What ‘Godfather’ is for film, ‘Crime and Punishment’ for literature, and ‘Abbey Road’ for music – these are the titles in the world of video games
Although one of the first video games “Spacewar!” to celebrate its 60th birthday next year, and the systematic action of various actors linked by the making, selling, and gaming we call the video game industry to mark 50 years of existence, video games are still not talked about the way other audiovisual arts are talked about.
This is quite surprising given the fact that the video game business by global revenue of about $ 180 billion in (pandemic) 2020 outperforms the film and music industries combined, and the growth trend is steadily upward and by 2023 revenue should exceed the $ 200 billion-a-year threshold. Additionally, the number of people who can be considered at least occasional gamers is a staggering 2.7 billion.
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Esport is, of course, a very important part of the industry, which, according to Business Insider, had revenue of $ 1.5 billion in 2020. The audience is also growing steadily, with more people watching the League of Legends World Cup than watching the 2016 NBA Finals – 46 vs. 30 million. Numerous eminent European clubs with their teams play in major FIFA competitions, and tournaments, while circumstances allowed, filled large sports halls and took place in front of tens of thousands of spectators, with several hundred thousand online followers.
And the prize pool is getting bigger and bigger. While the players of the 2017 Golf Masters tournament shared a fund of $ 11 million, the players of the Dota 2 tournament had a fund of as much as $ 24 million at their disposal. When it comes to spectators, while the average fan of the American baseball league MLB is 57 years old, the average sports spectator is 25 years old.
In order to contribute to a better discussion of video games, we bring you video games that deserve the status that “Godfather” has in the world of film, “Crime and Punishment” in literature, “Night Watch” in fine arts, or “Abbey Road” in music!
Space Invaders (1978)
Platform: arcades, Atari game consoles, and MSX computer platform
What it’s about: The player uses a laser cannon at the bottom of the screen to try to eliminate aliens approaching his position from above. The more aliens he kills, the faster the speed at which they attack the player
What critics say: “The popularity of Space Invaders, which forced Japan to quadruple its production of 100 yen coins, has helped video games move from smoky cafes and arcaded halls to malls and restaurants,” Edge magazine wrote in 2007.
Why this game is important: As one of the first shooters in the history of the media, the game “Space Invaders” laid the foundations for virtually all the shooters that followed. It was the first game in which enemies returned fire and in which the player had more than one life. She also popularized concepts such as scoring, keeping the position, and enemies that react to the player’s moves. The success of Space Invaders has led the video game industry to turn to the production of action games that are set in a fantastic environment – a genre and thematic framework that still dominates the world of video games today. Renowned video game designers like Shigeru Miyamoto (“Donkey Kong”, “The Legend of Zelda” and “Super Mario”, Hide Kojima (“Metal Gear” and “Death Stranding”) and John Romero (“Doom”) say they introduced this game to the world of video games
Copies sold / earnings: As of 2016 and adjusted for inflation, the game has grossed $ 13 billion, making it the highest-earning game in history
Genre: navigating the maze
Platform: initially just arcades, later on, a whole range of game consoles
What it’s about: The player controls Pac-Man, a character whose task is to eat all the balls in the maze. He is disturbed by the spirits Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (light blue), and Clyde (orange). There are also four larger balls in the maze that allow Pac-Man to eat ghosts in a short period of time.
What critics say: “The game is simple but addictive and you constantly want to play more, even after you have died countless times. It may not be graphically gorgeous, but because of that contagiousness you will never forget it “, wrote the Eurogamer portal in 2007.
Why this game is important: “Pac-Man” gave the world of video games its first mascot, and showed how successful games with defined characters can be. The game also led to an increase in the number of girls playing video games. “Pac-Man” was the first to introduce the possibility of temporarily strengthening the character controlled by the player. Each of the ghosts that chase “Pac-Man” has a certain artificial intelligence and reacts to the player’s movements. So, for example, Blinky directly attacks Pac-Man, while, say, Inky and Pinky try to position themselves in front of Pac-Man to trap him. Developers who later worked at video game development studio publisher Bethesda said it was this aspect of the game that inspired them, and John Romero said it was “Pac-Man” that most influenced his career.
Copies sold / downloads: As of 2016, all versions of the game generated $ 12 billion in revenue. Also, “Pac-Man”, according to some estimates, earned between 7.7 billion and 15.9 billion US dollars in arcades.
