10 Most Important Games

Some of the games you guys are laying out as should have been on the list are just as way out in left field as the ones that are already on there.

Even though Wolf3d came first, Doom had a much greater, and far wider, impact. Much like Mario, even people who don’t play video games know what Doom is. Before gta3 came out a few years ago, the phrase violent video games and Doom were pretty much synonymous.

This is dead on. Yeah we all know which one came first but Doom was the game everyone heard about.

Granted my perspective might have been skewed by my interest in games, but even with Wolf 3D I’d have random people out of nowhere asking “have you seen it”. Even this one sales guy at my office back then who could barely work a computer asked me if I had played the game. Sure, Doom was huge, but Wolf 3D created a huge buzz as well. It’s all subjective though.

Hmm I wish.

Sensi soccer is a great game but I am scratching my head a little at its inclusion considering Kick Off was earlier and much more influential in my opinion.

Elite, Populous, Grand Theft Auto series, Lemmings, Lords of Midnight, Mercenary - Escape from Targ, Rebelstar, Carrier Command , Stunt car racer, oh yeah and MUD could also have been considered from the UK.

Still lists are always fun and its good to see games are so diverse that a list of 10 simply wont do.

I’ve tossed out a lot of my old gaming magazines (against my wishes, and with tears streaming down my face), but the ones I always keep are the issues with the All-Time Greatest Lists. CGW’s 150 Best Games of All Time stands up surprisingly well after over a decade. PC Gamer’s lists were often stale after a couple of years, but they did have some off-beat choices (e.g. Beavis & Butthead: Virtual Stupidity). Unfortunately, I’ve lost my copy of NextGen which featured their own hit parade.

What I don’t understand is why Tetris aways seems to come in second place.

This is what it’s looking like genre-wise

Platform: Super Mario Bros.
Puzzle: Tetris
RTS: Command & Conquer
CRPG: Ultima/Wizardry
JRPG: Final Fantasy
MMO: Everquest
God Game Trifecta: Sim City/Civilization/Populous
Fighting: Street Fighter 2

The list shouldn’t be about firsts, though. Zork totally belongs on the list because of the bajillion adventure games it spawned using its engine. Working on Zork is how Infocom came into being. That’s pretty much a decade of PC gaming right there.

My attempt (top-10):

Space War (First game)
Pong (First successful arcade game)
Breakout (First arcade game where goal is to clear the screen)
Space Invaders (2600, first Game to sell a console)
Pac Man (First arcade game with celebrity character)
Galaga: First shooter with power-up
Ultima IV (First fully realized RPG)
Super Mario Bros (First side-scroller platform game)
Doom 2 (FPS With Network Support)
Dune 2 (First Fully Realized RTS)

Bubble :

MS fight Simulator (first hard-core flight-sim)
Xevious: (First scrolling shooter)
Pole Position: First great racing game
MULE: First great multi-player game
R-Type: First great side-scrolling shooter
Pitfall (2600, first platform game)
Pinball Construction Set: First game creation title for non-programmers
Kings Quest (first fully realized adventure game)
F-15 Strike Eagle (first consumer friendly flight sim)
Kung Fu Master (first fighter?)
Gauntlet: (Arcade: First great multi-plater arcade game)
Final Fantasy VI: First fully realized JRPG
Super Mario 64: First 3D Platformer
Roller Coaster Tycoon: First great tycoon game
Dungeon Master: First 3D, real-time RPG
Sim City: first fully realized management sim
Kick Off: Player Manager: first management/playing sports sim
MLB Baseball (Intellivision: first licensed, full baseball game)
Tetris:first great puzzle game

Yup. Greta game but I rate Breakout more influential. I only learnt the other day it was designed by Steve Wozniak.

Yup. Great game but I rate Breakout more influential. I only learnt the other day it was designed by Steve Wozniak.

How important was Myst?

kick off was a piece of junk though compared to SWOS, which is probably the most playable and enjoyable sports game ever. it was probably better on the Amiga though. not really sure it should be considered ‘important’, just better than most other games.

