No matter whether you continued playing games well into your 20s or have since moved on, these 11 games will have every Maltese 90s kid holding back tears of nostalgia.
Even if every video game here is sure to resonate with millions of people worldwide, there’s just something about these series that really managed to hit home.
1. Tekken 3
Even if fighting games are not your cup of tea, it’s downright impossible to find even a former casual gamer who not only hasn’t heard of the game series, but also hasn’t frustratingly played a couple of rounds.
We’re not sure what about Tekken resonated with the Maltese kids of the 90s, but we’re willing to bet it had something to do with our short tempers, and a random breakdancing figure called Eddy.
2. Crash Bandicoot
Back when the Forestals branch on the Gżira waterfront was teeming with people trying out the new, grey circular console that was the Playstation One, most of the attention was given to this gem of a 3D game.
It featured a cheeky bandicoot jumping around a paradise island. Which felt uncannily familiar to a lot of Maltese players.
3. Age of Empires 2
Back in the day, if your parents didn’t let you play fighting games (a fact which you quickly rebranded as you “not really liking the genre”), strategy games became your jam. And if you were one of those kids who loved learning about the Great Siege and Malta’s intricate history at school, Age of Empires was the perfect game to play when you got back home.
Many a long night would be spent trying to recreate the Grand Harbour in the game, and there was always that one kid at school who somehow claimed he had managed to recreate the entire island. You can only imagine (or remember) how amazing it was when the third Age of Empires game actually featured The Order of St. John and a ship called the St. Elmo.
4. The Sims
Two decades ago, video-game-related gender stereotypes were still very much a thing. Nowadays, female gamers around the world play anything and everything from racing games to shoot ’em ups.
Back in the day though, The Sims was one of those games that came with its own baggage. You were either a girl who proudly claimed that this is the one game you played, or you were a guy who secretly played it at home…and loved every second of it. Thankfully, those days are behind us, and everyone is now free to get excited over The Sims 4.
5. Prince of Persia
Everyone had at least one Prince of Persia they fell in love with. For many, it was the second version.
By the time the game delved into 3D, most of the series’ original fans had grown up, but some continue to relive their favourite hero’s adventures to this day.
6. Super Mario
This one’s borderline ritualistic. Super Mario deserves a spot on the list for how much it not only managed to connect friends, but also families. If you grew up in the 90s, chances are that you had at least one older family member who remembered the earlier Super Mario games and could not only relate to your newfound love for the Italian plumber, but also share in the excitement of a new game.
Also, the 1988 Super Mario Bros 3 was one of the first forays into the gaming world that most Maltese 90s kids got.
7. Time Crisis
Even if this 1995 game did eventually make it to consoles like the PlayStation, most of the time, it was the arcade version that 90s Maltese kids got to challenge each other with.
The games rooms of Valletta and Paceville would always have one of these at hand, and this is where all those 10c coins of the land were lost.
8. Final Fantasy 7 & 8
The issue here is not whether Maltese 90s kids played Final Fantasy or not. The issue is which they prefer between the amazing story and relatable characters of 7 or the impressive visuals and music of 8.
The decision struggle is real.
9. Grand Theft Auto
In the late 90s, there was one main way of trying to impress your church school schoolmates, and that was playing games that weren’t meant for children. For maximum effect, most of us probably went for Grand Theft Auto.
A far cry from this decade’s newer, extremely visual versions of the series, GTA was still one of those games that made you feel a little guilty for actually playing.
This is a video game that will have everyone over the age of 20 reminiscing of the good old days. With its very simple but devilishly smart concept, Lemmings got a lot of different generations hooked on beating the somewhat short (but extremely numerous) levels.
For many Maltese kids growing up in the 90s, this wasn’t just a video game; this was family bonding.
One of the ultimate retro games from the 90s that strikes a particularly strong chord with the Maltese. While most of us were having our Pokémon cards confiscated or torn in front of our very eyes for fear that they contained black satanic dust, the more intelligent kids reserved their battling for their Game Boys.
It was the legendary Red and Blue versions of the games that were the most played in Malta. Pokémon – we salute you.