with its sequels such as CS:S and CS: Global Offensive.

Starcraft is arguable one of the most influential video games of all time. It is still a cultural force 13 years after its release, still being played at a competitive level on a global scale. When it was released, critics praised the game for innovating a genre which was stale. The system of using three different factions created a deeper level of strategy required to counter opponents. If your opponent was a Zerg, you had to take precautions against tactics like the infamous Zerg rush. For every different match-up, there was a different potential strategy and counter play. This is one of the reasons that Starcraft is still played today, and is one of the greatest games in history.

Quake was the first of the Quake series, which blew up in the late 90s. What made the game so different was the movement mechanics. Instead of realistic shooting like Counter-Strike, you had bunny hopping and strafe jumping which added new tactics to the genre. Even today, Quake is still played competitively and has spawned many similar variants. Tribes Ascend is a popular game today that is heavily influenced by Quake.

EverQuest was released in 1999 and was the most successful MMORPG for five years. The game was the first mainstream fantasy MMO and has had 19 expansions over the course of nearly 14 years. EverQuest paved the road for games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars to become so popular today. It innovated many features that have been incorporated into modern MMOs, such as player guilds, trade skills, character customization. Even today, you can make an EverQuest account and experience the online world of Norrath.

Warcraft II
Warcraft II comes in as Blizzard's second entry to the list because of the amazing success of the game, having sold over 2 millions copies just in the 90s. Although the game is not played much anymore, it has spawned some of the most popular games being played today. It revolutionized the RTS scene because of the simple way to create different map files. Anyone could use a utility to create map files and different game modes. This rolled over to Warcraft 3 which eventually spawned Defense of the Ancients, an incredibly popular mod. DoTA created games like League of Legends and DoTA 2 which are some of the most popular games being played today.

The 90s was a great and innovative time for gaming. Many of the genres that are popular today were just being pioneered by developers. The games released in the 90s gave way to a culture of gaming that exists in full force today. While today's gaming scene is being revolutionized by independent games and cheap hardware, one must not forget the important of the 90s.
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Greg Wilson is a software developer and guest author at Best Computer Science Schools, where he has written guides to top-rated online computer science schools.


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