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So what games have absolutely IMPACTED the gaming Industry?
Halo 2 + XboxLive really pushed the envelope and set the standard for online gaming on a console.
Virtua Fighter - one of the first, and definitely most well known, polygonal 3d fighters
Resident Evil - put "survival horror" on the map
Morrowind, or more accurately The Elder Scrolls Construction Set that came packaged with it - Developers giving PC players their own tools to expand the game with free content
Oblivion - Console DLC
Diablo 1 - introduced Battle.net, one of the first good online match making services for PC
Starcraft - the birth of e-sports. Any other answer here is false. The current e-sports craze got it's roots in South Korea with Starcraft. There were competitions and things before that (King of Kong, anyone?) but nowhere near this scale or viable popularity.
Tomb Raider - one of the first truly actualized large 3d gaming environments. You cannot underestimate how ground breaking this game was when it came out
Mario 64 - ditto for above. This was such a huge change it's hard to attribute to just one game.
Wii Sports - making me super duper angry at the world... also motion controls + introducting a lot of gaming to the masses
Pokemon - establishing hand-held gaming to be a viable 'sole console' option for gamers
Guitar Hero - the (now dead) home music game craze
Zelda - one of, if not the, first true actionRPG
Final Fight - beat em ups. Remember how 2/3 of arcade games were beat em ups for awhile?
What's funny is a good chunk of these games, I don't even like. And none of my top 5 games is on here. A lot of times, the true originators aren't always the best games - it is up to others to refine what they start.
"Life is like a box of chocolates. Diabetics can't enjoy either."
To name a few:
Super Mario Bros helped massively when it came to saving videogames from the crash that ET helped cause, also revolutionized platform game.
Street Fighter 2 made fighting games what they are today, without a doubt.
DOOM the king of FPS.
Command & Conquer the king of RTS.
Ridge Racer shown that arcade quality games could be brought to the home systems.
Resident Evil brought to the masses the template that survival horror would follow for some time.
Final Fantasy 7 shown that RPGs could be all big budget and a financial success aswell as showing just how jaw dropping FMVs could be.
Super Mario 64 perfected 3d platforming.
Halo shown that consoles could do FPS just fine.
Call of Duty 4 helped bring the casuals into the next gen markets and now sadly most
FPS just outright copy them.
I'm sure I've missed a few, Sonic the Hedgehog (for gaming mascots with attitude), Goldeneye (local multiplayer) but these definately stick out for me.
These men have a supreme vow of celibacy, like their fathers, and their fathers before them....
Deus Ex HR: Perfection
FFXIII: broke most of the cliches of the JRPG genre. Which is good because it was incredibly stagnant.
Super Mario Bros - NES
It perfected and standardized a smooth scrolling feature for platforming. Before then, the standard for most games were to make static rooms that filled the screen and to advance you would have to walk to the edge of the screen.
Kirby's Adventure - NES
This side-scrolling title had a full hub world to explore. While it didn't allow you to play the levels out of order it gave you a fun way to replay old levels, through finding them in the hub. The game pushed the NES to its very limit by putting in semi-3D backgrounds, rotating cylinders to create a 3D affect, a save feature, and a vast soundtrack. Kirby's Adventure is what I would like to call NES perfection. The hub world of Kirby would later be mimicked by many games, including even the Mega Man Zero games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Sega Genesis
Sega did what Nintendon't, and Sonic 2 is a good example of that. Scrolling screens for levels had become the standard for platforming games by the time this one came out, but none of them, aside from the previous Sonic game, dared to speed it up. So many problems could occur with having a seemingly endless scrolling speed, but Sonic 2 went full throttle. It was faster and more detailed than Sonic 1, with a smoother game engine and upgraded physics. No matter how fast you went in Sonic 2, you never felt like you lost control. That's a feeling even the current Sonic games are aching to restore. Sonic 2 showed the world how to make a speed and momentum based game with virtually no limits. Processing was blast, yo.
