12 Games That Defined Their Genres

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Awesome choices. It's a shame to say I haven't played most of these.

X:COM UFO DEFENSE was the best game for me back then man I love that game. And I still do, thanks steam for having it available. I just hope the remake doesn't suck.

This list dissapoints me. :<

Some major genres were completely ignored in the article.

Action Adventure for example is almost as big as Shooters nowadays. This year alone we got Bayonetta, Darksiders, God of War3, Dante's Inferno, Castlevania and Enslaved, just from the top of my head. Genre defining game would have to be either Devil May Cry or God of War.

Driving and rhythm are other major genres ignored.

haunted house on the atari 2600 predates sweet home as the original surrival horror game

BULL, the first music rhythm game was totally Parappa the Rapper.

This was a great read.

The defining RPGs are Wizardry, Diablo and Neverwinter Nights in my opinion. Know those and you can understand most of the genre.

Command & Conquer was more of a defining RTS than Dune 2. Playing Dune 2 was a bit clunky and you saw possibilities for what they could do with it when playing it but C&C was the first proper genre game where the puzzle was complete.

As for UFO being the defining TBS, it is the defining 4X/Squad Tactics game but that isn't a big genre. I would say that Laser Squad is the defining Squad Tactics game and that Civ (what else) is the defining 4x. For defining TBS I would say, maybe, Panzer General.

Agreed X Com was a truly fantastic game. They really really nailed it.
Also I played so much Wing Commander growing up, that the little red targeting boxes were burnt on to my retina, and were still visible when my eyes were closed.

Jeez I played nearly all these games, I feel old right about now.

I miss X-Com its one of the few games on this list that genuinely hasnt been bettered.

I was just about to post exactly the same thing :-), me is feeling old and feeble. I guess I'll go outside and yell at some kids to get off the lawn.


I think you missed the Sim City/Settlers/Caesar/Populous type, real-time "build and expand" games.

Just a derivative of the Four-X style of game, no?

Not entirely. There is no overt conflict in Sim City; as long as you don't expand too quickly, the city is never in any real danger. It's more like half of a 4X game.

Though I'm saddened to not see Master of Orion on that list, I can see why: Civilization bumped it off for brevity's sake, and it's questionable which one contributed more to the genre at the time of release. Granted, we remember Civilization more clearly than Master of Orion, since MOO crashed and burned on the terribly disappointing, unfinished third game (which in itself had a cluster of good ideas; just no cohesion to hold it all together).
For the sake of journalism and reader-recognition, Civilization was the better choice, and it isn't undeserving either.

But holy crap was MOO1 years ahead of its time.

It has (STILL) one of the most savvy AIs in gaming to date. It thinks more strategically than most AIs in the entire genre, which tend to form a secret alliance against the player or slave themselves to other diplomatic shenanigans, making them very easy to manipulate.

(Civilization 3 is especially guilty of this; whose AI would march game-winning Death Armies across the world to attack an undefended city of no real strategic value, or let them get slaved to daisy-chain tech brokering that could actually make the hardest difficulty easier than normal since the AI could inadvertently do all the heavy lifting for the player in researching new tech)

MOO1's AI is ruthless, conniving and scariest of all, it calls bluffs (actually, I've had it make bluffs too in the form of bribes and vague threats). It calculates its odds of winning in advance and sends fleets off decisively, rather than just pissing away its resources in endless brush wars. Its "Cold War" can be every bit as brutal as "Hot war".

Sirian did an excellent series in explaining MOO1, but the website has long since fallen into obscurity; only partially retained via The Wayback Machine. MOO2 was an excellent sequel that popularized the combat, but the raw strategic elements (rather than the micromanagement that would later plague the genre) were best done in MOO1.


Ahem... Wolfenstein 3D did it. Not Doom. Doom had the multiplayer, so you could say it was the start of FPS Multiplayer. But Wolfenstein 3D was the "put you inside a person's head".

Common misconception. ID's 'Catacomb 3D' came first.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the first third person shooter game was? Or at least the genre definer.

'Tomb Raider' perhaps.

I would vote for "Crusader: No Remorse"

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