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Innovative and Influencal Games

Hey all,

Inspired by the thread "Are we seeing another collapse of the games industry?," and specifically the video posted @Law212 about how games aren't fun anymore, I got to thinking.

Much of that video's discussion was about the lack of innovation in triple A games today and how so much is just gimmicks and cash grabs, so I got to thinking about games through the years that have really influenced my enjoyment, style, tastes, and spending habits for the hobby. While there have been many fun games in so many different genres, I tried to think of the titles that really defined gaming for me, or that pushed things so far beyond what I'd experienced before that they became the standard for which I judged other games.

My top five would be:

1) Mortal Kombat II. Fighting games were huge, the FPS genre of their day (early 90's), and Mortal Kombat innovated with using digitized actors for its graphics. The first game however was pretty clunky, and the excessive amount of graphic violence and blood (for the time) was really the main draw. The sequel, however, added deeper, more refined gameplay, a stronger and more robust cast of characters that is regarded as one of the franchise's best, improvements in the quality of the digital actors, and expanded upon the few secrets introduced in the first game; secrets becoming a staple of the overall genre as a result. Mortal Kombat II is a game that influenced much of my late childhood and the style of games and characters I liked at the time, as well as gaming socialization and competition with my friends at arcades and on our Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems. It's also the nostalgia factor for this game that let me really enjoy the recent reboot and its sequel.

2) Doom. The grandfather of the First Person Shooter genre, Doom was fast paced, easy to access, extremely visceral and gory to the point where it was a prime reason for the creation of the modern ESRB, and was modable and had a sizable modding community for its day. It also laid the ground work for FPS Online Multiplayer, and created the term Deathmatch. Without Doom, much in gaming would not be as it is now. Such a crazy influential and innovative game, and one I still find fun to play today.

3) Super Metroid. I spent so much time with this game, it's such an exceptional platformer. A great, chilling story, complex yet easy to play gameplay, an actual save system, lots of secrets and strong replayability, as well as huge nostalgia for any fan of Metroid. This game was the poster child for exceptional platformer for me.

4) System Shock 2. I've mentioned System Shock 2 before, and this is quite possible the top most influential game of my life. Taking the disturbing horror atmosphere of Doom, giving it a different sci-fi theme and setting, and mixing in RPG elements so flawlessly, System Shock 2 was a new kind of terror and a new kind of shooter. It actually isn't an FPS, but an RPG with FPS elements/perspective. The sound mix was fantastic, the gameplay hectic, and the atmosphere filled with dread. From the respawning enemies, to the audio logs, and the paranoia of always being watched, System Shock 2 is a single player experience equaled by few other titles. Pretty much any horror shooter I've played since I've judged and compared to this game, and they typically fall short.

5) Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. In the late '90's to early 2000's, I was playing a snot tone of RTS games, and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is, to me, the pinnacle of these. It featured 3D graphics, a first for Blizzard Entertainment, and was their best looking game since Diablo. The story of the Campaign was far more cinematic building upon what they learned in Starcraft, and the gameplay; oh the gameplay! Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos simply allowed for such refined control over your units: Subgroups, Autocasting, and other interface innovations made controlling your armies so much more efficient than RTSes prior, and then there were the RPG elements. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was originally marketed as a Role Playing Strategy game, a title that didn't stick, but with the Hero units and their Leveling and Skills, items and inventory, and the Creeps (neutral enemies on maps), the Multiplayer game had a living quality to it that RTS games simply never had before (even StarCraft II lacks this feel). Combining all of this and the refinements Blizzard Entertainment learned with creating asymmetrical factions, as well as new Classic improvements in matchmaking, Multiplayer was intense and unlike anything I'd experienced before. So much so, with "The Frozen Throne," this is the first, and only, game I've ever competed in Tournaments (Online automated ones) with. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is also the game the properly gave birth to the MOBA genre, which has been fantastically huge for the fledgling and current eSports scene.

