25 years ago the stars and the brightest minds lined up to shine a light on a a barrage of memorable videogames that made 1996 possibly the best year in “gamer” history.
It was a time when classic consoles were giving way to a new generation led by the PlayStation and seconded by the Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64. But they still coexisted with computers and even most of the great games were built based on the benefits offered by the latter.
Duke Nukem 3D y Quake
If something characterized the 90s, it was action based on punches and easy jokes. Fruit of that combination was born Duke Nukem 3D, located in a chaotic city of Los Angeles invaded by aliens, where you had to use a good handful of weapons to defend yourself.
The pop culture references like movie phrases like Terminator, Alien, Jaws, Star Wars e Indiana Jones.
Until today it has sold more than 3.5 million copies and it is one of the most played franchises.
Months later he presented Quake, and the world of videogames completely changed: speed, graphics and multiplayer gameplay They made it one of the favorites in Internet cafes of the time.
The Quake Engine, the engine that was used to program the game, is one of the first to incorporate true 3D rendering in real time and it has served for games like Half-Life to take place.
Quake and the other sequels have sold more than 4 million copies around the world.
Lara Croft y Jill Valentine
1996 was also the beginning of two of the most important sagas in the video game industry, Tomb Raider y Resident Evil they saw the light and changed many things. Both games are played by brave and strong women who take the reins of the narrative and the protagonism of the story. There are no more princesses to rescueThey alone can and very well.
The first to see the light, or rather the fog around Raccoon City, was the character of Jill Valentine in Resident Evil in March 1996 and its history has not stopped. More than 30 titles have been published during these 25 years, movies, comics, figures … the Resident Evil universe is a real gold mine.
But let’s go back to that March 1996, where the game was destined for PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC. The game was well received and on PlayStation alone it sold more than 2.5 million units, not counting the remake for DualShock released later that sold more than 2.3 million.
But if there is an undisputed queen in the world of video games, she is Lara Croft, the highest-grossing adventurer and the one who brought with her one of the most exciting video game sagas of all time.
Developed by Core Design and distributed by Eidos Interactive, Tomb Raider it was one of the first 3D adventures in third person perspective with a quality that left you speechless. It was initially released for the Sega Saturn, though it was quickly distributed for PC and PlayStation, where it has been one of the best-selling video games, with seven million units sold.
The game created by Toby Gard became one of the great franchises and the following year the second part was released. In 2001 Angelina Jolie put herself in the shoes of Lara Croft for the first time to start another saga, this time cinematographic and which has already had a remake.
Super Mario 64, Sonic 3D y Crash Bandicoot
One of the most classic genres are platformer games: those that consist of run, collect items, jump and kill enemies to finish the screen.
Sonic and mario They were the kings of this genre and dominated the absolute market, but a marsupial from Oceania set out to be another reference for millions of people who did not grow up with the hedgehog or the moustached plumber.
Crash Bandicoot was developed by Naughty Dog in 1996 and from the first moment it hit the public, its carefree and crazy style they fell in love with more than 6 million of people and turned the game into the eighth best-selling in PlayStation history.
He also took a title that year Super Mario 64 for Nintendo64, the first open-world 3D video game in the saga of the Italian plumber, which added 11 million copies sold.
AND Sonic Nor was it lacking in the 3D “craze” that erupted in 1996.
Role playing games
Diablo It took the RPG where no one had gone and more than a million people were hooked around the world. It is estimated that by 2001, Diablo had sold more than 2.5 million copies. To get an idea of what it has meant for the genre, Diablo II sold more than 4 million copies, but its third installment managed to sell 3.5 million copies the first day and 6.3 million copies the first week and this made it, in 2013, the best-selling PC video game in history.
That same year one of the most original games of this magnificent generation was released: After Life, the Lucas Arts strategy game that made you the architect of heaven and hell.
There we are the Demiurge, a demi-god in charge of building heaven and hell, where the humor and satire of the George Lucas franchise is present. ANDl play it was not a sales success Nor is it that the critics of the moment were enthusiastic about this production, but just the idea of being able to direct heaven and hell seems wonderful.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert is undoubtedly one of the best real-time strategy games, with a 94% rating. The story in which this video game is involved could not be more unusual but interesting at the same time: Albert Einsten invents a time machine and travels back to kill Hitler before WWII. Good old Albert, when he returns to 1946, he thinks that everything is settled, but… in the absence of Hitler, it is the Russians who decide to dominate the world. Sold nothing more and nothing less than one and a half million copies in its first month.
The best PC Soccer in history?
PC Soccer 5.0 He was one of the most important soccer managers in the history of video games. We are talking about the 96/97 season and Ronaldo’s 34 goals for Barcelona. From Capello’s League with Suker and Songo’o’s impossible stops at Deportivo. And we also talk about the inclusion of the 2nd B in the database which had undergone a change in the previous year with ProManager mode.
We could also have coaching staff and specific employees for the first time and we enjoy a much more intuitive interface and option to finally sign in America.
Broken Sword, The Neverhood y Toonstruck
In the adventure game genre, any release would be overshadowed by the “Big Three” (Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion e Indiana Jones). All of them with previously released titles, continued to delight puzzle lovers.
But these franchises were to be overshadowed by the emergence of a Californian patent attorney named George Stobbard and an intrepid French reporter, Nicole Collard. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templar has provided the industry with up to 5 titles. The adventure leads to a trip through France, Spain, Ireland or Syria where a murder will have to be solved that will lead to a whole Templar plot with centuries of silence and, which to more than one will sound like a certain book by Dan Brown (the video game is did before).
And the list (random, by the way) closes with two very entertaining stories, but despite becoming cult games, they did not sell what was expected.
Toonstruck its main course is played by Cristopher Lloyd, an entertainer who is teleported to a cartoon world populated by your creations. The crazy adult story cost around $ 8 million and was a commercial failure that failed to launch the planned sequel. Although yes, the adventure has a good fanbase that has tried on some occasions to resume the sequel project.
Frame by frame, that’s how the graphic adventure was shot The NeverHood, A funny story of plasticine that made its appearance in 1996 to make a place for itself in the heart of a whole generation. Because this graphic adventure, already discontinued, has been one of the hardest games with puzzles based on colors, notes and symbol sequences. And although the game received good reviews, they did not add to the number of sales of a difficult year, since in the market, as we had said previously, there was a lot of money to spend.