The Best of The Escapist in 2010

The Escapist Staff | 20 Jan 2011 18:00
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The next step after establishing what makes a game genre differ from another was to realize that certain games epitomized our perception of that genre. Most of the 12 titles in this article were lightning rods that channeled our discussion into the foundation of a genre. Many of you might not have played all 12 games on this list, but if you play games in the genre they defined then you owe them all a debt.

12 Games that Defined Their Genres

By The Escapist Staff


Super Mario Bros.

Genre: Platforming
First Released: 1985
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Developer: Nintendo

Games like Pitfall!, the Commodore 64's Impossible Mission, and even Donkey Kong all featured a character who could jump to avoid enemies and obstacles, but it wasn't until Super Mario Bros. in 1985 that we had the amazing success of a platforming game that featured smooth-scrolling from left to right instead of all of the action occurring on one screen or board. The concept of several different "worlds" or levels, each with their own character and flavor, all started with Super Mario Bros.

That's the reason that Super Mario Bros. sold over 40 million copies and fueled the launch of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Shigeru Miyamoto, who would go on to design The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox, credits the widespread audience of his Super Mario Bros. to the simple "start screen." In a quick animation, you see Mario jump and land on an enemy goomba, crushing him forever. That's all you need to know. Couple the easy-to-grasp gameplay with wonderful music, art and high production values for the era, and it's no wonder that Super Mario Bros. is the basis of all action platforming games that came after it. For millions of people, and hundreds of imitators, games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot and Little Big Planet, hearing the opening bars of the Super Mario Bros. theme music means platforming, and videogames in general.

Click here to read about the other 11 games that defined their respective genres.

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