The history of the video game is filled with popular consoles and some that fell flat. Throughout the several decades that video games have been around there have also been incredible video game titles that have surprised the industry and wowed game players. Whether it’s because of incredible gameplay, unique storylines, or amazing graphics, some of the most popular games have broken new ground in the industry. Here are 10 video game titles that revolutionized the industry when they were released.
For some understanding of the beginnings of the video game industry, you have to look closely at one of the first successful arcade games, 1972’s Pong. Atari made it as a standalone arcade game at first, and it was placed in a single bar. Over time, the game became a huge hit, and there were often long lines of patrons waiting to play. Pong‘s creators then made a console dedicated to playing the game, but they quickly realized they needed to make a console that would work with many titles. The end result was the creation of the Atari 2600.
2. Donkey Kong
Another revolutionary game that changed the industry significantly was Donkey Kong. This game was released in 1981 as an arcade game by a young gaming company called Nintendo. In the game, viewers got a first glance at one of the most popular video game characters of all time, Mario. At first, he was called Jumpman, but American business executives wanted to give him a catchier name, so he was rebranded as Mario.
Namco, a company that originally created children’s rides for department stores, ventured into arcade games during the 1970s. One of their first games released was the arcade classic, Pac-Man. In Japan, the game was released as Puck-Man, which was a nod to the main character’s hockey puck like shape. American arcade developers weren’t happy about the name, so the character was renamed Pac-Man, and the rest is history.
4. Oregon Trail
Educational video games hadn’t made much of an impact in schools by the 1980s. The technology was too expensive for most public school districts, and it was difficult for administrators and educators to find worthwhile video game titles that actually taught content to students. That all changed when the game Oregon Trail was released in 1985. This computer game led students on an adventure through history, but it also made it fun.
5. Final Fantasy VII
In 1997, the video game console market would be taken by storm by the release of the impressive next entry in a popular series with Final Fantasy VII. The first Final Fantasy games had been released on Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo console. The latest installment needed more capability and more power, so developers went with the Sony PlayStation console for release. Due to the excitement over the game, the console also experienced a surge in popularity, which added a strong competitor to the console wars.
6. The Sims
The creator of 2000’s top-selling computer game, The Sims, originally envisioned a virtual dollhouse when designing the game. The result of this vision was a unique game for the Microsoft Windows computer system that allowed players to experiment with human behavior, interior design, and character motivation.
7. Call of Duty
Another title that revolutionized the first person shooter war game was 2003’s Call of Duty. This game, released by Bobby Kotick and his team at Activision, was one of the first fighting games with a compelling story that drew in players. In addition to a great storyline, it also had exciting gameplay and plenty of action.
8. Mortal Kombat
While violence is not something new in many of today’s video game titles, in 1992, when Mortal Kombat came out, graphic violence in a game was unheard of. This title changed things by presenting a pair of fighters with plenty of bloody and graphic scenes. Partially because of this game, ratings were developed to help dissuade young players from picking up games with inappropriate content.
9. Grand Theft Auto
Another controversial title that led to big changes in the gaming experience was 2001’s Grand Theft Auto. In this game, the player took the role of criminal and was able to carjack people, run them over, and get chased down by police cars. While most Americans realized the game was not to be taken seriously, some lawmakers and parents were troubled by its subject matter.
The last game that had signaled a new type of game production to the industry is Minecraft, released in 2009. This computer game didn’t have any real structure or set gameplay to it. Players were given complete freedom in the game’s world to build and create three-dimensional structures. Now, this game has found a wide audience of many diverse players of all ages.
The evolution of the video game industry wouldn’t be possible without some of the groundbreaking titles on this list. In the future, more titles will be released that change the way players interact and progress in their games.