Editorial: Gaming in 1993

1993, the year when Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was born, and Jack in the Box suffered an E. coli outbreak. If there is one thing to be garnered by said year, it is that it was chock-full of surprises, one of the surprises being E. coli. Just know that when it comes to video games, the truth is out there. Meaning that under these words are more words pertaining to video games in 1993, and thankfully not more pop culture references.

The sex icon: Mr. Spot
The dot, the myth, the legend.

When it comes to hot new video game releases look no further than 1993, because it was filled with star-studded debuts including that of America’s favorite space marine: Doomguy! Doom launched in 1993 through shareware and mail order, and went on to be played by over 15 million people within two years of its release, thus paving the way for even more first-person shooters to be developed. Not to be outdone as the only cool game released in 1993 starting with a “d,” Day of the Tentacle was also released as a sequel to the hit game Maniac Mansion. DotD was received very well by critics and gamers alike due to its more linear approach to the point n’ click genre where gamers would not have to restart if they accidentally mis-clicked or made some sort of mistake with a puzzle. Although, this was not the only adventure game that LucasArts released in 1993, as Sam & Max Hit the Road…hit the road. The comic book duo made their way onto the medium-sized screen, and were loved ever since thanks to their quick wit and unique puzzle solutions. To close out the games released in 1993, one of the most iconic, primary-colored, platforming heroes also has to be mentioned. A hero who was not human, but still touched players hearts as if he was one. The hero in question is none other than the titular Cool Spot, who starred in the criminally-underrated game, Cool Spot. Mega Man X was also released in 1993.

Unless it was a very old and slightly crippled jaguar, then it would be much more accurate.
The system did not sell at Jaguar-fast speeds.

Next up are the consoles that were released in 1993 starting with the Atari Jaguar, the last console under the Atari name. Competing against 16-bit consoles such as the Sega Genesis and the SNES, the Jaguar marketed itself as being the only 64-bit console on the market. However, this increased performance came with the cost of a multi-chip architecture that made the Jaguar difficult to develop for, ultimately leading to a severe lack of third-party titles. At the end of its three year life cycle, the Atari Jaguar had failed to sell even a quarter of a million units, and has only lived on through homebrew titles for the console which continue to be developed thanks to the patents for the Jaguar being released to the public domain after Hasbro purchased Atari. On the flip side of the console coin, the 3DO consoles also made their mark in 1993, albeit a very confusing one as the 3DO was not a specific console but rather a set of guidelines for how many manufacturers made the console. All in all, seven different variants of the 3DO were made and none of them were particularly successful due to an overcrowding of the console market and the high price associated with the 3DO line. After this, the company 3DO decided to exit the home console industry and make games instead, and they subsequently went bankrupt in 2003 due to the quality of many of these games.

Every single person in that photo is named Michael, some with different pronunciations.
Time for the Croteam group shot!

Last are the new companies that emerged in the year 1993 and what they have offered the video game world since then. Croatian developer, Croteam first opened its doors in 1993 and is most commonly known for the games in the “Serious Sam” franchise, along with the critically-acclaimed puzzle game The Talos Principle, both of which are planned to have new entries in the near future. Take-Two also made their start as a video game publishing company in 1993 with their first published game being Rats! for the Game Boy Color, developed by Tarantula Studios, who later became Rockstar Lincoln and developed Grand Theft Auto 2. Though, nowadays Rockstar Lincoln is only responsible for quality assurance and localization, not much in the ways of making games. Take-Two on the other hand is only getting bigger and bigger with the very recent acquisition of Kerbal Space Program. Nvidia also emerged in April of 1993 with three co-founders and has now become a multi-billion dollar company with over 10,000 employees and a thirst for producing powerful gaming products. Shiny Entertainment, the now late and great studio, was known for creating the “Earthworm Jim” games and was later merged into Double Helix Studios which has for the most part laid dormant since being acquired by Amazon in 2014.

Did you learn something? Did you laugh, or cry? Are you filled with a sense of purpose knowing how amazing Cool Spot, the character for the game Cool Spot is? Whatever the case may be, make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!


