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Most influential video games in one geek's life

The Legend of Zelda

My love for games started at a young age, when I would play board games from Strategy & Tactics magazine with my father. Board games soon led to video games. I played Pong within a few years of its release in 1972, but my favorite games have historically been adventure games.

Of the games that I played in my younger years, I was most blown away by The Legend of Zelda, which at the time had the best graphics and gameplay that I had ever seen. Then, Nintendo just kept putting out title after title in the Zelda series, and each one seemed better than the last.

Photo courtesy of GameSpot, a CBS Interactive site.

67 comments
richard.gardner
richard.gardner

Halo is the most tedious FPS I've ever played, bar none, and I've played a lot of FPSs. I fear the author has no discrimination.

walidch
walidch

Where's: Duke Nukem Mortal Kombat Prince of Persia Doom Quake Heretic Hexen Commander Keen Unreal Rayman Earthworm Jim GODS Blood and Qbasic's Gorilla

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

"Most influential video games in [u]one geek's[/u] life" (my emphasis) It's entirely possible he didn't find those games influential in his life. FPS games don't do much for me, either. Earthworm Jim, on the other hand, was a blast.

Phil254
Phil254

I know, Adventure/Colossal Cave came earlier but the Infocom games were the best of their day. In the graphical era, I would add the first sidescrolling Duke Nukem, Myst, Nox, which I still play occasionally, and Starcraft, another one I still play.

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

My step dad had a mainframe terminal in his house via digital when I went for a visit when I was 16 (I'm 44 now). On this mainframe, they had a game called Dungeons and Dragons. Or was it called Dungeons. not really sure but I will ask. After I visited with my Family there for a while, I was introduced to the game after a few days had passed. They could not pry my fingers from the Zenith 120 type keyboard ( clack clack clack ) for the next few days. The little white one pixel dot in the square "hallways" had me and would not let go until I beat it. I had my next game on a ibm 286 clone , little dos game called dune2 in 1993(?) and I still have it on my computer today. I keep it out of (nostalgia?) and play it during lunch sometimes. Have had the privileged of playing many games that the developers created allowed me to play. Now I work in a field of IT that I love, its like getting paid to play, and I owe it to those games. I think recently game creators and players alike have lost something along the way they take for granted. What a privilege it is we live in these exciting wonderful times that we can enjoy the technology we have and how its improved. edit sp

krhackbarth
krhackbarth

I loved these first person RPGs by Looking Glass Technologies and spent days simply exploring the Stygian Abyss. I keep an old Gateway PC around, loaded with DOS and the necessary config.sys settings so that I can return to these games again in 20 years.

jhoward
jhoward

The first game that sucked me in was Kings Quest IV. I quickly realized I loved these adventure games and they came in all different types from the more serious kings quest series to tongue in cheek types like monkey island and hero's quest. This led me to the original final fantasy which was my first console rpg. I would say that everything in the final fantasy series, dragon warrior etc. before they went full 3d influenced what I like to play today.

K_Green
K_Green

* Rogue/Hack/Moria [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roguelike] ... played them in college, still play uMoria * Homeworld [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeworld] ... RTS in 3 dimensions! * Xevious [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xevious] ... a major quarter sucker as a kid * Battlezone [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlezone_(1980_video_game)] ... another quarter sucker * Tempest [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempest_(arcade_game)] OK, so now I feel like that old guy at the end of Logan's Run when he's surrounded by all the youngsters.

syedsalmanakbar
syedsalmanakbar

This list is the personal list of the author and it is quite comprehensive. But if we talk about influential games, four game/game series that in my very humble opinion author has missed are a) Mario brothers b) Counter strike c) Street Fighter d) Tekken

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Your list was influential in your life.

workshop
workshop

Elite - the greatest of all. (Followed by Duke Nukem)

Dark_syde_admin
Dark_syde_admin

Great list, I remember quite a few of these. The big ones for me were, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, DK, Pitfall, Bards Tale (on an Apple IIGs), Doom, then the Zelda games. Now it is Red Dead Redemption, CoD, Dragon Age, Fallout3 etc.

Kahuku
Kahuku

What about Zork I, II or III? I loved that game. It was great.... great.... great...

dirklance
dirklance

but this little fighting game revolutionized the genre......and its called Street Fighter II.

marcdartist
marcdartist

You have to add Half Life and Half Life 2. Still 2 of the best FPS's ever made.

