Categories
Tech

Top 20 Greatest video games of all time

Yay.. another top 20 list!! Here we go.. the topic is Video games. I’m going to list the video games in order of influence, and mention the developer, the first console it was published for (starting with Atari, not gonna count Space War or Pong since those were before consoles), and the first year it was released in.

1. Doom

Doom made FPS games popular
Doom made FPS games popular

Developer: id Software
Console: PC (MS-DOS)
Year: 1993

This game is the most important of all time because it made first person shooters popular. There were FPS games before Doom like Wolf3D and Catacomb Abyss, but this was the most well known one. Without Doom, we wouldn’t have the multi-billion dollar gaming industry of Call of Duty and Halo like we do now, its that simple. I remember my parents wouldn’t let me play this game because it was “violent” at the time. Now seems silly cause its so pixellated.

2. Space Invaders

Space Invaders pioneered shooting games
Space Invaders pioneered shooting games

Developer: Taito Corporation
Console: Atari 2600 (first port)
Year: 1978

Space Invaders has become synonymous with video games because of the pixellated space alien character. It pioneered space shooting games which were popular in the 1980s, and video games in general because without it, the modern video game industry wouldn’t have been born. This is the game that made Atari 2600 popular, and thus making video games a viable industry as a whole.

3. Pac-man

Pac-man is one of the most enduring popular arcade games of all time
Pac-man is one of the most enduring popular arcade games of all time

Developer: Namco
Console: Atari 2600 (first port)
Year: 1980

Pac-man, like Space Invaders, made video games accepted and popular among the masses. It was a brilliantly addictive game that continues to be widely played today. This game and space invaders helped create the video game industry and pave way for more advanced games, both on arcades and on consoles.

4. Tetris

Tetris is one of the most popular games of all time
Tetris is one of the most popular games of all time

Developer: Alexey Pajitnov
Console: Gameboy (most well known)
Year: 1989 (for gameboy)

Tetris is one of the most addictive and popular video games of all time. Designed by one Russian programmer, it has led to numerous versions and remixes, and continues to be widely known and played, much like Pac-man. This was the game that sold Game boy to the masses.

5. Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros made platformers popular and revived the video game industry
Super Mario Bros made platformers popular and revived the video game industry

Developer: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1985

Super Mario Bros made platformers popular in the late 80s/early 90s, and revived the video game industry from the crash of 1983. It is one of the most well known and important video games of all time. The success of this game led to the success of games like Sonic, and Super Mario 64, and other platforming games, but this is the original.

6. Grand Theft Auto III

GTA3 made sandbox games popular
GTA3 made sandbox games popular

Developer: Rockstar North
Console: Playstation 2
Year: 2001

Hard to estimate the impact of this game. In 2001, games were mostly linear, requiring you to finish a set of goals in a certain order. When this game came out, people were blown away because of the freedom they had. I had friends who played this game for days on end, because there was essentially no “end” to it. You could just not do the missions and just go about the city. This was and is a landmark title for video games for that kind of influence.

7. Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo changed the FPS genre
Halo changed the FPS genre

Developer: Bungie
Console: Xbox
Year: 2001

This game single-handededly saved Microsoft’s ass, and revitalized the FPS genre to boot. When Halo came out, it popularized the notion of using vehicles in FPS, and using shields instead of health packs, and only carrying two weapons. In comparison to 90s FPS like Doom, Quake, Duke3D, Unreal Tournament, which focused more on how many weapons and powerups you could get. Without Halo, there wouldn’t be Call of Duty or Battlefield or modern FPS’s.

8. Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II popularized fighting games
Street Fighter II popularized fighting games

Developer: Capcom
Console: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1992

This game made the fighting genre popular in the 90s, and spawned other games like Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, etc. Anyone ever heard of Street Fighter I?? No, everyone talks about II, because this is the one that made it to the USA and made it popular. This is the one that had like 20 different versions.

9. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is the first popular MMORPG
World of Warcraft is the first popular MMORPG

Developer: Blizzard
Console: PC
Year: 2004

World of Warcraft was the first popular MMORPG. Yes I know there was Everquest and Ultima Online, but WoW made the genre really well known in the public mind. People died over this game. People starved their kids to play this game. Anyways, its immensely influential, and you can see its influence in MMORPGs today like League of Legends and Guild Wars.

10. Legend of Zelda

Legend of Zelda was a landmark adventure game
Legend of Zelda was a landmark adventure game

Developer: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1986

Legend of Zelda was a landmark adventure game for the genre. It established elements popular in the genre including the overhead map, puzzles, role playing, etc. The influence of Zelda can be felt in virtually every adventure and RPG game today.

11. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII popularized JRPGs in the west
Final Fantasy VII popularized JRPGs in the west

Developer: Squaresoft
Console: Playstation
Year: 1997

Final Fantasy VII made Japanese RPGs popular in western culture.. before there were a minority of players playing great classics like Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger but JRPGs really became popular after Final Fantasy made it. Final Fantasy established the traditional JRPG formula, and blended it with great graphics and great storytelling, and spawned a legion of cosplayer fans everywhere. Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger are considered amongst the greatest RPGs of all time, but I think FFVII still wins based on influence.

12. Angry Birds

Angry Birds made mobile games a force to reckon with
Angry Birds made mobile games a force to reckon with

Developer: Rovio
Console: iOS
Year: 2009

Angry Birds is the game that really made mobile games a force to contend with. They were such a runaway hit, and spawned such successful sequels that now iOS and Android can compete with PSP and Nintendo DS in the handheld market. In 2009, no one thought mobile games would be that big. Before Angry Birds, mobile games were essentially the equivalent of flash games and facebook games. But Angry Birds really proved how successful mobile games could be.

13. Starcraft

Starcraft is one of the most influential RTS games of all time
Starcraft is one of the most influential RTS games of all time

Developer: Blizzard
Console: PC
Year: 1998

Starcraft was one of my most beloved games when I was young. I used to make mods and conversions for it, and played the LAN multiplayer all day with my friends. It is one of the most influential RTS games of all time. It is so successful in Korea that they have 24 hour channels broadcasting tournaments there. The races are perfectly balanced. The story is great. The cinematics are awesome. And the multiplayer is very addictive. Even 15 years later, my Korean friends are still playing it.

14. Goldeneye 007

Goldeneye 007 made FPS the multiplayer genre
Goldeneye 007 made FPS the multiplayer genre

Developer: Rare
Console: Nintendo 64
Year: 1997

I’m also going to put Quake in this entry as well, but basically these two games changed FPS’s from Doom-like clones and dungeon shootem ups to a genre with more realistic graphics and awesome multiplayer abilities. I remember playing Goldeneye for hours every day after school at my friends house, and the multiplayer was just awesome. All those cheats, levels and mods were great. A very influential game in the genre.

15. Half Life

Half life gave FPS games more story and depth
Half life gave FPS games more story and depth

Developer: Valve
Console: PC
Year: 1998

Like Goldeneye, Halo, Doom and Quake, Half-life evolved the FPS genre. Where Goldeneye and Quake made FPS’s more realistic, Half-life gave them more depth, making use of scripted dialog to make the game feel more like a cinematic film rather than a typical shoot-em up. Without Half-life, there wouldn’t be Halo, and without Halo there wouldn’t be modern FPS games like Call of Duty.

16. Commander Keen

Commander Keen made smooth scrolling platforming possible on the PC
Commander Keen made smooth scrolling platforming possible on the PC

Developer: id Software
Console: PC (MS-DOS)
Year: 1990

Ahh.. how I loved playing Commander Keen in my childhood. This was the first game to use smooth scrolling platforming on the PC, and it revolutionized platform gaming on the PC. After Commander Keen came out, all these DOS games that were basically platforming clones of it came out as well. Commander Keen itself was based on the smooth platforming of Super Mario, that wasn’t done on PC at the time until John Carmack figured out a way to do it.

17. Sim City

Simcity made simulation games popular
Simcity made simulation games popular

Developer: Maxis
Console: PC (MS-DOS)
Year: 1989

Sim City (and by extension, the Sims), made simulation games a viable genre. Before Simcity, there weren’t any really good simulators out for things like playing God and building your own city, or controlling your own inhabitants. Its legacy can be felt in virtually all Sims games by both Maxis and other companies.

18. Pokemon

Pokemon revolutionized handheld RPGs
Pokemon revolutionized handheld RPGs

Developer: Game Freak
Console: Game Boy
Year: 1998

Boy, was Pokemon a huge fad when it came out. Pokemon cartoons, stuffed animals, trading cards – kind of like how Angry Birds is now. Anyways, it was a huge deal when it hit the US, because the concepts were so unique. Catching monsters to battle?? Trading monsters?? TWO versions of the same game?? It was such a unique idea at the time, and it was executed so well. Millions of children became addicted to the game, and I still don’t mind playing it today.

19. Deus Ex

Deus Ex is considered the  best PC game of all time
Deus Ex is considered the best PC game of all time

Developer: Ion Storm
Console: PC
Year: 2000

Deus Ex is a game of magnificent proportions… released by Ion Storm (the same studio that made the ill-fated Daikatana) in 2000, the game combines FPS, stealth, adventure and RPG genres, and does it seamlessly. For the great blend of elements, gameplay, graphics, storytelling and sheer scope, its often considered the best PC game of all time. Its legacy can be felt in virtually all sci-fi FPS’s since then, including Bioshock and Fallout 3.

