10 Games That Defined The Past & 10 Currently Dominating This Generation

10 Games That Defined The Past & 10 Currently Dominating This Generation

Gaming has been an integral part of our lives for decades now, and there’s simply no denying the earth-shattering cultural effects of its reign. Gaming, like every other entertainment medium, has changed a lot over the years. The hits of yesteryear, although massively influential, are no longer as relevant. Let’s look back at some of the games that shaped their respective generations, as well as those currently shaping ours.

1. Space Invaders (1978)

Space Invaders was nothing short of a breakaway success. Developed by Taito, this simple yet challenging sci-fi shooter (if you can even call it that) became an instant cultural phenomenon and helped cement video games as a mainstream entertainment product, capturing the imagination of gamers around the world and paving the way for a multi-billion dollar industry.

SpacePhoto by Leslie Jones

2. Doom (1993)

Developer id Software completely shook up the world of gaming with the 1993 release of this groundbreaking first-person shooter — without Doom, modern-day FPS games would not be what they are today. While its multiplayer deathmatches set the stage for the phenomenon of online gaming, it was Doom’s fast-paced, frenetic gameplay and detailed 3D environments (for the time, of course) that set the standard for the genre for years to come. 

DoomMichael Ocampo on Wikimedia Commons

3. Metal Gear Solid (1998)

Hideo Kojima masterfully revolutionized the entire gaming landscape with the release of Metal Gear Solid in 1998. Often cited as one of the most important games of all time, Kojima’s perennial masterpiece paved the way for cinematic storytelling in games and set a new benchmark for narrative depth, the likes of which had never been seen before. 

Wondercon 2016 - Metal Gear Solid Cosplay (25988379542) (1)William Tung on Wikimedia Commons

4. The Sims (2000)

In 2000, Maxis — the famed developer responsible for the massively popular SimCity series— decided to narrow the scope of their games and shine a light on the everyday lives of suburbanites. By allowing players to freely explore and dictate the mundane (yet enthralling) lives of its titular characters, The Sims quickly became a cultural phenomenon that expanded the scope of creativity and open-ended game design that gamers enjoy today. 

The Sims 3 Launch In Empik StoreSergey Galyonkin on Wikimedia Commons


5. Grand Theft Auto III (2001)

In 2001, Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto III and gaming was never the same again. With its vast, open world, emphasis on exploration, and hyper-violent gameplay, GTA III set a new standard for what video games could be. It became a groundbreaking success that not only made headlines but changed the way people look at video games forever. 

Playing Grand Theft Auto IiiRobert on Wikimedia Commons

6. Angry Birds (2009)

Not only did Rovio Entertainment’s smash hit take the mobile gaming world by storm, it practically created it. Angry Birds, with its rudimentary yet highly gratifying gameplay, single-handedly demonstrated to the world just how lucrative and culture-shifting mobile games could be, paving the way for a slew of spin-offs and imitators.  

Liao-Je-Wei-Vnipqd5Zche-UnsplashPhoto by Liao Je Wei

7. Pong (1972)

Who knew that two paddles and a bouncing ball would lay the foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry? But that’s exactly what Atari did when they released Pong in 1972. Its rudimentary gameplay was addictive enough to hook millions of gamers worldwide, cementing video games as a pillar of culture and entertainment to this day. 

Feelfarbig-Magazine-0Ncfpnxjsa0-UnsplashPhoto by Feelfarbig Magazine

8. Super Mario Bros. (1985)

If Pong created gaming, then Super Mario Bros. ensured it was here to stay. After the devastating video game crash of 1983, many experts thought the gaming craze was officially done for. But Super Mario Bros. — with its vibrant graphics, tight controls, and clever level design — revived the industry, set a new standard for platforming games, and created an icon that lives on this day. 

Justice-Thompson- Ilg-Acpx7Q-UnsplashPhoto by Justice Thompson

9. Tetris (1984)

On paper, Tetris is a fairly rudimentary puzzle game with a great soundtrack. In reality, it's a highly addictive and surprisingly intricate puzzle game with a great soundtrack! Created by Alexey Pajitnov in the soviet union, Tetris was cleverly brought to the West where it gained mainstream traction on Nintendo’s brand-new GameBoy handheld console, captivating players across generations and cementing its place as one of the most beloved games of all time.

