Editorial: Gaming in 1995

1995 was a year in which the greatest evil known to man was finally defeated, only for it to be reborn into the world through Netflix. Yes, the popular sitcom “Full House” stopped airing in that magical year and then lied dormant for two beautiful decades only for it to be brought back as “Fuller House.” At least there were video games in order to keep “Full House” off of televisions, and 1995 was chock full of them.

Rayman dances through the pain everyday.
As Rayman danced, he had no way of knowing what the future had stored for him. The peaks, the valleys, the Rabbids.

When it comes to video games released in 1995, it is only fair to make the starting point the earliest released and boy was the protagonist of this game a star…literally. Ristar released in February of 1995 and went on to be re-released countless numbers of times only to never get a sequel despite the positive reception to the game. Just a month later, Panzer Dragoon was released on the Sega Saturn and while it also garnered positive reviews the success of the PlayStation made it hard for any Sega-exclusive games to receive high sales numbers even though Panzer Dragoon did lead to future installments in the franchise. After a mere twenty four hours, Chrono Trigger was released for the SNES and quickly became one of the most critically-acclaimed RPGS of its time. Contrasting the SNES’ more light-hearted games that came to America like Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, the Super Famicom had the terrifying title Clock Tower which followed the tales of Jennifer Simpson as she the supernatural Scissorman. The game was never officially released outside of Japan but it did prove to be very influential when it came to future horror games, especially those in the survival horror genre. Last on the list is the release of Rayman which was originally released on the Atari Jaguar and was quickly ported to the PlayStation along with every console imaginable over time. This led to a successful franchise of platformer games including Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Rayman Legends, and…Rayman Raving Rabbids. Yikes!

They inevitably sold the remaining units to Guantanamo Bay.
To think that this console was not a huge success.

Now onto the hardware of 1995 starting off with arguably the most popular console of the time, the Virtual Boy! Nintendo’s hallmark of innovation was released in mid-1995 in both Japan and America and was discontinued in both regions within a year due to the fact that people were unable to see its brilliance coupled with the fact that the few that did were unimpressed by the system’s games, high price, and the small hiccup that the system was effectively a headache machine. All jokes aside, the Sony PlayStation saw its meteoric rise in 1995 when it was finally released outside of Japan into the big blue orb known as the globe. After ten years of being on the market the PlayStation was eventually discontinued with over 100 million units sold and a successor that sold even better. On a less successful note, the Sega Saturn also released outside of Japan in 1995 only to sell a little over 9 million units in its lifetime. On the flip side, the NES ended its run in North America in 1995 with 34 million units sold in that region alone. It took another eight years for it to finally be discontinued in Japan where it sold another 19 million. At least the Sega Saturn did not stop Sega from releasing the Dreamcast, even if it did not end up doing well.

1995 was also a great year for interior design.
Look at all the screens!.

Time for the newly born companies of 1995 to close out this editorial, along with one very special event that has been annually recurring for years, including this one! Just 22 years ago BioWare first came into action and went on to release games like Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect. Nowadays, BioWare is more known for the catastrophe known as Mass Effect: Andromeda but hopefully the newly revealed Anthem can turn things around. 1995 also saw the formation of Remedy Entertainment in Finland, most commonly known for the first “Max Payne” games (before the franchise was taken over by Rockstar), and Alan Wake. On May 11th, 1995, the very first E3 conference was held in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Unsure of how well it would do at first, organizers were skeptical. But by the end of the convention it was evident that people were intrigued and the audience grew and grew over time. Today, E3 is seen as an annual event in which new games and consoles are debuted to the general public as it becomes more and more accessible each year.

So are you impressed by the way in which this series of editorials totally started on a specific week only for this editorial to come out in the midst of E3 while talking about the very first E3? Did you learn something new? Are you skeptical of the first question’s integrity and believe it to be more coincidence than careful thinking? Whatever the case may be make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!


  1. Crono Trigger absolutely wrecked every RPG that came before it (with the only possible exceptions being Final Fantasy III/VI and Earthbound). At that moment time, it felt like one of the most important video games ever made, and it still does in hindsight. Secret Of Evermore and Star Wars: Dark Forces were my other favorites of the year. Dark Forces was especially important for fans of the series of the series at the time, besides being a real advancement of the nascent FPS genre, although I’ve talked to millenial Star Wars fans who have never heard of it.

