Video Game Design Between 1990 – 2008

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December 12, 2008

Remembering the good all days, when me and my friends were playing Doom, Mortal Kombat, Quake or War Craft on a Pentium 133 MHz computer with Sound Blaster and a 4MB video card. A lot has changed since then.

Video games actually are a lot older than that we used to play in the 90s. The first video game was created in 1947 called Tennis for two and it was played on an oscilloscope like device.

With the release of Apple II, Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum in late 70s early 80s people could afford to buy such devices and to play video games from their own home. By the mid 80s the video game industry started to evolve at a fast pace releasing games such as Zork, Battlezone and Bard’s Tale.

First Video Game

The 1990s became the golden age of computer video games and gave birth to a large number of game developers and publishers such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Blizzard and id Software

From design and graphics point of view, video games greatly evolved and continue to do so. Writing about 90s computer games in 2008 is somewhat nostalgic and in the same time it’s funny, because what can you expect from a 16 bit graphic display and a 100 MHz machine, but remembering that in those days these configs were king just as 3,6 GHz and Nvidia GeForce 9400 nowdays.

So, let’s look at how the graphics and design evolved starting from 1990.


  • Nintendo releases Super Famicom 16 bit console
  • Creative Labs introduces Soundblaster Pro

Wing Commander

Wing Commander 1990
Source: mobygames​.com

Super Mario World

Source: mobygames​.com

Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy 3
Source: mobygames​.com

Commander Keen

Commander Keen 1990
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Graphic accelerator cards are born
  • id Software is founded
  • Tim Berners-Lee introduces the World Wide Web
  • Intel sells 486SX processors


Civilization 1991
Source: mobygames​.com

Road Rash

Road Rash 1991
Source: mobygames​.com

The Legend of Zelda

Source: mobygames​.com

Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights 1991
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Microsoft releases Windows 3.1

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat 1992
Source: mobygames​.com

Wolfenstein 3D

Wolfenstein 3d 1992
Source: mobygames​.com

Dune II

Dune 2 1992
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Microsoft releases Windows NT and MS-DOS 6
  • Intel Pentium 60 MHz processor is released

Sim City 2000

Sim City 2000
Source: markhell​.wordpress​.com/​2008/02


Doom 1993
Source: mobygames​.com

Virtua Fighter

Source: Wikipedia

Master of Orion

Master of Orion 1993
Source: warpcore​.org


  • Commodore computers files for bankruptcy
  • 3DFX is founded (company known for it’s Voodoo video cards)
  • First Sony Playstation is introduced


Heretic 1994
Source: http://​www​.happypenguin​.org/


Source: mobygames​.com


Tekken 1994
Source: mobygames​.com


  • The first E3 is held in Las Vegas
  • Microsoft Windows 95 is released
  • DirectX 1.0 is introduced by Microsoft
  • ATX motherboards are born

Warcraft II

Warcraft 2 1995
Source: immortal​machines​.com

The Need For Speed

The Need for Speed 1995
Source: mobygames​.com

Command and Conquer

Command and Conquer 1995
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Intel released 200 MHz Pentium
  • DirectX 2.0 is released
  • Nintendo releases the first true 64 bit game console


Quake 1996
Source: www​.geocities​.com/​a​d​e​l​_​b​b​a​l​l​/​f​u​n​.html

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3d 1996
Source: mobygames​.com


Max 1996
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Wi-Fi is released
  • DirectX 5.0 is released
  • Intel introduces MMX chips
  • First DVDs are sold
  • Intel 233 MHz processor is introduced

Grand Theft Auto
Gta 1997
Source: mobygames​.com

Total Annihilation

Source: mobygames​.com

Age of Empires

Age of Empires 1999
Source: gamegoldies​.org

Final Fantasy VII

Source: TeamTeaBag

Quake 2

Quake 2 1997
Source: midwesternbias​.blogspot​.com


Diablo 1997
Source: chello​.at/​t​h​e​o​d​o​r​.​l​a​u​ppert


  • Intel releases Celeron processors
  • AMD 3DNow! is born
  • Rockstar Games is founded

Half Life

Half Life 1998
Source: mobygames​.com

Starcraft with Broodwar expansion

Source: mobygames​.com

Microsoft Flight Simulator 98

Source: mobygames​.com


Starcraft 1998
Source: thezeal​.com


Unreal 1998
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Sega Dreamcast is released
  • Pentium III 500 MHz is introduced
  • nVidia introduces the GPU (Graphics Processor Unit)


Everquest 1999
Source: flatrock​.org​.nz

Heroes of Might and Magic III

Homm 3 1999
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Sony Playstation 2 is released with better graphics capability than a PC