20. Wii Sports

Wii Sports made casual and motion gaming popular
Wii Sports made casual and motion gaming popular

Developer: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Wii
Year: 2006

Wii Sports, along with Guitar Hero, made casual games part of social parties, and made motion/peripheral gaming popular. Without Wii Sports, its arguable whether or not Nintendo would have sold so many Wii consoles, and its influence on casual gaming is pretty vast, having influenced pretty much the design of the PS Move and the Xbox Kinect, and all those motion based games as well.

Categories
Tech

Analog vs Digital; gradual replacement of daily devices by digital products

As things become more and more digitized these days, we find more and more of our daily devices being replaced by new digitized mediums. Please note that when I use ‘analog’ I mean the original medium.

Vinyl vs CD:
An example is music players. Back in the old days, we used a device called the record player to listen to music. This device used a medium called vinyl which is an exact copy of the soundwaves pressed into it. What you hear from each LP is the exact reproduction of the music; there are no compressed bits of audio, no 16-bit compression, 320kbps streaming, or whatever. This is as close as music gets to a live performance (which is pure analog because you hear it with your ears at the time it plays). It has since been replaced by CDs and MP3s, which basically takes samples of the sound and compresses them. Whether or not it sounds worse depends on different people. Which would you choose? Vinyl (analog) or CD/MP3 (digital)?

Vinyl and MP3
Vinyl and MP3

Film vs Digital photos:
Back in the old days, we used a film camera to take pictures and record movies. film is available in different mm (35mm, 16mm, 8mm) which represents what kind of film format is used. Similarly, movie projectors depends on the size of the reel and the film its using. Film has been superseded by Digital Cameras, DSLRs, Camcorders, and even phones(!) today. But some still say that old film cannot be replaced. It’s the ‘analog’ medium. There is no sense of megapixels or size of movie in gigabytes of whatever. Light is focused and captured onto photographic films which is developed in a dark room. There is no concept of dark rooms or film negatives in the digital age today. Instead, there is only how many megapixels, what is the storage size, aperture size, lens size, HD quality, etc. In addition, digital photos cannot be physically shared unless they are printed, which may not result in the same feeling as film. Which would you choose? Film Camera (analog) or Digital Camera (digital)?

Film vs Digital
Film vs Digital

Other trends
Although Cameras and Music players are the most prominent, digital products have been replacing almost every product that we produced in the 20th century. Radio has been replaced by Spotify, Last.fm and Pandora. TV is gradually getting replaced by Netflix, Hulu and Youtube. Ebooks using Amazon’s Kindle and Nook readers have been replacing traditional books. iPhones and Android devices have been replacing landline (old school) telephones. How often do you see pay phones nowadays? What about painting a picture using oil or watercolor? Now you can do that on a tablet! What happened to board games? Now we play Angry Birds on the phone. An entire drawer of documents can now be fit onto a small USB key. Shopping no longer needs to be done at brick and mortar stores, just go to Ebay and Amazon. Who needs Encyclopedia Britannica when you have Wikipedia and Google? Asking friends for reviews has been replaced by Yelp. Nobody uses Maps anymore when you have Google Maps. No need to hire expensive stock advisors when you have Google Finance. Who uses typewriters when you have Google Docs? No need to cut out coupons when you have Groupon. Who reads newspapers when you can just go to CNN? What used to be handwritten letters sent across the world to an eager penpal months later has now been replaced by email, typed in an instant and received in an instant. And face to face contact is gradually being replaced by Skype, texting, instant messaging, and Facebook. Heck, I”m even writing a blog post that only two decades ago would have warranted a small diary! (blogging never existed back then, unless you count newspaper articles).

While I do like how there are new, more convenient ways of living, sometimes I long for the more meaningful ways that life used to be lived. Living without a phone for a few weeks has taught me to enjoy the simpler things in life rather than commenting on someone’s Facebook wall (like for example, actually going up to the person to wish them a happy birthday). And I kind of miss that, now that digital products have replaced everything. What do you think about this topic? please leave your comment.

I also took the opportunity to take some pictures with Instagram. I wonder if Ansel Adams would be proud of me. Would he have thought that one day, a miniature sized phone in my pocket would be able to take a picture of this quality? and share it without actually handing it physically to anyone?

Sunset at SF's Ocean Beach
Sunset at SF's Ocean Beach
Sakura at Golden Gate Park
Sakura at Golden Gate Park