FIFA series (from 1993 until today)
Genre: Sports simulation
Platform: The series debuted on the Sega Genesis game console, and today you will find it harder to find a platform where the series is not present than you will list everyone on which it is
What it’s all about: Once only a modest simulation of the most important sideline in the world, today it allows players to shape their own footballer, manage clubs and compete with football fans around the world
What critics say: “Why is FIFA great? Because it is a sports game that fits perfectly into the medium of video games, because it allows me to watch and play football all my life and because it is easy to play or start playing, ”wrote Polygon in 2017.
Why this game is important: The most obvious answer is that it is a faithful simulation of football, the most popular sport in the world, which in certain parts of the world is much more than a game. The vast majority will therefore take the controller in their hands and try to declassify their friends with their favorite club, who will, of course, want to do the same. But if you go a little deeper, FIFA is one of the few games that allows players to create parallel worlds and alternative history. How many hours just around the world have been spent correcting the mistakes of coaches and club management? It is impossible to count. FIFA is also in the select company of games that can bring good players earnings.
A number of copies sold / downloads: As of 2021, the FIFA series has sold more than 325 million copies, making it one of the best-selling series in video game history.
Platform: initially only the Soviet computer Electronics 60, later numerous others
What it’s all about: Using seven different tetrominoes, geometric shapes that can be made of four squares, the player tries to arrange as many horizontal rows of 12 squares as possible. The more successful a player is, the faster and faster the tetrominoes come to the playing surface
What critics say: “You will easily learn to play it, but it will be very difficult for you to perfect this strategy game. It is an elegant game that is challenging and that requires quick thinking, long-term planning, and lightning reflexes. Weak points – no, ”wrote Macworld magazine in 1988
Why this game is important: In addition to inspiring countless puzzles, “Tetris” has left a deep mark in the scientific community, which has explored its complexity and effect on the human brain. “Tetris syndrome” or “Tetris effect” is a phenomenon that occurs when a person or persons devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to affect their thoughts, mental images, and dreams. The term was first mentioned in Jeffrey Goldsmith’s article “This is Your Brain on Tetris,” which was published in May 1994 in Wired magazine. People who played the game at long intervals said that they began to see the real world through the prism of the game and that they imagined how best to arrange geometric shapes in space.
A number of copies sold / downloads: As of 2011, 70 million physical copies were sold, and the mobile version of the game was downloaded 132 million times. The game is available on 65 different platforms, a world record officially recognized by Guinness
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Platform: originally Nintendo 64, later Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo 3DS
What it’s about: The fifth play in Shigeru Miyamoto’s “The Legend of Zelda” (played by Yoichi Yamada and Eiji Aonuma) tells the story of young Link’s efforts to prevent the thief Ganondorf from obtaining an all-powerful magical relic named Triforce. After Ganondorf acquires part of Triforce, Link must travel through time to procure six medallions and defeat Ganondorf
What critics say: “Everything in the game is realized with an elegance rarely seen in video games – from a Disney feel to a story full of tempo to the wondrous size of the world and vivid film inserts. This title restores faith in the power of video games as a medium for entertainment. Ingenious, ”Edge magazine wrote after the game came out
Why this game is important: “Ocarina” introduced several innovations into the games that are standard today, and among them, the possibility of focusing on one enemy (lock-on) certainly stands out. Critics who wrote about the game after the release were fascinated by the fact that Link could move freely and keep an eye on his opponent at the same time. “Ocarina” has also laid the foundations for open-ended games in which unplayable characters and the world react to the player’s presence. In addition, day and night alternated at regular intervals, which significantly contributed to the impression of the realism of the game world.
Number of copies sold / downloads: The game has sold 7.6 million copies worldwide so far
What it’s about: A player controls an unnamed space marine (later identified as “Doomguy”) who was sent to Mars after an attack on a superior to do the job of securing a radioactive waste disposal facility. At one point, Mars’ moon Deimos disappears and the planet finds itself under attack by a monster that Doomguy must eliminate
What critics say: “Doom is a real phenomenon and millions of games have been introduced to the postulates of shooters – from chaotic multiplayer confrontations over the Internet to allowing those same players to modify the game according to their own wishes and preferences,” wrote Time magazine in 2016
Why this game is important: In addition to defining the first-person shooter genre and inspiring many “clones”, “Doom” was a pioneer in the online distribution and use of 3D graphics. It is also interesting that “Doom” expanded universities very soon after its release and led to the collapse of many computer networks. Later, companies like Intel and universities like Carnegie Mellon banned playing the game during business hours. In addition, “Doom” came under fire for its explicit violence and use of satanic iconography, and it was later learned that the perpetrators of the high school massacre in Columbine, USA, were passionate gamers.
