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The 25 Most Influential Game Series Of All Time

The video games and series that shaped the industry as we know it today.

Twinfinite celebrates the video games and series that shaped the industry as we know it today. From arcade classics to open world roleplaying games of epic proportions, these influential games debuted design features and mechanics that have since been adopted as standard.

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at 25 classics to which all contemporary games owe their lineage.

 

Final Fantasy helped put role playing games on the map during the 1990s and would go on to become the most successful JRPG franchise.
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Early Final Fantasy games were adored for their cast of endearing characters and influential narrative depth, but this title’s most influential feature was its clever battle systems. In particular, active time battle would become a blueprint adopted by dozens of popular role-playing games.
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Later, Final Fantasy VII would be responsible for popularizing Japanese RPG’s among western audiences; its success helped to bridge a cultural divide between western and Japanese gaming and diversifying future game design.

Wolfenstein might have been the first, but DOOM is absolutely the most influential first person shooting game ever made: the Godfather of the genre. When it launched on PC back in 1992, DOOM literally transformed modern gaming and become the influential foundation upon which all modern shooters would be built. Weapon variety, ammunition and health packs, crazed antagonists; DOOM started it all, and its DNA can be found in almost every contemporary video game.

Street Fighter wasn’t the first popular 2D arcade beat’em’ up, but its brilliant influential controls, hidden combos, and famed Ryu character cemented its status as king of the genre during the 1990s. And, indeed, Street Fighter 2 was to inspire a torrent of other fighting games that era. Street Fighter would remain the most notable, however, helping to popularize competitive video gaming, which would in turn later open the door to online gaming.

Mario is unequivocally video gaming’s most iconic character. Everyone’s favorite Italian put Nintendo on the map and made the Nintendo Entertainment System the must-have console of the late 1980s and early 90s. Beyond just its fabled characters, visual charm, and soundtrack, Super Mario’s side scrolling gameplay is virtually unrivaled, even to this day – Super Mario games remain the benchmark by which all platforming games are measured.

Tomb Raider was a pioneer of the 3D action genre, combining swashbuckling adventure and platforming with an iconic character in Lara Croft. Its design would later inspire massively popular IPs such as Uncharted, but Tomb Raider is most historically important for its role in character perspectives.
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Generously proportioned, Lara Croft was attractive, but she was also strong, clever, and resourceful. She was an inspiring character beyond just her looks, ushering in a new era where female protagonists became more mainstream.

The Legend of Zelda is absolutely one of the most important video game series ever made, introducing a host of gameplay systems that we take for granted today. It was one of the first video games designed as an immersive, absorbing, non-linear adventure game – each of its areas a living, breathing environment that players could re-explore. Zelda’s design resonated throughout the industry, with the term “Zelda clone” widely used to describe titles that imitate its most prevalent features. Influential Character development, item finding, puzzle design, and dungeons; just a few features that we have The Legend of Zelda to thank for making mainstream.

You simply can’t understate Resident Evil’s impact on the video gaming horror scene. The original game’s emphasis on ammo scarcity, isolation, vulnerability, and its eerie locale gave birth to its own subgenre. Dubbed survival horror, Resident Evil would go on to inspire titles such as Silent Hill. When Resident Evil 4 shook up the formula by introducing a behind the shoulder, more action oriented approach, Resident Evil once again moved the entire genre forward with it – innovating game design that has become the basis for many contemporary third person action games.

Metal Gear Solid is a series firmly etched into influential video games legend. The brainchild of legendary director Hideo Kojima, MGS is the original “sneak em-up,” tieing tactical espionage action to Hollywood levels of cinematic cut scenes on a scale previously unseen before its 1998 release on the PlayStation. The series’ stealth gameplay later inspired titles such as Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed, and Far Cry. Thanks to MGS, we’ve seen stealth mechanics since become a mainstay of most action/RPG titles.

Halo is a series born in the modern era of video gaming, but its influence has been no less profound. Along with cheap ramen and Coor’s Light, Halo’s couch co-op action became the staple diet of college kids all over America in the early 2000s. Importantly, it was largely responsible for bringing influential competitive FPS games to console and helped put Microsoft’s Xbox on the map.
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Halo’s single player offering was also notable, with a combination of incredible visuals, evocative score, vehicular gameplay, and well paced story. Halo unquestionably inspired today’s most popular shooters, such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. the most influential video games of all time

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