Honourable mention goes to Halo 2 for having such variety in it's gameplay, both the variety and replayability of being able to approach situations in the Campaign so differently, granting one such varied experiences (it never got proper credit or recognition for this), and for the Multiplayer phenomenon it was able to create on the younger Online console market.

So these are the games that, overall, have had the biggest impact on my gaming life. I'd be interested to read about yours.


  • Law212Law212 Centurion

    I hate that full price games are doing free to play mobile game tricks. Specigially microtransaction card packs

    I hate cards in video games. Halo wars 2 now uses the card system.....

  • The first time i remember a game making me go wow...this is awesome, would have been in the early 90's. I had just gotten a Commodore Amiga 500 and the games were:

    The Sierra adventure games, Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest, Codename:Iceman, Police Quest. They were fun, made you think , and had pretty good stories.

    Jack Nicklaus Links golf let you design your own golf course...which was pretty fun.

  • @Law212 said:
    I hate that full price games are doing free to play mobile game tricks. Specigially microtransaction card packs

    I hate cards in video games. Halo wars 2 now uses the card system.....

    What do you mean by card packs?

  • Law212Law212 Centurion

    I mean that to get new gear in a game , you have to buy card packs and you get random cards . Some are cosmetic , some boost your stats and so on. So many retail games do this now, when it used to be just mobile games.

    Its a terrible trend, that unfortunately will soon be in all games just like how now seasons passes are the norm.

    Its just a method to make money. Its great for the companies but anti consumer.

    Now its in halo wars 2 and its going to be in injustice 2. Soon , every game.

    so this suits this thread because games like call of duty and other early games that did the loot box system influenced this.

  • SintacsSintacs Centurion
    edited January 2017

    @Juxtapose usually a "pack" or "box" you buy with real cash (or sometimes in-game currency) that contains a bunch of random cards or items for a game that are either consumable, or things you need to collect to use.

    We were talking about how out of place it is in Gears 4 today while playing. You can buy packs I gears with something like 6 things per pack, there's a horde one where you get horde skill cards, you can combine the duplicate skill cards of a skill to upgrade that skill, there's also one guaranteed cosmetic item per pack, so a weapon skin, emblem, or character (though characters are VERY rare in these packs). There's also the versus variant of that pack, where instead of skill cards, you get bounties (basically a thing you set going into a match with an objective, if you accomplish it, the bounty is consumed, and you get whatever the listed reward was). They also have elite packs for considerably more money and in-game currency that offer only cosmetics, but a higher chance at "legendary" ones. Now, this isn't too terrible, it's a step in the wrong direction, but at least you can earn them with in-game currency. What they have also done is paid packs only, with exclusive content, pretty much additional DLC on top of the season pass.

    Halo 5 did card packs too, you'd get consumable weapons or vehicles for use in Warzone. You could picka weapon from a card you have and spawn with it, or a vehicle you have and spawn into it, after doing so, the card was gone. You could also get cosmetic items, armors, helmets, weapon skins, etc. To be fair though, it's somewhat excusable here, as they're at least providing all the new maps and stuff for free, and frequently give out free packs.

    I've played plenty of games with similar systems in-place, and it's generally not too bad, though those games are free to play, not games with an $80+ price tag at launch. Overwatch also did this, they have loot boxes that you get (IIRC) each time you level up, or you can buy them with cash. Had Overwatch been a free to play game, I would see no issue with this, but it's not, you're looking at a minimum $40 entry fee if you wanna play. Free to play games also tend to do the whole pack thing a lot better, as they'll generally have one guaranteed useful item, and the items you're usually buying the packs for tend to feel like they have better value than what you get in paid releases.

    It's basically some of the elements used to get some cash flow in free to play stuff (they gotta get some money somewhere, they have servers to run and content to make), and I don't really have an issue with it in free to play games. What's happening now, is paid games are taking up free to play tactics without the free to play option, and really, it's just fucking greedy. I paid for your game, bought your goddamn season pass, don't fucking coax me into spending more money to get the shit I already paid for faster.

