As a video game player, Isaac Sternbach of Vermont has always been interested in the rich history of video games. Since they hit the scene commercially, video games have experienced several highs and lows, with a few games standing out as true game changers. Today, Isaac Sternbach of Vermont will look at some of the most important video games of all time and how they helped set the stage for the games of the modern era and beyond.
Isaac Sternbach of Vermont believes 1972’s Pong may be the most influential game ever. Pong opened up the imagination of an entire generation. It is probably the debut video game for more people than any other game ever created. Without Pong, the arcade industry may have never enjoyed the type of success it would have throughout the late 70s and 80s. A version of electric tennis, Pong can even be credited for introducing the massively popular sports games genre. As the first commercially successful video game, Pong had players excited about what could come next.
After Pong, 1980’s Pac-Man may be the second most influential game, according to Isaac Sternbach of Vermont. While the game has a relatively simple concept of moving Pac-Man through a maze, avoiding ghosts and eating dots, there is a real skill to advancing through each level. Players loved the competition of competing for a high score. Kids across the country were battling it out at their local arcade for the right to be named the best Pac-Man player. With Pac-Man, maze chase games were introduced to the masses. Maze chases games continually top the charts amongst gaming apps in 2023. Without Pac-Man, who knows if they would have ever grown so popular.
Widely considered the best-selling game in history, Tetris debuted in 1984 and dazzled the masses. Like the two games mentioned previously, Isaac Sternbach of Vermont notes that Tetris also revolutionized the gaming genre as Tetris is the premier puzzle game. There’s something meditative about rotating and moving falling blocks to complete lines and clear them from the screen. Tetris would inspire a generation to create other popular puzzle games like Bejeweled and Candy Crush. To learn more about the invention of Tetris, Isaac Sternbach of Vermont recommends checking out the movie Apple TV just put it out on the subject.
1985’s Super Mario Bros. was the first game to show thousands of gamers the side-scrolling genre. Much like Pong had broken the glass ceiling for the previous generation, Super Mario Bros. was truly revolutionary. Isaac Sternbach of Vermont has always enjoyed Mario games, which genuinely started one of history’s most popular gaming franchises. In a hard-to-believe story, the creator of Mario, Miyamoto, revealed that he originally had Mario as a carpenter named Jumpman. However, because so much of the game takes place underground, he changed the character to a plumber named Mario. Would Jumpman have had the same success? Isaac Sternbach of Vermont tends to think it would never have enjoyed the staying power of Mario.
Just one year after the release of Super Mario Bros., Zelda was introduced. Players not only enjoyed controlling Link, solving puzzles, and battling enemies in their quest to save Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon, but they also loved that this game allowed them to explore at their own pace. Today, open-world adventures are common. However, in 1986, the concept was completely new. The Zelda games to follow are more intricate and fun, but the original Zelda set the stage for it all.
There are a few games that continued to push the envelope. Doom, while not a favorite amongst parents, helped introduce first-person shooters. Mario ’64 took Super Mario to incredible new heights in 1996 and helped make the Nintendo 64 one of the best-selling consoles of all time. However, for the sake of time, Isaac Sternbach of Vermont wanted to fast forward to 2001.
Many children who grew up playing Mario or even Pong were now adults looking for a game that could hold their attention for hours. Grand Theft Auto III is the first-time GTA grew into a massive hit. The open-world concept, the ability to do anything throughout a massive city, and the satirical elements all came together to launch a franchise to the moon. There’s no more anticipated game than Grand Theft Auto Six. And while the Grand Theft Auto games to come continued to push the envelope, GTA III would set the stage for what was to come.