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Gaming's Innovative History

By lunar13
  • Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device - First Digital Game

     Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device - First Digital Game
    Although not the world's first digital game the Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device is widely believed to be the first interactive electronic game; however some may debate that fact. It was a simple missile simulator that used overlays to indicate targets. The device was constructed using analog circuitry, as opposed to digital and as a result can't really be called the first video game however it did inspire further development of the technology.
  • NIM - Instructions.

    NIM - Instructions.
    Also known as NIMROD, NIM was the first digital game (still no video display here) complex enough to require instructions. Massivly simple by today's terms the rules of NIM were printed on the computer itself.
  • OXO - First Video Game

    OXO - First Video Game
    Also known as naughts & crosses; OXO was the worlds first video game. Developed by Alexander Douglas the simple program was played by a single player competeing against the computer using a rotary telephone controller. OXO was first programed by Mr. Douglas as an illustration for his Ph.D. thesis on human-computer interaction, no one knew what joy other similar programs would bring people years later.
  • Tennis for Two - Multiplayer

    Tennis for Two - Multiplayer
    For the first time in gaming's short lifespan multiplayer was possible. Tennis for Two was a simple game using an oscilloscope as the graphical display. It depected the path of a simulated ball and two paddles, one controlled by each of the players. It was a simple competitive game designed to stave off the boredom of visitors to Brookhaven National Laboratory.
  • Space War! - Multiple

    Space War! - Multiple
    Space War laid the basics for what we percive a game to be today. It was the first interactive digital game to have the player represented by an 'Avatar'. It was the first game to include weapons and projectiles. Thusly it was also the first game to have enemies interact with each other and collid. Utilizing vector graphics in a game for the first time Space War! set developers on track showing them what a game could be!
  • Computer Space - First Coin-Opperated Game

    Computer Space - First Coin-Opperated Game
    The arcade had to start somewhere and computer space was it's begining. This game was the first commercially available coin opperated unit. The machine was created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney who would later go on to found Atari. The game itself was nothing special but it started a gaming boom that would last through the 80s and into the 90s.
  • Pong - Sound

    Pong - Sound
    Gaming was a silent venture up until the appearance of pong. Single handedly popularizing gaming to the general public pong has become a legend in the industry. It's contribution to the gaming history books however was the inclusion of sound. Yes pong was the very first interactive video game to include any form of audio.
  • Shooting Gallery - Light Gun

    Shooting Gallery - Light Gun
    Originally created by Ralph Baer, Shooting Gallery was acctually a bundle of four games for the included light gun input device. This bundle was in fact the first time the light gun had been used in a video game.
  • Lunar Lander - Side-Scrolling

    Lunar Lander - Side-Scrolling
    Originating as a text based game before making it's way to the DEC GT40 graphics terminal in 1973 Lunar Lander is a great example of the worlds first games. It was the 1973 incarnation of Lunar Lander that was historically significant however, it was the first game to incorporate side-scrolling technology into it's gameplay.
  • Maze War - First Person Perspective

    Maze War - 	First Person Perspective
    The first person perspective has become a popular camera point int today's titles. Maze wasr is one of if not the first example of the first person view appearing in a game.
  • pedit5 - Role-Playing Game

    Designed to emulate the experience of established pen & paper role-playing games pedit5 was the first computerized roleplaying game. Programed by Rusty Rutherford at Southern Illinois University the game's strange name came about as an attempt to disguise it as a legitimate program and not a game on the university mainframe. Sadly it was eventually discovered and deleted; pedit5 has since been rewritten.
  • Gran Trak 10 - The Racing Genre + Realistic Driving Controls + ROM

    Gran Trak 10 - The Racing Genre + Realistic Driving Controls + ROM
    Developed by the fledgling software company, Atari, Gran Trak 10 marked the begining of the racing genre. Featuring a timer, basic track, score board and simple sprite cars it was well thought out for a first attempt. It's controls, steering wheel, gearbox, pedals, etc were all firsts in the arcades and it was also the first game to utilize a Read-Only Memory Chip or ROM for short.
  • Indy 800 - Multiple

    Indy 800 - Multiple
    Indy 800 was quite an impressive arcade unit to look upon. boasting 8 independant sets steering wheels and pedals it was the first game to offer 8 player gaming goodness. In addition it was also the first game to feature true RGB color, an impressive feature for the mid 70s.
  • Gun Fight - Destructible Terrain

    Gun Fight - Destructible Terrain
    This early dueling game depicted players as old west cowboys gunning for one another. It introduced the concept of destructable Terrain and consequently was the first game to ever be imported to another country. Additionally it was the first game to be run on a microprocesser making it by far the fastest gun in the industry at the time.
  • Heavyweight Champ - Hand-to-hand combat

    Heavyweight Champ - Hand-to-hand combat
    This simple black & white boxing arcade title was in fact the first video game to feature hand-to-hand fighting. It could be considered the forbearer to the fighting genre itself.
  • Colossal Cave Adventure - Multiple

    Colossal Cave Adventure - Multiple
    This early computer game was an innovator in many respects. It was the first computerized advenutre game. As such it was also the first title to feature an interactive story and items. All these new gameplay aspects made for a unique game in it's time. Plenty of similar text based games spawned from this game's innovations; ideas that later resulted in the booming RPG genre.
  • Blockade - AI That Traps the Player

    Blockade - AI That Traps the Player
    Taking inspiration from 'snake' Blockade is the first game that includes AI that activly tries to trap the player completely. Rather than simply trying to destroy the player this AI will attempt to best impede the players path until it can trap him/her completely.
  • Sea Wolf - Multiple

