In the 90s everything was conspiracy theories, don't trust the government and the Truth was Out There.
On TV we had the X-Files.
There was a paranoia in the 90s. Today it has boiled over into disgust about our government (believe I know, I live in Illinois, we have one ex-Governor in prison and another headed there). But back then it was a general low hum of paranoia, suspicion and doubt. It started with Iran-Contra, and moved on to movies like "JFK". It was the climate that allowed the X-Files to grow.
It began on a start up station called Fox, long before they became synonymous for killing shows, good or bad, too early. X-Files was their hit, their main show outside of the Simpsons really, and they kept it on for 9 years.
Plus there is not an episode of Supernatural that doesn't in some way or another recall the X-files. The Winchesters are this decade's Mulder and Scully.
I came to the show late. I was working on my thesis at the time and I rarely watched TV. Once I graduated I became a fast convert. It became my Friday night ritual (I was watching them with my then girlfriend, so that is ok). It was also one of the shows I did not invest in any of fandom. I have an X-files CD and Mulder and Scully action figures, but I got them as gifts. I really got into it the show all the same. One of the first desktop "themes" I had for my brand spanking new copy of Windows 95 was an X-files one.
I loved the season long and multi-season long story arcs, I loved the characters, I didn't even care when my then girlfriend (and now wife) would go on about how hot Mulder or Skinner were. That was fine with me. I got to see Scully; hot and smart.
The trouble with X-Files is it was doomed from the start. You can't keep the characters or the audience in the dark all the time and have a god show, and the more secrets you reveal the less the characters have to uncover. They kept it up though for a good long run.
The same is true for any conspiracy game. Conspiracy X, also by Eden Studios, is a great example. You can totally run an "X-Files" game with it, but how often can you keep the players in the dark when they are looking for secrets?
The Godfather of the X-files is "Kolchak" and Darrin McGavin even made some guest spots on the show. X-Files, while the "mythos arc" is lauded, sometimes worked the best on the "monster of the week" episodes. Sure the aliens were great and those were the ones I got excited about, but the ones I recall the best, Flukeman, "Theef", the freaky weird family, the hallucinogenic fungus, the chupacabra. Like Kolchak, X-files did it's best job when it dealt with "small stories"; episodes that dealt with a local myth, legend or monster and came at it with Mulder the one ready to believe anything and Scully looking the reasoned explanation. I also liked the "spin-offs" Millennium and the Lone Gunmen.
One day I am going to go back to the world of the X-Files. Back when Clinton was still president, freaky half-worm/half-man things lived in chemical toilets, cigarette smoking men and well manicured men sat in dark rooms with darker purposes, aliens kidnapped little girls and the Truth Was Out There