On September 9th, 1996, this loveable orange marsupial burst onto the scene with the release of the original Crash Bandicoot game on Playstation. While the graphics look incredibly dated by today’s standards, the nostalgic game was a hit in the 1990s.
Kids loved joining Crash on an epic adventure as he plotted to prevent evil Doctor Neo Cortex and his henchman, Doctor Nitrus Brio, from taking over the world! Since then, there have been countless sequels released on different platforms.
Spyro the Dragon
Gamers all over the world will know and love this adorable purple creature. It’s none other than Spyro the Dragon! The first game in the smash-hit series was released in 1998 exclusively for the original PlayStation.
The game followed Spyro as he attempted to save the elder dragons, collect gems, and defeat treacherous enemies including the excellently named Gnasty Gnorc! Who remembers playing this incredible game? Lots of you, we imagine — as the game sold millions of copies worldwide.
Mario Kart 64
Lots of us enjoy playing the Mario Kart games on various consoles, from Nintendo Switch to the Nintendo Wii. There is even a mobile version, so you can race on the go! But, we have to pay our respects to the game that started it all — Mario Kart 64.
Released in 1997 for the Nintendo 64, this game gives us all of the nostalgic feels. The set-up is simple; you race around virtual tracks, dodging blue shells to claim victory!
The Simpsons: Road Rage
Inspired by Sega’s 1999 game Crazy Taxi, The Simpsons: Road Rage was released in 2001. The game allowed players to pick up passengers at various locations throughout Springfield, before driving them to their destinations as quickly as possible! The game combined the thrills of a fast-paced driving game with the wacky characters from The Simpsons universe!
Fun fact — the game was so similar to Crazy Taxi that Sega took developers Radical Entertainment and Electronic Arts to court for patent infringement!
The gaming industry was revolutionized with the release of The Sims in 2000. One of the first-ever life simulation video games, developers EA and Maxis used fancy dimetric projection technology to give players complete freedom.
Gamers could live out their wildest dreams or worst nightmares. Some people chose to get a job, start a family and decorate their dream house. Hands up who locked their swims in a pool without a ladder to get a visit from the Grim Reaper?
Digimon Rumble Arena
Fans of the Digimon anime series will fondly remember battling it out in the Digimon Rumble Arena. Released in 2002 for the original Playstation console, the game allowed gamers to play as beloved characters from the franchise — including Terriermon, Agumon, Gatomon, and Renamon.
The aim of the game was to complete challenges and fight other characters to make it to the top, unlocking new Digimon along the way. Lots of family arguments inevitably erupted as kids clashed over multi-player mode!
Super Mario 64
Undoubtedly one of the most nostalgic games on this list, everyone knows about Super Mario 64! It was the first-ever 3D game in the Super Mario franchise, capturing the imaginations of kids and adults alike.
The classic fairytale storyline allowed users to play as Mario, as he attempted to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of evil Bowser. While there have been countless Super Mario games released over the years, nothing beats the original, released on the Nintendo 64.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
It’s a simple fact that all kids went through a Tony Hawk phase at one point, probably triggered by playing iconic games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on the PS2. Gamers could play as legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and his pro skater pals, completing challenges and learning new moves and tricks along the way.
The dodgy graphics didn’t bother us when we were kids, and the soundtrack was nothing short of iconic. Does anyone else miss this nostalgic game!
Super Smash Bros: Melee
Fighting to the death in the Super Smash Bros arena was one of the most exciting feelings as a kid in the early 2000s. Released in 2001 for the Gamecube, Super Smash Bros: Melee was the second game in the series, and introduced characters from a host of Nintendo titles — including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Pokémon.
The nostalgic game was known for making or breaking friendships, as gamers fought to be the last one standing.
Not for the faint-hearted, Diablo II was one of the most popular games of 2000. Combining elements of the horror and fantasy genres, this creepy action-role-playing game involved progressing through the storyline and completing quests in dungeons, dark forests, and medieval fortresses!
Did anyone else have serious nightmares after playing this game? You could even play multiplayer levels with friends, to see who could last the longest without peeing their pants. It can still be downloaded and played today!
Age of Empires
Here’s a hit of nostalgic game goodness for all of the history nerds out there. You grew up in the late ’90s, you’ll probably remember playing Age of Empires on your PC. Created by Ensemble Studios, this historical strategy game revolved around developing civilizations from the ground up.
Players had to complete missions and goals in real-time — traversing Europe, Africa, and Asia and progressing from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. It’s not as boring as it sounds!
