What A Gamer's Holiday Guide Looked Like In 1995


As it stands, 2015 has been a pretty incredible year for video games. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Undertale, Fallout 4, Splatoon … the list goes on and on. Gaming fans have a lot to look forward to this holiday season when they receive gifts. Then again, folks have had tons of video game-related goodness to unwrap around this time of year for decades now. Twenty years ago, for example, it was arguably an even better Christmas.

In December 1995, there was a good chance that kids (and adults, let’s be real here) celebrating Christmas had at least one new console under the tree. If your parents actually loved you, there was a PlayStation waiting under there with something like Twisted Metal or Ridge Racer, to boot.

Sony’s first foray into the console wars would have been pretty new, however, as it had only dropped in North America that September. As usual, launch games were a mixed bag.

On the other hand, there might have been a Sega Saturn sitting there instead. The console shocked folks with a surprise North American release in May 1995 — several months before expected — and would have at the time been in relatively high demand for those in the know.

It’d ultimately go on to be a commercial failure, but it’s hard to imagine that there weren’t some folks at least tentatively interested in the likes of Panzer Dragoon and Virtua Fighter. (Those stuck with a Genesis would have likely grabbed up Comix Zone.)

The most likely Christmas gift of 1995? Well, considering that not everyone has the money to just up and splurge on a new console, folks were almost certainly getting loads of SNES carts that would go on to be considered some of the best to ever hit the system. Can you even imagine waking up on Dec. 25, 1995, to both EarthBound and Chrono Trigger? It hurts my heart to even think about. That’s not even considering Mega Man 7 or Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island in the mix.

But of all the possible gifts to have been given to those who game, 1995 was perhaps most kind to those with access to a Mac or PC. Home computers weren’t exactly cheap, but any number of folks had at least one available to them — or knew a friend whose family had one. Whatever the case, there were in for just … so much.

If they liked LucasArts offerings, both Full Throttle and The Dig came out in 1995. One or the other would have been an acceptable Christmas present here in 2015, let alone back when they first released. There was also Phantasmagoria, which would have probably been one of those gifts that parents would maybe consider returning after seeing its content. But then Command & Conquer! And Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom! And I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream!

You know what? 1995 was actually a disgustingly good year for video games. I’d trade this year’s releases for 1995’s set. Then again, what will people think of 2015’s offerings in 2035? It’s hard to even wrap my head around the idea of it. Maybe Super Mario Maker will be the real MVP in hindsight.

Photo: hermanturnip | Flickr

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