J’s Top 10 PC Games of the 90s – Part 1

Posted in pc game by Jerall on 5 March 2009

I have a fetish for top ten lists. Today, I take a walk down memory lane and present my 10 favourite PC games of the 90s.

10: Jones in the Fast Lane


Jones in the Fast Lane taught me everything I needed to know about life (except for that icky, girlie relationship stuff, which obviously isn’t critical to self-actualization, because it’s not in the game). Jones in the Fast Lane is a life simulation game and was released by Sierra back in 1991.

At the beginning of the game, the players (up to 4) had to set goals to achieve with regard to career, wealth, education and happiness (which was achieved through the buying of material goods and goofing off). Players took turns (one in-game week) trying to reach their goals through job hunting, grocery shopping, investing on the stock market, surviving economic meltdowns, getting mugged, grocery shopping, buying a hot tub and getting your salary garnished for late rent payments.

And, best of all, the game is available to play online here.

9: X-COM: Terror from the Deep


Other X-COM fans out there are probably cringing at the very idea that somebody would rank the crude sequel rather than original UFO: Enemy Unknown on their top ten list, but it was through this game that I was introduced to creepy atmospheric isometric turn-based strategy series of complete and utter awesome.

In this game, you play the leader of an elite, multi-national military organization tasked with defending our planet from hostile extraterrestrials. In Terror from the Deep, the aliens are amphibious and launch their attacks from our oceans. It’s up to you to use our pitiful earth technology to defend the planet, capture alien technology, research it and turn it against the aliens and eventually take the fight to them.

Currently, there’s an open source project running, which is developing a clone of the original X-COM games using the Quake 2 engine. Check it out here.

8. Myth: The Fallen Lords


Myth changed how I thought of strategy games. Myth was completely different from the other strategy games of the time. There was no laborious resource collecting/base building; the 3D terrain and exploiting it well really mattered; weather mattered (rain put out fires, for example); the game used near-real physics (most visible with projectiles); and, best of all, the corpses of fallen units and the blood and gore of battle permanently stained the battlefield, making Myth one of the grittiest games I have ever played.

In the single player mode, you were given a set starting group of units used to battle vast, numerically superior undead and monstrous forces. With clever tactics, good use of terrain and knowledge of one’s units’ strengths and weaknesses, a player could defeat large hordes of foes with much smaller groups. Myth is the survival horror game of the strategy genre.

7: MDK


Earthworm Jim made me like David Perry. MDK caused a boy crush. In this third-person-shooter, you take on the role of Kurt Hectic as you try to save the earth from giant alien strip-mining mine crawlers. At the beginning of every mission (except the final one), you are required to re-enter earth’s atmosphere, dodge the anti-air fire to get onto the minecrawlers. This blew my tiny mind.

This game is amazing and my poor vocabulary is insufficient to get the feelings of this game across. And it’s only number 7 on my list.

- jatori

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11 Responses

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  1. trashcondor said, on 5 March 2009 at 12:26 pm

    ADOM surely will hit your #1 placement :D

  2. the_blunderbuss said, on 5 March 2009 at 2:34 pm

    1- Haven’t played the X-Com games and from what I’ve seen they look like a blast.

    2- Myth! So that was what the game was called! I had a demo of this game eons ago and it blew my mind how different it was from say… Age of Empires. Archers could pretty much decimate your ranks if you were not careful.

    3- MDK! I remember this from my Playstation days! However it didn’t look so vivid and colorful… Hmm, must look up PC version!

    Looking forward to next entry.

  3. jatori said, on 5 March 2009 at 2:44 pm

    @ TC: Don’t give away the surprise!

    @ Fred: If you want a taste of X-COM, try UFO:AI (the open source game). The current stable version is very incomplete (many game features not yet implemented), but it will give you a good feel of the early games of the original series.

  4. [...] gaming: now with more punctuation « J’s Top 10 PC Games of the 90s – Part 1 J’s Top 10 PC Games of the 90s – Part 2 6 March 2009 Carrying on from part [...]

  5. rolery said, on 6 March 2009 at 7:36 am

    From these 4, I played Jones (a lot), MDK (very little) and Terror from the Deep, Myth not at all.

    For me (but my criteria for games have changed) Jones will be 1 on this list.

    Multiplayer on one PC is a social experience that even multiplayer on multiple PCs can’t do… Even though it’s turn based, and just 4 single player games running concurrently.

  6. jatori said, on 6 March 2009 at 8:52 am

    The differences between games from the early and late 90s are huge. My list is biased towards the late 90s (primarily because of my age), but you’ll see one or two more “hot seat” games of the early 90s in my list of honourary mentions.

  7. Frost said, on 6 March 2009 at 11:24 am

    Jones in the Fast Lane FTW!!!
    The rest I just don’t know about.
    Was probably busy playing Fallout…

  8. etufo said, on 10 March 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I’d like to mention the barrel of Jones, which you’d end up wearing if you don’t look after your clothing :P and the muggers between black’s market and the bank :s

    I knows all these games, wander why? But didn’t have the powa to finish xcom or myth, especially myth – why do my dwarfs insist on blowing off their limbs :\

  9. [...] 2000. I think it may have been the second game I ever bought that came on a CD (the first being X-Com: Terror from the Deep). However, it wasn’t until last year that I started investigating the option of incorporating [...]

  10. Jim Koford said, on 4 November 2011 at 2:27 pm

    myth the fallen lords remains one of my favorite games of all time across all platforms

    • jatori said, on 7 November 2011 at 7:06 pm

      I’d have to agree. It certainly had a strong influence on my future gaming tastes.

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