  1. Adeki, you might have overlooked a game or two of some minor importance. I mean, yes you mentioned Cool Spot (again), but what about…I don’t know…Star Fox? Seems like an important game for the SNES in 1993. Then again, both Super Mario All-Stars and Secret of Mana came out in 1993 for the SNES. On the PC side a couple of little games called The 7th Guest and Myst were released in 1993. THERE ARE MORE.

  2. As Sebahamut points out, there is a shocking inattention to detail in this post. D-.

  3. Wasn’t there an ongoing fight in Congress regarding regulation of Video Games going on at this time too? Where certain people who just don’t like fun saw fit to try and regulate it or erase it entirely.

  4. @Sebahamut: Star Fox, just look deeper, Fortunato.

    @Korusi: From some searching I can not find much in regards to 1993 or the early nineties (unfortunately many of the stories that I found regarding regulation and video games were much more recent than anyone could hope), but the only story I did find was that Mortal Kombat ignited more controversy with its home video game console release in 1993. If I do find anything else about regulating video games in Congress in the 90’s, I will be more than happy to write about it! :D

  5. The court case was at the end of 1993, and it was against Mortal Kombat and Night Trap. Ultimately it led to the creation of the ESRB in 1994. (How odd, the same censorship organization that created the ESRB also controls what is the most media-packed video game convention in the West (E3)… Couldn’t possibly be a conflict of interest…)

    Anyway a couple stand out games for 1993:

    Gunstar Heroes (Genesis): Treasure’s first game and DAMN is it a fantastic first effort. Great multiplayer action and one of the Genesis’ best titles. It’s a blast going thru stages wiping out waves of enemies and at the end fighting a challenging boss that requires careful skill.
    Eternal Champions (Genesis): While the rest of the planet were losing their minds about how “violent” Mortal Kombat was, this game made Mortal Kombat look like Barney’s Hide and Seek. Eternal Champions’ finishing moves (particularly in the darker Sega CD version) took the fatalities of Mortal Kombat and made them much bloodier and gorier. If you haven’t seen them, you owe it to yourself to take a look.
    Star Fox (SNES): So I know people already talked about it, but I had to bring it up, being my favorite Nintendo franchise and one of my favorite SNES games. It was so revolutionary seeing a game entirely in 3D, and the requirements of the hardware made the game’s art style really creative…

    1993 also saw the release of 4 Sonic games on the same day (November 23) in a marketing stunt by Sega called “Sonic Mania Day”. (The TV advertisement is still on YouTube) It was the first time I remember being able to reserve copies of games, since back then it was unheard of. The titles included Sonic CD, Sonic Spinball, Sonic Chaos, and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Rumors floated around the playground back then, wondering whether or not the long awaited Sonic 3 would be appearing on that day as well… and one of my idiot friends trying to tell me Sonic CD was indeed the elusive “Sonic 3” we were waiting for. I stood in line just like a bunch of other kids with my parents waiting to pick up what would be my Christmas gifts that year (with a Sega CD to play the aforementioned Sonic CD), along with a 1-year subscription to Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series, a subscription I would keep for another 10 years. What a time to be alive…

  6. These failed consoles weren’t even a footnote to 1993 in gaming. 1993 was all about the home ports of Mortal kombat, even if that doesn’t seem significant in 2017.

    Secret of Mana was released, Aladdin was released, Super Mario Allstars was the first time we got to play the real Super Mario Bros 2, Daytona USA was released (which continues to be my favourite racing game ever). Then there’s Link’s Awakening, Doom, and as people have already mentioned Star Fox…

    … But the best you can do is a bunch of failed consoles that nobody even noticed at the time, and Cool Spot. Fuck Cool Spot.

  7. I forgot Daytona USA was 93. The first time I played that it was the awesome 8-player cabinet back in 95.

  8. @S.T.: I had no idea about Sonic Mania! That’s actually really interesting, and thanks for pointing out that the 1993 court case was the ESRB, I remember that all that stuff was happening in the early 90’s but didn’t realize that it was over by 93.

    @SiliconNooB: I speak for the games/consoles that continue to be ignored. Star Fox had his time to shine, it’s time for Cool Spot to take charge on the Atari Jaguar…or one of the 3DO consoles.

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