  2. Chrono Trigger was a shattering release. It came out relatively soon after Final Fantasy VI (released in NA only at the end of the previous year), and that felt like a 1-2 punch from SquareSoft. I had friends who had never touched an RPG neverthless picking up Chrono Trigger–not many, but a few. In fact, for some of them it remains the only JRPG they have ever played. In many ways, CT was presaging the enormous success that would come with the release of Final Fantasy VII, which broadened the audience of JRPGs even further without sacrificing any of the things that were integral to JRPG-ness.

    That said, I really disliked Chrono Trigger at the time, much as I did with Final Fantasy VII. I came around more quickly to the latter than the former, but my estimation of both continues to rise even now, more than two decades later. Every time I revisit CT or FF7, they seem better than before–more wisely made, more carefully crafted.

  3. I would argue that Chrono Trigger might still be in the running for one of the best RPGs of all time. (If not the best.) It’s not even my favorite game in the series but I can acknowledge how it took a chance and reinvented the JRPG formula. Of course like many great inventions the formula was lost and has yet to fully be realized though some recent attempts with I am Setsuna tried, we’ll have to wait and see if the second attempt out of Lost Sphere succeeds.

  4. Well, Final Fantasy VII is the greatest game of all time, even if I enjoy playing Chrono Trigger a little more. It took years before I totally recognized it, but CT is layed out and flows perfectly. FFVII isn’t as good in that sense, but is significantly deeper and more meaningful. It is interesting to see given more time and experience exactly why those games were as extraordinary as they were.

    Does anyone else like Secret Of Evermore?

  5. @DM First of all I can point out like 9 objective ways why you are wrong about that… but I think I’d rather talk about Secret of Evermore.

    Secret of Evermore actually improved on some key aspects of Secret of Mana. It did however remove much of the complexity of Secret of Mana. In fact the entire game was designed in such a way that it was easily digestible by younger children. Overall it was a pretty good game. I just wouldn’t tell anyone to play it if they want a compelling or interesting story. It’s no Melville. Lastly it removed the Multiplayer support available in Secret of Mana… then again have you ever played Secret of Mana Multiplayer? It’s like herding cats!

    So did I like Secret of Evermore? Yes.
    Would I utter it in the same space as Final Fantasy 6 or Chrono Trigger? Only to say that it’s nothing like those games and you should probably play them instead.

  6. SMFH – Clock Tower didn’t release on the Playstation until 1997, Adeki!

  7. Video gaming already has its Citizen Kane – it is known as Chrono Trigger.

    Hipster journo hacks keep trying to equate the ‘Citizen Kane of gaming’ label to games with bloated narratives, but that is a sore abuse of the term. Citizen Kane wasn’t such an important film due to its script and acting alone; but rather because its use of the film genre was flawlessly executed. Chrono Trigger was flawlessly executed. Its pacing, structure, content volume X game length, difficulty balance, story, music, and graphics all combine to create an experience which makes perfect use of the gaming medium in the same way that Citizen Kane makes perfect use of the film medium.

    There are a bunch of games that I enjoy more than Chrono Trigger on account of them having a grander scale, with more in-depth stories etc – but none of those games can claim to be flawlessly executed in the same way as Chrono Trigger was flawlessly executed.

  8. @SN That’s what I was saying about CT.

    I actually will possibly always say Chrono Cross is my favorite game but I acknowledge that Chrono Trigger is objectively a better game personal feelings aside.

  9. @Dancing Matt: I still have yet to play Final Fantasy. >.> I don’t know why I’m still allowed here either.

    @SiliconNoob: You’re 100% right, I’ll edit the post accordingly, in 1995 it was just out for the Super Famicom, now I look like even more of a dolt. I also agree with the Citizen Kane analogy too, there are a bunch of games that I recognize are the best in certain categories but at the same time I have my own personal games that I enjoy more even though I recognize they are not to a certain degree as others are.

  10. “Adeki dons his space suit and decides to take a trip to the planet of Saturn only to find relative disappointment. Should Adeki have gone to the planet of PlayStation instead?”

