All the Games From 1991 You Should Still Be Playing

Collage of games released in 1991.

All the Games From 1991 You Should Still Be Playing

1991 was another phenomenal year for Nintendo. The Game Boy was the best-selling game system for the second year. The game industry was booming with a series of groundbreaking releases. March had the release of Neverwinter Nights, the first graphical MMORPG. August saw the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System aka the SNES. In December, Sega released the Mega-CD. The year was a great year for gaming consoles and gaming releases alike. Here are all the games from 1991 that you should still be playing today.

Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog cover art

©Sonic the Hedgehog cover.

Everyone’s favorite hedgehog got his start in North America on June 23. Sonic The Hedgehog defined 1991 as the best-selling console game AND the most popular video rental of the time. Sonic is a game that needs no introduction. The first game in the franchise is a 2D side-scrolling platformer that spawned many more. The gameplay centers on Sonic the Hedgehog and his ability to run at high speed through levels. These levels include springs, slopes, bottomless pits, vertical loops, and everything you’d expect from a Sonic title. This game seems to get better with age. It’s one of the few older titles that is very accessible. Every gamer should give it a shot.


©splatterhouse start screen

Originally an arcade game from 1988, Splatterhouse arrived on home consoles in 1991 for the TurboGrafx-16 console. The game is a sidescrolling beat ’em-up with platformer elements. You play as Rick, a college student trapped inside a Mansion. The game pulls from horror films of the time and fans of that style love this game for it. The game received positive reviews upon release and was praised for its graphics. Nostalgia plays a big part in this game, so if you’re looking for something to scratch that 1980s horror itch this game is for you.

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 screenshot
The Tanooki suit is a very recognizable new addition from this game.

©Screenshot from Super Mario Bros. 3 – License

Super Mario Bros. 3 was released for home consoles on three different occasions. It was released in Japan in 1988, in North America in 1990, and finally in Europe in 1991. The game still received a Game of the Year award for 1991. Like other games in the series, Super Mario Bros 3 is a sidescrolling platformer where you can play as Mario or Luigi. While this game has a lot of similarities with the ones that came before it this game introduced many new elements. It even introduced the Tanooki Suit, a Mario game staple.


©game screenshot

If you’re looking for a more niche title then look no further. Lemmings is a puzzle-strategy game that was released on the Amiga in 1991. The objective of the game is to guide a group of anthropomorphized lemmings through several obstacles to a designated exit. This title was one of the best video games of the 1990s and went on to inspire many series afterward. Some people even consider this title the second-best Amiga game ever.

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV concept art

©Final Fantasy concept art

Final Fantasy IV is the foundation of modern Final Fantasy. It introduced the Active Time Battle, which was used in the next five Final Fantasy titles. The tropes established in this title went on to inspire JRPGs as a whole. The game’s story follows Cecil, a dark knight, as he tries to prevent the sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying the world. As time goes on, gamers tend to look back on this game as one of the best games of all time. It also appeared in various rankings for Best Games of All Time for Electronic Gaming Monthly in 2001 and 2006, Game Informer in 2001 and 2009, GameSpot in 2005, and GameFAQs in 2005, 2009, and 2014.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

©Street Fighter II: The World Warrior game play screenshot

This game is Capcom’s best-selling title. Fighting games would not be the same without Street Fighter, especially Street Fighter 2. Like most fighting games of the era, it’s a traditional 2D fighter that builds on the foundations of its predecessor. Where Street Fighter 2 differs is its ability to select multiple playable characters and by pioneering combos. What once originated as a bug is now an integral part of fighting games and it makes one wonder where the genre would be without it. If you’re a fan of fighting games or of retro games in general, this game is a must-play.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time

Opening Cutscene of TMNT IV: Turtles in Time

©Opening Cutscene of TMNT IV: Turtles in Time – License

A sequel to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game and based on the 1987 TMNT animated series, this game is still great to this day. I remember spending many hours playing this game with my friends and family. The game has a specific charm to it that is present in a lot of SNES releases. Like its predecessor, Turtles in Time was available for the arcades in two and four-player versions. The game is Konami’s best-selling arcade title and the SNES version went on to be the top-selling SNES game in September of the following year. This title is very accessible today and I recommend everyone to get some friends together and give this game a whirl.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past gameplay

©The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past screenshot

A Link to the Past is one of the pivotal titles for the Legend of Zelda franchise. It seems as if every game on this list is seen as one of the greatest games of all time but few of them are uncontested. Most gamers and game critics agree that A Link to the Past is one of the best games of all time. A Link to the Past puts the player in control of its protagonist, Link, and is viewed and controlled from an overhead perspective, much like the original The Legend of Zelda. It was the best-selling 1991 release and has inspired many indie games to follow in its footsteps. This is a game that has earned all of the praise it gets and will continue to be a staple in gaming history as time goes on.

The Simpsons

Screenshot from The Simpsons (arcade game).

© Screenshot from The Simpsons (arcade game). – License

The Simpsons is no stranger to good games but the string of great releases had to start somewhere. This title was an arcade beat ’em up that was ported over to consoles as time went on. The gameplay is similar to other side-scrolling beat ’em ups. If you’re a fan of modern beat ’em up games then you’ll be right at home with The Simpsons. Players can control one of 4 characters each with their distinctive attack styles. Homer punches and kicks, Marge swings a vacuum cleaner, Bart wields a skateboard, and Lisa attacks with a jump rope. Today, The Simpsons is cemented as one of the most popular intellectual properties of modern times and if you’re a fan of the TV series you’ll love the games.


©F-Zero game play screenshot

Nintendo’s futuristic racing game has seemingly fizzled out over the last few decades but it isn’t because of the game’s quality. This title was always going to have a small niche audience, especially with the popularity of the Mario Kart series. Fans of this game and critics alike praise this game for its graphical realism and its fast gameplay when compared to other racers of the time. The title is also known for its phenomenal soundtrack. The game has players compete in a high-speed racing tournament. There are four F-Zero characters you can choose from. Each character has their own hovercar and unique performance abilities. There really hasn’t been another racing game to scratch that F-Zero itch and even today people should give this game a shot.

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