For me, the best thing about this industry is the diversity. Game developers are always pushing the boundaries of what we know, and feel comfortable with, and trying to get us hooked on what they feel the next game-changer will be.
Some of these ideas work really well and immediately get
copied excepted as a new genre or standard and others get shelved until we want them again, or canned completely. Take Mirror’s Edge and Portal, released within a year of each other. One has already had an amazing sequel, the other is only pencilled for the future. Both have had good flash copies   – but one was commissioned by the publisher.
I’m not saying getting an independent 2d-flash-clone is the benchmark of success but it does highlight how 2 new, yet relatively similar, concepts ended up being received differently. One was received well, the other became a Meme factory (which in this context is better).
But even Portal hasn’t really changed the face of gaming, has it?
In this post I’m going to highlight FIVE games which truly have changed the gaming industry:
5) 3D Monster Maze
If Wolfenstein 3D is the “Grandfather of 3D shooters” then the 1982 title 3D Monster Maze must be the “Godfather of all 3D games”. For that alone it earns its place on this list.
How it changed gaming: (credited as) The First 3D Game
Games that exist as a result: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and pretty much every other 3D game.
I could regurgitate Wikipedia and pretend to know loads about 3DMM but the truth is I never played it. This is probably due to me being minus-three when it came out. Embarrassingly though, there are two other games on this list I’ve never played….
4) World of Warcraft
Love it, hate it or like me abstaining to make judgement there is no disputing WoW‘s place on this list. The 2004 release is still boasting millions of active gamers. This is not a game but the first ever digital class-A drug.
How it changed gaming: I just told you! The First Digital Class-A Drug.
Which is why, with my incredibly addictive personality, I have to steer well clear!
And the third, and final, game on this list I’ve never played is…
I hate myself for including FarmVille in this list (and no I will not give you a link). I wanted to put The Sims or even Minecraft in this spot but however I looked at it FarmVille has made such a huge impact to the gaming industry I cannot overlook it here.
How it changed gaming: It Made Facebook Games & Freemium Games A Thing.
In drug terms this makes WoW look like Smarties.
I’ve played a handful of games that ‘borrow’ from the DNA of FarmVille. All of which have been quite good, and all of which you can play for a very long time (if not forever) without spending any really money. But they all share FarmVille’s dark underbelly. Get ‘em hooked and when they’re totally addicted hit them with the dilemma:
“Play every day for 3 months and you could have X, or pay and get it NOW”.
2) Wii Sports
For many of us Wii Sports was the first motion-controlled game we ever played… For many of us it is also the only good motion-controlled game we’ve ever played… For some it’s the only game they’ve ever played.
How it changed gaming: Got The Whole Family Playing Games
Games that exist as a result: Most other Wii games and every Kinect & Move game.
Pee-pee Sports gets a place on this list for getting whole families in front of the awesomeness that is games. But it gets the second spot for getting games in front of the whole family! There is a slight difference, trust me!
Before the Wii a child’s console was in one of two places: His/Her Bedroom OR Plunged into the family big-TV. When the Wii came out 100% (made-up stat’) went directly to the family/sitting/living room. The child would play and the (non-gaming) adults would watch. The next thing you know those non-gaming grown-ups are now level 24 Gnomes!
1) Grand Theft Auto 3
Grand Theft Auto 3 was not the first 3D game, nor was it the first open world game, or the first sandbox game. But when GTA3 first hit stores things changed forever!
How it changed gaming: Introduced Us To The 3D Open World Sandbox.
What’s the first thing you remember about playing GTA3? (comment below)
For me, it was being the first (of my friends) to discover how to make a Rhino fly. (That sounds even more crazy if you don’t know what I’m referring to!)
I might be wrong but I doubt any of you will cite a specific mission from the game. The missions were fun, sure, but the really cool stuff happened outside of the missions.
Well that’s my list folks; I really hope you enjoyed it. If you did please comment, and click a few of the sharing options below (every time someone shares this I’m going to slap a FarmVille player – Am I kidding? who knows).
Before I let you go I just want to list a few game that didn’t quite make the cut: Half Life (set new standards), The Sims (no plot), Minecraft (proved it’s not all about graphics), Call of Duty X (sales records), and there really are so many more!