Xenogears - PS1
Combine an RPG with animated storytelling underneath and you get a "Xeno" game. Xenogears made it ok to have long cutscenes that didn't involve the player in any way. For better or worse, it became a staple in the RPG community. There is nothing inherently wrong with having these long-winded cutscenes as long as they keep the story alive and are engaging enough to keep your attention. Xenogears also showed the world how to make a more fast-paced RPG. From combat to minigames, you have to stay on your toes or get swept away. Never a dull moment in this game, not even when a cutscene shows up.
Final Fantasy Tactics - PS1
Before Final Fantasy Tactics no one knew what a Strategy RPG was. Squaresoft all lied to us, it was not a Final Fantasy game. The game was called Zodiac Brave Story, but the marketers in the West said no one would buy it. Maybe they were right, the Strategy RPG wasn't really introduced properly outside of Japan and people were really into Final Fantasy at the time. The game was a huge hit everywhere and kept the Western audience begging for similar experiences, thus the market for SRPGs was a possibility beyond it's eastern origin. To this day, people will still refer to Strategy RPGs as a "Tactics" RPG.
Halo - Xbox
Shooting games were for nerds, not jocks. Now the roles have switched. Why? Halo. Halo made it extremely popular to make a game about a space marine who shoots bad guys and doesn't afraid of anything. Without Halo we wouldn't have; Battlefield, Call of Duty, Haze, MAG, Brink, Medal of Honor, Timesplitters, or any other big shooting console title. If it wasn't for Halo we might have never gotten a Team Fortress and Half-life port to a console. Halo brought first person shooters to every home, like how Metallica brought Metal into every home.
Sonic Colors - Wii
This one is on the list only because it had showed the gaming world that a 3D Sonic game can be made, it can be fun, and it can capture the hearts of everyone playing it. Just like the old games. I still tear up a bit when I hear this song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N63qZfzDSZ8
You've gone far, Sonic.
Journey - PS3
It's possible to make a game where online isn't full of jerks, but it falls on the dev's hands.
I declare this post a VICTORY ( ^-^ )v
League of Legends, Guild Wars 2, etc.: Proving that free to play is the new standard.
Demon's Souls/Dark Souls: Bringing the DIE back to viDIEo games.
Starcraft II: Diamond solo, Master team Protoss. Warcraft III: high-level Human. Demon's Souls: SL 120 Pushed ToB build.
The Call of Duty franchise. For better or for worse is an opinion, but it has definitely made its mark.
Gears of War would be nothing without Kill Switch.
Here are a couple this gen I thought of:
LBP for Play, Create Share.
Dead Space for excellent hud integration.
Fallout 3/Borderlands for ideal DLC models.
This signature will not change until I change it. 7/03/09
Adventure: easter eggs, boss fights, and...
ET: nearly killed videogames.
Super Mario Brothers: saved videogames
Tetris: Almost fired up the Cold War.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Z Targeting
Final Fantasy II (IV in the US) - Active Time Battle System
Ultima Online - First popular MMORPG ever.
Cave Story - Began the rise of Indie Games
Half-Life : Total first person immersion with a developed storyline.
Half-Life 2: Physics. Emotive facial expressions
Wii Sports - Launched casual gaming
Metroid - first female protagonist
Final Fantasy VII - CG cinematics
Chrono Trigger - New Game +
Shenmue - QTE's
Jet Set Radio - Cell Shaded Graphics
Resident Evil 4 - Over the shoulder aiming.
Mortal Kombat - violent as ****. Made the news media take attention
GTA III - Open world immersion. Made the news media take attention again.
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PSN ID: Senor_Rub_a_Dub
Some others I can think of:
Geometry Wars - showed people would buy smaller downloadable console games.
Braid - popularized artsy games
Mario Kart - created a new genre
Mario Party - popularized mini game compilations
Wii Fit/Sports - opened a whole new set of demographics to target with video games
Metroid - mechanic of having certain areas inaccessible until later in the game
World of Warcraft - set the standard for MMOs. Popularized the multi tree character building.
Farmville - popularized integrating the free to play model with facebook and other platforms.