    Sea Wolf - Multiple
    Designed by Midway Sea Wolf was a complex arcade cabinet. Incorperating a parascope to mimic that of a real submarine it was technically the first game to immerse the play in our current concept of virtual reality. The high score was another new feature brought about by this 70s title an idea that would be more than heavily used through the golden age of the arcade.
  • Mattel Auto Race - First Handheld Game

    Mattel Auto Race - First Handheld Game
    This timeline focuses on the innovation that further the game experience itself not most hardware advances, however, handheld gaming was a huge step that changed the way we enjoyed our games. This simple handheld was the first of it's kind, for the first time consumers were able to game on the go. It is an innovation that has brought our hobby a great deal of freedom.
  • Subs - Multi-Monitor Support

    Subs - Multi-Monitor Support
    The first arcade unit to boast more than one monitor this innovative title put that feature to good use. With each monitor situation facing away from one another players could not 'screen look' in this competitive submarine simulation.
  • Atari Basketball - Jumping

    Atari Basketball - Jumping
    Jumping is a big part of the sport of basketball so of course no game based on the real thing would be complete without the ability to do so. Atari Basketball makes it's way into the history books of gaming for giving us the ability to jump for the first time.
  • Atari Football - Scrolling Screen + Trackball

    Atari Football - Scrolling Screen + Trackball
    Adding to their collection of early sports games the Atari Football coin-op was an innovative machine. Incorperating scrolling technology where the screen would activly follow the action and a trackball it was a unique experience at the time. As with most of the fledgling contributions of Atari this football simulator helped to usher in the golden age of the Arcade.
  • Firetruck - Cooperative Multiplayer

    Firetruck - Cooperative Multiplayer
    Continueing Atari's innovative streak the release of the Fire Truck arcade game saw the invention of cooperative multiplayer in gaming. It was certainly a weird take on two player gaming however as one player would control the steering whilst the other the pedals.
  • Sky Raider - Vertical Scrolling

    Sky Raider - Vertical Scrolling
    Tasked with piloting a bomber with the soul mission of destroying as many targets as possible Sky Raider was a simple Arcade title. Making use of vertical scrolling technology for the first time it was one of gamings earliest innovators.
  • Space Invaders - Multiple

    Space Invaders - Multiple
    Easily one of the most famous games and arcade titles of all time Space Invaders certainly left it's mark on gamers everywhere. It gained so much popularity it was the first game to bebrought from the arcade to the home console for all to enjoy. This major move brought gamers everywhere hope that they may be able to enjoy their favorite arcade masterpieces from the comfort of their own home. Space invaders was also the first game to feature an infinite number of levels.
  • MUD - Multiple

    MUD - Multiple
    MUD standing for Multi User Dungeon was the worlds first massivly multiplayer game and by an odd twist of fate also the first game to communicate via computer networks. Developed by a student at Essex University it ran on their network for years and spawned countless similar text based RPGs.
  • Ozma Wars - Multiple Levels

    Ozma Wars - Multiple Levels
    As games grew more complex it was only a matter of time before the need for levels came about. Ozma Wars was the game to pioneer the idea of multiple levels to gamers.
  • Warrior - Fighting Genre

    Warrior - Fighting Genre
    Whilst Heavyweight Champ was the first game to feature hand to hand combat future fighting games didn't really draw any inspiration from that attempt. This vector based game pits two knights against each other in a fight to the death and much more closely ressembles the direction the genre went. As a result Warrior is one of the greatest pioneers of the fighting genre.
  • Asteroids - High Score Board

    Asteroids - High Score Board
    High score boards didn't exist until Asteroids blasted it's way into arcades in 1979. The highly popular arcade classic introduced them giving competitive players something semi permanent to shoot for in the arcades of old.
  • Galaxian - Player Status Icons

    Galaxian - Player Status Icons
    Resembling and building upon the gameplay introduced by the famous arcade hit Space Invaders. Galaxian was in many respects a game trying to emulate a legends. It did however introduce the concept of graphical icons being used to display basic player information such as weapon counts and lives remaining.
  • Carnival - Bonus Stage

    Carnival - Bonus Stage
    Hitting the arcades sometime in 1980 Carnival was the first game to include a true bonus round. Gamers have since enjoy many incarnations of this feature always adding a nice little diversion from the main experience.
  • Stratovox - Voice

    Stratovox - Voice
    Although not a classic Stratovox left it's mark on the industry as the first game to include synthesised speech. Developed by Sun Electronics the release of this title allowed games to talk to us for the first time rather than rely on simple text.
  • Monaco GP - Full Colour Racing game

    Monaco GP - Full Colour Racing game
    This early racer improved upon the RGB colour featured in Indy 800 to be the first racer to display in full colour. Designed by SEGA the game was, as it's name implies, themed on the Monaco Grand Prix. Overall it was a sturdy game and was well played.
  • Defender - Multiple

    Defender - Multiple
    In the earliest days of game development it wasn't uncommon to see a plethora of new ideas with each new game; some caught on, some didn't. Defender was a game with a lot of new concepts and most of them stuck! For one it featured the very first mini-map, a highly useful feature and second Defender provided players with an alternative weapon from their primary one; a number of smart bombs for getting out of sticky situations.
  • Rogue - Multiple

    Rogue - Multiple
    Originally designed and written by Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold Rogue was a simple adventure game that proved popular on college networks for many years. It was the first game of it's type to inclue graphics, all previous attempts being purely text based. In addition it was also the first RPG adventure to have it's cntent procedurally generated making for a somewhat unique dungeon and experience each time.
  • Mystery House - Adventure Game with Graphics

    Mystery House - Adventure Game with Graphics
    Written and Designed by Ken and Roberta Williams, the couple that founded Sierra, Mystery House was an innovative adventure game. The first of it's kind to feature graphics alongside the largely text based gameplay it was certainly a step in the right direction for the genre.
  • Rally X - Multiple

