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Multimedia [O](TM) University
 * Computer Games
7 Deadly Games
Author : Tie Sing Chie
01-Aug-2000 : 12.08 am
Over the past decade, electronic gaming industry has bloomed tremendously. With more and more games in the market than ever, gamers find it hard to make selections and by the time they realize it, they have bought more games than they intended too. It can be said that the cyber culture nowadays will not be complete without the support from the gaming industry.

Like the Hollywood film industry, the gaming industry rely highly on ground-breaking products. Such games are known as pioneers. These games are the grand daddy of its very own genre. Their gameplay, cinematic sequels, concepts and in-game technology have inspired game designers to make more quality games and thus contribute hundreds of new games each year.

Wing Commander
by Origin Systems

Genre : Space Simulation
Developer : Origin Systems
Publisher : Origin Systems
Year : 1990

Wing Commander featured a memorable, diverse cast of characters who would live or die, depending on how well you fought alongside them in the game's classic deep-space dogfights. It featured a branching campaign that could take two completely separate courses, depending on your success or failure in your missions. You truly felt as if your actions determined how the game played out - and yet the game seemed so cinematic the entire time that having such influence over the plot was exhilarating for many players

Furthermore, Wing Commander was one of the first games that featured retail budget-priced, supplemental expansion packs that added new content and story to the game. These commercial expansions showed publishers that gamers would gladly purchase additional content for a good game, as they would prefer to buy an expansion pack a few months after the original game than wait many more months for a full sequel.

Its animated story sequences were unparalleled in their graphical quality and in their power to convey such drama with hand-drawn, animated bitmaps and subtitles. Wing Commander was certainly a technical feat, but it's all the more impressive when you account for its innovations on the retail market, thanks to its expansion packs and for its innovations as a computer narrative because of its epic story. Even the game manual was appealing to non-gamers!

Ultima III : Exodus
by Origin Systems

Genre : Role Playing (RPG)
Developer : Origin Systems
Publisher : Origin Systems
Year : 1983

There's no question that Richard Garriott's a.k.a. Lord British's Ultima series is one of the most influential in all of PC gaming. Origin Systems was one of the top game developers and publishers through the '80s and '90s, and it created many critically acclaimed games in that time thanks to Ultima series.

Although Ultima remained prominent well into the '90s, the single most influential game in the series has to be Ultima III: Exodus, which was the first Ultima that put you in command of a party of characters instead of just one hero making it the first computer role-playing epic. The game took place in the world of Sosaria, which later came to be known as Britannia. Britannia was one of the first virtually seamless, fully realized gameworlds ever created for a computer game. It was also the first Ultima to feature tactical, turn-based combat.

Ultima III is commonly considered the most hardcore, the most complicated of all the Ultima games. You create a party of four different characters, and then you have to keep track of each of them individually over the course of the game. Arguably, Ultima III also inspired all other party-based isometric role-playing games to date: Popular modern role-playing games like Baldur's Gate can be traced back to Ultima III, as a lot of the same conventions for role-playing games are still being used years later.

Tomb Raider
by Core Design

Genre : Action
Developer : Core Design
Publisher : Eidos
Year : 1996

Whether you loved the game or hated it, you can't deny that the first game in Eidos' Tomb Raider series is one of the most influential games in PC gaming, although some critics would argue that it was simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Eidos released Tomb Raider in October 1996. Not only was it a 3D game, but it also offered something the PC gaming community had not seen before - a third-person shooter with gameplay elements drawn from 2D platform games. The console-game market experienced a similar phenomenon just a few months earlier with the release of Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, but for many PC game players, Tomb Raider would be their first foray into the newly established subgenre.

In addition, Tomb Raider had a strong impact on the PC hardware industry. Tomb Raider was one of the first games to receive a hardware acceleration patch developed by 3dfx Interactive for use with its Voodoo cards.

Although the Tomb Raider property has lost its luster due to the number of sequels that didn't offer much innovation, Tomb Raider remains a cultural and marketing phenomenon. The game's heroine became one of the most popular characters of all time, appearing time and time again in ads, commercials, and pop-culture fiction. Hollywood has even followed suit with a motion-picture film based on the game, and Lara remains very much the spokesmodel for digital entertainment today.

by Valve Software

Genre : Action
Developer : Valve Software
Publisher : Siera Studios
Year : 1998

What made Half-Life innovative was its ability to completely immerse you in the game through its use of several gameplay techniques and features, such as seamless level transitions with little or no load times, realistic enemy artificial intelligence, in-game scripted events, and the latest in 3D graphics and 3D sound technologies. Everything about Half-Life was designed with the sole purpose of suspending your disbelief so that you could progress through the game's plot. In this respect, Half-Life could be considered as less of a game than an interactive movie in which you play as the lead, Gordon Freeman - a scientist who is trapped inside a top-secret military laboratory trying to find his way out, stop the alien contamination and save the world.

Even concepts so simple as health and ammo have been reinvented by Half-Life, as it's now considered unacceptable for first-person shooters and action games in general to leave these items simply scattered about the levels. Because of Half-Life, game players have come to expect a certain sense of realism from the genre, even if the game involves science fiction or high fantasy. Already, Half-Life's influence has become apparent in the latest crop of action games such as Raven's Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Ion Storm's Deus Ex.

