Technology in gaming and movies has changed over the past decade, read on as we review the top 10 games that changed the way we look at games.
In Adam Sandler’s ‘Pixels’, we see aliens attempt to take over the world in the form of arcade video games. Here’s some of the video games that changed the world in real life.
10 Classic Games Which Changed The World
The queues of teenagers who pumped 10 pence pieces into Space Invaders arcade cabinets must have had little idea that the game would genuinely change the world.
Arcade gaming hits such as Pac-Man and Defender did more than eat up everyone’s time in the early 80s ‘Golden Age’ of arcade gaming, they pioneered big ideas which still define gaming today.
Here are ten games which show how the seeds planted by Space Invaders and its ilk grew into the games which we play today.
Space Invaders (1978)
Why it was a landmark: The first game with a high-score table
Space Invaders had a lot of big ideas, put perhaps its biggest was the concept of high-score tables, with gamers vying with one another to chart higher on each machine.
Oddly, though, its creator, Tomohiro Nishikado, admits that he could never get past the first level.
Why it was a landmark: The first game with a cast of characters
When Pac-Man launched, games did not have characters. You often played a spacecraft or a vehicle.
The idea of Pac-Man’s recognisable pill-munching creature and the cute ghosts who pursued him turned the game into a massive global hit.
The game was one of the first to be popular with female players – and a near-identical sequel, Ms Pac Man, added a bow to the character’s head to cement the title’s appeal.
Why it was a landmark: The first game with a proper ‘world’
When Defender was first unveiled, gamers were said to be put off by its complexity. It boasted five buttons plus a joystick, paving the way towards today’s 16-button joypads.
Players had to fly over an alien landscape, protecting astronauts from being abducted – and its multiple, side-scrolling screens offered the first taste of the vast game worlds players enjoy today.
It rapidly became legendary as one of the hardest games of the period, with gamers often dying within 10 seconds.
Why it was a landmark: The arcade game with the most ways to die
Immortalised in an episode of hit comedy Seinfeld, Frogger pitted players against both a timer and a brutally dangerous game world filled with cars, crocodiles and rushing rivers.
Gaming magazines of the period were impressed by the fact one could be squashed, winged by cars, touched by snakes or crocodiles, washed off the side of the screen, or simply run out of seconds.
Today, gamers expect to be able to die from everything from falling over to starvation.
Frogger rapidly became a cult hit, inspiring a TV series where a bipedal frog worked as a detective.
Donkey Kong (1981)
Why it was a landmark: The first game to feature a human central character
Donkey Kong was the most complicated game ever created when it released in 1981 – and its world, inspired by Beauty and the Beast and King Kong, became iconic.
It also marked the debut of a character arguably bigger than Kong himself – Mario – who was the first playable human character in videogames.
During development, the game’s designer opted to give him a moustache – the era’s crude technology meant it was too hard to give him a mouth – and the iconic plumber was born.
Mortal Kombat (1992)
Why it was a landmark: Marked the start of ‘adult’ games
This controversy-baiting beat ‘em up featured ludicrously gory ‘finishing moves’ such as ripping people’s spines out – and (of course) became a huge hit both in the arcades and on home consoles such as Sega Mega drive.
It also used animated characters created using photographs of real actors. At the time, this was unheard-of, but is now common in many games.
It also marked the start of decades of controversy around violence in games.
At the time, Senator Joe Lieberman said, ‘We’re talking about video games that glorify violence and teach children to enjoy inflicting the most gruesome forms of cruelty imaginable.’
Wolfenstein 3D (1992)
Why it was a landmark: The beginning of the end for arcade games
Gloriously daft, this game was among the first where players looked out through the eyes of the hero – over a gun barrel.
It also had both Nazis AND zombies, marking the start of an association which has infested gaming ever since.
The game, and its sibling from the same developer, Doom, marked the unstoppable rise of ‘FPS’ games – something which arcades never caught on to.
Super Mario 64 (1996)
Why it was a landmark: Mario ushers in the age of 3D gaming – and leaves the arcade behind
By 1996, Mario was almost unrecognisable from the two-dimensional star of Donkey Kong – and this game marked the start of a new era.
This console hit marked the start of proper 3D gaming, filled with three-dimensional characters – and with huge, colourful worlds to explore.
Many of the game’s features – such as ‘hubs’ from which players explore levels, and multiple quests within each map, are still used today.
Candy Crush (2012)
Why it was a landmark: Showed that phones could be the game consoles of the future
It took the telephone 75 years to reach 100 million users worldwide, but this cute puzzle game managed the feat in just over a year, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Earning £425,000 per day at one point, the match-three puzzler showed that the big money in gaming was no longer in arcades, or even games consoles, but on smartphones.
Why it was a landmark: Space Invaders grows up
This online sci-fi shooter reputedly cost £320 million – but earned it back in a single day when it launched last year.
Like the very earliest arcade games (Space Invaders and Galaxian), it tells the story of a war in space – but forged new ground with its online play, where gamers paired seamlessly with one another to defeat foes.
A year on, there are now 12 million people playing it every month.
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