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Top 20 Most Influential Video Games of All Time

Posted on by in Gaming

From arcades, PCs, gaming consoles to the mobile games on the smartphones, video games are everywhere. Picking only 20 of the most influential games across all formats is thus a tough one, especially since we live in the age of fantastic gameplay, riveting plots and stunning graphics. If you are still a gamer by heart, you are bound to go back to those glorious days of playing video games all afternoon long from time to time.


So here’s a chance to relive those days once more. Hold on to your seats, brace yourself for a major throwback and read on to find out about the 20 most influential video games of all time, across all playing formats.

20 Unforgettable Video Games of All Time

1. Metal Gear Solid (1998)


This one does not actually need an introduction. It is definitely one of the most beloved stealth and action games, and helped PlayStation build a fantastic brand image around it. Gamers who are into the stealth/action genre fondly recall the gaming modes and weapon switches on Metal Gear Solid, and it remains as the top choice for video game critics as well.

2. Grand Theft Auto III (2001)


Of course, one of the most controversial yet popular games of all time simply had to make it to this list. While the violent plotline and adult content caused quite an uproar back in the day, Grand Theft Auto III managed to take the cake amid all lawsuits slapped at PlayStation from all quarters. It was rated the best video game of the year of its release, and remains one of the highest selling games ever. It has plenty of prequels and sequels, and can now be played on iOS and Android as well.

3. Wolfenstein 3D (1992)


Wolfenstein is a PC games hall of famer and widely recognised as the father of modern first person shooting games. Featuring an American soldier trying to escape the Nazi war base, this one hit just the right notes in terms of fervour and sentiment as well. The first-person viewpoint in action gaming and health packs first featured in this one, and has naturally been a gaming sensation ever since.

4. Pong (1972)


Two-dimensional graphics aside, Pong has every right to be on this list simply because it provided endless arcade hours of fun and kept a whole generation hooked to its monochromatic-yet-gripping playing format. This multiplayer game had a simple objective – that of bouncing the ping-pong ball on virtual paddles. While it may pale in comparison to some of the heavy-graphics titles in this list, Pong remains an all-time favourite even among the console generation of gamers.

5. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)


Modern Warfare is the most popular among all of CODs, and introduced some of the best single-player missions to the gaming world. Its endearing levelling up systems combined with stunning graphics and exciting gameplay has made it one of the most-loved games of all time.

6. Super Mario Bros (1986)


An all-time Nintendo classic, Super Mario Bros totally took over the gaming sphere with cute mascots and challenging missions. You can still hear a few phones ringing to the iconic theme tune of Super Mario Bros, and it goes on to show the immense popularity of the video game till date. Excellent gameplay and improved graphics took it a few levels apart from its contemporaries. Super Mario Bros thus remains a hit with every gamer worth his console.

7. BioShock (2007)


A gripping storyline coupled with self-augmentation features, this first-person shooter game was quite a rage in the day. BioShock not only let players navigate through Rapture, an undersea city, but also compel them to reflect on the matter of following instructions blindly for the sake of winning missions. It was pretty difficult in terms of gameplay and posed quite a few challenges for even the most hardcore of gamers.

8. Snake (2008)


How awesome was playing Snake on our old phones before the Smartphone took over the world? It is perhaps the first game that opened up the industry to the possibility of mobile gaming, one of the primary pillars of determining the success of games in the modern age. With a simplistic interface and challenging difficulty levels, Snake became the face of mobile gaming back in the day.

9. Assassin’s Creed (2007)


Ubisoft took to ruling the roost of the gaming industry with this hugely popular franchise. Avid Assassin’s Creed gamers are somewhat of a cult themselves, and form a large part of the game merchandise market. Assassin’s Creed-themed apparel has created ripples in the fashion industry as well, such is the far-reaching impact of this glorious action-adventure game series.

10. Mortal Kombat (1992)


A dominant video game among the critics and gamers alike, Mortal Kombat was a path breaker in the early ‘90s. One of the first-of-its-kind video games, it took the entire world by storm with gamers looking for cheat sheets to crack the challenging game. It has reached somewhat of a cult status for gamers the world over, and still remains one of the first mentions of a teenybopper from the ‘90s when recounting their gaming heydays.

11. Tetris (1984)


Not many know that Tetris is the brainchild of Alexey Pajtinov, and he developed the game while working at the Moscow Academy of Science. Nintendo later decided to launch this shape-sorting puzzle game as a title with Gameboy, and struck a deal with the designer. Tetris’s meteoric rise from a barely accessible puzzle game to an almost overnight sensation is video game history, and it has inspired many puzzle titles ever since.

