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Best Games of 1990

LucasArts and JRPG's emerge with some classic titles while Mario and run 'n gun/sword games iterate.

List items

  • Another stellar classic filled with Mario perfection. SMB3 and SMW are video games at its finest.

  • The JRPG formula finally succeeds. How? Breaking the story (and grinding) into five distinct chapters helped. But unlike the unsuccessful multiple stories in Phantasy Star 3, DQIV's designers used the stories to explore creatively. For example, Torneko's chapter is renowned by players worldwide for serving as an example of world-building, showed RPG's could include mini-modes stretching across genres, and became a progenitor of simulation/management games.

  • Video game comedy is still not easy - even in 2019. The Secret of Monkey Island did it early and successfully. A wonderfully delightful game that showed that shooting, slashing, or jumping on enemies' heads are not essential for a video game.

  • Mega Man 3 and Ninja Gaiden 2 below are good examples of games that were great, but not as innovative as their predecessors. As a result, they are not as memorable.

  • I was late to the bullet-hell party but once I played Smash TV, I totally got it. It's a mixture of old arcade shooters and new (at the time) Contra-like shooters. The result? Just some mindless shoot-em-down fun. Cool.

  • Crystalis was a good action RPG with an interesting post-apocalyptic story. Although there wasn't much of a challenge, this game rightfully known as a hidden gem . . . get it?

  • A solid sequel here, but still - the difficulty is just too hard. The enemies wearing red sometimes blended into the background, the birds were too fast and the hit boxes were so frustrating it made your swings feel like dice rolls.

  • Space combat would take a couple more years to not make me feel nauseated after an hour - but Wing Commander was the start of a great space epic, setting the groundwork for three great entries to come.

  • This was the first monster battler, the Pokemon before Pokemon was a thing. It was a great concept and #2 was the best of the trilogy. This game also helped make up for the disappointing entries from the main Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star series (both numbered 3).