Time for Nostalgia

The year was 1998. It was Christmas time and I had just received my very first computer, an AMD K6-2 running at 333MHz. Little did I know, from that day forward, my life would be changed forever.

One of the first such changes was my shift in focus from console games to PC gaming. A few months after getting my PC, I added a Diamond Monster II 3D graphics card powered by the 3Dfx Voodoo 2 chipset. It was an absolute screamer and took my gaming experience to a whole new level. We know how the story played out for 3Dfx, the graphics company that dominated the nascent 3D graphics industry for a few years in the late 90s.

Having a specialized 3D API was arguably both the highlight and the downfall for 3Dfx. The Glide API combined with Voodoo hardware truly enhanced the gaming experience and during the short few years that Glide reigned supreme, several games based its 3D implementation solely in this proprietary API.

If you are old enough, odds are you owned a 3Dfx card and played some of these games. Let us take you a trip down memory lane and remember some of the best games ever that used Glide.

Note: This feature was originally published on 05/28/2013. We have revised and bumped it because we still yearn of the glorious days of 3Dfx. Part of our #ThrowbackThursday initiative.

Quake II

id's Quake II released in late 1997 set a whole new standard for first person shooters. A wide array of weapons, pick-ups and enemies fueled this game, making it a favorite among millions of gamers. Single player mode was acceptable, but the real highlight was network play. Players could battle against others via IPX and TCP/IP over the internet. This is one of the first Glide-based games I played and boy did it look great.

Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now

Carmageddon II came out in November 1998 as a sequel to the wildly popular original title with the same name. The object of the game was simple: destroy anything and everything in sight! Ok, maybe it wasn't as simple as that, but carnage was one of the key elements of this racing / driving game.

Players competed in races with three different ways to win. You could pass through all of the checkpoints before the other racers, you could win an event by destroying every competitor's vehicle, and players could earn a victory by killing every pedestrian in a given stage. Due to the game's graphic nature, it earned a Mature rating from the ESRB, but that didn't stop most people (myself included) from playing this game hours on end.

Interstate '76

Released in 1997 by Activision, Interstate '76 plot focused around the investigation of a private army of autovillians and when the main character's sister is murdered, you are left with the task of finding out what really happened... and seeking revenge.

Gameplay took place from your armor-clad, hopped up Piranha as you hit the road (or desert) and battle with other decked out vehicles. This game reminded me a lot of the Twisted Metal series as it shared many of the same themes.

Tomb Raider

Ah, Lara Croft, easily the most popular female video game character of all time. Tomb Raider opened the door to the popular series of cave-exploring, puzzle solving fun. Tomb Raider proved to be a winner across the board: gameplay, controls and graphics were top notch for its time. The hit series has spawned several games and even two movie releases starring Angelina Jolie – a reboot third movie is slated for release in 2018.

Diablo II

Blizzard's Diablo II remains to this day one of my favorite games of all time. Released in 2000, you could select from five different characters to make your way through the game as either an Amazon, Paladin, Necromancer, Sorceress or Barbarian. Players must traverse through four acts in their pursuit of Diablo, Lord of Terror. Along the way, gamers must also battle with several other boss-style enemies. Diablo featured single and multiplayer modes and offered great replay value thanks to the use of randomly generating monsters and item drops.

Virtua Fighter 2

Known for its breakthrough graphics, Virtua Fighter 2 was the sequel to the popular arcade fighting game with the same name. VF2 was released in Sega arcades in 1994, ported to the Saturn in 1996, and then found its way to PC screens in 1997. A major graphical achievement for its time, so much that some of the ported versions that appeared on console systems had to be redesigned in 2D. I personally remember dropping off quarter after quarter into the arcade machines. The franchise has withstood the test of time to an extent. The latest iteration in the franchise called Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown was released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Resident Evil

The original Resident Evil was first released for the Playstation in 1996 and ported to the PC a year later as one of the first to use 3Dfx's Glide API. Resident Evil has been billed as the first "survival horror video game" by many, setting the bar high for others to follow. The game allowed players to control two characters, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, each with their own pros and cons.

Resident Evil was one of the scariest games I played as a teen and offered a wonderful storyline. Developers used pre-rendered backgrounds, allowing for much higher level of detail. Perhaps the most unique feature of the game were the camera angles used, which gave players the feeling of being in a movie.

Need for Speed II: Special Edition

Need for Speed II: SE added support for 3Dfx Glide bringing a ton of visual upgrades and making the gameplay much, much smoother. The second title in the Need for Speed series offered much of what the first did: hot exotics and a wide open road. But also several changes such as "simulation" or "arcade" mode. I've never been a huge fan of arcade driving games, as I rather experience the real thing, but this was one of the few exceptions, NFS II was a great game.

MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat

MechWarrior 2 was released by Activision in 1995 for MS-DOS. Later releases added support for various APIs, including Glide in 1996. The game takes place in the year 3057 and pits players in control of giant robots (mechs) on either The Wolves or the Jade Falcons clan. The single player game featured 30 missions (15 per team).

A multiplayer mode was also available using NetMech, which allowed for several different modes and up to eight players per game. Mechwarrior 2 was a very successful game and was eventually ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six

Where games like Unreal and Quake II took an arcade twist on gameplay, Rainbow Six was about being tactical. Rainbow Six put gamers in control of a SWAT team, allowing you to plan your mission in advance. Once a mission started, you controlled one of the team members and seeked out the bad guys (Tango's).

Rainbow Six adhered to reality closer than most shooters – meaning you could die from just a few gunshots rather than being able to withstand rocket attacks. The game also featured a great multiplayer interface. I remember teaming up with a friend and completely destroying the competition. Ahh, the memories!

3Dfx and Glide may be a thing of the past, but the games and good times are not to be forgotten.

There are several Glide emulators available (nGlide, Glidos) that will allow you to relive them on modern computer hardware, if only for the nostalgia factor. Did you have any favorite first-gen 3D games?