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13 Things Every '90s Gamer Will Instantly Relate To

Updated September 28, 2017 1.8k votes 261 voters 5.9k views13 items

List RulesVote up the best '90s gaming tropes that are no longer around.

Being a '90s gamer is something special; a real badge of gaming honor. If you played any of the best classic video games in the '90s, you were essentially a pioneer alongside companies like Nintendo and Sega, journeying across new frontiers of entertainment. You saw the insane growth of an industry so big that it surpassed film as the most lucrative entertainment form. So if you were unboxing a brand new Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in the day, congrats: you're part of the cool kids club.

It's not all about gaming street cred, though. The reality is, many aspects of gaming were just objectively superior back in the good old days. Gaming in the '90s was a time before the over-simplification of video games, a time when you could game on the couch with your best friend, and a time before companies decided gouge you with seedy DLC tactics. Take a look at the list below and vote up the things you miss about the '90s gaming scene.

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  • 5

    Way Fewer Checkpoints

    Photo: SEGA

    The only thing more unbearable than '90s games' penchant for extreme difficulty was their punishing checkpoint systems, which more often than not didn't exist. Not only were save points far and few in-between when making actual in-level progress, but saving your games between play sessions was virtually unheard of, meaning if you didn't beat a game with a near-flawless run in one sitdown, it was unlikely you'd ever see the final boss battle. A rewarding experience? For sure. An incredibly frustrating one? Indubitably. 

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  • 6

    Getting The Complete Game At Launch

    Photo: Imgur

    No DLC, no season passes, none of that bullsh*t. The '90s were a simpler time, one without the Internet and therefore without modern gaming's "we'll fix it later" mentality. Before the ability to patch games post-release came along and enabled a level of corporate greed the world had yet to meet, games were sold as a complete, fully functional product. 

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  • 7

    The Insane Difficulty Of The Games

    Photo: Rare

    If there's one thing that can be unanimously stated about games from the '90s, it's how freaking difficult they were. The industry don't make 'em like Battletoads anymore, where grizzly, grueling difficulty awaited at every turn, and more often than not, the cost of failure was complete erasure of all progress made thus far.

    This stemmed from the fact that most '90s games employed a lives system, meaning you only got a finite amount of chances to best an especially difficult boss before you were kicked out of the fight altogether. Pixel-perfect jumps, impossibly precise attacks, and insane amounts of hand-eye coordination were a gamer's only hope for survival back in the day. 

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  • 8

    Fighting Over Who Has To Be Player 2

    Photo: SEGA

    Player 2 meant different things to different people, depending on what games they played back in the '90s. For example, if you were playing Sonic 2, being Player 2 was both a blessing and a curse, as you had infinite lives but would die anytime Player 1 ran you off the screen. Functionality trade-offs like this were a common technical aspect of game design back in the day, prompting big fights amongst brothers, sisters, friends, and partners over who would assume the coveted or loathed role, depending on your point of view.

    Many preferred to be Player 1, as being in the spotlight and having control over the menu options was equated to being a boss. It was an interesting meta-game to '90s video game hangouts, undoubtedly. 

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