  • So how do they work in fighting games then, like what's proposed in Injustice 2. If they increase stats of fighters, is it a one shot deal or perma. If perma, are you required to buy cards just to compete then?

  • Law212Law212 Centurion

    INjstice will use them to get new armor and stats for your fighter. If you get a full set you can unlock a variation on the character. Like Supergirl becomes PowerGirl and so on.

    There will be a game mode where all that is just visual , and one where you can take upgraded cahracters online .

  • EchoGolfSierraEchoGolfSierra Centurion
    edited January 2017

    Card packs all get back to the earlier issue about the "tail" of a game. Technically you buy in for $40 bucks and get really good at 1-2 standard heros and you can play the game as is for years....logging hundreds of hours all for around $40 bucks....great value for the player.

    But if everyone does this the game dev ( anyone other than Blizzard) would be bankrupt in a year. There is NO value in this business plan for the developer. They can't pay their bills and feed their kids on that model. So they create money generating techniques to lengthen the "tail" of the game and survive.

    Yep you heard me....survive. A game is only a great game,... is only a great title, if it is fun and challenging and holds your interest while paying the bills and keeping the lights on at the dev's house. Or the industry dies.......

    I hear a lot about greedy developers, and money grabs.....and yes they exist. Companies that lie and mislead players or just produce outright crap. But for every one of those, there are a half dozen small production houses that close their doors because they just cant pay their bills in this multi-billion $$$$ industry. Everyone screams about the same old boring shit...Where are the new IPs??? Taking a chance on a new IP can cripple a company for years if not totally kill them.

    Titanfall 2 is a prime example. FPS of the of the year incredible player value and experience, and definitely a different type of shooter....not your standard COD type IP. Make a single bad business decision and your GOTY IP is dead. Respawn is in serious financial problems.

    With all the money being spent there has to be a way for players to get good value and companies to make a reasonable profit. Card packs are a technique. This isnt always greed...this is sometimes survival.

  • SintacsSintacs Centurion

    @EchoGolfSierra said:
    Technically you buy in for $40 bucks and get really good at 1-2 standard heros and you can play the game as is for years....logging hundreds of hours all for around $40 bucks....great value for the player.

    How many games can you really say that about anymore though? I rarely break the 20-30 hour mark with most games released these days, and the majority of those aren't released at $40, but $70-80.

    @EchoGolfSierra said:
    anyone other than Blizzard

    What's kind of funny about that is Blizzard has been offering cash purchases in their paid and subbed games for a long time now. They have a cash shop in WoW, they used to have a real money auction house for items in Diablo 3, they have loot boxes in Overwatch, I'd assume they likely have something similar going in SC2 as well, but I have not played it. Blizz not only doesn't need to be doing this, but has been doing it longer than most devs of recent games have been. This is one of the many reasons I have absolutely no respect or trust left for Blizzard.

    @EchoGolfSierra said:
    I hear a lot about greedy developers, and money grabs.....and yes they exist. Companies that lie and mislead players or just produce outright crap. But for every one of those, there are a half dozen small production houses that close their doors because they just cant pay their bills in this multi-billion $$$$ industry. Everyone screams about the same old boring shit...Where are the new IPs??? Taking a chance on a new IP can cripple a company for years if not totally kill them.

    If developers charging $80 for a new release aren't making enough profit on game sales alone to stay in business, they should probably start scaling back their budgets for games. If this means big budget games fade away, I'm not really against that, most of the best games I've played this gen have been smaller budget or indie titles anyway. Developers of games with smaller budgets are the folks I'll be more likely to support with additional purchases, they're the ones that need it the most, but games with $1+ million budgets? Fuck that.

    I get what you're saying about a lot of small studios going under, but that's part of the problem now, there's just too fucking many games out there now, and like 80%+ is absolute shit. Unless you cater to some sort of niche, or know how to market your game yourself, chances are it will go unnoticed.