    Rally X - Multiple
    An interesting maze-like racing game Rally X innovated on two fronts. Firstly Rally X introduced gamers to the simple concept of background music. The game featured several quality tracks that set the tone for the races. Second it incorperated complex 4- direction scrolling, another first for the industry.
  • Pac-Man - Power-Ups

    Pac-Man - Power-Ups
    Pioneering the power-up Pac-Man was the first to implement this feature that went on to be a standard in most games going forward. It was a title that became one of the all time greatest classics of the gaming medium.
  • Crazy Climber - Adaptive Music

    Crazy Climber - Adaptive Music
    Another pioneering arcade title Crazy Climber was designed by Nihon Bussan in the early 80s and subsequently released for several home consoles. The music featured in this game would adapt to the situation alerting the player of danger and other such events with audio cues. This was the first time a feature like this had appeared in a game.
  • Tempest - Level Skipping

    Tempest - Level Skipping
    With Ozma Wars introducing multiple levels to gaming Tempest was the first to allow players to skip these levels to opt to play later, more difficult ones.
  • Gorf - Waves

    Gorf - Waves
    A multi mission fixed shooter developed by Midway "Galactic Orbiting Robot Force" (Gorf) was a relativly successful arcade title. It was the first game to introduce multiple 'waves' into it's gameplay appearing as a series of 5 distinctive missions.
  • Astro Blaster - Time Manipulation

    Astro Blaster - Time Manipulation
    We've seen time manipulation in racing games, shooters, platformers and more but this game developed by Sega and hitting the arcades in 1981 was the first to put the idea to use. In Astro Blaster the player could slow down time for 10 seconds hopefully helping them to survive a sticky situation!
  • Donkey Kong - Multiple

    Donkey Kong - Multiple
    This early Nintendo title earned quite the reputation in the arcades of old. Those barrels we would have to be so careful to avoid were in fact the first moving objects players would have to leap over in order to survive. It was also the first game to incorperate a timer on each level giving it a rushed and frantic feel. These factors being totally new to gamers at the time ensured that Donkey Kong was a challenge to conquer.
  • Space Fury! - Colour Vector Graphics.

    Space Fury! - Colour Vector Graphics.
    Whilst Space War! was the first title to make use of vectorized graphics Space Fury was the first to implement colour into said graphics. An early multi-directional shooter developed by Sega Space Fury was moderately successful in it's time and featured fairly unique gameplay.
  • Robotron: 2084 - Vid Kidz

    Robotron: 2084 - Vid Kidz
    Previous to Robotron 2084's debut gamers were forced to fire in the direction their avatar was facing. This now classic arcade title changed that introducing the concept of aiming and moving independantly of one another.
  • Joust - Cooperative & Competitive Play

    Joust - Cooperative & Competitive Play
    This early 80s title brough with it both cooperate and competitive; it was the first time both had been available in the course of the same game. The thing is the cooperaterative aspect was not enforced, players could kill each other but the main goal for each player was to outscore the other by killing the AI enemies not each other.
  • Utopia - The Construction Sim Genre

    Utopia - The Construction Sim Genre
    Back in the early 80s the lines between genres had yet to be drawn, as a result often times the gameplay experiences to be had were a mish mash of what we would be familliar with in 2010. Utopia could be regarded as one of the first sim games or god games with loose ties to RTS. It was however much more focused on the building aspect, as such Utopia marked the begining of the building simulation genre which would some day herald such classics as Sim City.
  • Sinistar - Multiple

    Sinistar - Multiple
    Classed as a 'twitch game' back in the golden age of the arcade this title was developed by Williams Electronics. Sinistar brought with it stereo and digitized speech both gaming firsts. As technology developed quickly during the era games were always quick to snap up new ways to wow their audience. In addition to the advances on the audio front Sinistar was also the first arcade title to sport a 49-Way Joystick, a level or precision required for a twitch shooter.
  • Period: to

    Golden Age of the Arcade

    For years the Arcades were the place to be if you were a gaming enthusiast or if you just wanted to waste some time and Quarters. 1982 was a brilliant year for these gaming venues with an incredible number of new games being released all at once. As technology advanced and home consoles became more prevalent the Arcade's success slowly receded. Arguably it was the release of the Nintendo Entertainment system that truly took the Arcade's thunder.
  • Zaxxon - Isometric Perspective

    Zaxxon - Isometric Perspective
    Stuck in the 2D plane since it's inception gaming was extremely limited on the graphics front even in the 80s. Introducing the isometric perspective Zaxxon introduced a new plane of existence for future games. Although in no way true 3D this new step forward in graphic design did amaze people in it's time.
  • Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Cloudy Mountain - Permanent In Game Equipment

    Released for the Intellivision in 1982 D&D: CM tasked the player with exploring randomly generated scrolling dungeons. Throughout their adventure players would collect loot and treasure to further their escapades. This early RPG was the first to allow players to use their loot for something more than extra points; rewarding the adventurer with permanent equipable loot, a gaming first.
  • Dig Dug - First Game Advertised in the Cinema

    Dig Dug - First Game Advertised in the Cinema
    Designed by Namco as an arcade title Dig Dug proved quite popular in the gaming community. This popularity might have been due to a strong marketing drive however as Dig Dug was teh first game to be advertised in national cinemas. This was quite an accomplishment for the fledgeling gaming industry at the time. It meant games were being recognized as a lucrative and promising investment.
  • Q*bert - Multiple

    Q*bert - Multiple
    Q*bert is a significantly well known arcade title with quite a legacy behind it. The alien dialect featured in the game was the first instance of randomized speech in a video game. Innovating further on the audio front Q*bert included an additional sound source beyond the standard fare speakers. Located within the bowels of the arcade unit was a solenoid that emitted a 'knocking' sound whenever Q*bert fell off the level.
  • Tron - First Movie Game

