This is both the easiest and toughest article to write. I am extremely passionate about most of the games listed here so naturally there’s a bit of bias. At the same time, there’s certain games I felt I couldn’t exclude. Capturing the most influential games of all time in just 5 titles is a daunting task, so try not to get too mad if I leave 1 or 2 games you thought should have been here instead. Thanks for reading the disclaimer, let’s begin!
This is Nintendo’s baby, masterpiece, prized possession, beginning, present, future, and end. I think that out of the 7 billion people on this planet, 6.9999 billion have heard of, seen, or played Mario Bros. Hands down the best side-scrolling platformer of all time.
This game was hyper influential for any side-scroller/platformer that followed its release, be it on a Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, iOS, or Android console. I think what’s amazing is that whether you were born in the 80s, 90s or 2000s you have some sort of nostalgia attached to playing Mario as a kid. Mario influenced game mechanics like useable enemies (kicking a shell and seeing it take down other enemies is so cool), upgrades (yes please I want to shoot fireballs), subworlds, boss battles, etc. Either way, this is the one game I put on this list that I don’t think anyone will disagree with.
Rather than doing an in-depth analysis of why this game is so fundamental to the history of gaming, I highly recommend this documentary called More than a Game. I have a write-up about the future of eSports coming out where I speak more on this documentary. In essence, it shows the rapidly growing Street Fighter industry via competitions like EVO in Asia where gamers from all over compete for the title of best Street Fighter in the world.
Just remember all the times you’d go to the arcade and read the two words at the top right of this picture: “INSERT COIN”. Maybe you just mashed every button on the keyboard or you were a Street Fighter shark taking out all the older kids at the arcade, either way, we all had our experience with this game.
This game redefined freedom. Games always had a clear start, middle and end before GTA. When you play GTA you can loosely follow the story and still get away with having tons of side quests to do and illegal stuff too if you’re into that (who am I kidding, of course you’re hijacking a lambo). Rockstar started a remarkable legacy with the GTA series. Remember when GTA 5 released a couple years ago? It broke all the records for sales in video game history. It was the most successful game of all time up until that point.
Yes, the arcade talk continues. After all, video games kind of started in arcades, so it’s only justified. This game was in every last arcade, bodega and laundromat you can think of (this is more for 80s people). What’s there not to like about Pacman. Chasing ghosts while listening to that iconic “waka waka” sound Pacman makes when it eats. It’s super simple, but there’s a learning curve, so you can always top your PB (Personal Best).
We had a debate at the office for this last one. We really wanted to pick a shooter because a lot of the very popular games nowadays are shooters (PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, Call of Duty, etc.). This wasn’t an easy decision and by no means the right one either, but Half-Life was undoubtably highly influential in the first-person shooter video game scene. Just to quote Wikipedia for a second here: “It won over fifty PC "Game of the Year" awards and is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. It influenced first-person shooters for years after its release.” Personally, I never actually played Half-Life, I was more of the Call of Duty type, but I had to go with the office vote on this one.
I don’t want the discussion to end here though. Please tweet at us telling us your personal pick at the most influential game of all time (@GameProtocolTKN). We’re actually curious what you guys think! To end things off, do you think Fortnite will one day make it to this list?