While the 1970s were important for the invention of video games and important modern blockbusters like Star Wars, and the 1980s were significant for establishing gaming as a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Nintendo, the 1990s were when things got really interesting across pop culture. Throughout the decade we saw the foundations laid for many of the conventions we take for granted today, and the building blocks of modern 3D gaming, blockbuster movies, and binge-worthy television were established and refined.
Over the next week, we’ll have stories and videos every day that explore all of this. Not only did we get the PlayStation, SNES, Super Mario 64, Resident Evil, Half-Life, Quake, and Pokémon in the 90s, but we also got The X-Files, the best seasons of The Simpsons, Friends, Buffy, and Twin Peaks. On top of that, some of the most significant movies of a generation hit in this decade, including The Matrix, Toy Story, Jurassic Park, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Seven, and Terminator 2.
There were some hugely significant advances in console hardware throughout the 90s, and we’ll be focusing on two in particular. Early in the week, we’ll be speaking with the team behind Sega’s beloved Dreamcast, which helped usher in the age of online-connected game consoles, and digging into how its short (but incredibly influential) life was ultimately responsible for ending Sega’s reign as a console superpower. Then, on Friday, we’ll be speaking with members of the original PlayStation team as they tell their behind-the-scenes stories about all the drama around the creation of Sony’s gaming business in the lead-up to the console’s Japanese release in 1994 and U.S. launch the following September.
IGN itself didn’t launch until 1996, so we have some gaps in our coverage from the period that we intend to fill in this week. Of particular note: On Friday’s episode of Game Scoop we’ll be going back and picking a game of the year for each year of the 90s. What do you think was the best game of 1990? Or for that matter, given it was such an epic decade with so many must-play games, what was the best game of the 90s?
Given the decade was so rich with releases across all facets of popular culture, we’ll only be able to touch on some of the big events in the coming week – but our goal is to revisit the decade each year and explore more topics that helped shape the current entertainment landscape. Much of the content this coming week is focused on games, but we’re also touching on movies, TV, and comic books. In future 90s Weeks we’ll be able to dig much deeper into these other areas.
There’ll be new content every day this week. Here’s the schedule of some of the biggest things…
John Davison is IGN’s publisher and editorial lead, and has been writing about games and entertainment for more than 30 years, so he was there for all this 90s stuff. Follow him on Twitter.