The 10 Most Influential Video Games Of All Time

Every few years a new game is released that becomes the blueprint for what future titles should be, as well as helping to popularize a genre or even save the entire industry. Some games are over 30 years old and their impact can still be felt today, so let’s take a look at them. Here are the top 10 most influential video games of all time.

10. Resident Evil 4

Released in 2005, Resident Evil 4 became an instant hit, diverting the series away from survival horror and beginning the more action-focused style which brought many new fans to the series due to its accessibility. Resident Evil 4 helped set the standard for many action games that were released in later years. Over the shoulder, third-person became a go-to style for many games. Resident Evil 4 also helped introduced mechanics such as Quick Time Events, which became standard in many games over the next two generations, although thankfully we don’t see them very often now because they’re incredibly annoying. The influence that Resident Evil 4 had was directly seen for a decade after its release, and many games still look to emulate it today.

9. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy 7 was one of the first 3D RPG games, and certainly, the first to gain mainstream success, with the game being an instant hit when it was released in 1997, helping to introduced many players to the RPG genre. Despite being almost 25 years old, Final Fantasy 7 is still the blueprint for what a JRPG can be and its influence can still be felt in the industry today, with Square-Enix currently remaking the entire game on PlayStation 4 and PS5.

8. Street Fighter II

By the early 90s, the popularity of arcades was on the decline, with home consoles becoming the preferred way to play video games. In 1991, Capcom released Street Fighter 2 in the arcades and helped revive the industry. The game helped inspire many other franchises, such as Mortal Kombat, and later 3D fighters such as Virtua Fighter, and Tekken, as developers saw the popularity of Street Fighter 2 at arcades and on consoles. If you play any modern fighting game, its existence may not exist had it not been for Street Fighter 2.

7. Space Invaders

Space Invaders
Gaming could look very different without Space Invaders. While it did spawn many clones, it is the long-term impact of the game that makes it influential, with it helping the popularity of arcade games, which made developing arcade games a more profitable venture for developers. Without Space Invaders, some early consoles may not have been as popular, and arcades may not have thrived in the 80s.

6. Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III was first released for the PlayStation 2 and brought the series to the 3D world thanks to the increased power of the PS2. Since then, all of the main series games have been in 3D, and the series has helped inspire many clones and similar titles such as Rockstar’s own Red Dead Redemption, Mafia, Saints Row, Wheelman, The Godfather, and even The Simspons: Hit and Run. Since its release, GTA has gone on to become one of the largest IPs in gaming, with the latest game, GTA V, setting seven Guinness World Records in its first few weeks of release, as well as generating over $1 billion in revenue in its first three days of release.

5. World of Warcraft

While not the first MMORPG, World of Warcraft certainly took the genre to new heights and is still incredibly popular today over 17 years later. World of Warcraft is the blueprint for what an MMORPG should be, and many games have attempted to replicate its style, gameplay, and monetization model in their own way, with titles such as The Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic taking clear inspiration from the game. World of Warcraft has also become a part of pop culture, being featured in TV shows such as South Park and The Big Bang Theory.

4. Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 brought the series to 3D in 1996 and was one of the first 3D platformers ever released, although the first one was Jumping Flash on the PlayStation that was released in 1995, which didn’t have anywhere close to the same level of impact. Super Mario 64 was a system seller for the N64 and helped introduced 3D gaming to the masses. Even today, Super Mario 64 is one of the best 3D platformers ever created and it still holds up incredibly well, which meant that a lot of developers looked to it for inspiration on how to make a great 3D platformer and its impact can still be felt in the industry today.

3. Doom

Although not the first FPS game ever created, it is certainly the most important and influential. Released in 1993, DOOM helped introduced the 3D FPS genre to gamers thanks to its Shareware version which was readily available and offered players the chance to play a part of the game for free, essentially a demo before demos were common. What is also ironic is, DOOM isn’t even a 3D game from a design standpoint, although from the player’s perspective it looks and plays like it is 3D. Following its release, we began seeing plenty of DOOM clones, with some of the best being Duke Nukem 3D and Blood.

2. Super Mario Bros.

Following the video game crash of 1983, it was unclear whether we would see gaming become popular again as the public lost a lot of confidence in the new form of entertainment. In 1985 Nintendo released the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System which came bundled with Super Mario Bros and the rest is history. Super Mario Bros almost single handily saved the gaming industry, with the game being of high quality and being incredibly fun. NES consoles began flying off the shelves and Nintendo realized they had a hit on their hands and haven’t looked back since. In the years that followed, many companies began trying to emulate the success that Super Mario Bros had, as well as the Nintendo Entertainment System, with companies such as SEGA creating the Master System as well as the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise. When it comes to modern gaming as we know it, Super Mario Bros may be the most important game of all time.

1. Pong

This is where video games began. While not the very first game ever created, it was certainly the first incredibly popular game and helped introduced gaming to the world, which then made it viable to create more games and consoles. Without the popularity of Pong, it is unclear whether we would have seen gaming become what it is with the likes of Nintendo and Atari getting into the video game market early on and producing legendary titles that transformed the industry.

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