1996 in video games

1996 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Blazing Heroes, Super Mario 64, NiGHTS into Dreams..., Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil, Dead or Alive, Duke Nukem 3D and Tomb Raider.

List of years in video games


Notable releasesEdit

Video game platforms
GB Game Boy
N64 Nintendo 64
Neo Neo Geo
NeoCD Neo-Geo CD
Pippin Apple Bandai Pippin
PS1 PlayStation
Sat Sega Saturn
SNES Super Nintendo Entertainment System / Super Famicom
Win Microsoft Windows
SMD Sega Genesis / Mega Drive
Notable releases of the year 1996
Release Title System Developer/Publisher Notes
January 25 Guardian Heroes Sat Treasure/Sega a beat-em-up game developed by Treasure
January 26 Mystaria: The Realms of Lore Sat Micro Cabin/Sega a tactical RPG
January 29 Duke Nukem 3D DOS 3D Realms/GT Interactive a popular first person shooter
January 31 Mega Man X3 SNES Capcom third X installment in popular Mega Man franchise.
February 9 Bahamut Lagoon SNES SquareSoft Tactical RPG spin-off in the Final Fantasy series, before Final Fantasy Tactics.
February 23 Front Mission: Gun Hazard SNES SquareSoft Sequel to strategy Super Famicom RPG Front Mission.
February 27 Pokémon Red and Green GB Nintendo launched a wildly popular game series
February 29 Civilization II Win MicroProse acclaimed sequel to the highly influential 1991 4X game
February 29 Ripper (video game) DOS Take Two Interactive Interactive movie, Point-and-click adventure Single Player game
February 29 Rise 2: Resurrection Win, Sat, PS1 Mirage/Acclaim the sequel to the fighting game, Rise of the Robots.
February 29 Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri DOS Looking Glass Studios critically acclaimed FPS
February 29 Zork: Nemesis Win Activision 11th game in the Zork series, employing 360-degree views of environment
March 9 Super Mario RPG SNES SquareSoft/Nintendo beginning of the long-running series of Mario RPGs
March 21 Kirby Super Star SNES HAL Labs/Nintendo considered to be one of the best games in the Kirby franchise.
March 22 Resident Evil PS1 Capcom one of the foundational games in the survival horror genre, for a time it held the record for best-selling PlayStation game
March 22 Panzer Dragoon II Zwei Sat Team Andromeda/Sega an acclaimed rail shooter
March 29 Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension SNES TOSE/Bandai the last Super Famicom game in the Dragon Ball Z franchise.
April 20 Barbie Fashion Designer Win Digital Domain/Mattel Media The game's strong sales sparked a renewed interest in developing games targeting girls.
April 26 Jumping Flash! 2 PS1 Exact/SCEA Sequel to the first true 3D platformer.
April 26 The Legend of Oasis Sat Sega/Ancient Prequel to the Genesis Zelda-style action game Beyond Oasis.
April 30 Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures Win, Mac LucasArts Adventure game developed by LucasArts in the popular Indiana Jones franchise specifically to run in windowed form.
May 14 Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu SNES Intelligent Systems/Nintendo the fourth game in the popular Fire Emblem series.
May 24 Metal Slug Neo SNK the first in the Metal Slug series that proved popular in the arcades.
May 31 Final Doom DOS id Software Despite the name, it would be followed less than a year later by Doom 64.
May 31 Kirby's Block Ball GB HAL Labs/Nintendo Breakout-inspired game in popular Kirby franchise
June Last Bronx Arcade Sega Ported to the Sega Saturn (1997) and Windows (1998)
June 22 Quake DOS id Software advanced 3D graphics technology and started a franchise that has sold more than 4 million games
June 23 Super Mario 64 N64 Nintendo One of two Nintendo 64 U.S. launch games.[3] An archetype for nearly every 3D platformer which followed it, from the day of release it was widely hailed as one of the greatest games of all time.
June 27 Shining Wisdom Sat Camelot/Sega Action adventure game in the Shining series
July 5 NiGHTS into Dreams... Sat Sega The advertising campaign features the rebirth of the Sega Saturn; August 21 (US)
July 19 Saturn Bomberman Sat Hudson
July 19 Star Ocean SNES tri-ace/Enix the first game in the Star Ocean series.
July 25 The King of Fighters '96 Neo, NeoCD, Sat SNK an entry in the popular King of Fighters series.
July 26 Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition Sat, PS1 Taito Corporation/Acclaim The first home versions of the popular arcade puzzle game.
July 31 Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh DOS, Win Sierra On-Line a controversial sequel to the controversial Phantasmagoria.
July 31 Virtua Fighter Kids Sat, Arcade Sega AM2 a spin-off in the Virtua Fighter series
August 25 Tekken 2 PS1 Namco the second game in the popular fighting game series Tekken
August 31 The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall Win Bethesda Softworks an evolution of the sandbox RPG started with The Elder Scrolls: Arena
August 31 Die Hard Trilogy Win, PS1, Sat Probe Entertainment/Fox Interactive 3 original games in 1 disk, each based on a different movie in the series.
August 31 Tetris Attack SNES, GB Intelligent Systems/Nintendo first release of the popular Panel de Pon series in the US.
August 31 Madden NFL 97 SMD, PS1, Win, SNES, Sat, GB EA Sports/Electronic Arts The first Madden game on gen 5 platforms.