Potentially pretty important, if you’re one of those people who considers it responsible for ending the Adventure genre.

Yeah, I’m not sure about Sensi. But the list is not most popular it’s the most important. Overall I’d say that the picks are good, but Sensi does stick out a bit. Perhaps the case can be made that it has solidified the model for most all sports games that have followed in that it reaches for a moderate amount of realism and attempts to capture a somewhat accurate feel of the sport while still remaining firmly in the category of an action game. If you think about it, Madden isn’t all that much different than old Sensible Soccer, and it’s obviously more popular outside the US.

From my understanding, Wozniak didn’t design Breakout; Nolan Bushnell did. Rather, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were hired by NB to assemble the prototype of the arcade version. (In Steven L. Kent’s telling of the story, Jobs’ mendacity during this episode made Wozniak cry. Wozniak sensibly refutes this.)

Pretty important for CD-Laufwerk* sales, but with a 10-game cap, I can think of better candidates.

*My word of the day.

Wikipedia has a nice article about it: Myst - Wikipedia

Myst, Rebel Assault, and The 7th Guest were the three games the ushered in the era of the CD-ROM. Myst itself is significant because it spawned an entire genre of pseudo-first-person adventure games–they’re called “Myst clones” for a reason. Myst, owing to the new CD-ROM medium, was also one of the first games to take significant advantage of the multimedia aspect of games, integrating pre-rendered CG scenes with full-motion video and extensive use of sound.

Of course, you could also argue that the success of Myst was bad for the game industry, as it shifted the focus towards technology and away from design. In their fervor to copy the Myst formula, developers scrambled to incorporate full-motion video and CD audio into their games while simultaneously neglecting gameplay and interactivity.

  • Alan

Kind of a strange list. Seems oddly weighted toward moderate pioneers in genres that never really went anywhere. Sensible Soccer? Seriously? I hadn’t even heard of that game until a couple months ago. My list of the “most important” games as far as shaping the medium as we know it today:

Pac-Man - The first true videogame “craze,” breaking the medium into the mainstream consciousness

Super Mario Bros. - Saved the industry through reinvention

Dragon Quest - It wasn’t the first, and wasn’t the most successful in the West, but it’s the reason the genre persisted so long in Japan…long enough to spawn:

Final Fantasy VII - Yes, I hate this game, but it changed things forever. Pushed Sony into an unbreakable lead, cemented the concept of the media blitz as a viable tactic for creating a breakout hit

Doom - Again, not the first, but the most important of the entries in a fledgling genre. Broke into the mainstream, began the online/LAN multiplayer trend that persists to this day.

Super Mario 64 - No 3D action/adventure game before this had the camera/control thing figured out. After this, everyone copied it, and 3D finally began to come into its own.

World of Warcraft - Made a genre I never thought regular people would like into a mainstream hit, broke records like they were balsa wood, has given rise to a veritable boomtown effect in terms of MMO development. WoW will be seen as a turning point in how the entire industry viewed multiplayer content.

Grand Theft Auto 3 - Videogames would never leave the public consciousness again after this game. It singlehandedly secured Sony’s victory with the PS2 and remains one of the three games non-gamers think of when they refer to gaming.

John Madden Football - Sports games were really subpar efforts until Madden hit the Genesis. The sports side of gaming is a juggernaut now, and the entire idea of yearly versions and official licensing goes back to the original Madden.

Halo 2 - Yeah, I know, sacrilege on a PC-centric forum like this. Well, shut up. Biggest launch day selling entertainment item of all time. Much like GTA3 before it, Halo means “videogame” to a huge number of people. Well-known enough to be referenced by name on The Daily Show during their live 2004 Presidential Election Night coverage. I predict Halo 3 will be bigger.

