Top 10 Most Influential Games of This Millennium

Ever since the millennium began gamers have been taken on a trip. Games have since become immersive and complex- taking what once was viewed as children’s entertainment to a medium for all ages. Companies began taking their games seriously and their consumers have an expectation of greatness from those companies. The gamer went from nerd to the every man, from the shut-in to the massive collaborative.

These are the games that paved the way for mainstream gaming to take gaming from the “closet” so to speak and make it acceptable for all.

10. Guitar Hero- Music and games have always been somewhat intertwined, but with Activision’s “Guitar Hero,” the transition from video game music to music video games was complete. All it took was a fake guitar, some old songs and what came next was a huge fan base with many spinoffs and sequels. The Guitar Hero games not only took music gaming to the next level, it helped the music industry out by reintroducing old rock songs to those who might not have appreciated them otherwise.

9. Angry Birds- If you own a smart phone or know anyone who has one, then you probably know someone who owns “Angry Birds.” While it might not be a “Gamers” game, it revolutionized gaming in a huge way. Everyone plays “Angry Birds.” It is simple and addictive. It takes people who would have never touched a game in their lives and hooks them. “Angry Birds” might have opened Pandora’s Box for the casual gaming world.

8. Halo- Before “Halo,” the console shooter was definitely more niche. “Halo” made the Xbox gamer lose their mind when it was released. It brought a bevy of new ideas and competition to the console shooter which before was disappointing at best. “Halo” has since been a competitive first person shooter and an online dynamo.

7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare- COD4 made online shooters on both PC and Consoles played by a whole new audience. The game was stunning and realistic with players who never thought of touching shooters becoming addicted to leaderboards and trash-talking all night.

6. Max Payne- The gritty neo-noir third person shooter brought the famous “Bullet-Time” mechanic to gamers. The story was narrated by graphic novel style combined with voice-overs giving the sense of a noir-esque film. “Bullet-Time” has since been used in games and movies.

5. Resident Evil 4- The Resident Evil franchise took a turn from its usual zombie survival third person adventure game and reinvented itself in the fourth installment of the series. RE4 introduced the over the shoulder third person shooter giving the survival horror game something that it was lacking, immersion.

4. The Sims- This game was one of the first casual video games. “The Sims,” like “Angry Birds,” was simple but addictive. You observe a family and suggest things for them to do. On paper, it doesn’t seem like it should be as popular as it was, but “The Sims” in the highest-selling game of all time with multiple sequels and ports. It revolutionized the gaming industry for casual gamers and gave companies more ideas for unconventional games.

3. GTA 3- Rockstar games in 2001 released Grand Theft Auto 3. It was the first time that the series was taken from the top-down view and made a third person game. The storylines and revolutionary sandbox style was one of the first of its kind. The popularity of the game caused a myriad of copycats and has since been emulated by many others. Rockstar paved the way with GTA3 and has since been viewed as one of the brands on the forefront of innovation.

2. Portal/ Half-Life 2- Valve has always been on the forefront of gaming. From their domination of the first person shooter in Half-Life which also gave birth to ‘Counterstrike” and “Team Fortress.” “Half-Life 2” and “Portal” further stamped Valve’s domination of the innovative games. Realistic speech and physics along with intriguing storylines make these games stand out. In a sea of copycats Valve steps their game up, seemingly every time.

1. World of Warcraft- It might seem like a cop-out but Blizzard Entertainment has taken the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and said “We got this” with the release of WoW. WoW has been one of the most copied games of all time with every other company trying to make an MMO to crumble the empire that Blizzard has built. So far they have all be unsuccessful. World of Warcraft made their game world as much fun for casual gamers and the hardcore gamer. The world is immersive, massive and beautiful. The combat system is quick and stylish. All these things together are why WoW has been so successful. Millions of gamers worldwide sit on their computers and join their friends in this virtual world to fight monster or just hang out. Since the release of WoW Blizzard has held the crown of champion over its head when a new challenger appears Blizzard seems to have the answer whether it is a new expansion or new content.

Honorable Mention:

Steam- Since steam isn’t a game technically it deserve its own place. Steam has had the biggest influence in gaming ever. It has stopped pirating and allowed gamers to download their games from the convenience of their own homes. Steam gives games what they want, games. Steam provides gamers with an immense amount of games ranging in price. New releases come out on the same day on steam and in stores. Steam has also given the indie companies a big boost allowing them to sell their games next to the big boys. The most influential game related release ever is Steam.

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