As gamers we are constantly fed blockbuster after blockbuster today, it's important to remember our video game history and give thanks to the games that made all this possible. These are the seven most influential games of all time. (In our opinion)
Remember guys this is not gospel so before you fire bomb our office, do please instead leave your comments at the bottom. Genuinely looking forward to hearing all your thoughts!
7) Final Fantasy:
Before the original Final Fantasy, RPGs weren't all that popular. Many RPGs were actually trying to mimic the pen-and-paper role-playing game in a day and age when player choice was far beyond the scope of our 8-bit cartridges. Final Fantasy, though, managed the role-playing experience differently. It put the user into a story that had a set beginning and end. Instead of attempting to give the user total freedom of choice, it gave the user the ability to go along for the ride in a more cinematic experience. Nearly every JRPG since then has been based on this formula. Yes, I know that Dragon Quest did it first, but Final Fantasy was the game that popularized the genre.
6) Silent Hill:
Sprites just aren't that scary. The closest we got to real horror in the days of the 8-bit and 16-bit consoles was Splatterhouse, and even that was more of an action game than a horror game. Clocktower was pretty scary, and some of us even played Sweet Home, a JRPG with horror undertones. But it took Silent Hill, with its polygonal graphics, foggy atmosphere, and constant radio static, to make us realize that horror was a viable game genre. Silent Hill is still looked at today as one of the best horror franchises out there, even though it has changed developers several times over. Without Silent hill, we would probably not have games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and the other truly bone-chilling horror titles we enjoy today.
If you're a gamer, I bet you can hum almost the entire Super Mario Bros. soundtrack, can totally map out all of world 1-1 from memory, and know what all the power-ups do. I bet you even know where all the Warp Zones are. Super Mario Bros. popularized so many of the things we see in video games to this day. It popularized the side-scrolling platformer. It popularized power-ups that govern a character's health. It popularized the invincibility pickup. It popularized getting extra lives after collecting a certain amount of items (coins, in this case). Most importantly, though, it popularized Mario, a plumber in blue overalls and a red shirt that has become synonymous with video games themselves. It's hard to deny that this was one of the most important releases in all of video game history.
4) Street Fighter:
Hadoken! Shoryuken! Tatsumaki Senpukyaku! To this day, every fighting gamer can recall the exact button inputs for each of these moves, and it's all because of Street Fighter II. This game popularized the genre and solidified the fighting game formula: two fighters, two lifebars, six buttons, go! It popularized the quarter circle, the Dragon Punch, and even some of the first instances of button mashing. It made pros and scrubs of us all, convincing us to waste quarter after quarter in the arcades, desperately trying to beat that one guy who was running the machine. It even created the first instances of combos, a game mechanic that nearly every other fighting game has mimicked since. Street Fighter II catapulted the fighting game community into the gaming spotlight, and fighting games probably wouldn't have ever lasted this long if it weren't for this one game. Tekken was a close call!
Before there was Halo, before there was Half-Life, before there was Quake there was Doom. Sure, Wolfenstien came first, but it was Doom that started the multiplayer FPS craze. The Doom series finally let people connect with others over local area networks and eventually crappy dial-up internet connections to experience the joy of shooting other people in the face. The single player wasn't anything to scoff at either; I'm sure everyone remembers the demonic quarterback dances the enemies would do when they killed you. But most importantly, these games were easily modable, allowing the indie crowd to flex their creativity and start making their own shooter games. In fact, Doom 2 mods are still being played online today.
2) Unreal Tournament:
The birthplace of your 'Call of Duty - Deathmatch' and 'Capture the Flag' game modes in all other FPS games. UT was designed as an arena FPS, with head-to-head multiplayer deathmatches being the primary focus of the game. The game's single-player campaign is essentially a series of arena matches played with bots. For team matches, bots are again used to fill the roles of the player's teammates. Even on dedicated multiplayer servers, bots are sometimes used to pad out teams that are short on players.
UT is known and widely praised for its bot A.I., the product of programmer Steve Polge who had earlier risen to fame by designing the Reaper Bot for Quake, one of the earliest examples of an effective deathmatch bot. The player can choose a bot skill level (anywhere from "Novice" to "Godlike") or set it to automatically adjust to the player's performance. Bots can be further customized by changing names, appearance, accuracy, weapon preferences, awareness, and so forth.
1) Pac-Man and Donkey Kong:
I'll be honest; I can't decide which game to put here. "Pac-Man fever" nearly singlehandedly caused the arcade scene to explode in the early days of gaming, but Donkey Kong gave us the first appearances of two of Nintendo's most treasured mascots, and it had far more sequels than Pac-Man ever did. That being said, Pac-Man is better recognized as a truly nostalgic video game character, but Donkey Kong may just be the better game. Donkey Kong has spawned spinoff platformers, racing games, and even music games, while Pac Man has created a massively multiplayer universe that continues to evolve to this day. Honestly, I can't choose either one, so they both have to share the number 1 slot.
Let the comments commence! Be Gentle...