    Tron - First Movie Game
    Following the motion picture released the same year Tron made history for being the first gamne to tie in with a movie. It was a big step for the gaming industry being recognized by the bigger business of Hollywood.
  • Moon Patrol Parallax Scrolling

    Moon Patrol  Parallax Scrolling
    Creating the illusion of depth Moon Patrol was the first game to incorperate a feature known as 'Parallax Scrolling'. This simple visual trick involved two seperate background images scrolling at different speeds. It was an effective technique that made our game worlds that much bigger.
  • Custer’s Revenge - First Adult Game

    Custer’s Revenge - First Adult Game
    An incredibly simplistic and controversial title, Custer's Revenge was the world's first adult video game. It certainly wasn't a winner gameplay wise or graphics wise but it opened up the medium to a whole host of new 'content'
  • River Raid - Procedural Landscape Generation

    River Raid - Procedural Landscape Generation
    First released for the Atari 2600 River Raid was a popular side scrolling shooter. River Raid was also the first game to incorperate procedural landscape generation into it's gameplay. It was quite a powerful innovation that has added a great deal of replayability to our games.
  • Stonkers - The RTS Genre

    Stonkers - The RTS Genre
    While Utopia was the first construction Simulator it also laid the groundwork for the RTS genre. Unsurprisingly only a year later Imagine Software released Stonkers for the ZX Spectrum. The game, despite being plagued by bugs, shared a lot in common with modern RTS titles. Many consider it to be the earliest example of a true real-time strategy game.
  • Crossbow - Fully Digitized Audio

    Crossbow - Fully Digitized Audio
    Developed by Exidy Crossbow was a light gun based arcade title of that was later ported to a variety of hom consoles. Alongside impressive graphics, for the time, Crossbow was the first game to offer fully digitized sound and speech.
  • Portraits - Photography Based Gameplay

    Portraits - Photography Based Gameplay
    Neither Fatal Frame nor Pokemon Snap pioneered camera use as a gameplay mechanic. Portraits a side scrolling safari and photography game did however. The arcade unit also contained a real camera that took a picture of the high scoring player when the game was complete.
  • Spy Hunter - Shooting in a Driving Game

    Spy Hunter - Shooting in a Driving Game
    Developed and released by Bally Midway in the early 80s Spy Hunter was initially a very popular arcade title. It enjoyed continued success in the arcades for years to come proving to be a solid and innovative driving game. It introduced vehicular combat to the genre allowing the player to shoot and gun down the competition for the first time behind the wheel.
  • Dragon's Lair - Quick-time Event + Interactive Cutscenes

    Dragon's Lair - Quick-time Event + Interactive Cutscenes
    Originally released on laser disc in 1983 Dragon's Lair was the first title to introduce the world to a feature that would later be dubbed as the 'Quick-time Event'. As such it was the first game to offer interactive cinematics, all visualized in pleasant disney style animation. It is a title that went on to find it's place among the all time best arcade classics. Sadly many years later it's innovation, the 'Quick-time Event' hasn't aged quite as well as this sought after classic.
  • Journey - Multiple

    Journey - Multiple
    Popular 80s band 'Journey' released an arcade title to coinside with their new album 'Frontiers' this is that game. It was the first time licenced music had been used in an interactive game, a major marketing step for the medium. In addition Journey was the first game to ultilize digitized sprites, a visual technique that become incredibly popular in years to come.
  • I, Robot - Continues

    I, Robot - Continues
    Continuing to build upon the quickly growing gaming industry I, Robot was the first game to introduce the concept of the Continue. Of course the feature has since become widely used and extremely popular in certain genres.
  • Spy Vs Spy - Split Screen

    Spy Vs Spy - Split Screen
    Released on a variety of gaming mediums Spy vs. Spy was an innovative game that was perhaps the first to introduce split screen play.
  • Enchanted Scepters - Point & Click

    Enchanted Scepters - Point & Click
    Developed with the World Builder adventure authoring system and released for the Apple Macintosh, Enchanted Scepters was possibly the first title to introduce the point and click to digital adventurers.
  • Tetris - Falling Block Puzzler

    Tetris - Falling Block Puzzler
    Although the puzzle genre had already been established and taken on many forms Tetris was the first to feature falling blocks in it's unique brand of gameplay. It is a design choice that has become so common in puzzle games that it can almost be considered a genre all it's own.
  • Alice in Wonderland - Items That Physically Alter Your Avatar

    In the first video game adaption of the classical tale of Alice in Wonderland players find items that for the first time in gaming physically alter their avatar. Certain mushrooms and cakes cause Alice to grow, just like in the story. It was one of the first times items in games had a use beyond simply being keys or 'plot devices'.
  • Little Computer People - Life/Pet Simulator

    Little Computer People - 	Life/Pet Simulator
    Introducing the world to the concept of the life/pet simulator Little Computer People was the first of it's kind. It was released for a plethora of Opperating Systems and even made it's way to Japan. Little Computer People is responsible for the genre that has given us Tamagotchi, Catz and Nintendogs.
  • Balance of Power - Diplomacy

    Balance of Power - Diplomacy
    Clearly influenced by the aftermath of the Cold War, Balance of Power was a strategy game originally released for the Apple Macintosh. It was also the first title to introduce a true diplomatic element to it's gameplay, a feature that went on to see heavy use in games such as the Civilization series.
  • The Bard's Tale - Multiple

    The Bard's Tale - Multiple
    Designed and programed by Michael Cranford was an early computer fantasy RPG. The game brought with it two major features that are almost everpresent in todays games of the same genre. It's first notable innovation is the inclusion of summonable pets/monsters under the players control. It's second addition to the genre is even more of a modern day staple than the ability to call upon demons to do your bidding; it was the first game to allow the player to set their hero's class at the outset.
  • Super Mario Bros. - Multiple

