The 52 Most Important Video Games of All Time (page 8 of 8)
- April 24, 2007 00:00 AM PT
Grand Theft Auto III
In everyone's life, there comes a time when you can confidently point to an Earth-shifting cultural change and just know. Elvis Presley didn't merely alter the landscape of rock, he changed music. Star Wars didn't influence genre films or set precedents in science fiction, it changed movies. Forever. And in that same way, Grand Theft Auto III changed video games because its influence will extend to almost every genre of games, possibly forever.
Sure, folks took umbrage at the game's pervasive violence, questionable ethics, and potentially terrifying impact on society. But nobody can deny GTA III's revolutionary impact on game design. When Grand Theft Auto III landed in October of 2001, it instantaneously dated every game that came before it. The open-ended sandbox design of GTA III was a masterstroke, allowing the player an unprecedented degree of freedom to play as they choose. Whether following the main plot or ignoring it, players were free to indulge in any number of diversions at whatever level of morality they found comfortable. Suddenly, level-based gameplay -- an unspoken contract between gamer and game designer for more than 20 years -- was laughably antiquated. Even the hub-style launching points popularized by Super Mario 64 felt old and dusty. Simply put, GTAIII redefined how games are played, serving as a wake-up call to an industry that had had for years fallen into a safe, sleepy rhythm. GTA III's lesson? That creative boundaries must be attacked with the same vigor as technological hurdles.
After GTA III, everything from Tony Hawk to fighting games, shooters and even the Simpsons franchise went back to the drawing board. No other game in the last 20 years has had more impact than Grand Theft Auto III. It radically evolved the bond between gamer and game, in the process changing everything about how games are made and played.
* -- Wikipedia
** -- doteaters.com