Although the world of video games began as simply a digital extension of traditional board games –and, in fact, Nintendo itself was a card game company from the beginning–in recent years, we have been witnessing a professionalization of the game.
Professional championships move millions of dollars around the world. DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common to try to harm the gamers who compete in them, so it is no longer enough to have a simple computer to play with. Still, it is necessary to equip it with the best cybersecurity measures, such as a VPN for gaming, a professional antivirus, and all kinds of hardware improvements to optimize the performance of video games, something that would have been unthinkable in the 80s and 90s.
However, video games have come a long way to get here, and, in this process, there have been some that have really been able to mark a before and after in the industry. We will review some of them to analyze their impact on the evolution of games and the legacy they have gone down in history.
1985 – Super Mario Bros – Nintendo
In addition to becoming the platform game by definition and one of the most popular video games of all time, Super Mario Bros was the video game that catapulted Nintendo to success and allowed this Japanese game company to become not only a global reference of video games but also one of the most popular console manufacturers in recent decades.
From the launch of the first NES in 1983 to the recent Switch OLED, Nintendo has always been the perfect counterweight to SEGA’s consoles – in the 90s – and, especially, Sony and Microsoft, which have quite different audiences. As we know it today, Super Mario Bros shaped the Nintendo culture significantly and became a never-dying classic.
1989 – Sim City – Maxis
Although there were already management simulators prior to Sim City, it is really the Maxis title that can be considered the foundation stone of a genre that has since seen countless titles pass by, some of them as deeply rooted in the Sim City model as the Cities Skylines, which even uses the same colors to delimit commercial, industrial or residential areas.
Sim City even served as an inspiration for strategy games like Civilization. For a decade, Maxis and Firaxis games helped shape a vast sector of video games that didn’t aspire so much to enjoy action environments with spectacular graphics but to encourage strategic thinking, planning, and management. Furthermore, Sim City was the first inspiration for several generations of urban planners around the world.
1997 – Final Fantasy VII – Square Enix
Considered one of the best RPGs of all time, Final Fantasy VII is still available today on platforms like Steam and has the recognition that a legendary video game deserves. FF7 is often cited as the turning point in Square Enix’s decline, as it hasn’t managed to release any other titles on the same level since then.
Its excellent combination of graphics -for the time-, history, soundtrack, and gameplay made Final Fantasy VII become a milestone, in addition to a theme where ecology played a prominent role, anticipating efforts such as the fight against climate change that we are currently experiencing.
2004 – World of Warcraft – Blizzard
Shortly after its release in 2004, World of Warcraft became the first major massively multiplayer video game, or MMO, to achieve resounding global success. In 2010 it had more than 12 million subscribers worldwide, and for many players, it was the first online video game that became inevitably incorporated into their daily routines.
A whole generation grew up coming home after school or work to turn on the computer and start playing WoW, which at the time sparked numerous debates that have now been shelved by the rise of many other MMOs that have taken the model of WoW to adapt it to the new times, for example, the New World of Amazon.
2010 – Star Citizen – Imperium Games
Perhaps the only video game that is reaching the legend level without officially being released is Star Citizen. Chris Roberts’ most ambitious project was born to make the dream of living in worlds like Wing Commander IV or Freelancer, great critically acclaimed space trading, and piracy games come true.
Fully financed through crowdfunding and the purchase of game assets by its fans, Star Citizen is the most ambitious immersive video game to date and may prove to be one of the most important online games of all time when it is officially released… if ever that happens.