Super Mario Bros – 1985
Even though it wasn’t the first platform genre game, many believe Super Mario Bros took gaming to a whole new level. More specifically, it pioneered the way game development was approached, thanks to all the unique features. For example, the power-ups, hidden paths, a screen that doesn’t stop scrolling, and not to mention the environmental factors that came into play. There is also the superior graphics and sound to consider, which gave Super Mario Bros another edge.
But it doesn’t stop there. With all the features and superior graphics, the game still had something more to offer in terms of control. The precision with which it responded, and providing more ease while playing, makes it one of the games that changed everything. When players started, they couldn’t stop, which speaks heavily about the game’s ability to captivate an audience.
Final Fantasy VII – 1997
This title really added to PlayStation’s booming reputation and introduced the most emotional role-playing game the world had ever seen. Final Fantasy VII gave players a whole world they could lose themselves in, then added a hero players instantly fell in love with, namely Cloud. As Cloud, players would interact with other characters, while getting to know the rest of Cloud’s crew.
For those who had the pleasure of playing this title, you probably share the connection with the characters like millions of others, as well as the overall plot. The moment the love of Cloud’s life died at the hands of the most notorious bad guy in video games, Sephiroth, everyone was reaching for the tissues.
That particular scene has gained a big reputation for the emotional reaction it sparks from the players. It’s also the reason why Sephiroth is so famous.
Metal Gear Solid – 1998
Actions games never had much to them other than kicking down the door and shooting anything that moves. And the more blood and guts you can leave behind, the better. However, the Metal Gear Solid development team had another approach in mind. When they released the first Metal Gear game in 1987, and the sequel (Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake) in 1990, the premise was to be careful. In other words, they introduced stealth as the only way to survive.
In 1998, the third game in the series was released, Metal Gear Solid. This saw the franchise switching the view from 2D to 3D while maintaining the popular gameplay of sneaking around.
While not many 3D stealth games were developed during that time, the option to use stealth became mandatory for action games that followed. It also gave rise to impressive stealth titles like Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.
Grand Theft Auto III – 2001
Grand Theft Auto III made waves for so many reasons, and nobody can doubt that it was more influential than the developers planned. Despite boosting cars and killing gang members in the previous two releases, the third release brought out the heavy guns. Everything about it is senseless, including the killing and picking up hookers.
However, the real popularity of the game is not about becoming a vigilante. Instead, it was the ability to explore an entire city on foot or in a car without purpose. For hours you could drive around, listening to humorous radio stations and watch the sun go down.
Shadow Of Colossus – 2005
The Shadow Of Colossus doesn’t share the same popularity as the other games, but this PlayStation 2 title definitely deserves a spot on the list. Just looking at the artistic work that went into making it is incredible. For example, the nature scenes while riding and fighting on horseback, as well as the magnificent ruins and giant rocks.
Then, there is the effective way the developers handled the scaling of the Titans, especially their slow movement. As you see one approaching in the distance, you can already feel your character shrinking in anticipation. As for the camera angles, it doesn’t get smoother or more precise than this game.
From the start, it’s a very user-friendly title with easy navigation towards the next part of the plot. But it also requires strategizing when facing one of those Titans. If you don’t hit them at the vital points, it is going to be a long (or very short) confrontation.
Bioshock – 2007
Nobody can deny that the Mass Effect Trilogy easily took the awards for character interaction and influencing the outcome of the game, but Bioshock gave players something else. Instead, the developers focused on how the story is told to the player. At the same time, they give several options to the player where combat is involved. You will also see upgrades to skills and weapons, which is very satisfying and fits with the way the game develops.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that each weapon comes with pros and cons, especially in different environments. But what makes Bioshock special is the environmental possibilities during combat. For instance, a fireball doesn’t always have to be a direct hit. If there is oil in the nearby area, you can use it to damage the enemy over a distance. The same goes for shocking the enemy through water, making the environment a big part of the excitement.
This is my take on best games that have most impact on shaping the world of game. There are many more games to be talked about such as Doom and RE which hopefully will be posted in a part 2 collection of most influential games of all time.