The Sims

The Sims 2000
Source: thesims​.eagames​.nl/

Counter Strike

Counter Strike 2000
Source: ob81​.com

Colin McRae Rally 2

Colin Mcrae Rally 2 2000
Source: mobygames​.com

Grand Theft Auto 2

Gta 2 2000
Source: ugo​.com


  • Microsoft enters the game consoles market with it’s XBox console

Max Payne

Max Payne 2001
Source: mobygames​.com

Grand Theft Auto 3

Gta 3 2001
Source: compactiongames​.about​.com

Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2001
Source: softpedia​.com


Halo 2001
Source: mobygames​.com

Empire Earth

Empire Earth 2001
Source: gamesurge​.com



Mafia 2002
Source: the​-nextlevel​.com

Diablo II Lord of destruction

Diablo 2 2000
Source: freegamesclub​.blogspot​.com

Warcraft 3

Warcraft 3 2003
Source: ogre3d​.org

Neverwinter Nights

Source: mobygames​.com

Splinter Cell

Source: Wikipedia

Dungeon Siege

Dungeon Siege 2002
Source: gameogre​.com

Battlefield 1942

Battlefield 1942 2002
Source: juegaenred​.com

Baldur’s Gate — Dark Alliance

Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance 2002
Source: filefront​.com


  • Nokia introduces the first console /​mobile phone hybrid,the N‑Gage series
  • Sony Playstation Portable is developed

Call of Duty

Source: Wikipedia

Tony Hawk’s Underground

Tony Hawk Underground 2003
Source: g4tv​.com

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia 2003
Source: mobygames​.com

Max Payne 2

Max Payne 2 2003
Source: thierrygagnon​.com

Rise of Nations

Rise of Nations 2003
Source: compactiongames​.about​.com


  • Acclaim declared bankruptcy

Doom 3

Doom 3 2004
Source: flickr​.com

World of Warcraft

Source: mobygames​.com

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Gta san Andreas 2004
Source: flickr​.com

Far Cry

Far cry 2004
Source: flickr​.com

Half Life 2

Half Life 2 2004
Source: flickr​.com

Halo 2

Halo 2 2004
Source: computergames​.ro


  • XBox 360 is released
  • Sony Playstation Portable is released

Medal of Honor — European Assault

Medal of Honor 2005
Source: mobygames​.com


Fear 2005
Source: flickr​.com

Age of Empires 3

Age of Empires 3 2005
Source: flickr​.com

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero 2005
Source: mobygames​.com

Need for Speed Most Wanted

Nfs Most Wanted 2005
Source: flickr​.com


The Godfather

The Godfather 2006
Source: mobygames​.com

Gears of War — 2006 (on XBOX), 2007 (On Windows)

Source: mobygames​.com

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Source: Wikipedia

Elder Scrolls IV — Oblivion

Source: IGN

Hitman Blood Money

Hitman Blood Money 2006
Source: mobygames​.com


Prey 2006
Source: steamreview​.org

Heroes of Might and Magic V

Homm 5 2006
Source: www​.gameogre​.com

Titan Quest

Titan Quest 2006
Source: gaming​.hexus​.net


  • Blizzard announces Starcraft II
  • 3D Realms released teaser trailer for Duke Nukem Forever

Halo 3

Halo 3 2007
Source: flickr​.com

Super Mario Galaxy

Source: Wikipedia


Source: flickr​.com

Call of Duty IV — Modern Warfare

Source: Wikipedia

Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3 2007
Source: flickr​.com


Fifa 08 2007
Source: computergames​.ro

The Witcher

Source: flickr​.com

Guitar Hero 3

Guitar Hero 3 2007
Source: mobygames​.com


  • Blizzard announces Diablo III

Grand Theft Auto IV

Gta 4 2008
Source: flickr​.com

Prince of Persia

Source: Diversion Projects

Metal Gear Solid 4

Metal Gear Solid 4 2008
Source: flickr​.com

Shaun White Snowboarding

Source: IGN

Command and Conquer 3 Kane’s Wrath

Command and Conquer 3 2008
Source: filefront​.com

Madden NFL 09

Madden nfl 09 2008
Source: easports​.com

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 2008
Source: theforumsite​.com

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Source: Wikipedia


  • Upcoming releases for the next year

F.E.A.R. 2
Source: IGN

Alan Wake

Source: IGN

Starcraft 2 Terrans: Wings of Liberty

Source: IGN

Diablo 3

Source: IGN

Written exclusively for WDD by Gyorgy Fekete

Which one is your favorite game? Share your favorites with us and let us what you think of this list!

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there’s something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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