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
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!
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Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Platform: originally PlayStation 2, later PCs and Xbox
What it’s about: In the third sequel to the “Grand Theft Auto” series, the first to be realized in 3D, the player controls petty criminal Claude who, after escaping from the police, joins the world of major crime in Liberty City. Claude thus quickly finds himself in the midst of a conflict between the Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Colombian mafias, a conflict that could cost him his life if he is not careful
What critics say: “Countless studies of video game development have copied the structure of the game, ie the division of the game into main tasks that push the story of the game forward and secondary ones that serve to deepen the relationship between characters and entertainment,” wrote The Guardian in 2017.
Why this game is important: “Grand Theft Auto III” has played a leading role in the popularization of open games, ie games that give the player a certain degree of freedom in performing tasks. The way in which GTA III has merged Liberty City into one coherent whole that a player can explore however he wants has become a kind of open game standard. The player could build his criminal empire and drive a taxi in parallel. Many of the games that came after this was labeled as “GTA clones” because they were in many ways similar to the third “Grand Theft Auto” game. In addition, GTA III is thought to have launched a trend of games for more mature audiences, especially those dealing with violence and gangs.
Number of copies sold / downloads: As of March 2008, the game has sold 14.5 million copies worldwide
The Sims (2000/01)
Genre: life simulation
Platform: initially computers, later game consoles PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox
What it’s about: The game simulates the daily activities of one or more virtual people in a household in the suburbs of a fictional city. Mentioned people, or “Sims”, as they are called within the game world, can have a job, can get into love relationships, can decorate their apartment, and buy clothes. In short, they live life until Death comes for them and the player leads them through it
What critics say: “This unique simulation has made everyday life interesting. We could come up with our own stories and drama, and at the same time build the ideal lives we wished for. We could be creators, and we could destroy. It is a wonderful playground “, wrote IGN in 2019
Why this game is important: The biggest success of the game is that it managed to attract casual players and women, who made up almost 60 percent of all Sims players. In addition, “The Sims” has introduced innovations in games that are most often called “sandboxes”, ie games in which the goals are only approximate or not at all. “The Sims” is often mentioned as a game that brought the possibility of modifying the content of the game, something that otherwise requires a lot of knowledge, closer to those who were not so skillful.
A number of copies sold / downloads: As of 2015, the video game “The Sims” sold 11.24 million copies, making it one of the best-selling computer games of all time.
World of Warcraft (2004)
Genre: MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game)
What it’s about: The game takes place in a fictional universe in which the games from the “Warcraft” series are located, and continues with the events from the game “Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne”. Similar to other games from the MMORPG genre, the game allows the player to create a character and explore the open world of the game. The player can complete tasks, fight enemies, and communicate with non-playable characters, but also with other players. Players are encouraged to cooperate in solving tasks, but it allows them to confront each other
What critics say: “World of Warcraft gives the impression that Blizzard has analyzed all elements of all existing games in the genre, taken the best, and showered them with an absurd amount of attention and love to implement them in the best possible way,” wrote Computer Games Magazine 2004. years
Why this game is important: The innovations that World of Warcraft introduced into the genre include reducing the waiting period between important events in the game and easing the death penalty, which allowed players who were not keen fans of the genre to play in shorter periods. However, “World of Warcraft” is most often remembered by the testimonies of players who made new friends and even romantic partners while playing. At the same time, the game has normalized online gaming. Of course, the media has also reported over the years on players who have been unhealthily attached to the game and harmed themselves in the real world. The episode of the animated series “South Park” which satirizes “World of Warcraft” won an Emmy award, which only confirmed that the game has left an indelible mark on popular culture.
Copies sold / downloads: World of Warcraft had 12 million subscribers in 2010, more than 100 million registered user accounts in 2014, and more than $ 9.23 billion in revenue by 2017. So far, eight expansions have been released for the base game
Platform: originally computers, later practically all other gaming platforms
What it’s about: A player in Minecraft explores an infinite world that is randomly created. No goals are set for the player during the game and he is given the freedom to play the game as he wishes. Before starting to play, the player chooses how he wants to play, ie whether to concentrate on survival in the wild, whether to build and create unhindered, or whether he will try to explore worlds made by other players.
What critics say: “Minecraft has completely changed the way‘ sandbox ’games work and is still one of the most played games of all time. It’s incredibly easy to spend hours building something for yourself or with friends, anything your heart desires, ”wrote Esquire 2020.
Why this game is important: The most important aspect of the game is that it contains so many different experiences. Players can build, they can explore, and they can fight. I can do it alone, and I can do it together with friends. In addition, “Minecraft” has grown into a social space that many uses for meetings, communication, and learning. Also, and no less important, the game has helped create famous video game players who on platforms like YouTube and Twitch delight hundreds of thousands and even millions of viewers with their ventures.
A number of copies sold / downloads: The game has sold 200 million copies so far, making it the best-selling video game of all time. Microsoft bought the studio that developed the game Mojang in 2014 for 2.5 billion US dollars. In May 2020, Microsoft announced that the number of monthly active Minecraft players on all platforms was 126 million.