    Super Mario Bros. - Multiple
    One of the most played and most well known games ever; Super Mario Bros is a true classic if there ever was one. It popularized gaming in a way no previous game had and it brought with it a plethora of innovations. It was the first game, of many, to depict jumping as an attack. Mario Bros was the first to reward item collection with extra lives. Finally Super Mario Bros was also the first game to divide worlds into sub levels.
  • Chiller - First Horror Game

    Chiller - First Horror Game
    Easily one of the most violent games of the era Chiller is widely considered the first horror game. The honour could in fact go to the first dracula game, released the same year, however most sources indicate Chiller was first.
  • Darius - Three Game Screens

    Darius - Three Game Screens
    With a screen three times wider than the conventional size Darius was the first game to boast an impressive three game screens. On the arade unit each screen was devoted to a seperate display a feature that stood out in gaming venues. Three screens made for a massive playing field for the gamer one that can very rarely be recreated without a special setup. Sadly the image featured had to be cropped, otherwise the playing field would be a great deal longer.
  • The Legend of Zelda - Save Backed-up by Battery

    The Legend of Zelda - Save Backed-up by Battery
    The Zelda franchise has always been a highly innovative and successful one and the first in the series was no different. It put ideas together to form a gaming masterpiece that has been well loved over the years. It was the first game to have a save file backed up by a battery stored within the cartridge. This allowed Nintendo to supply us with a richer, longer adventure, one worthy of the respect the franchise recieves.
  • Leather Goddesses of Phobos - Scratch & Sniff Cards

    Leather Goddesses of Phobos - Scratch & Sniff Cards
    Certainly an off the wall innovation but Leather Goddesses of Phobos was the first game to include scratch & sniff cards. Stranger still they were used as a form of copy protection, during different parts of the game the player would be asked to identify the smells contained on one of seven numbered cards. It is an interesting idea but one that has died off and lost it's effect in today's modern gaming climate.
  • Metroid - Non-linear Action Adventure

    Metroid - Non-linear Action Adventure
    The first entry in the fabled Metroid series is also coincidently the first action-adveture title to allow the player freedom of explorations through the game's world. Yes it was the first non-linear title of the genre a feature the series has become somewhat famous for. Guiding Samus Aran through the trecherous depths of the planet Zebes always kept us gamers on our toes.
  • Echelon - Microphone Voice Commands

    Another Comadore 64 game that was leading the innovative edge of the gaming industry in the mid 80s. Echelon is the earliest known game to incorporate microphone based voice commands into it's gameplay. It is a feature that many remain skeptical about even today but it certainly has always had potential.
  • MIDI Maze - 16 Player FPS

    MIDI Maze - 16 Player FPS
    Ever pushing our networks to the limit MIDI Maze is the first FPS title to support 16 players simultaniously. 16 is argueably an important number for the genre as many FPS titles are indeed most enjoyable around this player limit. The game was released several times for a number of home consoles even finding a home in later years on the SNES.
  • Otocky - Music Composed by the Player

    Otocky - Music Composed by the Player
    Exploring new levels of interaction Otocky, released in Japan, was the first game to allow players to create their own music through playing the game. A side-scrolling shooter notes were generated by shooting in one of 8 directions. Otocky came complete with a music edititor cementing it's status as a musical game.
  • Megaman - Choice of Level Order + Idle Animations

    Megaman - Choice of Level Order + Idle Animations
    Mega Man was the first character to be given idle animations in a game. Prior to our blue friend sprites would just sit there dead still if you weren't playing. In addition Mega Man was also the game where players could choose what order to conquer it's levels in.
  • VAX Monster - In-Game Content Editor

    A game ahead of it's own time VAX Monster took player generated content to a new level. Due to the fact that MUDs were so simplistic in nature they could do things far more complex and advanced, things that other games could only dream of at the time. As a result VAX Monster enabled players to write content and descriptions live in game telling their own story how they wished it to be experienced.
  • Blaster Master - Multiple Distinctive Play Styles

    Blaster Master - Multiple Distinctive Play Styles
    Originally released in Japan Blaster Master was later localized and ported to North America and Europe. It was the first game to include two ver distinctive game 'modes'. Driving their trusty tank, SOPHIA, was a completely different experience than controling the protagonist on foot. These highly different styles were meshed together seemlessly adding a great deal of depth to the title.
  • Final Fantasy II - Stat Progression Through Use

    Final Fantasy II - Stat Progression Through Use
    Taking the focus away from set skills and stat progression per level the second true installment to the Final Fantasy legacy went with a far more dynamic approach. Your party in game would gain stats relavent to the skills they use. Cast a spell: their magic stat rises, hit something with their sword: their strength is bolstered. Overall the system feels more realistic than the stardard leveling curve.
  • Kick Off - Non-sticky Ball

    Kick Off - Non-sticky Ball
    Released by Dino Dini for MS-DOS and several home consoles Kick Off was made into a series of soccer games. It was the first sports game to force the player to maneuver with the ball to keep some level of ball control as it would not attack itself to players like in orevious games. This feature added a great deal of challenge and a certain amount of chaos to the mix.
  • Populous - God Game Genre

    Populous - God Game Genre
    The first of the true "God" Games Populous was a huge step forward for gaming creating a genre for those of us who want to give megalomania a try. It was a critically acclaimed PC title and one of the first titles from which Peter Molyneux made a name for himself.
  • A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia - Ally Commands

