25 Best Video Games That Changed Everything

Posted by , Updated on May 24, 2024

Introducing a new series: The 25 Most Influential Video Games That Transformed Everything! It’s clear that video games have seen remarkable progress since their inception in the early ’70s, don’t you think? Alongside these advancements, many genres have emerged. So, which of these games caused a significant shift in the industry?

Every game aspires to be held in close regard with the icons of gaming. Needless to say, every game wants to be revered as on the most influential games of all time. With countless games to choose from, it was difficult to dwindle the list down to only 25 items.

“So what video games are the most influential?” I hear you asking. Well, let me take you on a journey through gaming’s history. Here are the 25 Best Video Games That Changed Everything.




Pong Arcade cabinethttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pong

It’s important remember where you came from and video games largely came from Pong. It’s simple game design and fun game play started the evolution of video gaming. While it didn’t popularize gaming like we know it today it attracted people video games.


Pac Man

Pac Man chasing ghosthttp://whatculture.com/gaming/20-video-games-that-changed-gaming-forever

Pac Man introduced something that we’ve come to know quite well since its release. The idea of a game mascot or even a title character for that matter. Most games at the time didn’t care who you were playing as, and they didn’t even have names. Without Pac Man, we wouldn’t have Sonic, Mario, and so many more.


Space Invaders

invaders from space invadersAuthor Knowledge

When Space Invaders burst into arcades, it quickly became a hit. The game expanded an interesting element of gameplay: the music. Its soundtrack was revolutionary. Before Space Invaders came along, gaming music was limited in production value. Not only did Space Invaders have continuous music, but the music changed as the game progressed. Its groundbreaking use of music during gameplay paved the way to a new era of gaming.


Sim City

Sims City GameAuthor Knowledge

Not everyone enjoys doing resource management in video games, but for players who love to take on a crazy amount of responsibilities like Civilization and Banished, we have Sim City to thank. While it wasn’t the first, Sim City came up with with the mechanics and set down the foundation for resource management games to come.



Great platformerhttps://blog.proto.io/10-landmark-video-games-changed-industry-forever/

In an era of gaming were AAA games were king, gaming had become a little stale. Then Braid was released. It was a small platformer that allowed you to rewind time and it featured a somber soundtrack. Braid was the definitive experience for indie gamers. Not surprsingly, it paved the way for a stylized and artsy genre to surface.


Mario 64

Super mariohttps://blog.proto.io/10-landmark-video-games-changed-industry-forever/

Before Mario 64, games were in 2D. When it debut, Mario 64 effectively became the first real 3D game. Nintendo introduced 3D game design and the the user experience was never the same again. Needless to say, developers still credit the origin of 3D console gaming to Mario 64!


Wolfenstein 3D


Let’s face it, first person shooter games are one of the most popular genres. But that wasn’t the case in the early 90s. At the time, there were very few FPS games floating around the market. Enter Wolfenstein 3D with its fast-paced violent action. Players couldn’t get enough of it and the game set a standard in first person shooters. You can still see Wolfenstein 3D influences in every FPS game in the market today.


E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

E.T. video gamehttp://whatculture.com/gaming/20-video-games-that-changed-gaming-forever

Here’s a surprisingly bad game that paved the way for a really good option for players. E.T. the video game did so poorly in sales and was so negatively received that it created the idea of a return policy for video games. E.T. game manufactures were forced to make return policies for their games and that option became a standard option for players!


Angry Birds

Angry Birds logoAuthor Knowledge

Like it or not, mobile gaming exists and the reason it’s so popular in our day-to-day life now is Angry Birds. It was one of the first games developed specifically for smartphones. Its addictive game-play hooked many people who never played video games. Players didn’t get tired from throwing the birds.


Telltale’s The Walking Dead

The Walking DeadAuthor Knowledge

The Walking Dead popularized multiple choice storylines. It also brought back the point and click adventure experience. Not surprisingly, Left for Dead is still regarded as the best game of its kind. Only a very small group of video games can match TWD.


Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider logohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_Raider_(1996_video_game)

Before Nathan Drake was even a thought, we had a different action adventure hero, we had Lara Croft. In a time where big strong male figures dominated the video game world, Lara Croft was completely the opposite. Make no mistake though, Tomb Raider got by just fine as a game on its own. In fact, it’s often been said that Tomb Raider was a template for 3D action adventures. The action-adventure game also had a huge impact on media. The franchise houses a number of video games as well as a vast amount of movies.



Everquest MMOhttps://www.pcgamer.com/the-original-everquest-is-so-unhelpful-and-severe-that-it-almost-feels-modern/

Before World of Warcraft made MMOs a massive market, gamers had Everquest. Everquest was the original MMO that holds up even today. Everquest set the foundation for MMO games to come.