Halo: Combat Evolved
A list of nostalgic games would not be complete without Halo: Combat Evolved. The iconic first-person shooter game was beloved by millions, thanks to the groundbreaking graphics (it looked pretty advanced for 2001!), exciting gameplay, and addictive multiplayer modes.
Inspired by the sci-fi genre, Halo was a critical and commercial success. It spawned hundreds of copycat games and revolutionized the gaming industry. Did you know there was almost a film adaptation of the franchise, before being shelved in 2007?
The Tekken franchise is a hugely popular fighting game, originating in Japan. The first game in the series was released in 1994, but Tekken 3 was arguably the best, thanks to the introduction of 3D gameplay and a host of now-legendary characters — including Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Bryan Fury, Eddy Gordo, and Hwoarang!
Released for the PlayStation in 1998, many millennials will have fond memories of begging their mom to allow them to play Tekken 3 for hours before bed.
Mortal Kombat: Deception
We can’t include Tekken and ignore Mortal Kombat. The franchise began all the way back in 1992 with the release of the original arcade game. One of the first fighting game franchises to hit arcades, gamers became entranced by the addictive gameplay.
It spawned a host of sequels, including Mortal Kombat: Deception. We’ve included this one on the list as it represented a real turning point in the franchise. The graphics were great and it offered online and puzzle modes!
Mario Party 5
Forget boring board games like Monopoly and Guess Who. Mario Party 5 is the perfect game to play with your best friends. Set in the fictional Dream Depot, players have to try their luck on a series of puzzles and mini games against the Koopa Kids to prevent Bowser from taking over.
The board game format is fun and refreshing. Just make sure to avoid the Bowser spaces! This nostalgic game was released for the Gamecube almost 20 years ago!
Prepare to be taken back to your childhood with this next item on the list. If you were the kind of kid who spent hours building elaborate houses and buildings in The Sims, you were probably also a massive fan of Zoo Tycoon.
This game involved building zoos from scratch, from the animal enclosures to the front desk areas. The aim of the game was to create a thriving zoo and keep both the animals and the customers happy!
The Simpsons: Hit and Run
This controversial Simpsons game was a childhood favorite of kids across the nation! Many parents bought it for their kids thinking that it was an innocent game based on the family-friendly animated sitcom but little did they know, it was inspired by the popularity of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
Users had to roam around Springfield, completing missions and investigating a secret plot hatched by two evil aliens. With fast cars and fighting, it wasn’t your average Simpsons game!
The Pokémon games are beloved pieces of ’90s history. The franchise is still thriving today, but the modern games available for smartphones and the Nintendo Switch simply don’t provide the same nostalgic thrill as earlier installments.
Pokémon Snap is a quirky title that differed from previous games in the series, as the game didn’t require users to capture Pokémon. Instead, they had to take pictures of them, using items such as apples and “pester balls” to achieve perfect shots!
Here’s another spooky video game that millennials will remember from their younger years! Strategy game Dungeon Keeper was released all the way back in 1997 — 24 years ago! As the keeper of the dungeon, players were responsible for constructing and managing their creepy lair, ordering minions to maintain it, and defending it from enemy invaders.
Dungeon Keeper influenced countless PC games that were released in subsequent years, making it a nostalgic classic. It was even re-released on Origin in 2016!
Sonic the Hedgehog
Before his reputation had been tarnished by the awful 2020 live-action film starring James Marsden, Sonic the Hedgehog was beloved by gamers all over the world. (Okay, maybe that judgment is slightly harsh, but did you see the terrifying character design doing the rounds on social media?).
The original game was released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis console. It required the player to run through various exciting courses, catching the chaos emeralds along the way. It’s a classic!
The late ’90s was a great time. You could spend your weekends listening to Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys on CD and playing Banjo-Kazooie on the Nintendo 64. It doesn’t get much more nostalgic than this! Banjo-Kazooie was a colorful game aimed at a young audience.
But, the snappy dialogue and addictive levels made it a hit with older players, too! The game followed Banjo the bear and Kazooie the bird as they tried to stop the evil witch, Gruntilda.
Donkey Kong 64
While it may not have been as popular as Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64 was a fun platform with plenty of mini-games and puzzles. Players controlled gorilla Donkey Kong, exploring the themed levels of an island to collect items and rescue his kidnapped pals from King K. Rool.
The game had some mixed reviews thanks to the tedious banana collecting storyline. The soundtrack also contained the DK Rap, which has been called the worst song in video-game history…
Many people will be familiar with the Animal Crossing series. These adorable life simulation games allow the user to explore their very own villages and islands, making friends with the various animals that inhabit their homeland.
