Life is sweet. Your Beanie Babies collection is growing. Your Tamagotchi is still alive. You’ve won 10 Pog games in a row and you’ve been promised a trip to Blockbusters tomorrow. And now school’s over for the week and it’s your chance to get in some serious gaming time.
Sound familiar? Then you, my friend, are a 90s kid.
The Air Jordan 6 turns 30 years old this month. One of the very first colorways that came out on the silhouette was re-released on 13 February - the Air Jordan 6 Retro ‘Carmine’. To celebrate the Jordan 6’s anniversary we’re dedicating this week to all things 90s!
Chances were, back in the day, you had an N64, Playstation, Sega Saturn or Dreamcast. Maybe even a Game Boy tucked away in your backpack somewhere. Regardless of what system you used, you lived through some of the most iconic moments in gaming – and I’m sure most of you remember them even now!
I've picked out what I consider to be the top most memorable moments in 90s gaming – if you don’t agree, make sure to post your own favourite on Instagram and tag us @sneakerjagers / #SJ90sGaming!
Super Mario 64 (1997) - The Magic of 3D
It's hard to convey to youngsters today exactly how mind-blowing it was playing Super Mario 64 for the first time. The Mario we'd played up to this point had only ever been seen from a 2D, side-scrolling perspective. And now suddenly we could play a fully rendered, go-anywhere version of him! This game set a new standard and many 3D platformers to come would follow the formula.
Sure, it hasn't aged well, but back in 1997 it looked like magic. There were many exhilarating moments throughout the game with the freedom of exploration granted to you. But my cheeky favourite is sending the baby penguin to penguin heaven.
Note: You're SUPPOSED to return it to its mother. Think of the karma.
Tomb Raider (1996) - Is that a T-Rex??
Yes. Yes it is.
Of all the things lurking in the caves, ruins, and of course tombs, that Lara Croft raided, a dinosaur was the last thing you expected. Even after battling mummies, a T-Rex lumbering out from nowhere and chasing you down was a huge surprise. Lions, Wolves and Bears seem positively easy next to this giant, terrifying foe!
Given that Jurassic Park had been released only 3 years before this game came out in 1996, we'd had time to build up a healthy fear of the T-Rex. And suddenly we were facing him down with only a pair of guns and some fancy acrobatics! At the time, this was the most fearsome enemy in any 3D 90s gaming adventure. How times have changed!
Resident Evil (1996) - Zombie Dogs
It might seem hilariously campy now (and it was campy even back in 1996) but there were quite a few moments in Resident Evil that had people freaking out on their first play-through. One such moment was the Zombie Dogs, bursting through the windows behind and in front of you to corner you right at the beginning of the game. Does your heart beat faster just remembering this? Mine does.
Another terrifying find was when you stumbled across your first zombie, happily chowing down on a fallen team member in the creepy Spencer Estate. The unnaturalness of the creature was truly scary. I'm sure many people still remember that horrifying moment where it shambled towards you in that claustrophic corridor. Shudder!
Pokémon Red/Blue (1999) - Choosing your Starter Pokémon
One of my favourite 90s gaming moments was the absolute trauma I experienced in choosing my first Pokémon starter. Do I pick Charmander, that grows to be one of the strongest Pokémon in the game but is useless against the first two gym leaders? Do I pick Squirtle, the cute reptile that wore a pair of shades in the cartoon? Or do I settle on Bulbasaur, the weird little plant gremlin that carries you through most of the game? Literal. Sleepless. Nights.
There were just so many awesome moments of this game that I'll always remember completing the first time around - finally finding a Pikachu in the Viridian Forest, encountering the Legendary birds, walking along Victory Road, earning the Master Ball and throwing it at Mewtwo's head.
And simply for the epic amount of hours I put away on this game, Pokémon has definitely earnt its place in this list.
For those concerned - I picked Charmander. No regrets.
Ocarina of Time (1998) - Escaping with Epona
There are so many favourite moments in Ocarina of Time that it was hard to pick one - but the feeling of exhilaration I got when I jumped that fence with Epona just about beat out all the others.
I've spent a lot of time replaying this magical game, never tiring of Hyrule Field being revealed for the first time, or encountering Princess Zelda at the palace, or waking up seven years in the future and walking out into the wasteland that is Hyrule Castle Town.
Even now, with games like Breath of the Wild and Twilight Princess sitting on my shelf, I still return to Ocarina of Time over and over again to experience that nostalgia.
I also count one of the top moments of the game to be at the very end, where Zelda sends Link back to his childhood timeline, as this is where the infamous split occurs that spawns three separate timelines on which some of the other games follow. Confused? Me too. Just don't think about it too hard and you'll be fine.
Final Fantasy VII (1997) - The Death of Aeris Gainsborough
I'm not going to lie - this one still hurts.
The death of Aeris was a huge shock back in 1997, as killing off a lead character simply wasn't done. Breaking away from the normal clichés and putting this moment in the game was a bold move, but a very effective one. All the way through the Ancient City you know something big is coming. When the moment hits and then you're finally released from Sephiroth's control you think it's over, you're safe. Aeris is safe.
From out of nowhere the Big Bad drops down and impales her on his ridiculous sword, smirking and going on about his plans for Reunion and blah blah blah. Don't want to hear it Seph. You just murdered Aeris and my heart is in actual pieces.
Of all the games on this list, this is the most memorable moment for me - as it taught me that no-one was safe.
90s Gaming Moments - What Do You Think?
So what do you think of my top 90s gaming moments? Do you agree? Have you got one to share yourself? Don't forget to post it on Instagram and tag us @sneakerjagers / #SJ90sGaming!
Also check out our 90s challenge where you could win a pair of the Air Jordan 6 Retro 'Carmine' yourself!