    A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia - Ally Commands
    Designed by David Crane and released for the NES (and later the virtual console) A Boy and His Blob was the first game to give the player any real say in what their companion in a game does. Pioneering player to NPC commands in a game they were the main focus of this title's gameplay.
  • Sweet Home - Survival Horror

    Sweet Home - Survival Horror
    Bringing to life the popular survival horror genre Sweet Home was the first game of it's kind. Taking control of a group of 5 photographers investigating a 'haunted' mansion the team find themselves trapped inside and fighting for their lives. Popular titles such as Resident Evil drew inspiration directly from Sweet Home's design.
  • Armada 2525 - Research

    Armada 2525 -  Research
    Adding an extra layer of complexity onto the strategy genre this title, developed by Interstel, gave birth to the concept of in-game research. The player could improve their technology in an effort to open up new possibilities and their existing capabilities. This is a highly significant innovation; it is rare to come across a modern strategy game that does not include some form of research advancement.
  • 4D Boxing - Avatar Editor

    4D Boxing - Avatar Editor
    Pioneering the concept of the character editor, 4D Boxing, a sports title developed by Distinctive Software was the first game to allow the player to change their in game persona's appearance. Though the graphics were composed of crude polygons in the era of very early 3D the feature still added an interesting level of customization.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog - Multiple

    Sonic the Hedgehog - Multiple
    Sega's answer to the runaway hit Super Mario Bros was the faster running Sonic the Hedgehog. Pioneering the concept that collectables were your life it made for an interesting and panicked gameplay experience. In addition Sonic was certainly the fastest of the playformers it's speed a direct influence on the gameplay adding challenge and action to the mix.
  • Monkey Island 2 - Dynamic & Contextual Music

    Monkey Island 2 - Dynamic & Contextual Music
    The second outing of the classic Monkey Island series utilized the iMuse Sound System. This brilliant bit of programming ensured the game's music would constantly match the on screen action changing in The second outing of the classic Monkey Island series utilized the iMuse Sound Sytem. This brilliant bit of programming ensured the game's music would constantly match the on screen action changing in coorilation to any major events the player may face. to any major events the player may face.
  • Civilization - Tech-Tree

    Civilization - Tech-Tree
    Bringing complexity to a whole new level Civilization introduced the concept of a technology tree. The game achieved a level of depth that very few at the time could match; so complex even that games could last for days at a time.
  • Dōkyūsei (Classmates) - Dating Sim

    Dōkyūsei (Classmates) - Dating Sim
    In Japan the Dating Sim is a highly popular genre and while it doesn't look like it'll become a mainstream passtime in the western world it is certainly still a noteable class of game. Dōkyūsei (Classmates) was most likely the first of it's kind adding it's own unique take on gaming to the industry
  • Shadoworlds - Gameplay Effected by Lighting

    Shadoworlds - Gameplay Effected by Lighting
    Developed by Krisalis Software Shadoworlds is a relativly unknown sci-fi RPG. Despite being somewhat lost to gaming history it was an innovator and deserves recognition for it's efforts. Shadoworlds was the first game to utilize lighting as a gameplay mechanic rather than symply an aesthetic touch.
  • OpenGL - Multiple

    OpenGL - Multiple
    Light bloom, software rendered shaders and tone mapping are all among the innovative achievments of the widely used OpenGL Engine. Originally developed by Silicon Graphics the engine has come a long way since it's roots in 1992. It is still maintained today and can often be found incorperated into our favorite games.
  • The Incredible Machine - Puzzle Physics

    The Incredible Machine - Puzzle Physics
    Bringing puzzle games to a new level The Incredible Machine, developed by Dynamix, was the first in the industry to introduce physics to the genre. It was a noteworthy innovation that developed to bring us today's complex puzzlers such as Portal.
  • Wolfenstein 3D - Ray Casting

    Wolfenstein 3D - Ray Casting
    Wolfenstein utilised an interesting graphical trick known as Ray Casting. This technique was used to generate the game's walls and scaled sprites creating a simple but effective technique that the FPS genre relied on heavily for years. Wolf 3D is also the title that popularized the FPS genre and to many is an all time classic.
  • Wolverine Adamantium Rage - Regenerating Health

    Wolverine Adamantium Rage - Regenerating Health
    No it was not Halo 2 that pioneered the use of regenerating health in gaming it was this much earlier title that found it's home on the SNES and Sega Genesis. The game proved incredibly difficult as it was and the self replenishing health bar was certainly a boon.
  • Magic Carpet - Bullfrog Productions

    Magic Carpet - 	Bullfrog Productions
    A game still considered innovative even today Magic Carpet was, in it's time, a visually impressive game featuring a cutting edge 3D graphics engine. Magic Carpet was also the first game to incorperate deformable terrain into it's gameplay design. While still rarely used today it is a feature that holds a great deal of promise for the future of our passion.
  • X-Men: Children of the Atom - Combo Meters

    X-Men: Children of the Atom - Combo Meters
    This X-Men arcade fighter was the first title to implement a red damage meter seperate from the overall yellow life total. It was used to visually alert the player how much damage they had taken or dished out in any one combo. It was a useful feature that has become standard fare in todays fighting games.
  • Marathon - Voice Chat

    Marathon - Voice Chat
    Believe it or not Bungie had a life before Halo and Marathon was in fact the second FPS game they released. It was a hit on the apple macintosh and pioneered the concept of in game voice chat. A worthy accomlishment for a company that would go on to bring us the likes of Halo.
  • The Realm Online - Multiple

    The Realm Online - Multiple
    Inspired by the graphical MUDs of the past The Realm Online was designed by Stephen Nichols in a time just before the term MMORPG was coined. It was the first online MMORPG to be released fully playable to the public. Also it was possibly the first game of it's kind to offer instanced combat making it very dial up friendly.
  • Chrono Trigger - Multiple Endings