While newer versions like New Leaf and New Horizons are popular, there’s nothing like digging out the game that started it all — Animal Crossing on the Gamecube and Nintendo 64. The blocky graphics, charming NPCs, and relaxing soundtrack make it the perfect nostalgic game.
From the world of Animal Crossing inhabited by talking cartoon animals, we head to Neverwinter, an ancient city stalked by a magical plague named the Wailing Death. Variety is the spice of life, after all! Neverwinter Nights is a nostalgic classic, based on the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of the famous Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game.
If you like solving fantastical mysteries and exploring complex D&D style storylines, you probably loved Neverwinter Nights when it was originally released in 2002.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
If you’re a fan of fantasy games with impeccably designed, detailed worlds, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was released in 2002. An open-world action role-playing video game, it combines steampunk elements with the magical lore of games like Dungeons and Dragons.
A source of true escapism, you could immerse yourself in the expansive world of Morrowind, as the real-time weather effects allowed you to watch the sunrise and set! How neat.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Believe it or not, The Legend of Zelda series kicked off in 1986, with the first game being released on the Famicom Disk System! Today there are 19 entries on all of Nintendo’s major game consoles, as well as a number of spin-offs!
One of the most nostalgic games in the series is The Wind Waker, a 2002 release for the Gamecube console. It follows the story of Link as he attempts to save his sister from an evil sorcerer.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Ancient artifacts, exotic locations, princes, princesses, savage monsters, sword-fighting — the Prince of Persia series has it all! The early games in the series were created for older PCs and consoles like the Apple II, MS-DOS, and Super NES.
The Sands of Time was the first release to include 3D graphics, and it was made available on the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and Windows in November 2003. Plus, the Prince’s sword could rewind time. How cool is that?!
Black & White
Forget talking fluffy animals, go-kart racing, and skateboard simulators. With Black & White, you get the grapple with the big topics in life — like ethics, morality, and the struggle between good and evil!
Players step into the shoes of a god whose goal is to defeat Nemesis, another god who wants to take over the world. The game won countless awards thanks to the interesting premise, intricate gameplay, and complex artificial intelligence. This is a video game fit for intellectuals!
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
World of Warcraft is an epic series with legions of dedicated fans. The franchise is still in full swing, with new titles being released on a regular basis. However, many gamers will remember playing Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, which was released in 2002.
A real-time strategy game, World of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos allowed users to engage in vicious battles, establish settlements, gather resources, defend against others and fight foes. Completing quests has never been more fun.
Sonic Heroes is a far cry from the original 2D installments in the Sonic series. This Playstation 2 game was an addictive 3D racing game, allowing players to switch between characters like Sonic, Shadow, Tails, and Knuckles while completing courses.
The aim of the game was to dash through levels whilst collecting rings, defeating robots, and gathering the seven Chaos Emeralds needed to defeat the evil Doctor Eggman. We are desperate to relive the nostalgic memories of playing Sonic Heroes!
The Sims 2
While the original game was iconic for lots of reasons, The Sims 2 was a serious step-up. Released in 2004, gamers loved Sims 2 for its excellent graphics, engaging gameplay, and wacky plots.
Like Sims 1, the open-ended nature of the game allowed users to pursue their own objectives, but Sims 2 provided goals, wants, and fears — which affected the game through positive or negative outcomes. Plus, Bella Goth’s mysterious disappearance has puzzled fans for years!
If battling monsters wasn’t your cup of tea, there were other options for gamers in the late 1990s. The Petz franchise is a series of single-player games dating back to 1995 in which players can adopt, raise, and breed their own adorable virtual pets!
The game began in a virtual adoption center, and users could select their favorite breed of cat or dog to take care of. If your parents wouldn’t allow real pets, this was the next best thing.
Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version
The Pokémon games are nothing short of legendary. In the ’90s and ’00s, no childhood was complete without hours spent catching, trading, and battling Pokémon. It all began in 1996 when Pocket Monsters: Red, Green, and Blue were released.
The games were later rebranded and released as Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue in North America and Australia in 1998, as well as Europe in 1999. Despite the basic 2D graphics, players fell in love with the franchise, and Pokémon became world-famous.
Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses
Barbara Millicent Roberts is an iconic fashionista, world traveler, and career woman who has been an idol for young girls since the release of the original doll in the 1950s! However, Barbie merchandise is not limited to dolls.
The beloved character has spawned a host of movies and video game spin-offs, capturing the imagination of young kids everywhere. Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses is a nostalgic fairytale classic, with players defeating Barbie’s evil stepmother through the power of dance!
