In 1994, the hit sitcom “Friends” was released in front of a live studio audience known as America and ever since then innocent children have had to deal with it being broadcast on every television channel known to man. In a different universe, this entire editorial (along with the site) would just be dedicated to the show “Friends.” Thankfully, this is not the case and instead this editorial has the freedom to cover all the hot and underrated video game releases of the year, along with major events, new companies, and consoles that started a revolution.
To start off the rundown of the games released in 1994 it is important to note that this was the year that Nintendo aptly named “The Year of the Cartridge.” This title rang true as it was not until 1995 that the newly released Sony PlayStation or Sega Saturn truly started to gain momentum in the gaming world. As for the popular cartridges released in 1994, the very first on the sacrificial altar is none other than Super Metroid, a fantastic game that reminds gamers of when the SNES reigned supreme and Nintendo actually made games in the “Metroid” franchise. In addition, the SNES was also given the blessing of Final Fantasy VI (known as Final Fantasy III at the time), an RPG to be remembered for its entertaining cast of characters and a world worth exploring. Not to be outdone by Nintendo though, Sega decided to release Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994, which went on to be one of the best-selling games on the Sega Genesis along with Sonic & Knuckles, the infamous add-on game that could either be played standalone or as an add-on to include the character Knuckles in previous installments. Also released on the Sega Genesis in 1994 was Earthworm Jim, a run and gun platformer that can only really be described with the words “zany” and “wacky.” Last up is the game Wario’s Woods which marked the last official NES title to be released and is one of the only official NES titles to have a rating from the ESRB due to its 1994 release.
Next up are the hit new consoles from 1994 starting off with the Sega 32X which was an add-on to make the second-generation Sega Genesis more powerful in order to take those who might not have been able to afford it, into the 32-bit generation. The problem being that the 32X launched about a month before the Sega Saturn did in Japan, and only about six months before the Saturn in North America and Europe. This lead to a bizarre scenario in which developers were choosing between the 32X and the Saturn, the latter being more preferable as it was advancing with the times through CD-ROM technology, while the former seemed like a poorly-timed expansion that really only took attention (and sales) away from the Sega Saturn. The 32X was cancelled after about two years of being on the market, and unfortunately the Saturn did not fare much better due to its surprise release four months before schedule, the Nintendo 64’s launch, and the lack of a title in the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise. On the flip side of the coin, the Sony PlayStation was released in Japan in December of 1994 and went on to be one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time. Further details of the PlayStation’s success will be discussed in next week’s editorial about 1995 when it was finally out worldwide and the fun could really begin. But no hardware released in 1994 could really hold a candle to the success story that was the Neo Geo CD, which sold a little over half a million by the time it was discontinued three years later in 1997.
To close things off this editorial will cover some notable events from 1994 that were either memorable in their own right, revolutionary for the time, or a neat little tidbit that most people do not know and do not really need to know. The first event is actually a video game release but the circumstances in which it was released made it notable as Mortal Kombat II was released onto the SNES with all of the gore intact, a stark contrast to the previous game’s release on the NES and the first major game on a home Nintendo console to have violence to that degree. Unsurprisingly, Mortal Kombat II did very well on the video game market and went on to be one of the best-selling games of all time at that point. In the year 1994, Neversoft also came into the picture and began creating games in the “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” franchise along with some “Guitar Hero” games until it was merged into Infinity Ward, the company known for making a large amount of games in the “Call of Duty” franchise. On a less happy note (depending on one’s views on either franchise), 1994 marked the year that Commodore International, famously known for the Commodore 64 and Amiga line of computers, no longer operated as a business. Now for the ending tidbit: Silicon & Synapse officially became Blizzard Entertainment in 1994, and they have been cool ever since (pun intended thought not welcomed).
So how was that for a year’s recap, did you learn anything new or find out something about yourself? Maybe you already knew all of this information and are starting to regret clicking on this editorials. Whatever the case may be, make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!