A number of copies sold / downloads: The first episode, consisting of nine levels, was distributed as shareware and was played by approximately 15 to 20 million people in the first two years. The entire game, which contained an additional two episodes, was sold by mail. It is estimated that the game generated $ 8.74 million in revenue between 1993 and 1998 in the United States alone.
Super Mario World (1990)
Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) game console
What it’s about: After being in the video game “Super Mario Bros. 3 ”save the Kingdom of Mushrooms, brothers Mario and Luigi go on vacation to the Land of Dinosaurs, a world based on prehistoric times and full of dinosaurs and other creatures. While resting on a beach, their ubiquitous enemy Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach. During the search for the princess, the brothers stumble upon an egg from which a young dinosaur Yoshi hatches, who tells them that Bowser’s subjects are threatening his friends. Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi then embark on a showdown with Bowser
What critics say: “Although it is a Super Mario game, which means there are mushrooms, perfect running and jumping and a great world to explore, ‘Super Mario World’ is an irresistibly complex game that forces the player to explore secret paths and levels with emphasis. verticality. We want to play a better game than this, but there is simply no such game “, wrote IGN in 2019
Why this game is important: “Super Mario World” is still celebrated more than 30 years after its release for its excellently designed levels and deceptively simple game mechanics. The designers did not skimp on the number of levels, and they incorporated a number of secrets into the game that encouraged players to play the game more than once. The game is also known for allowing Maria to fly and to spin during the jump. The game also introduced the dinosaur character Yoshi, who later became the star of his own games, and game designer Shigeru Miyamoto said that this game is his favorite of all in the “Super Mario” series.
Copies sold / downloads: To date, 20.61 million copies of the game have been sold, making it the best-selling game for SNES
Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Genre: action game with stealth elements
What it’s about: The player takes control of a soldier codenamed Solid Snake, who must sneak into a nuclear weapons depot in the Fox Islands, the easternmost group of the Aleutian Islands, and eliminate the terrorist group FOXHOUND
What critics say: “Of all the PlayStation action games,‘ Metal Gear Solid ’is the closest to perfection. The game is beautiful, it draws you in and it is innovative, in practically all categories “, wrote IGN after the game’s release
Why this game is important: The play by acclaimed designer and director Hide, which is still celebrated today for emphasizing film exposure and using the language of action movies, especially “Escape from New York” directed by John Carpenter. The sneaking mechanics that Kojima put into the game served as the basis for most sneaking games that came later like the “Assassin’s Creed” and “Splinter Cell” series. The creative use of controllers during the fight between Solid Snake and Psycho Mantis is emphasized as particularly interesting. “Metal Gear Solid” has significantly contributed to the popularization of the genre, which even today presents players with unique experiences that are often half movies and half games. In addition, after the release of “Metal Gear Solid”, the debate about authorship in video games became relevant again, as Kojima used it to talk about mercenary armies, nanotechnology, and global warfare.
Copies sold / downloads: The game has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide to date
Tomb Raider (1996)
Platform: originally Sega Saturn, later computers and PlayStation
What it’s all about: The player takes control of archaeologist Lara Croft, who is hired by businesswoman Jacqueline Natla to find Scion, a mysterious artifact buried in the Qualopeca tomb in Peru. On his way to find Scion, Croft confronts a variety of enemies and solves numerous puzzles.
What critics say: “Take solving the puzzles from the video game‘ Resident Evil ’, the bloody fight of the game‘ Loaded ’and the 360 degrees of freedom that a player could once only dream of – that’s Tomb Raider ’. This game is a bit closer to the ‘killer’ of the game ‘Super Mario 64’ ”, GameSpot wrote after the game was released
Why this game is important: “Tomb Raider”, due to its action sequences and adventurous component, was immediately compared to the best works that Hollywood had sent to the cinemas so far. On the game side, the game offered a variety of controls, revolutionary graphics, and interesting spaces that the player in the role of Lara explored. Of course, after the game came out, Lara Croft became a real icon of video games and was promoted in all possible media. Toby Gard, the artist who designed it, objected to the fact that the game was promoted using Lara’s sex appeal rather than her characterization. The debate over the treatment of female characters in video games and the emphasis on their physical attributes is still ongoing because female characters are thought to be overly sexualized. At the same time, “Tomb Raider” is celebrated because it is one of the earliest games that pushed the female action hero to the forefront.