    In late 1994, I remember seeing the features for the Saturn and the PlayStation in Next Generation Magazine. While the PlayStation was interesting (especially when seeing its controller), in my mind, there was no way that Sony could hope to dream to get past Sega. “Sega’s been making video games for years!” “There’s no way Sony could match Sega on quality!” “The Saturn is going to be the ultimate ARCADE console!” That last bit was what I would tell people on the playground when they started on about PlayStation. Looking back, we definitely can see what console won in the long run, but I would be remiss to not mention some facts about the Saturn and my experiences with it.

    First off, the Saturn, in the years 1994-1997, outsold the PlayStation in Japan. The big boon to the PlayStation in that region was Final Fantasy VII, while at the same time, the PlayStation’s library began to fill out with a number of arcade ports of fighters like Tekken and Street Fighter Alpha. Second, while the Saturn may have failed in the US and Europe, the system was successful in Japan, even having games released for it into 2000, well after the Dreamcast launch. Since arcades where still large in Japan (particularly Virtua Fighter) the Saturn was the console of choice for the country’s hardcore players during its lifetime. You can see this is in the quality of the arcade ports of games released on both platforms. Generally the Saturn version was the closer to the arcade original. Street Fighter Alpha 2’s superior Saturn port ran almost arcade-perfect, while the PS1 version suffered from framerate issues in comparison. The Saturn may not have been a 3D juggernaut, but in the form of 2D, there was no contest.

    Looking back, I feel like I made the right choice back then in ‘95, and while the system suffered in the West, the games we did get were amazing. It really comes down to personal preference. If you were a fan of arcade games (particularly shoot-em-ups & fighters, among others) the Saturn is the console of choice. If you weren’t, you were better off with the PlayStation or N64.

  11. The Sega Saturn was the best arcade console of that generation, and the Dreamcast was even better in that regard – but this was at a time when the arcade was dying.

  12. @SN True. Very sad, but very true. Both are still excellent machines that I would recommend any gamer give a try, they both offer specific high-polish experiences that are much different from the majority of the modern day industry’s wares.

  13. @S.T.: From what I’ve seen, realizing that I wasn’t there in context, I guess to me it just seemed like getting a Sega Saturn when compared to the PlayStation and N64 would have been seen as the less popular move. Reading about it does offer me the knowledge that it was powerful to an extent, and there were some great games on it even their mascot’s title game wasn’t released, but I think that my pre-existing knowledge of how it panned out did lead to a bias on my part which in turn led to me to calling the Saturn a disappointment. When really, the Saturn was a disappointment to SEGA sales-wise, but for many gamers like you, it was still a really great console. Thank you for sharing your context on the Saturn, and hopefully in the next four editorials I’ll be able to keep in mind how gamers received the console at the time rather than just reflecting on how it did years after the fact.

  14. @Adeki: Oh don’t worry, I’ll talk about Sonic on Saturn in “Gaming in 1996″…

    I’ve been enjoying these editorials, especially when we start talking about the N64 next week, since I didn’t own one until 2000, and my library for it was quite sparse. Whereas I know I might be in the minority having owned a Saturn and Dreamcast in their heydays.

  15. I guess to me it just seemed like getting a Sega Saturn when compared to the PlayStation and N64 would have been seen as the less popular move.

    The Saturn was a way better console than the N64, but its library was so similar to the PS1 [while lacking a whole bunch of huge PS1 hit games] that there wasn’t much point in owning one unless one was a huge fan of Sega arcade games or 2D fighters.

    The N64 was a pure garbage console though. Just utter trash.

  16. “The N64 was a pure garbage console though. Just utter trash.”

    See, it’s funny you say that because generally the N64 gets revered as one of the best consoles, but to be completely honest, I don’t really see the appeal, especially when you compare the 64 to NES or SNES.

  17. @S.T. The Nintendo 64 is definitely famous for a lot of franchises making their way into 3D, especially Nintendo ones, but it is funny how as time goes on it’s games like Link to the Past and Super Mario World that are remembered much more fondly than the 3D iterations of their time.

  18. See, it’s funny you say that because generally the N64 gets revered as one of the best consoles, but to be completely honest, I don’t really see the appeal, especially when you compare the 64 to NES or SNES.

    IMO it is a case of history being rewritten by a bunch of stupid babies who had a N64 as their first console, and thus feel nostalgia for it. In reality though the N64 was a very uncool console to own at the time, and those blurry graphics were just bloody disgusting!

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