In 1972, a then-relatively-small game developer and computer company published a two-dimensional table tennis simulator. That company was Atari and the game that went on to become one of the most widely distributed and historic games of all time was Pong. Following from its inception, Pong went on to kick start the video game industry, which would become a thriving sector, employing millions of people and even allow for hosting various gaming tournaments. From simple arcade-style games to those able to deliver stunning graphical capabilities, it’s safe to say we’ve covered a lot of ground. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most influential video games over the years.
Super Mario Bros.
Released in 1985, Super Mario’s side-scrolling platform title was a smash hit. Couple that with a very funky theme tune, a certain iconic Italian plumber and a host of pioneering concepts such as power-ups, and you have the trappings of a revolutionary video game. Praised for its precision and varying environmental physics, Super Mario Bros. is considered to have helped revive the American video game market after its 1983 crash.
Although the blocky graphics might seem an odd choice in an era where HD lifelike gameplay is usually the norm, Minecraft’s popularity is genuinely through the roof. Initially just a PC game released in 2011, Minecraft has since expanded to PlayStation, Xbox, Wii U, Android, iOS and more. For the PC alone, more than 24 million copies have been sold. A massive part of the game’s attractiveness is in its ability to be played with friends online. With many strength levels available to select depending on the size of the project, game server hosting is being increasingly utilized as a way to enhance the multiplayer experience. This is because the server master can pick and choose who he or she wishes to play with, thereby excluding any trolls or troublemakers.
While not the first 3D first-person shooter – that honor goes to Wolfenstein 3D – Doom was the one that made the genre popular. Textured room designs, enhanced lighting and different levels enabled Doom players to really feel a sense of immersion as they went about blasting monsters from hell. Within two years of its release an estimated 15 – 20 million people were playing Doom, firmly cementing it in gaming history and spawning a gaming subculture. Numerous Doom titles have been introduced since the game’s release, and this shows no signs of slowing down with the launching of the 2016 iteration of the franchise, simply titled Doom.
Metal Gear Solid
Heralded as the game which pioneered the stealth genre, Metal Gear Solid was the third title in the Metal Gear series, rendered beautifully in 3D for the first time. Disregarding the idea that the only way to clear levels was through killing every encountered enemy on the way, Metal Gear Solid requires the player to use stealth and avoid detection as they progress through the game. The basic premise revolves around Solid Snake, a soldier who is sent to infiltrate a nuclear weapons facility to recapture it from a terrorist cell. The storyline is expounded throughout the game and interspersed with detailed cut scenes and skilful voice acting that lend a very cinematic quality, creating something akin to a film/video game hybrid.
Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark marked a precedent in the genre of survival horror games. After a noted artist commits suicide, the player has to investigate his mansion either as supernatural private investigator Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood, the niece of the deceased. They’re both looking for a piano in the loft and on the way back must fight through hordes of monsters, ghouls and undead while exploring the mansion and solving puzzles that might reveal information about the events leading up to the artist’s demise. Heavily influenced by works of notable horror authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, Alone in the Dark has gone on to inspire countless other horror games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
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