    The indie scene is great, but its a double edged sword, it produces some great titles, but also pumps out tons of shit. There's too many people getting into game design and releasing their first games on Steam, when they have absolutely no visual polish, with terrible gameplay, and bugs everywhere. It's great if you wanna get into game design, but don't be shitting out your first crappy games into platforms that are already flooded with shit games. Offer it for free, get people to play it, give criticism, learn, make a better polished product to release. You need to be able to accept the fact that your game isn't good enough to sell, and will just further clog up the pipes. I used to make games back in highschool, I had hoped to one day start selling them, but what I did make during that time, I knew were too simple, or lacking the polish to justify asking money for. Yeah, I loved my games, and was proud of them, but I was also able to look at them as a potential customer, and I definitely would not have paid for them. Greed has a lot to do with this though, people see how much money some developer rake in, and they want a piece, so they just release anything they can in hopes of making a few bucks. They don't care that it hurts the indie scene on the whole when they release a piece of crap and slap a price tag on it.

    Again, I generally don't have too huge an issue dumping some extra money into a game as long as I feel I get some value out of it. A lot of $80 releases, I don't even feel I'm getting my moneys worth from the initial purchase, why would I want to up the amount I'm paying when I don't even feel I've made a good investment to begin with?

    So I'm almost done rambling and ranting. While I do agree loot packs/boxes and other in-game purchases are necessary in some games, I feel the big budget market should really be scaling back if they need to incorporate this into their games to make it by. Hell, I'd be happy with them just going away if they keep it up. I don't need big budget stuff that's cramming micropayments into their titles just to stay alive when I can play free things that are doing the same thing, but offering a better initial value in their game (it's free), and MUCH better value in their actual micro purchases. I've spent hundreds, probably even one or two thousand on individual free games, but you know what? I've got more time and enjoyment out of them than any title that I paid $80 for, and more value out of the things I bought in those games than anything offered for an additional fee in a $80 game. I buy games because I expect a complete package and experience, if I want to pay extra things that should be part of the package, I'll stick with the indie and free to play scene.

  • @Sintacs when I said "Anyone except Blizzard" what I was meaning was that any company could be at risk of going tits up...except Blizzard. I doubt realistically if Blizzard will go bankrupt in my lifetime.

    I found your post is all goo to suggest Devs should scale back but that means hundreds of people out of work. A simple free to play game like Wireframe ( made in london by Digital Ex) employs in excess of 220 people.

    So if it takes 220 people to produce and maintain that many does it take to make many years are they working before release and generating no income?
    How many jobs get axed because you think the industry should scale back instead of "creating a longer tail" for their game.

    I heard Raj point out one day that a $60 game in 1990 would retail for #150+ if you just factored in standard inflation. So if this is true ( and the numbers do match up) all devs are doing is trying to keep up with inflation by adding "tails".

    Something to consider.....

  • Law212Law212 Centurion

    Id rather pay 120 or so a game, instead of having every game released fight for a constant stream of your money.

    HOw many games come out monthly? lots. how many people can play all those games and pay for their microtransactions to keep those companies going? Not to mention that only a percent of gamers will actually spend real money on those games after the initial purchase.

    if the choice comes down to me having to keep paying for microtransactions for a game , or the dev team going out of business and those guys losing their jobs. Ill let them starve.

    gamers aren't rich and cant keep supporting game developers for all their favourite games. Devs need a better way to make money. Scaling back, less advertising costs. higher initial sales prices.... but I wont keep shelling out so they can keep their jobs.

    There are too many games for all of them to succeed.

  • I generally agree with most of what @Sintacs said. If companies are not able to make bill payments they need to scale back. It's a process called right-sizing, and it's something that's very hard and very shitty and something I have first hand experience in. And if it needs to be done then it needs to be done.

    Regarding Blizzard Entertainment, the more I play their stuff now, the more I feel they're one of the top developers out there in terms of bang for your retail buck, so I disagree with you there @Sintacs.

    Granted, they are not the Blizzard Entertainment of the late '90's to early 2000's, but in an over-saturated industry (as you've clearly stated), they're a gem. Why?

