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It was the best of times. But which were the best of games?

This week the year 1996 made a bombastic comeback in the form of <span class="bold">STRAFE&reg;</span>, a roguelike/FPS celebrating the feel of classic shooters that came out around that time, powered by modern technology and a retrospective eye. But 1996 was not just about FPSs - in fact it gave us a whole bunch of unparalleled classics. Let's look back at some of the ones we were playing between watching new episodes of the X-Files and marvelling at GIFs of a 3D dancing baby.

Civilization II: Sid Meier's masterpiece series of turn-based strategies was hitting its stride, while shaping a whole sub-genre in its wake. Responsible for many a failed school project.

Duke Nukem 3D: Kick-ass FPS action doesn't get much better than that! In his prime, the Duke could take on anything the competition would throw at him and still keep his cool. Best played while chewing on bubblegum.

<span class="bold">Zork: Nemesis</span>: Before this quirky adventure game series fell out of the spotlight, Nemesis tried a shift towards a more brooding, mature tone which was met with suspicion but eventually won fans over thanks to its clever puzzles and high FMV production values.

Daggerfall: The Elder Scrolls properly rose to prominence with its follow-up, <span class="bold">Morrowind</span>, but Daggerfall's massive open world was the herald of the great things the series had in store for all RPG fans.

<span class="bold">Quake</span>: STRAFE's direct competitor that year, this frantic FPS swapped DOOM's futuristic setting for an oppressive gothic maze full of pixelated demons and trend-setting weapons that earned the genre a whole lot of new fans.

<span class="bold">Tex Murphy: The Pandora Directive</span>: One of the select few adventures to successfully challenge the popular opinion that FMV = trainwreck. The beloved gumshoe's fourth outing is still considered by most as the pinnacle of the series, offering amazing gameplay and a mature -albeit pulpy- story that still retained that charming goofiness Tex was known for.

<span class="bold">Master of Orion II</span>: It solidified the legend of its predecessor and made space 4X games a big thing. Celebrated for its addictive complexity and depth, MOO II oozed innovation and polish from every pore - the unmistakable markings of a true classic.

Diablo: It pretty much single-handedly spawned the genre of isometric action-RPGs with its randomized levels, criminally addictive clickety-click gameplay, and a dark lore which culminated into that unforgettable finale. Even after all these years, it's impossible not to stay a while and listen to the guitar theme on Tristram.

<span class="bold">Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars</span>: Adventure games were firing on all cylinders and Revolution's mystery point & click was a masterful blend of historical fiction, subtle comedy, and stunning cartoon graphics. The goat puzzle could have been less of a headache, though.

<span class="bold">Tomb Raider</span>: It was love at first sight. How couldn't it be? This was a bold 3D action/adventure with a sexy leading lady, beautiful locales, immersive exploration, and intense treasure-hunting - pretty much all our gaming fantasies rolled into one.

Did any 1996 game(s) manage to fulfill your fantasies? Which one do you have the fondest memories of?
Post edited May 16, 2017 by maladr0Id
jdvegmond: I loved Toonstruck and Discworld II. I'm still waiting for the latter to come to GOG.
Oh man, Toonstruck was the first point & click I ever completed! I was playing it parallel to Pandora Directive, but that game took me forever to finish.

Oh, and even though its visuals haven't aged as gracefully, I will always prefer Discworld: Noir over Missing Presumed..!? (or Mortality Bytes, depending on your location). Sold me into giving the Watch books a try, plus its manual had some pretty good jokes :)