    Chrono Trigger - Multiple Endings
    Chrono Trigger is a much beloved RPG first appearing on the Super Nintendo in 1995. It is famous for many things and was a wonderful and highly polished title. Innovation wise it was the first game to feature multiple endings based on the player's choices and progression through the game.
  • Tempo - Sega, Red Company

    Tempo - Sega, Red Company
    Dance and music rythm games have become immensely popular in recent years. They make perfect party and casual games which is probably why they sell so well. It was this 1995 title, Tempo, that got the ideas rolling paving the way for PaRappa the Rapper, DDR and Guitar Hero.
  • Quake - Online Multiplayer - FPS

    Quake - Online Multiplayer - FPS
    A feature that quickly became a genre standard Quake was the first game to introduce online multiplayer to first person shooter fans. As a result Quake became a legendary game and the first massivly competitive FPS to hit the market.
  • Quake - Lightmaps

    Quake - Lightmaps
    This title bearing the name of one of the most successful and well known franchises in the FPS was indeed an innovator itself. Quake brought with it an impressive new engine from which many games to come would be based upon. This new engine introduced "lightmaps" a new graphical feature that produced more realistic lighting than previous methods and was in many ways faster to compute.
  • PaRappa the Rapper - Interactive Music

    PaRappa the Rapper - Interactive Music
    One of the earliest rhythm games this title was released in Japan, North America and Europe the game garnered attention for it's unique graphics design and on some level it's intriguing gameplay. Interactive music was the name of the game here, while it wasn't the first Rhythm game it was the first to allow the player to interact directly with the music creating something that felt partially their own.
  • Diablo - Point & Click Action RPG

    Diablo - Point & Click Action RPG
    Expanding upon the now highly established RPG genre Diablo marked the birth of the point and click action RPG, It was a simpler faster paced offshoot of the standard and quickly became popular to a massive audience for it's more heated gameplay. Famous for many things both good and bad diablo is a true classic.
  • Silhouette Mirage - Character Polarity

    Silhouette Mirage - Character Polarity
    A feature debuting in 1997's Silhouette Mirage character polarity is a unique and creative idea. Allowing the player to change between two distinctive move sets by changing their avatar's facing adds a great deal of depth to the gameplay. Add in the fact that all enemies are immune to one of those two types of attack and you have an interesting mechanic. Character Polarity was put to wonderful use in 2001's Ikaruga.
  • Guitar Freaks - Guitar Controller

    Guitar Freaks - Guitar Controller
    Contrary to popular belief Guitar Hero was not the pioneer of electric guitar shaped game controllers. No this 1998 title developed by Bemani and published by Konami were the masterminds behind the sensation.
  • Starcraft - Blizzard

    Starcraft - Blizzard
    Previous to the launch of this classic the factions within the RTS genre were always somewhat similar. Starcraft introduced distinctive races with unique playing styles establishing itself as a genre standard.
  • Half-life - Story Driven FPS

    Half-life - Story Driven FPS
    Half-life proved to be a massive leap foreward for the FPS genre. Among it's achievements it was the first title of it's kind to introduce an in depth story and cinematic events that fleshed out the game's narrative.
  • Thief: The Dark Project - Multiple

    Thief: The Dark Project - Multiple
    Thief was an ambitious project in first person stealth gameplay. It was successful on many levels with intelligent and suspicious AI the player always felt hunted through the shadows. For the first time lighting and shadows had to be considered when sneaking about, the darkness a safe haven for our trusted thief. Players of this intelligent stealth title were also confronted with the choice to kill or merely knock out their adversaries throughout the course of their adventure.
  • Mario Party - Party Genre

    Mario Party - Party Genre
    Although many games predating Mario Party made wonderful multiplayer experiences it was the first to target the more social and casual style gaming groups. Mario Party created a new genre, the 'party' genre that has since grown significantly. Not even taking into account the Mario Party series the Wii has become a haven for games of this genre.
  • Requiem: Avenging Angel - Bullet Time

    Requiem: Avenging Angel -  Bullet Time
    Though many of you may be under the assumption that Max Payne was the first game to bring us 'Bullet Time' it was in fact Requiem: Avenging Angel to break that innovation. The game however never achieved popularity having been released a mere 6 months after the critically acclaimed half-life and overshadowed by Max Payne.
  • Home World - Multple

    Home World - Multple
    Well known for it's full three dimensional movement, an RTS first by the way, Homeworld was a succesful strategy game fesigned by Relic Entertainment. It incorperated a degree of non-linear scaling on the game's units as the camera was zoomed out. This perspective scaling made the game's unique brand of gameplay very accessable for smaller ships would be last in the vast 3-dimensional blackness of space otherwise.
  • Unreal Tournament - Dynamic Lightmaps

    Unreal Tournament - Dynamic Lightmaps
    The initial release of the now highly popular Unreal Tournament series brought with it Dynamic Lightmaps enriching it's graphical presentation.Lightmaps can cause a major hit on game performance and as such designers must balance quality and performance when designing a level's lighting. Dynamic Lightmaps made this a somewhat moot point as it allowed the complexity of an area's lightmaps to be scaled based on the computer running the game.
  • Vib Ribbon - Content Generated by Audio Input

    Vib Ribbon - Content Generated by Audio Input
    Released by Sony in late 1999 and designed by Japanese developer Masaya Matsuura Vib Ribbon was a popular rhythm game in the country of it's origin. Innovative by nature Vib Ribbon was the first game that was capable of generating unique levels from audio tracks. Audiosurf and other more modern games would draw much of their inspiration from this early contender.
  • Planescape: Torment - "True" & "Lie" Conversation Options