    They're not releasing several sub-par games a year just to milk things. The current version of the company is Activision-Blizzard, which came into being in 2008. So in those eight-ish years, they've released five new games (two of which are free to play) and eight expansion sets (five for World of Warcraft), all highly polished with significant amounts of content and replayability (something the company has always been known for) as well as very high production values.

    They're games receive constant support and updates and new features that are freely added, which includes "classic" games; something no other developer I can think of does. I should not have been able to install and play Diablo II: Lord of Destruction so easily yesterday on such a modern system, yet there it was; easy as pie.

    Regarding StarCraft II, microtransactions were just introduced to it in 2016, six years after launch, and they include cosmetic things like themed in-game announcers, a very select few unit skins, and Premium profile portraits.

    In fact, back in 2013 the StarCraft II Arcade was made free-to-play, you no longer needed to own the retail game to access and play, and you can also play Multiplayer (no match-making) free with the Starter Edition as well, so unless you want the Campaigns and/or a truly competitive Multiplayer experience, StarCraft II has been quasi-free-to-play for almost four years now.

    It seems to me their business model and microtransactions are generally well implemented and in-line with the current genres' standard. Heroes of the Storm is completely free and requires no real money to enjoy the game to its fullest, and you yourself have told me pricing for their skins and such is in line with other mobas and those are cosmetic things. To date, there is no premium content in the game preventing me from experiencing all the title has to offer.

    MMOs have always been cash cows with their subscription fees, part of the reason I've steer clear of them, and from what I understand Blizzard's model with World of Warcraft is no different and relatively standard, it's simply been the most successful and profitable to date. The cash shop you mention though, do you know when it was added? I'm curious if it was pre or post Activision murger?

    Diablo III, to the best of my knowledge, has no microtransactions at this time. While I never experienced the Auction House, friends did so I heard about it (and am glad I missed it), but it's removal shows something else Blizzard does that not many developers do: listen to their customer base and make significant design changes as a result post-launch.

    I can't speak for Hearthstone or Overwatch as I've never played them, but I've heard mostly positive things all around outside of toxic communities (something that's also not Blizzard-exclusive).

    You all know my thoughts and feelings on the industry as a whole by now, and at the moment, I feel that Blizzard Entertainment is the best AAA developer out there right now simply because they're products are so polished and filled with so much content out-of-the-box, and their games at launch are standard retail price.

    If I'm going to non-indie game on my PC, they're a company to do it with.

  • Law212Law212 Centurion

    Taking a break from homework, I thought id bring this back on track.

    I have been gaming for a long time, and there are been quite a few games that have influenced me personally. One that sticks out is Unreal. The original, not tournament. I wasn't into first person shooters at the time.

    I saw an ad for the game in a magazine and it looked really cool. I then saw the game in a store and I looked at the box. The box alone was something special. It had the title embossed and in gold. weird creatures on the cover and the middle was cut out so you could see the game case.

    I bought it on a whim and took it home. Loaded it up and I was in awe from the start. The levels were detailed, the atmosphere was great and the graphics were top notch for the time.

    I was hooked on the game all the way through. The game had great reflections, lighting , music and the gameplay was solid.

    It got me into FPS games. The next FPS I remember really hooking me was Requiem: Avenging Angel.

  • SintacsSintacs Centurion

    @Law212 Unreal was amazing. Though somewhat similar to Quake, I thought it was a far superior game, the enemies were better, the weapons were better, the level design and just overall setting to them was better, and the music (still some of my all-time favorite game music) was better. I still haven't played Unreal 2, I heard it was kinda crappy, but it's still one I want to get around to eventually. I'd love to see a return to this franchise though, one that's not UT (though I absolutely love UT too).

  • Law212Law212 Centurion

    I have Unreal 2 but I never finished it. IT didn't grab me like the first one did.

  • @Law212 said:
    I have Unreal 2 but I never finished it. IT didn't grab me like the first one did.

    didnt grab you in the pussy eh?

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