Chandrakant IsiDec 02, 2015 08:51:34 IST
In its not-so-long history, the gaming industry delivered hundreds of amazing titles. When it comes down to picking only a handful games, you have to make tough choices. After hours of staring into the blank space, we selected titles from different genre and time. So here is the list of games, which we believe shaped the industry:
Talk about First Person Shooters (FPS), and you cannot avoid Doom. The plot of the game is simple: you are a space marine fighting off creatures from hell on the Martian moon Phobos. What makes it so special is the non-stop action and gory gameplay. It was one of the first few games to use dynamic lighting and other environment effects to shock players. Doom spoilt gamers with its variety of weapons including pistol, shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle, chainsaw, and BFG 9000. It also introduced the "deathmatch" concept where players could face each other over a connected network. The game was so cutting edge for its time that Bill Gates, superimposed himself in this game to push Windows 95.
The Grand Theft Auto III, wasn't the first game to feature the open world approach. It was the first video game to do it right. The game throws you the keys to a populated city loosely based on New York. The story follows a small-time criminal desperate to score some big bucks. Played from the third person perspective, the game offers an interesting mix of on-foot and vehicular action.
Not only cars, you have access to boats and a few aircrafts too. The biggest draw here was that a player could enjoy this game without completing the missions. It was up to you to finish tasks to unlock parts of the city and make the story progress or simply become a cab driver and make money. It is because of GTA III, most of today's video games are non-linear. The game has such a huge fan following that Rockstar spent over a $265 million dollars to develop the Grand Theft Auto V (in your face Michael Bay).
Developed by the folks behind Doom, Quake was an incredible technological achievement. It pushed the envelope for graphics for its time. It was one of the first games to make use of 3D accelerators. The game featured a raw gameplay with powerful weapons. If you have been lucky enough to play one of these games, you would know the joys of rocket-jumping. The Quake franchise took the multi-player mode to the extreme. Quake introduced client/server online play, which your latest Call of Duty still uses. The "deathmatches" received so much love that the developers focused solely on the multiplayer aspect in the third instalment of the franchise. Little wonder then, the Quake III Arena has been insanely popular in gaming tournaments such as QuakeCon, Cyberathlete Professional League, and the Electronic Sports World Cup.
If you have a naggy friend, there's nothing more satisfying than playing Mortal Kombat against him. What sets it apart from the rest of the fighter games is the unabashed rawness. Capcom's Street Fighter may have better mechanics, but Mortal Kombat has always been memorable due to its visceral treatment. Especially, the finishing moves dubbed 'Fatalities' were considered so gory that it lead to the inception of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). For over two decades, the franchise pushed the envelope for what is acceptable in video games. With a right mix of fighters, variety of style, combo moves, brutalities and fatalities, the developers kept on spicing-up things in this long running franchise. The game hasn't lost its steam over the years.
In this life simulation game, you put a bunch of Sims (virtual people) in a house. The gameplay revolves around looking after your Sims. Make them study, learn new things, find a job, socialise and start a family. I never warmed up to the idea of this game. Because I could do all this in a game called life. Maxis did not develop a game, it built a virtual dollhouse. In no time, The Sims turned out to be one of the best-selling PC games.
The franchise sold over a 110 million copies worldwide. More importantly, The Sims is credited for turning non-gamers into gamers. Another highlight of this franchise is that it clicked really well with the fairer sex. According to be a report, almost 60 percent of those who play The Sims are female. That's the highest percentage for any video game.
Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, left their jobs at Microsoft to set up a gaming company Valve. They heavily modified id's Quake engine, and added a new skeletal animation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for NPCs (Non Playing Characters). The company's first game Half-Life, turned out to be one of the most revolutionary titles in the gaming history. Inspired by Stephen King's novel The Mist, this game won over a 50 game of the year awards for its intelligent gameplay and immersive visuals. The follow-up act, Half-Life 2, released in 2004. Based on Valve's in-house engine dubbed as Source, this game featured incredible graphics complemented by realistic physics. The game's level design, atmospherics, AI, storyline, visuals, sound, scalability, and production quality, are still considered of gold standards in the industry. Did I mention the Gravity Gun?
Max Payne was one of the first games to give movies a run for their money. Be it cinematics, story, or action, Max Payne gave complex to any Hollywood production of its time. Its neo-noir feel and the use of graphic novels for narration were instant hit in the industry.
The game's biggest draw was the bullet time effect. Inspired by the Hong Kong movies (and the Matrix), this gameplay element turned haphazard shooting into stylish gunplay. The game's success put Finnish developer Remedy on the world map. When people thought that it would be a tough act to follow, Remedy outdid itself.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne had action-packed gameplay, interesting storyline, and incredible art direction. The game's production values were top-notch. Undoubtedly, one of the most polished video games ever made. The game's soundtrack "Late Goodbye" was based on the poem by Remedy's Sam Lake. This song was a local band's first break. The band with such humble beginnings has now become a global music sensation, Poets of the Fall. The only thing that sucked about Max Payne was the Mark Wahlberg's movie.
Command & Conquer
If management is your forte, enter the world of real-time strategy games. As its name suggests, Command & Conquer required players to undertake elaborate preparations for the battle. This involved finding resources, building a base, and upgrading military hardware. In RTS games, a player's decisions dictate the fate of thousands of people. It is a stark contrast to FPS (First Person Shooter) games, where you can shoot your way out of a problem.
Command & Conquer wasn't exactly the first RTS (Real-Time Strategy) game, but it popularised the genre. During the time when most developers were making boring strategy games with wizards and ponies, Westwood Studios went with a war game with an interesting story. To a certain degree, this game got rid of the cluttered interface found in the most RTS titles of its time. Its graphics were also way ahead of the competition. Command & Conquer game spawned a franchise that has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
Gears of War
This is one of the best shooter games ever made for any gaming console. The cover-based combat and over-the-shoulder view were not exactly new, but this game refined it to perfection. Gears of War relies heavily on the clever use of the cover system, which paves way for the 'stop and pop' gameplay. It was so well received by gamers that almost every other developer sneakily added this mechanism to its Third Person Shooter games.
Another high-point of the Gears of War was its co-op mode where your buddies can tag along in blasting waves of alien grunts. The game had explosive action, truck-load of powerful weapons, and freakishly good melee attacks. Ability to heal your squad members was another nice touch and an ideal way to gauge your friendship. The game's success provided a much-needed footing to Microsoft's Xbox 360.
Need for Speed (NFS), has been one of the most important cash-cows for Electronic Arts. Like it or not, but it has been the most successful racing video game series in the world. The franchise has sold well over 150 million copies on multiple platforms. Most of the titles in this series are regular racing games with little regard for realism. With Need for Speed: Underground, EA offered elaborate car customisation options.
The company also experimented with the simulation genre with the Need for Speed: Shift. Like other popular games, NFS inspired a trashy movie adaptation.