August 31 Beyond the Beyond PS1 Camelot/SCEA The first traditional Japanese-style RPG for the PlayStation
August 31 Jet Moto PS1 SingleTrac/SCEA A futuristic motocross style hoverbike racing game.
September Virtua Fighter 3 Arcade Sega AM2 A fighting game considered to have the most technically impressive graphics at the time.
September 9 Crash Bandicoot PS1 Naughty Dog/Universal/Sony Crash was used as the mascot for the PlayStation console.
September 14 GunGriffon Sat Game Arts/Sega critically acclaimed mech game, first in its series.
September 20 Revelations: Persona PS1 Atlus first game in the Persona series, a spin-off series of the Megami Tensei series. Also the first Megami Tensei-related game to release outside Japan
September 26 Pilotwings 64 N64 Nintendo One of two Nintendo 64 U.S. launch games.[3]
September 27 Meridian 59 Win 3DO one of the first MMORPGs.
September 30 Wipeout XL/2097 PS1 Psygnosis a poster child of the PlayStation for pop culture infusions and sleek extreme action
September 30 Shattered Steel DOS BioWare/Interplay first game developed by BioWare
September 30 Street Fighter Alpha 2 Arcade, SNES, PS1, Sat Capcom second game in the Street Fighter Alpha spin-off series
September 30 Mr. Bones Sat Zono/Sega platformer for the Saturn
September 30 Tobal No. 1 PS1 DreamFactory/SCEA fighting game famous for including a demo for Final Fantasy VII.
September 30 Formula 1 PS1 Bizarre Creations/SCEA first racing game developed by Bizarre.
September 30 Donkey Kong Land 2 GB Rare/Nintendo second Donkey Kong Land game
October 10 Mortal Kombat Trilogy N64, PS1, R-Zone, Sat (1997) Avalanche, Midway, Point of View
October 15 Marathon Infinity Mac Bungie The last game in the Marathon trilogy.
October 31 Command & Conquer: Red Alert DOS Westwood Studios the second major title in the Command & Conquer universe, and one of the most popular
October 31 Master of Orion II DOS Simtex/MicroProse
October 31 The Neverhood Win The Neverhood Inc./DreamWorks The game is done almost entirely in claymation and has gained a sequel.
October 31 Drowned God Win Epic Multimedia Group/Inscape Adventure game.
October 31 SimCopter Win Maxis Flight simulation game in popular Sim series.
October 31 King's Field III PS1 FromSoftware/ASCII Entertainment the last of three games in the King's Field series released for the PlayStation.
October 31 DeathDrome Win Zipper Interactive/Viacom First game developed by Zipper Interactive.
October 31 WWF In Your House DOS, PS1, Sat Acclaim First WWF game developed specifically for consoles.
October 31 Twisted Metal 2 PS1 SingleTrac/SCEA Second game in the popular Twisted Metal franchise.
October 31 Destruction Derby 2 PS1 Reflections Interactive/SCEA Second game in the popular Destruction Derby franchise.
October 31 NBA Live 97 PS1, Sat, SNES, SMD Electronic Arts, EA Sports
October 31 Pandemonium! PS1, Sat, Win (1997) Electronic Arts, EA Sports
November 1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain PS1, Win Silicon Knights/Crystal Dynamics First game in the Legacy of Kain series.
November 15 Tomb Raider PS1, Sat, DOS Core Design/Eidos Action adventure game which was among the year's most critically acclaimed games and proved highly influential on both 3D games development and cinematic presentation
November 20 Sonic 3D Blast Sat, SMD Sega/Traveller's Tales Isometric platformer in the popular "Sonic the Hedgehog" series.
November 22 Donkey Kong Country 3 SNES Rare/Nintendo the third installment to the popular Donkey Kong Country franchise
November 25 Killer Instinct Gold N64 Rare/Nintendo a home fighting game based on the arcade's Killer Instinct 2.
November 25 Bubsy is 3D in "Furbitten Planet" PS1 Eidetic/Accolade Noted for its negative reception. Was the last title in the Bubsy series for 21 years.
November 26 Area 51 PS1, Win, Sat Mesa Logic/Atari Games Ported versions of the classic arcade shooter.
November 26 Dead or Alive Arcade, Sat (1997), PS1 (1998) Team Ninja/Tecmo The first game in the Dead or Alive series of fighting games.
November 30 Contra: Legacy of War Sat, PS1 Konami/Appaloosa Interactive the first true 3D entry in the popular Contra series
November 30 Dragon Force Sat Sega/Working Designs a combination of war simulation and RPG
November 30 Fighting Vipers Sat, Arcade Sega AM2 a popular fighting game.
November 30 Virtua Cop 2 Sat, Arcade Sega AM2 a popular light gun game
November 30 Virtual On: Cyber Troopers Sat, Arcade CRI/Sega the first game in the Virtual On series
November 30 Bug Too! Saturn, Win Sega/Realtime Associates a sequel to Bug!
November 30 FIFA Soccer 97 SMD, PS1, Win, SNES, Sat, GB EA Canada/Electronic Arts
December 3 Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire N64 LucasArts/Nintendo one of the first Nintendo 64 games, an action game in the popular Star Wars franchise.
December 14 Mario Kart 64 N64 Nintendo The Mario Kart series first 3D game.
December 17 Mega Man 8 PS1 Capcom The first Mega Man game to be released on PlayStation.
December 19 Terranigma SNES Quintet/Nintendo Popular RPG famous for being released in Europe but not in America, a rarity in the mid-1990s. Also a spiritual successor to Illusion of Gaia.
December 31 Death Rally DOS Remedy Entertainment/GT Interactive the first game developed by Remedy Entertainment.
December 31 NBA Hangtime SMD, PS1, Win, N64, Arcade, SNES Midway arcade-style basketball game developed by Midway.