I realize a lot of people’s favorite games aren’t here, but neither are most of mine. As far as I’m concerned, this list is comprised of the games that altered the course of the industry and/or helped shape what the medium is today. The Sims isn’t here because it didn’t really impact anything other than itself and EA’s wallet. Half-Life isn’t here because it didn’t do anything that no one else would have done, it just did it first. Street Fighter 2 isn’t on here because…well, fighting games are pretty much dead and it hasn’t had any lasting impact.

Basically, you remove Zork or Maniac Mansion or whatever else, and what it did would almost certainly have been hit upon shortly thereafter. I tried to make my list a list of singular titles that could arguably be considered to have accomplished a kind or level of change that was unique to them and them alone. I suppose it’s a blending of the “great man vs. great events” views of history, but every one of them has more right to be there than Sensible fucking Soccer.

You could say the exact same thing about Everquest. WoW just took it to a higher level. Maybe UO too. I can’t remember which one it was that really kicked off the mass development of MMOs.

This is similar to the “Star Wars Ruined American Cinema” argument, which I personally thought was a lot of bunk until, oh, 1999 or so. By the time Myst was released, I think gaming was already inevitably heading in the direction of big-budget multimedia experiences. (I’m tempted to put scare quotes around those last two words.) If Myst hadn’t acted as the lightning rod for gamer hate, it would’ve been Seventh Guest, Hell Cab, or some other MPC-compliant adventure.

Quick quiz: Which CD-ROM “adventure” boasted that FMV meant “Funny, With My Voice”?

Wolf 3D came first but Doom brought so much more than just the “first person shooter”.


Spacewar! (1962) – It was the first, sure, but that’s about it in terms of importance. I’d cut it.

Star Raiders (1979) – I’ve never even heard of this game. Should I turn in my gamer card?

Zork (1980) – I think Zork belongs in the top 10. Not only is it more or less responsible for the Adventure genre, it also lent an early sense of legitimacy to computer games. And it holds up as a good game to this day.

Tetris (1985) – Of course Tetris belongs here.

SimCity (1989) – SimCity? It’s representative of a sub-genre at best. I’d boot it off the list and let Civilization do all the talking.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990) – The basis for nearly every 2D platformer til the genre was phased out, and one of, if not the, best. Definitely belongs on here.

Civilization I/II (1991) – Well duh. The king of turn-based strategy and all “god” games.

Doom (1993) – Another no-brainer. Sure, it came after Wolfenstein, (and Ultima Underworld, which was a much more robust engine/game), but Doom’s notoreity makes it deserve a spot.

Warcraft series (beginning 1994) – I approve of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans being on the list. Sure, C&C whatever was more popular at the time, but Warcraft has turned out to be far, far more important. And Dune 2 was the first, but that’s about it.

Sensible World of Soccer (1994) – Doesn’t belong on the Top 10, let alone the Top 100.


-An iconic computer RPG. Wizardry or Ultima are obvious choices. Might and Magic would suffice.

-Final Fantasy 7. Though the shift away from Wizardry-based RPGs into cinematic Adventure/RPGs had started back with Final Fantasy IV, the CD medium finally allowed it to be fully realized. There’s just not a better example of a paradigm shift in a genre than FF7. Oh, and there’s that whole bit about the game making Playstation the dominant brand for two generations.

-GTA3. Mentioned several other times in the thread, but it sparked a riotous and desperately needed controversy over whether games can qualify as speech (let alone art) or not. The NYT would not be running an article on the Top 10 most important games were it not for GTA3. Oh yeah, it was also an awesome game which more or less invented the “sandbox” genre.

-Rogue/Nethack/Diablo, depending on how modern you want to get. I’d personally give the nod to Nethack because it gets bonus points for proving open-source games can indeed succeed (plus it’s the most well-known). In any case, the “Roguelikes” have been incredibly influential throughout gaming history. Loot-centric gameplay, randomly generated levels, ironman modes and more all harken back to Rogue. Also the inspiration for most MUDs, which in turn inspired MMORPGs. Just an extremely important line of games.

-A fad. Pac-Man or Pokemon would do. Something to show that gaming is like any other entertainment culture, open to fads and one-hit wonders.