Copies sold / downloads: Eidos Interactive, the studio that developed the game, ended 1995 with a $ 2.6 million pre-tax loss. The following year, the year the game came out, they closed with a profit of $ 14.5 million
Genre: real-time strategy
Platform: computers, later on, the Nintendo 64 game console
What it’s all about: The story of the game takes place in a fictional version of the 25th century AD in a remote part of the Milky Way called the Koprulu sector, followed by a clash of three races for dominance. During the game, the player first plays with the Terrans, humans driven from Earth, and later control the Zergs, insect-like aliens, and the Protoss, a human-like race of aliens who possess advanced technology and have special powers.
What critics say: “Blizzard was known in the late 1990s as a studio that made the best movie inserts for computer games. ‘StarCraft’ has combined an unpredictable and tense story with challenging game segments and missions to give it emotional strength. However, the greatest strength of this game is the ability to play with others. ‘‘ StarCraft ’is perfectly balanced and no two confrontations will end the same,” IGN wrote in 2019.
Why this game is important: “StarCraft” is still considered a game that defined the genre of real-time strategy and the standard that other games should strive for. After its release, the game became extremely popular in South Korea and became a kind of national e-sport. Skilled StarCraft players in South Korea enjoy the status of famous media personalities, and their clashes are broadcast on television stations. “StarCraft”, and especially its expansion “Brood War”, is considered a game that popularized and introduced to the world the concept of professional video gameplay.
Copies sold / downloads: As of February 2009, StarCraft has sold more than 11 million copies
Street Fighter II (1991)
Platform: initially only arcades, and later numerous game consoles
What it’s all about: Like the game that preceded it, which came out in 1987, the two clashes in one-on-one fights. They are given eight characters to choose from, and the fights take place in ambiances that suit their personalities. If a player plays against the computer, then he will also fight four characters who cannot be chosen when two players are competing
What critics say: “It’s hard to imagine how great‘ Street Fighter II ’was when it came out. Although it was precisely balanced, the character design and then impressive graphics made it a unique game. It is the first fighting game that became a global hit and created numerous imitators, admirers, and sequels “, wrote IGN in 2019.
Why this game is important: “Street Fighter II” brought to the world of martial arts the concept of combined attacks that can not be interrupted, but it is interesting that the game designers did not want this to happen, or were not aware that it was possible. Of course, the combined attack system later became the standard for fighting games. In addition, “Street Fighter” used a control scheme that included six separate buttons and one to steer the character that could rotate in eight different directions. It was pointed out that this number of keys enabled the realization of moves and attacks that were not possible until then. Also, the arcade version of the game had the most accurate controller to date. In addition to being considered the most important fighting game of all time, it is believed to have revitalized the declining arcade industry. Finally, rappers love to mention her in their songs.
Copies sold / downloads: It is estimated that all versions of Street Fighter II generated $ 10.61 billion in revenue, making it one of the three highest-grossing games in history (the other two being Space Invaders and Pac-Man ”)
Chrono Trigger (1995)
Platform: originally Super Nintendo Entertainment System, later computers, PlayStation and mobile platforms
What it’s all about: The story of the game is set on an Earth-like world, a world whose history, like ours, is divided into eras. The main characters often travel through time to find allies, collect equipment and solve tasks. The game begins when an accident occurs at a fair where a time travel machine is exhibited
What critics say: “‘ Chrono Trigger ’is rightly considered one of the best RPGs of all time. It was created by the creative trio of undeniable pedigree – creator of the series ‘Final Fantasy’ Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the series ‘Dragon Quest’s Yuji Horii, and creator of the ‘Dragon Ball’s Akira Toriyama. The branched story, colorful characters, and unforgettable music are enough for this game to deserve its place on the lists of the best games of all time “, wrote IGN in 2019
Why this game is important: The game has broken with the tradition of RPGs originating in Japan and clearly shows the player what kind of enemies he will face. The player in the fights can combine the special powers of individual characters, which gives the fights freshness. “Chrono Trigger” stands out in that the game can end in 12 different ways, and the ending depends on how and when the player finishes the last fight. At the same time, as he can travel through time, his moves in the past affect the future. After finishing the game, the player can pass it again, and it allows him to keep some of the items and skills he has collected
A number of copies sold / downloads: As of March 2003, 2.65 million copies of the game had been shipped to stores. In 1995, the game was among the three best-selling games in Japan