Photo Credit: BagoGames via Flickr
Katie Lalwani highlights just some of the games whose innovations changed the industry as we know it.
More often than not, games are predictable; offering the same old story and clichés with nothing new. Amongst these however are a handful of games which were so innovative, they shook up the industry entirely. These are the games that broke away from the masses, offering a unique twist on a classic, or changing it up all together. Behold some honourable mentions to the games which truly made their mark and stood out from all the rest.
“An early adopter of the moral choice, the game offered players the choice to murder and harvest children in exchange for power-ups, or to save the child.”
When Bioshock was introduced, it immediately captured the gaming world’s attention for all the right reasons. An early adopter of the moral choice, the game offered players the choice to murder and harvest children in exchange for power-ups, or to save the child. The player would then end the game with the ‘good ending’ or the ‘bad ending’ based on their choices. Bioshock also expanded on the gaming narrative. It was one of the first games to introduce collectable audio recordings, offering background information and adding further context to the main story. However, it’s the game’s major plot twist that is renowned as one of the greatest moments in gaming history.
Portal was a game that changed the first-person shooter completely, forgoing the genre’s usual combat and violence in favour of a stripped-down puzzle platformer. Using a ‘portal gun,’ players solve physics based puzzles, creating portals which allowed them to teleport. The aim was to make your way through a number of obstacle-filled test chambers. The bare, stripped-down level design, of blank white walls and basic graphical elements, proved successful. Paired with its clever humour, Portal is a game that remains timeless.
While probably not the first game to spring to mind when one thinks of innovation, Grand Theft Auto III has plenty reason to make this list. Comparing it with games today, it’s clunky graphics and repetitive levels aren’t noteworthy. However, the game introduced the idea of an open world, a sandbox which players had the freedom to traverse and do as they pleased. Since then, open world games have become a genre in their own right.
Recent releases continue to push the boundaries including, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This is a game that brought a whole new meaning to ‘open world.’ The game diverted from the traditional linear narrative and instead offered a truly open experience which players could undertake in whatever order they pleased. If they wanted to, players could take on the final boss at the very start with three lives and a tree branch.
In an ever-growing number of games which guided players through every step of the way, Breath of the Wild emerged to break with this tired old trend. Many games offer a magic ‘vision’ device, famously seen in Assassin’s Creed and the latest Tomb Raider reboots which highlight any interactive area. Zelda offers players no such tool, allowing them to stumble upon hidden secrets and areas themselves.
In a world full of similar games, it is the outliers, the games which break all the rules, that are ever-important, pushing the industry to grow and develop while delivering players the unexpected.