Four-Eyes
Four-Eyes

Here's my list of memorable/influential games NOT on the list... 1) Pac-Man 2) Space Invaders 3) Contra 4) DOOM 5) Syndicate 6) StarCraft 7) Diablo 8) C&C series 9) Half-Life / Counter-Strike 10) Sim City 11) Metal Gear 12) Fallout series Good times... Good times... :D

Four-Eyes
Four-Eyes

Ultima ate more of my time than Pac-Man... :D

brian
brian

"But nowadays I really just play Halo."

jonrosen
jonrosen

Wing Commander!

rucb_alum
rucb_alum

There have been only 3 computer games I have been serious about to lose enough time playing to have it matter. 1. Elite - a space trading game 2. Populous - Never hurts to be god 3. StarCraft - Being god and shooting things is even better.

AmandaJCorbett
AmandaJCorbett

I was about to mention that! Spent hours and hours on Fontier Elite (or was it Elite Frontier?) I've wasted a lot of my life playing Civ games too. Agree with the Zelda games - I am a huge Nintendo fan, but what about the Metroid series. Girl geek :D Also has nobody mentioned TimeSplitters yet? And up to date sort of Civ geek.. Spore, the amount of hours I've played that.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

There was one in the place where I was tending bar in 81-82. More than one night's tip money went into that beast. They replaced it with Ms. Pac-Man. :-&

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Guy in the next room in the barracks in Germany had a Commodore 128 and a Lode Runner game. Surpassingly great game. Lost much sleep. <stoner voice> Really surprised I remembered that, because I just don't remember much from that part of my life. Bummer, dude! </stoner voice>

Jaqui
Jaqui

not robots at all try nuclear powered suits of armour with the operator inside. the cockpit ormally being in the head assembly. It was a rarely used escape capsule as well. I shouldn't have read the books maybe. ;)

dave
dave

You could see a glimpse of the promised land, more so than with Space Invaders. Sunk a lot of quarters in this one. Almost 40 years later, playing games like Crysis and COD4, it's unbelievable how much the gaming technology has advanced.

albertoViveros
albertoViveros

Doom was such a good game !!! why it is not in this list ?!?!?!

Zenith545
Zenith545

Well, when you and I were playing DOOM, the author was probably playing Madden NFL.. LOL Too BBAD...... :)

ganyssa
ganyssa

DOOM was awesome. Also Castlevania. I kill things virtually for the good of all I come into contact with. Usually I like to quest and kill, but I can settle.

ArnoldZiffle
ArnoldZiffle

Talk about adventure. Starflight and Starflight II (Trade routes of the Cloud Nebula) were amazing adventures (shooter/rpgs). Literally hundreds of worlds to land on (yes you had to land and explore many of them.) Some had resources, fuel and minerals and creatures to sell in order to improve your ship and crew. Multi-species crew! Amazing games. And they actually had a great story line (interconnected between the two) which had real depth to it. I still play them occasionally.

seanferd
seanferd

Did you ever read the short story by R.S. that he wrote after playing with Starflight? I believe it was included with some editions of the game. I haven't seen Starflight 2. What did they use for fuel in that game, I wonder?

bjackson33
bjackson33

@briankkinney! Contra - awesome! Maybe I'm being lazy and not reading thru all the threads, but what about Zero Wing? How could you deny the power of "All Your Base Are Belong to Us?" LOL

walshlg
walshlg

As a player, an artist, a modder, a map maker, clan member no game has ever been so accessable as Unreal Torunamet 2004 GOTY edition. Its still played competitively in clan matches on the net. Its easy to make mods, maps, meshes, textures. Unfortunately all that user input didn't make anyone any money so this open approach is under developed and partially cripled in UT3, Far Cry 2, C&C but looks to be maintained in GOW.

garymander
garymander

Surely Elite must get a mention here. I used to drool in envy at the BBC owners for months until this finally got a port to the CBM64. I think this game was truly groundbreaking, with its simplicity, vector graphics and massive universe.