Original simsAuthor Knowledge

The Sims was an odd game when it first made its debut. Produced for PCs, it was a game that simulated real life. Everyone could live the lives they couldn’t in reality. The gamers were allowed to choose a profession, manage a household, and even care for a pet. More than that, there were no goals to beat, and no players to kill. It was unheard of to have gaming experiences that were peaceful, yet The Sims did just that. Needless to say, it quickly became the best selling game on PCs and it still holds that record today.



Fallout character creationAuthor Knowledge

Before Bethesda took Fallout and made it into a pop culture legend, Fallout was an isometric role-playing game. In fact, it was one of the first. Fallout did wonders for RPGs and it allowed for a whole slew of games in that genre to be successful.


Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman and the jokerAuthor Knowledge

It may be one of the newer games on this list but it’s hard to deny what Batman did for superhero video games. Before, Arkham superhero video games were largely a joke. Batman also revolutionized combat in modern gaming, it’s flowing combat moves became the benchmark for games in the modern industry.


Half Life

Half Life Logohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_(series)

Half-Life introduced gamers to a genre of gaming that focused on a central character. This in case, it was Dr. Gordon Freeman and he had to find his way out of a research facility or die. Needless to say, the good doctor had to shoot his way to safety. Players became hooked on Dr. Gordon’s quest and the game was an instant success! It paved the way to a new genre of gaming that is still very popular today!


Grand Theft Auto III

Gta 3 logohttps://blog.proto.io/10-landmark-video-games-changed-industry-forever/

We love open world games, it’s probably our favorite game genre. But before games like Skyrim caused a new increase in open world games, there was another game that helped the genre gain the foothold it has today. That game was Grand Theft Auto III. It gave players a goal and allowed them to achieve it by any means necessary. Needless to say, every gamer was allowed to do the most heinous acts to meet their goal. It was graphic and parents were horrified! While it was violent, it opened up a new level of extreme gaming.


The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

OblivionAuthor Knowledge

Much like Grand Thief Auto (GTA) III, Oblivion showed the potential in open world gaming. However, Oblivion had a lot to live up to, its predecessor, Morrowind, was hailed as a near perfect game. Eventually, Oblivion became a mainstream hit. Its success marked the current golden age of open world games. Interestingly, it’s still argued today that Oblivion outmatches it’s sequel Skyrim in every category.


Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasyhttps://blog.proto.io/10-landmark-video-games-changed-industry-forever/

Final Fantasy VII had no issues doing well in Japan. It was a major hit as soon as it hit stores. No one expected Final Fantasy VII to do well overseas, but it became a smashing success in American markets. Role Play Games (RPG) weren’t as popular in the US, and Final Fantasy VII opened the door to many more RPG games in the United States.


Resident Evil

Resident Evil logohttp://whatculture.com/gaming/20-video-games-that-changed-gaming-forever

Before Resident Evil came along there wasn’t much of a horror genre in gaming. Most games had terrifying monsters, and Resident Evil was no different. However, while other games gave players plenty of guns and ammo, Resident Evil was extremely limiting in weapons. Each player was given a gun and a small round of ammo. That set another bar in realism and spawned not only a number of successful sequels, but it launched a new genre in gaming as well.


Metal Gear Solid

metal gear solid logoAuthor Knowledge

Metal Gear Solid helped shape what video games would one day become. Games didn’t flow between cinematics and game play until Metal Gear came out. Thanks to Metal Gear Solid, action games became more cinematic enhancing the player experience.


The Last Of Us

Joel and EllieAuthor Knowledge

Much like Metal Gear Solid, The Last of Us made waves for storytelling in gaming. It wasn’t the first game to do so but what separates The Last Of Us from games like Metal Gear was its writing. The Last Of Us presented a realistic world that had characters that felt like real people.


Super Mario Bros.

Super mario bros. logohttp://whatculture.com/gaming/20-video-games-that-changed-gaming-forever

While platform games had already been around for a while, none of them had quite the impact on gaming as Super Mario Bros. did. Super Mario Bros. made gaming into a cultural phenomenon and the majority of gaming’s success is due to this game.


Mortal Kombat

Mortal kombat fighthttps://mortalkombat.fandom.com/wiki/Mortal_Kombat_Wiki

Mortal Kombat is a series that’s become synonymous with depicting graphic violence. No one was surprised by the controversy the game caused when it released. Parents were appalled there by the violence the game ruthlessly depicted.

Their children were watching and playing it! Of course, they demanded change and change did take place in the form of a rating system that was adopted. Similar to the movie rating, the ESRB was created to rate video games on what age groups should be allowed to play them.


Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Legend of Zelda logohttp://whatculture.com/gaming/20-video-games-that-changed-gaming-forever?page=21

After Nintendo had its success with Mario 64 you’d think they’d be happy. But no, Nintendo wanted to more, they wanted to build upon what they already had. They focused on an exquisite level design, which incorporated a fixed camera that allowed the player to experience the world of Hyrule how it was intended.

Ocarina of Time was a hit before it was even released as Americans pre-ordered over 500,000 copies that holiday season alone. Even now audiences and developers agree that it’s the most iconic 3D action adventure game to ever be made.

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