    Planescape: Torment - "True" & "Lie" Conversation Options
    Developed by the now bust Black Isle Studios this title was a very in-depth RPG. The story was well written and the conversations lengthy and interesting. Your choices meant everything as you progressed through the game and many of these choices were made in conversation. Planescape featured some creative replies you could choose in the midst of a chat with an NPC and their letting you lie or tell the truth to said NPCs was an interesting and unique concept at the time.
  • Deus Ex - Multiple Paths - FPS

    Deus Ex - Multiple Paths - FPS
    Deus Ex was the first game in it's genre to present the player with multiple diverging paths to take. It was a feature that added a great amount of replayability and depth to the game and with it the FPS genre grew a little more.
  • Black & White - Genstural Commands

    Black & White - Genstural Commands
    Our control over our games is always improving with new interfaces and designs each year brings us closer to true immersion. The god game, Black & White, brought us one step closer introducing gamers to their "Genstural Interface" a new and unique style of affecting our game's world.
  • Cosmic Smash - Multiple Endings in a Puzzle Game

    Cosmic Smash - Multiple Endings in a Puzzle Game
    An Arcade and Dreamcast title developed by Sega Cosmic Smash was a unique puzzler. Emulating a game of squash combined with gameplay reminiscent of "Breakout" the player had to break set blocks with their ball to progress. Occasionally Cosic Smash would throw a choice at the player, forcing them to decide how best to proceed; these choices had an effect on the game's ending.
  • Cube Engine - In-Engine Editing

    Cube Engine - In-Engine Editing
    First released to the public in early 2002 the Cube Engine was a highly unorthodox and unique piece of programing. Designed and supported by Wouter van Oortmerssen the engine has gone through many extensive updates having reached it's final version in 2005. The Cube Engine was unique in that it allowed for in-game editing allowing a developer a simpler and much more visual design process.
  • Eternal Darkness - Sainity Meter.

    Eternal Darkness - Sainity Meter.
    Adding a degree of humanity to the protagonist in Eternal Darkness not seen before in gaming Nintendo's Gamecube title introduces the concept of the 'Sanity Meter'. When the play is faced with disturbing events or is spotted by a monster this guage decreases illustrating the characters slipping grip on reality. Should bar fall too low the gamer would be prone to on screen hallucinations and other such levels of crazy.
  • Toontown Online - Restricted Chat

    Toontown Online - Restricted Chat
    Designed to keep children safe from predators during their internet adventures this MMO was the first to activly restrict a player's chat options. This kind of concept while very useful does not necissarily improve the gameplay experience; it does however have ut's uses and is a common feature of online childrens games in the modern age.
  • Defense of the Ancients - Massive Online Battle Arena Genre

    Defense of the Ancients - Massive Online Battle Arena Genre
    Although the genre MOBA wasn't coined until just recently Defense of the Ancients or DOTA was the first of it's kind. Originating in 2003 as a map made for Blizzard's Warcraft 3 it has proved a resounding success. The gameplay draws influences from RTS, RPG and in some ways the competitive feel of FPS to create an entirely unique experience that stands out on it's own. Many recent games have been released based upon the classic DOTA formula driving the genre into the public eye.
  • A Tale in the Desert - Online City Building

    A Tale in the Desert - Online City Building
    Bringing the joy of city building onto the vastness of the internet this 2003 title developed by eGenesis was a highly innovative endeavour. It was certainly the first online construction sim and enjoyed moderate success holding onto a niche market.
  • Source Engine- High Dynamic Range Imaging

    Source Engine- High Dynamic Range Imaging
    The last 10 years have been all about tech innovation rather than gameplay changes and few engines made as a big a mark on the industry as the source engine did. Debuting in 2004 with the release of Counter Strike Source it was the first time HDRI had featured in a video game. Valve, the engine's designers, continues to update their creation even today.
  • Eye Toy - Webcam Motion Control

    Eye Toy - Webcam Motion Control
    An innovative new interface device the Eye Toy was conceived by Richard Marks an ambitious project that garnered him the attention of Sony. Joined with Ron Festejo of SCE Camden Studio the Eye Toy sold well upon it's release. This user interface overlayed the game onto the webcam image of the player. It monitored the player's movements allowing them to interact somewhat directly with the game.
  • Doom 3 - Multiple

    Doom 3 - Multiple
    Doom 3 was not only advertised as being the long awaited next chapter in the classic Doom series but also a technical masterpiece. A lot of that marketing hype told the truth however as Doom 3 did indeed boast an impressive presentation. Doom 3 pioneered the use of vectorized textures and a new method of implementing volumetric shadows known as Z-Fail. The result was a gorgeous game dripping in atmosphere that did occasional scare.
  • World of Warcraft - Quest Centric MMO

    World of Warcraft - Quest Centric MMO
    Although many MMORPGs of the past included detailed quests World of Warcraft was the first to really centre the gameplay on the concept. These quests gave the player direction and reward changing the gameplay experience in an expected and often pleasant way. It was enough to popularize the genre with the gaming community allowing for much more casual players to enjoy the genre.
  • Shadow of the Colossus - Boss Centric Gameplay

    Shadow of the Colossus - Boss Centric Gameplay
    Taking an interesting approach on the action adventure genre shadow of the colossus combines zelda like gameplay with puzzle elements to create a very unique experience. The player must conquer a series of increasingly difficult bosses to complete the game. There are no minor enemies or even other NPCs to contend with just the player and the very boss like colossi.
  • Metroid Prime: Hunters - Fully Wireless Voice Chat

    Metroid Prime: Hunters - Fully Wireless Voice Chat
    Released for the Nintendo DS this spin-off of the incredibly popular Metroid franchise was the first game to include fully wireless voice chat. In other words the handheld communicated wireless to an internet hub or nearby DS to steam live voice chat from handheld to handheld. Great for gaming on the go with friends in far off places.