eclypse
eclypse

If it hadn't been for Lands of Lore, I would probably not even have the job I have today (or any other computer-related job). To make that thing run (it was 10 floppy disks) on the PCs back then - especially ones that were sold with Windows 3.1 and 4MB of RAM, you had to be intimately familiar with the config.sys and autoexec.bat files. I actually read the DOS 6.0 manual from cover to cover. All that just to learn how to get games to run on peoples' computers back then (early 90s). I learned how to do other computer stuff and that got me better opportunities. Some of the others I played were Master of Magic, Ultima Underworld 2, Diablo II (for about 6 years straight), Doom (I/II/III), and Shadowcaster. Used to play a few MUDs as well - Thunderdome and Medievia. And I nearly forgot how many quarters I pumped in to Galaga - not to mention Donkey Kong and Pac Man, but it would probably have been enough to buy a computer or two... Now I pretty much only play WoW ('cause there's no time for anything else) - at least until Diablo 3 comes out. =)

magic8ball
magic8ball

I think that alot of it professionals tend to game. Personally I like the FPS genre of games. A friend of mine got me hooked on a game called Urban Terror, about a year ago, which is a Quake 3 mod. Fast paced and addictive with different game types including my favorite, capture the flag.

Moses0007
Moses0007

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start. Nuff said. Secondarily, Dragon Warrior was among one of my favorites.

magic8ball
magic8ball

were wiled away playing Contra with a good friend of mine. Of course we had to use up up down down left right left right b a select start for two players.

Rcharnitsk
Rcharnitsk

A guess you didnt play it that much as it was Dr. J vs Bird

runako81
runako81

metal gear solid, etc, seems like nobody mentioned those types of fps where u controlled a team rather than an individual. that hooked me more than any of the others did. strategy was priority but you still had the option of jus goin in guns blazing.

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

...but it was so long ago that when I first put together this gallery, I thought it was Bird vs. Magic. I figured it out before I published and thought I had made the appropriate corrections. Nice catch!

magic8ball
magic8ball

a Jordan vs Bird on the C64 that was quite fun and addictive.

fallout330
fallout330

For those old timer RPG geeks, let us not forget: The Bards Tale series, Questron, Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds...and most TSR RPG on the C64, Ultima Series, Might and Magic Series, Neverwinter Nights. Best MMORPG currently has got to be LOTRO(Lord of the Rings Online) With more realistic graphics, a deeper story line and an excellent crafing system, it's a much more enjoyable game than WOW!

AmishCake
AmishCake

Zelda addict here too :) Since #1. Great series. Also have loved Final Fantasy and the Mario games.

dolcetta
dolcetta

The game that most influenced my gaming future would have to be Wolfenstein 3D. It hooked me on First Person Shooters, and I was a helpless captive to Doom, Quake, Unreal, Dark Forces, and all those that followed. I went for the VR helmet, 3D glasses, and all that jazz. :-)

tracy
tracy

I would say the most influential game for me would be Command and Conquer. I loved everything about the game from the opening credits to the end. I think one of the big things that did it for me was the music but the way the guy would talk when you click on them was cool too. Since then I have played every RTS in the Command and Conquer franchise. My fravorite is still Red alert 2. It also really turned me off of conole games because at the time the graphics were so much better on PC than on cosole.

rkell
rkell

Stayed up for hours late into the evening with a friend in the early '90s playing Duke Nukem over a modem... Today it's Call of Duty Modern Warfare II on XBox Live. It's come a long way... still addictive.

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

...but it just didn't hook me like Halo has. I even have a bunch of people on whom I can rely to play as good teammates and that one still doesn't grab me. Halo FTW!!!

jaymajor
jaymajor

I still have the overworld theme to Super Mario Bros. 2 stuck in my head.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

I downloaded the 2 or 3 (I forget which) level demo of this game and played over and over. I deliberately tried to get sick of it so I wouldn't buy the full game and THEN get sick of it. That never happened. I bought the full version and completed it as all 3 characters. I used to play it in the basement with the lights off (first time through) and it would scare the crap out of me when something would come out of the darkness and try to eat my character. Added bonus - being able to play with my cousin who lives thousands of miles away! Diablo 2 was not even remotely as intense. (Still a good game, but not as stand out for me)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I don't scream, 'NOOOO!' when the trial runs out, I don't even consider buying it.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

I feel exactly the same. The odd time, though, you scream NOOO, you buy the full version, then a week later you toss down the controller in disgust (or worse yet, fall asleep at the controls) and then it gets to go to the "Dusty Shelf".