Coincidentally, even the user-created mods for Half-Life have proven to be quite influential on the mod-making community. Counter-Strike, one of the most popular mods for any first-person shooter, has been picked up by Sierra Studios for publication later this year. Its terrorist/counter terrorist formula has proven to be so popular that other users have since released mods with similar scenarios for other games such as Quake III: Arena and Unreal Tournament. Whether it's a commercial release of a stand-alone game or a simple third-party mod, Half-Life's influence on the first-person shooter genre is undeniable and will continue to influence the development of games for years to come.

by Blizzard North

Genre : Action
Developer : Blizzard North
Publisher : Blizzard
Year : 1996

Blizzard games are acknowledged to be very influential, as many developers chase their commercial success and look to the games as the benchmark for sales and excellence. And among Blizzard's games, perhaps the most influential of all has thus far been Diablo. Three things make this game one of the biggest milestones in gaming in the late '90s. Its simple but amazingly addictive gameplay made it an easy target for other developers to copy; the game almost single-handedly revived the role-playing genre; and it showed the entire industry how to do one-click Internet play... for free!

The most obvious influence of Diablo has been on the half dozen or so copycats games that have a similar look and feel and a similar style of action-based role-playing gameplay. Like Westwood's Dune 2, Diablo was influential not only in its successes, but also in its failures. Regardless of new enhancements that these games, such as Nox and Darkstone, have brought to the genre, it is clear that they had in some way been influenced by Diablo.

More importantly, Diablo came out at a time when many industry pundits had written off the role-playing genre. The year 1996 was the height of popularity for action games and real-time strategy games, and the outlook for RPGs was bleak. Some continue to argue that Diablo is not a true role-playing game, but, without a doubt, it has a key component of RPGs - character building. And although it's more action-oriented than other games in the genre, it fits better in the role-playing category than any other. Regardless, when Baldur's Gate came out a year later, the market would not have been so huge and so receptive to a new AD&D-based; RPG had it not been for Diablo.

Sometimes forgotten in the debate over Diablo's influence as a role-playing game is its inarguable role in bringing seamless Internet play to the forefront of game design. Certainly, games like Quake could be played over the Internet, and Kali and other online-play services were already in use, but they weren't as amazingly simple or widely used as Diablo's would become. Of course, eventually came to encompass more games, and it is now a Blizzard network, but it all started with Diablo. And it worked brilliantly. Here was a game that gave you free Internet play with the click of a button. No other game had done this before, and very few games can still do that today.

After seeing how successful such a feature could be in a game - seamless and easy Internet play on a free gaming service - many game companies scrambled to add the same sort of intuitive and free service for their games.

by id Software

Genre : Action
Developer : id Software
Publisher : id Software
Year : 1996

Quake has to be on anyone's list of the most influential games of all time. Certainly, id Software's Wolfenstein 3D and Doom were groundbreaking games that defined the first-person shooter, but in terms of influence, Quake, the culmination of id's previous games and cutting-edge technology, was even greater. Quake attracted more fans than any of id's previous games. It set standards for the use of technology in a game, end-user customization, and online player communities. Many shooters that came after it, such as Hexen II and Jedi Knight, were touted as "Quake killers," and that label only attests to Quake's influential status.

Quake revolutionized the genre by introducing a fully 3D world. Although Doom seemed to be a 3D game, in reality the vertical axis was falsely portrayed: You were glued to a 2D floor and couldn't aim up or down. Quake had a true 3D world with 3D character models instead of sprites and physics that made the game world more immersive. This also enabled players to develop new skills, tactics, and techniques.

Quake also ushered in large-scale competitive gaming. In fact, id Software lent a hand in starting this trend. Id Software sponsored Quake tournaments, offering prizes and even a Ferrari to winners. Partly responsible for this was the addition of hardware acceleration in Quake. Owners of the latest video cards could run GLQuake, which ran the game using the OpenGL API instead of software rendering mode. Not only did the game have impressive graphics while running GLQuake, the game ran faster and smoother.

by Maxis

Genre : Startegy
Developer : Maxis
Publisher : Maxis
Year : 1987

In 1987, Will Wright created SimCity, an entirely new type of game that allowed players to create a town and nurture it into a thriving metropolis. There were no set objectives, no victory conditions, and no opponent. Your score depended on a series of city attributes, including population and your mayoral public approval rating. The game also didn't require any kind of combat to win.

SimCity broke down many preconceptions of what a computer game could and should be. It was the first game to successfully capture the joy of system simulation, and it proved that there was a market for games that emphasized construction over destruction. Time magazine published an article on SimCity, and this brought the game into the mainstream media. As a result, sales of the game increased far beyond anyone's expectations. Some schools even began using the game as a teaching tool in the classroom.

SimCity spawned what can be considered one of the most successful game series in computer game history. There are Sim games today that simulate everything from a tropical island to a high-rise building. The series now includes SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, SimFarm, SimHealth, SimIsle, SimGolf, SimTower, SimThemePark, The Sims, and many more.

The idea of games that emphasized construction and city-building soon spread through the strategy genre and directly inspired games such as the Caesar series, the Settlers series, and even Age of Empires. Even strategy games that didn't primarily focus on city-building, such as Star Control 3 and Imperium Galactica 2, included building features that resembled those found in SimCity.


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