It was the year that William Jefferson Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States; Czechoslovakia ceased to be a unified country in the Velvet Divorce; Jean Chrétien became the 20th Prime Minister of Canada with a massive majority; the Dallas Cowboys became the NFL champions in Super Bowl XXVII; Boris Yeltsin faced down an uprising in Russia; and the underdog Montreal Canadiens defeated the Wayne Gretzky led Los Angeles Kings to win the Stanley Cup. It was also the year that id Software released one of the greatest PC games of all time: DOOM. That year, of course, was 1993.
Computer games really started to hit their stride in the 90’s, and many of today’s game franchises have their roots in some classic games from this period. The year 1993 had a bumper crop of excellent games, and it was hard to come up with a list that didn’t exclude some personal favorites. Even their order placement was difficult! If you disagree with the list – comment below!
1. DOOM, id Software. Outstanding graphics, amazing sound effects and brilliant gameplay combined to make this game a runaway success, and made its creators icons in the gaming industry. Add to that id Software’s ingenious shareware marketing strategy, and this game is easily the best game of 1993.
2. MASTER OF ORION, MicroProse Software. This strategy game set the gaming world on fire with deep gameplay. It spawned several sequels and imitators, and cemented MicroProse’s reputation as a strategy game software giant. If DOOM hadn’t been released that same year, M.O.O. would have been #1 on this list.
3. SIMCITY 2000, Maxis Software. Will Wright scored a huge hit with the successor to his original hit, SimCity. The isolinear graphics and fun gameplay make this game a joy to play, even after all these years!
4. RETURN TO ZORK, Activision, Inc. & Infocom. “Want some rye? ‘Course you do!” This eagerly awaited sequel to the Zork franchise did not disappoint. Filled with Zorkesque humor and puzzle-based adventuring, this game is still a must-play for gamers.
5. MANIAC MANSION: DAY OF THE TENTACLE, LucasArts Entertainment. More crazy humor from the creators of Maniac Mansion, as the players raced throughout time to stop Dr. Fred’s creation, Purple Tentacle, from ruling the world. With a premise like that, how could gamers go wrong?
6. THE 7th GUEST, Trilobyte & Virgin Interactive. CD technology was just coming to the mass market, and gamers really had no reason to upgrade – until the release of this game, that is. The puzzles were fun, but the story was gruesomely entertaining. A real hallmark of the CD Age.
7. SAM & MAX HIT THE ROAD, LucasArts Entertainment. True to its comic roots, this adventure game was bizarre, light-hearted and completely fun. Gamers enjoyed seeing just what crazy actions they could make Sam & Max do – and what happened when they did it!
8. GABRIEL KNIGHT: SINS OF THE FATHERS, Sierra On-Line. What happens when you hire a novelist to design an adventure game for you? An award-winning gaming experience, that’s what! Jane Jensen created a world of horror and suspense, as players searched through the dark underbelly of New Orleans and delved into zombie folklore in their quest to solve the mystery.
9. WING COMMANDER: PRIVATEER, Origin Systems, Inc. Although this game is set in the heroic Wing Commander universe, players chose to be a merchant, a pirate, or a mercenary, plying the space lanes looking for a quick profit. Of course, waking up an ancient evil can put a huge damper on your profit margin and leads to all sorts of distractions. Better not – whoops, well you’re in for it now!
10. PIRATES GOLD, MicroProse Software. Pirates, ship-to-ship action, booty, Sid Meier…what’s not to like? This was the “sequel” to Sid Meier’s Pirates!, with a blend of action, strategy, and adventure that was as interesting to play then as it is today. How can anyone resist the call to be a buccaneer from the 17th Century? (If you can, turn in your gamer card – it’s all over.)