Video games were once seen as a niche hobby that some thought would be a passing fad but instead blossomed into one of the biggest industries in the world. Between console, mobile, and PC gaming, the video game industry now records around $200 billion in revenue each year. There are particular franchises that we can credit with video games becoming a staple of society.
What were the games that really set the tone? We’ve come up with five that changed the world, not based on gameplay, but on the impact that they had. These games had millions glued to their televisions or heading to the arcade, showing that video games should be taken seriously.
Super Mario Bros.
The “Super Mario Bros.” franchise is one of the most successful and widely known throughout the world, continuing to provide Nintendo lovers with endless entertainment. The creation of the “Super Mario Bros.” game for the NES came after its predecessor and the first game of the series, Mario Bros, an arcade game released in Japan in 1983.
Super Mario Bros and the NES console played important roles in reviving the video game industry after the video game crash in 1983. It also made way for other 16-bit games, like “Super Metroid”, “Street Fighter ll”, and “Sonic the Hedgehog”.
The third installment of the “Wolfenstein” video game series, “Wolfenstein 3D” has been dubbed the “grandfather of 3D shooters”. It was developed by id Software and later released in 1992 by Apogee Software and Formgen for PC. “Wolfenstein 3D” opened the door for future First Person Shooters and introduced action-packed and violent gameplay to the world of video games.
It quickly became the best-selling game in 1992 and saw over a quarter million copies sold within the three years following. There was no other game like it on the market. It helped lead the way to the development of games like “Call of Duty”, “Doom”, and “GoldenEye 007”.
One of the first arcade games, “Pong” was released in 1972 after Allan Alcorn developed the game as a training task given to him by Atari’s co-founder Nolan Bushnell. The founders of Atari enjoyed Alcorn’s creation so much, they began production of the simple, yet exciting ping-pong-style video game.
The release of “Pong” sent players into a frenzy and it became an instant hit, leading to the release of Home Pong by Atari, sold exclusively through Sears. Many credit that move by Atari to be the first successful move in welcoming the era of home video game consoles.
Grand Theft Auto
The first game of the series, “Grand Theft Auto” was released in 1997 for the PC and PlayStation and in 1999 for the Gameboy Color. The extremely popular action/RP game was surrounded by controversy even before it had been released due to the violent subject matter and the concern of parents over an increase of violence in video games over the years.
The game still launched and went on to become a hit amongst players and went on to be one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. In fact, “Grand Theft Auto V” has generated over $6 billion in revenue for Rockstar.
In 1978, Japanese developer Tomohiro Nishikado came up with the idea for “Space Invaders” after seeing that other arcade shooting games were taking off in the west. In “Space Invaders”, you play as a spaceship shooting at lines of UFOs that are slowly (at first) dropping down bit by bit until they’re all gone.
“Space Invaders” operated on a scoring system, and the appeal across both North America and Japan made the game a contest amongst friends. As a result, there were quarters being pumped into machines at all hours of the day, resulting in billions of dollars in revenue. Because of “Space Invaders”, arcade-style video games were taken seriously as a good business model for manufacturers.