Nintendo 64



1996 saw a major shakeup in the crowded home console market, with the Virtual Boy, Atari Jaguar, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Sega CD, 32X, and CD-i all being discontinued.

Critically acclaimed titlesEdit

Metacritic (MC) and GameRankings (GR) are aggregators of video game journalism reviews.

1996 games and expansions scoring at least 88/100 (MC) or 87.5% (GR)[4][5]
Game Publisher Release Date Platform(s) MC score GR score
Super Mario 64 Nintendo September 26, 1996 Nintendo 64 94/100 96.41%
Wipeout XL/2097 Psygnosis September 30, 1996 PlayStation 93/100 94.75%
Quake GT Interactive June 22, 1996 DOS 94/100 93.22%
Civilization II MicroProse February 29, 1996 Microsoft Windows 94/100 91.29%
Tekken 2 Namco August 25, 1996 PlayStation 89/100 92.50%
Wave Race 64 Nintendo November 1, 1996 Nintendo 64 92/100 90.67%
PaRappa the Rapper Sony Computer Entertainment December 6, 1996 PlayStation 92/100 88.31%
Realms of the Haunting Interplay December 31, 1996 DOS N/A 91.86%
Tomb Raider Eidos Interactive November 14, 1996 DOS N/A 91.67%
Soul Edge Namco December 20, 1996 PlayStation 89/100 91.46%
Tomb Raider Eidos Interactive October 25, 1996 PlayStation 91/100 90.02%
Resident Evil Capcom March 30, 1996 PlayStation 91/100 87.23%
Command & Conquer: Red Alert Virgin November 22, 1996 DOS 90/100 90.91%
Dragon Force Sega November 30, 1996 Sega Saturn N/A 89.64%
Guardian Heroes Sega January 25, 1996 Sega Saturn N/A 89.20%
Super Mario RPG Nintendo March 9, 1996 SNES N/A 89.12%
Descent II Interplay Productions March 13, 1996 DOS 89/100 N/A
Duke Nukem 3D GT Interactive January 29, 1996 DOS 89/100 88.50%
NiGHTS into Dreams... Sega July 5, 1996 Sega Saturn N/A 88.56%
Pokémon Blue Version Nintendo October 15, 1996 Game Boy N/A 88.33%
Pokémon Red Version Nintendo February 27, 1996 Game Boy N/A 87.86%
Formula 1 Psygnosis September 30, 1996 PlayStation N/A 87.75%
Pilotwings 64 Nintendo September 26, 1996 Nintendo 64 80/100 87.52%
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei Sega March 22, 1996 Sega Saturn N/A 87.50%


  1. ^ a b Laurence Zuckerman (July 16, 1996). "Sega's US Chief to Resign as Company Sales Fall Short". New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Attendance and Stats". IGN. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  3. ^ a b McCall, Scott (September 28, 1996). "N64's U.S. Launch". Teleparc. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  4. ^ "Best Video Games for 1996". Metacritic. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  5. ^ "Highest-Ranking Games of 1996 (with at least 5 reviews)". GameRankings. Retrieved November 4, 2019.

External linksEdit