Bratz Rock Angelz
The Bratz dolls were often referred to as Barbie’s edgy cousins. These dolls made headlines in the 2000s thanks to their heavy make-up and occasionally revealing outfits, but the media coverage just helped fuel the Bratz craze all over the U.S. and Europe.
The dolls sold millions of units, and like Barbie, they also had their own animated movies, books, and video games. Bratz Rock Angelz saw players roaming Stylesville in an attempt to launch their very own fashion magazine.
Selling over 81 million copies worldwide, Tomb Raider is one of the most successful action-adventure game franchises of all time! Who remembers playing the original Tomb Raider game in 1996?
Released on PC, Playstation, and Sega Saturn, this exciting game followed archaeologist-adventurer Lara Croft as she traversed through ancient tombs, defeating enemies and searching for an artifact called the Scion of Atlantis. Plus, Lara was one of the first female protagonists in a video game. We love a feminist icon!
Prepare for a wave of nostalgia. This side-scrolling platform game is a true blast from the past. Released in 1995, users played as quirky creature Rayman as he traveled through levels including The Dream Forest, The Caves of Skops, and Candy Château to free all of the caged Electoons!
This colorful and fun platform game was a hit for kids of all ages, and even adults too! There have been a total of 45 Rayman games released across multiple platforms.
Rugrats: Search for Reptar
This nostalgic Nickelodeon cartoon was a global hit, as viewers followed the antics of a group of rag-tag toddlers as they navigated the world with a sense of imagination. The Rugrats: Search for Reptar was released in the late ’90s for the Playstation console.
Loosely based on episodes of the show, the game followed protagonist Tommy Pickles as he searched for his missing Reptar puzzle. It sold nearly 1.5 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling games on the PlayStation!
In the late ’90s, if building a zoo wasn’t your thing, Rollercoaster Tycoon was also an option! Players were responsible for constructing and maintaining a successful amusement park. Building exhilarating rollercoasters was super fun, especially for those who were too scared to ride them in real life!
The first game was released in 1999 for PC, but the franchise is still popular today. The newest game, RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures, was released on Nintendo Switch in 2018 and PC in 2019!
Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour
Imagine a Mario Kart game set in the Disneyland parks and you pretty much have Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour. Released over 20 years ago, this nostalgic game brought some Disney magic to the classic racing game format.
Gamers could play as classic Disney characters such as Jiminy Cricket and Chip and Dale, while racing around real attractions found in the Disneyland Parks, like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Blizzard Beach, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and the Haunted Mansion.
We’re nearing the end of the list, but we have saved some of the most nostalgic video games for last! Kingdom Hearts is a classic crossover game, following the adventures of protagonist Sora as he leaves his home of Destiny Island, meeting various Disney, Square Enix, and Pixar characters along the way.
The game has achieved legendary status, thanks to its all-star voice cast, unusual combination of action and role-playing, masterful blending of Square Enix and Disney elements and beautiful soundtrack.
Lego Star Wars
Lego is one of the world’s most famous toy brands, so it makes sense that the company would team up with iconic film franchises to create a lucrative line of merchandise. That’s exactly what happened in the early 2000s when the company teamed up with Lucasfilm, and thus the Lego Star Wars video game was born!
One of the best selling games of 2005, it was praised for the family-friendly gameplay and accurate depiction of the films’ characters and locations.
Before Animal Crossing, there was Harvest Moon. This relaxing farm simulation role-playing game was developed by Amccus for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1996. The game was a huge success and has since been re-released on the Playstation, Satellaview, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, and Wii U.
Harvest Moon allowed players to live out their dreams of maintaining their own farm in the sunny countryside. Gamers had to take care of livestock, grow crops, attend festivals, and build relationships with villagers.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Even the cover art of this creepy game is enough to give you shivers. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was released in 1997, and its unique plot set it apart from other games on the market.
Players take control of Abe, a slave at the RuptureFarms meat processing factory. When Abe realizes that he is going to be slaughtered, he embarks on a perilous quest to save his people. If you played this as a kid, you probably still have recurring nightmares.
Dance Dance Revolution: Disney Mix
We’ve probably all played on the classic Dance Dance Revolution arcade games. The release of the console versions of the DDR games allowed you to bring the music into your own home!
In the early 2000s, no party was complete without dancing and Disney songs, so if you had a copy of this game, you were definitely popular with your elementary school pals. The game combined the classic format with animated Disney characters and electronic remixes of past Disney songs.