12. DotA 2


Following in the footsteps of the first instalment, DotA 2 had all the elements of the first one with some of the most engaging add-on features in a competitive real-time game of strategy genre. The multiplayer real-time online format made the game pretty challenging and a very compelling watch for gamers all around the world, giving rise to the sponsored DotA championships held across continents.

13. Pac-man (1980)


Departmental stores, laundries, arcades, pizza parlours, and bodegas all had a Pac-man installed to bring in more footfall back in the ‘80s. One of the most addictive games of all time, Pac-man became as much a part of pop culture as Mickey Mouse is. Pac-man themed merchandise and a playable Pac-man Google logo go a long way to show its popularity. An arcade game that totally outlived its era, Pac-man continues to win hearts across nations and playing formats even in the current times.

14. Spelunky (2008)


A path breaking sensation in the indie gaming industry, Spelunky bowled over gamers with clever missions and the concept of permadeath. Gamers loved taking turns in playing this detailed game inspired by the graphics of Rogue, and proved that indie gaming could be influential too, with the right mix of gameplay and plotline. Indie games have carried on in the legacy of Spelunky, and have managed to have remarkable contributions in the gaming sphere ever since.

15. The Sims (2000)


At a time when shooting and stealth games slowly taking over the market, The Sims came as a breath of fresh air for the not-so-violent minded gamers. It remains as one of the most influential games of all time for it proved that shooting and violence were not necessarily the primary ingredients for making a successful game. The simulation gameplay gave the first taste of a virtual life to the gamers, and hence became immensely popular among masses.

16. Resident Evil 4 (2005)


There were Resident Evil’s earlier versions, and then came Resident Evil 4. Nintendo Gamecube totally revolutionised the game with a third-person shooter angle, and had over-the-shoulder camera angles that made it one of the best games of that time. Moreover, the dual-character gameplay also made it fun for gamers to solve puzzles and to make their way through a medieval Spanish castle.

17. Goldeneye 007 (1997)


It would be a crime to leave out Nintendo 64’s Goldeneye 007 from this list. Arguably the best multiplayer game – all thanks to Nintendo 64’s four controller ports – Goldeneye 007 is also one of the most challenging movie-based games of all time. It allowed players to go for the cooperative story mode with as many numbers of James Bonds as you wanted, and had an unparalleled shooter experience.

18. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)


Few know that Ocarina of Time was a huge inspiration behind the roaring hit, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Stashing weapons from open secret areas added on to the replay value of the game, and free-roaming gameplay allowed players to choose between the quests they wished to go on, and so forth. With a whole range of new features and exciting gameplay, this classic game has made many reappearances over time, but nothing beats the 1998 version.

19. Counterstrike (2000)


Counterstrike firmly makes it place among this list due to its sheer demand in the market even now. It remains one of the most-played games on Steam, and dislodging it from the first place of dominant first-person shooter game seems to be quite an uphill task for most shooting game developers. Game designers of the current times keep referring to this game after almost two decades for it created quite a ripple right after its launch.

20. Angry Birds (2009)


Cut to the era of mobile gaming when Red and his gang entirely bowled over the world with Angry Birds. Undeniably the most popular mobile game ever, looking forward to the Angry Birds remastered and evolved formats are what every gamer looks forward to each year. Sure, Candy Crush Sag has its own share of players, but one cannot simply beat the “on a mission to overthrow pig domination” enthusiasm that Angry Birds got in gamers.

Final thoughts

How’s that for a trip down the memory lane? Be it a PlayStation, Gameboy, Nintendo, or a Smartphone, playing video games have always been a rage worldwide for the young and old alike. The 15 timeless video games listed here have managed to steal hearts across the world, and gamers of the modern day still swear by them. That they have not become obsolete in the age of advanced gaming consoles and VR headsets speak volumes about the awe they have inspired among generations of gamers all across the world. Relive those days of PlayStation battles with a throwback to the 15 best video games of all time! May the force be with you!

Author: Ava Lee

Ava Lee, a Brisbane-based front-end developer, offers prompt essay help through MyAssignmentHelp – an academic writing service provider. An avid gamer, he participates in gaming competitions all across UK and volunteers for video game festivals worldwide when not providing super-swift software solutions for his international clientele.

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