Guitar Hero (2005)
Genre: rhythm game
Platform: PlayStation 2
What it’s all about: Similar to other music and rhythm games, players are asked to press the right button at the right moment, in this case on a controller that visually evokes the Gibson SG electric guitar. A player can play individual songs, try to pursue a career in the music industry, and can compete against other players
What critics say: “‘ Guitar Hero ’reanimated the music video game genre and transformed players into gods of rock n ’roll. The collection of songs that players could play was constantly growing and led to the game picking up a whole series of laurels, ”wrote Time in 2020.
Why this game is important: “Guitar Hero” became a real cultural phenomenon when it arrived on the market. He breathed new life into home parties and offered cafes and restaurants new ways to attract guests. Many who played games later picked up real guitars and learned to play them. In addition, “Guitar Hero” is considered to have done the same for the music industry at the beginning of the 21st century as the music videos in the 1980s. Sales of music in retail stores increased significantly, and record companies also recorded an increase in revenue. Many bands have made significant money from licensing their songs, and some lesser-known bands, such as the British metal band DragonForce, have become globally recognizable.
Copies sold / downloads: The game sold 1.53 million copies as of December 2007 and grossed $ 45 million in 2005.
Genre: Action RPG (role-playing game)
Platform: PlayStation 4
What it’s about: A character that the player shapes according to his own wishes, as is the custom in RPGs, explores the city of Yharnam and tries to find out the secrets kept by its inhabitants. Some of them will help him to reveal the mentioned secrets, while others will try to prevent him since some ominous phenomena are happening in the city and its associated localities.
What critics say: “An extraordinary horror. ‘Bloodborne’ creates a city whose inhabitants, instead of abandoning God, have become obsessed with reaching cognitive heights that they cannot comprehend. Monster hunting in Yharnam is an endeavor that is often difficult, sometimes even painful. There are things in this game that no one who plays it will forget, ”wrote The Guardian in 2019
Why this game is important: Hidetake Miyazaki’s games, including “Bloodborne”, brought to the medium a narrative freshness that had been lacking for a long time. As it usually happens, nothing in “Bloodborne” is as it seems, and it is up to the player to meticulously arrange a complex story about blood, nightmares, and the church. “Bloodborne” puts interesting versions of the known weapon in the player’s hands and encourages him to be aggressive by promising to return a part of the lost life force with a quick counterattack. “Bloodborne” offers players the opportunity to cooperate and conflict, and membership in individual clans gives them special rewards. Few modern game designers think about their creations as much as Miyazaki and that makes him one of the most important creators of the 21st century.
A number of copies sold / downloads: As of September 2015, “Bloodborne” has sold more than two million copies. Sony said sales of the game exceeded the company’s expectations
Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
Platform: originally PlayStation 2, and later PlayStation 3 and 4
What it’s all about: The story of the game follows a young man named Wonder who somehow ends up in a forbidden land. Wander and his horse Agro must find and kill 16 colossi to bring a girl named Mono back to life
What critics say: “In this meditation on the selfishness of grief, the young man embarks on killing sad and majestic giants in order to revive a love that is no longer with him. Each colossus is a puzzle, and after each murder, the player learns more about the venture of a character who is seemingly positioned as a hero. ‘‘ Shadow of the Colossus ’narrates subtly and disciplined, and gives the player enough time to think about what he is doing,” wrote The Guardian in 2019.
Why this game is important: The game is characterized by minimalism, which the vast majority of development studies actively avoid. Namely, there are no cities in the game, no dungeons, no characters that Wander can communicate with, and no enemies other than the colossus. Fights against abnormally large monsters later began to appear in other action games, which is evidently the influence of “Shadow of the Colossus”. The fact that the game is not cluttered with content stands out as a big plus because that way the player has more time to think about what he is doing. The game is also an example of the excellent synergy between the toy and the music, which contributes to creating an atmosphere of isolation and sadness.
A number of copies sold / downloads: There is no precise data on the sale of the game. It is reported that 140,000 copies of the game were sold in Japan during the first week
Half-Life 2 (2004)
Platform: PCs and Xbox, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles
What it’s all about: The story of the game takes place about 20 years after the Half-Life event. The protagonist of the Gordon Freeman series wakes the mysterious G-Man from a deep sleep. Freeman learns that a powerful multidimensional empire named Combine has conquered the Earth and established a police state on it. G-Man puts Freeman on a train traveling to City 17, the place from which Combine operates
What critics say: “Wise puzzles and the famous gravity gun help the player to manipulate physics and make the harsh world in which he finds himself authentic. You really hate your enemies and live every moment. This is one of the best video games that focus on storytelling, ”wrote The Guardian in 2019
Why this game is important: City 17 is often mentioned as one of the best-designed ambiances in the history of video games. The barricades scattered around the city are there to defeat the player’s spirit, and if they don’t, then the Strider will do it. As they move around City 17, players often wonder if what they are seeing is real or a complex illusion. The game is still praised as an example of unobtrusive storytelling with ambiance and characters, rather than the violent use of film inserts that other games resort to.
Number of copies sold / downloads: As of 2011, “Half-Life 2” sold 11 million copies