Special: "I need a weapon."
The Most Influential Games of the Decade
Grand Theft Auto III | Halo
Guitar Hero | Wii Sports
Though numerous high-quality games are released every year, only a handful truly make an impact on gaming as a whole; the kind of games that shape future development as developers and publishers scramble to get in on the Next Big Thing. Gaming Target's Most Influential Games of the Decade separates the wheat from the chaff by revisiting one of the most fascinating decades in gaming history, to pluck five games from a very competitive ten-year cycle. Each game did something so huge that it either affected how games are made, solidified a console as a legitimate must-own, or altered how we played games. This isn't a list of the best games of the decade; instead these are the games that you'll look back at in twenty years and remember how they influenced an entire era.
Those four letters sparked a revolution for first-person shooters on home videogame consoles. Sure, there had been games that came before. Some, like Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, found success by tailoring the gameplay to match the limitations of a home game system. Others, like Doom 64, were hackneyed ports of PC titles that didn't really work correctly. When it broke onto the scene in 2001, Halo: Combat Evolved immediately became the ?killer-app? that Microsoft was banking on when they bought a controlling stake in developer Bungie. So, just what is it that makes Halo stand out?
Aiming for influence with my scoped pistol
From the moment that Halo: Combat Evolved (from here on out, to just be called Halo) first made appearances in gaming magazines late last century it grabbed everyone's attention. Originally planned as a real-time strategy title for the Macintosh, Halo continued to build more and more buzz with each and every screenshot that made its way into magazines. After making the change to third-person, and then to first-person shooter, Halo released to extreme commercial success.
Of course, Halo wasn't just another pretty face. The game used the dual-analog sticks of the Xbox controller in ways that we hadn't seen before. There was a flow to the gameplay that felt like a traditional PC first-person shooter. Sure, it wasn't like playing with a keyboard and mouse but it didn't matter. We were too busy plugging Grunts in the head with a scoped pistol and running over Elites with a Warthog to care.
It's good to play together
Halo also taught console gamers about the joy of LAN parties. Now known to a new generation as Xbox parties, these events revolved around Halo, Halo, and more Halo. Sure, someone might try to get in a game or two of something else but it always comes back to Halo. With the strength of its multiplayer, Halo would have driven X-Box Live subscriptions if the system had been developed in time. As it is, Halo 2 will forever be known as the game that Microsoft's online system was built on.
It's REALLY good to play together
Friends were also welcome to join you on the journey through Halo's narrative, not just act as moving targets in competitive multiplayer. Halo introduced us to the FPS co-op mode, helping to break the mold of solitary gaming and to establish playing video games as a social event. It has almost become an obligation for a triple-A title to include a co-op mode, whether appropriate or not. While some may have integrated your companion into the story better than Halo did ? Gears of War is a great example of how to do this well ? it is because of the success of Halo that co-op has been embraced by the development community.