With Grand Theft Auto V releasing today (Sept. 17), VIBE recaps the biggest video game changers over the past 20 years. From consoles to cartridges, these classic gaming moments kept junkies strapped to their couches—Scott Steinberg
1993 – NBA Jam posterizes the gaming world, while Mortal Kombat II ushers in bloody levels of arcade violence; Doom damns later generations to decades’ worth of first-person blasters.
1994 – Playground classics Super Metroid, Final Fantasy III and Donkey Kong Country help cement Super Nintendo’s G.O.A.T. status.
1995 – Sega Saturn shoots bricks. Despite PlayStation’s nebulous start (still play Zero Divide much?), Sony’s MVP sells 100 million units, ditching cartridges for CD-ROMs.
1996 – Tomb Raider introduces gamers to Indiana Jones impersonator Lara Croft, and millions of awkward teens to their first infatuation.
1997 – Multiplayer staples GoldenEye 007 and Mario Kart 64 hold it down for Nintendo 64, decimating GPAs nationwide. Thugged-out simulation Grand Theft Auto attracts gangster disciples and critics.
1998 – Stealth action-adventure Metal Gear Solid sneaks in for the kill, even as toymaker Hasbro buys Atari, putting an end to the primitive console’s reign.