Nik-Lubiun4Il38-UnsplashPhoto by Nik

10. World of Warcraft (2004)

After years of developing top-rate real-time strategy games like WarCraft and StarCraft, famed developer Blizzard Entertainment decided to branch out into the then little-known frontier of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). With its immersive world, addictive gameplay, and unbridled social connectivity, World of Warcraft became an instant hit; attracting millions of players worldwide and shaping the future of online gaming as we know it. 

1024Px-Gamescom 2017 (35941418974)Sergey Galyonkin on Wikimedia Commons


1. Fortnite (2017)

As one of the progenitors of the massively popular battle royale genre, Fortnite serves as one of the most definitive games of this generation. Its free-to-play model and cross-platform multiplayer made this vibrant action-packed title a cultural phenomenon that millions of players flock to years after its initial release.

Vlad-Gorshkov-G1Jbcaqp5Sk-UnsplashPhoto by Vlad Gorshkov

2. Minecraft (2011)

Gamers and content creators alike were instantly enthralled with Mojang’s immensely popular creative sandbox. By offering players an unparalleled level of creativity, control, and limitless possibilities, Minecraft revolutionized gaming and remains a massively influential title more than a decade after its release. 

Oberon-Copeland-Veryinformed-Com-Gup60Lypvr4-UnsplashPhoto by Oberon Copeland @veryinformed.com

3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

Very few sequels have reached the heights of The Witcher 3. But CD Projekt Red’s follow-up defied all expectations and not only set the benchmark for sequels but open-world RPGs in general. With its rich storytelling, immersive exploration, and meaningful player choices, The Witcher 3 is the RPG by which all others are measured.

1024Px-Vladislav As Geralt From Witcher 3 At Igromir 2013Sergey Galyonkin on Wikimedia Commons

4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a welcome return to form for the manufacturer/developer after their struggles with the WiiU. Breath of the Wild — with its immersive world, innovative gameplay mechanics, and alluring visuals — cemented the Nintendo Switch as a viable contender in the console wars while earning widespread critical acclaim and numerous Game of the Year awards.

Eugene-Chystiakov-M0Nltsybv Q-UnsplashPhoto by Eugene Chystiakov

5. Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

Rockstar Games’ epic tale of outlaws and revenge was nothing short of a masterpiece when it first came out and its influence continues to reverberate to this day.  Its stunning visuals, immersive world, and attention to detail set a new benchmark for open-world storytelling, continuing Rockstar’s illustrious streak as one of gaming’s most distinguished developers. 

Hamed-Taha-Msgsuqikj-C-UnsplashPhoto by Hamed Taha

6. Overwatch (2016)

Released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016, Overwatch has brought the popular “hero shooter” genre to the forefront. With its sharp visuals, frenetic gameplay, and unique character skills, Overwatch has become a mainstay in the world of esports, amassing a large dedicated following and several accolades. 

Florian-Olivo-Mf23Rf8Xary-UnsplashPhoto by Florian Olivo


7. League of Legends (2009)

You can’t talk about esports without talking about League of Legends. The highly competitive free-to-play battle arena game has taken the gaming industry by storm since its release in 2009. In addition to being the largest game in esports, Riot Games’ smash hit has become a cultural phenomenon, expanding its IP to other ventures like television, comic books, and music. 

1024Px-League Of Legends Main StageHilary Murugu on Wikimedia Commons

8. FIFA 

With its realistic yet accessible gameplay, extensive licensing, and unparalleled online multiplayer, EA Sports’ FIFA series continues to be a powerhouse in gaming year-over-year. Its up-to-date player rosters, constantly improving mechanics, and immersive online multiplayer features have ensured its dominance in the sports simulation genre for years to come. 

Jeshoots-Com-Ecktzgjc-Iu-UnsplashPhoto by JESHOOTS.COM

9. Dark Souls (2011)

As one of the main progenitors of the “Soulslike” genre, FromSoftware’s highly acclaimed Dark Souls has served as a guiding light in the industry since its release in 2011. In addition to heavily influencing FromSoftware’s extensive library of games, Dark Souls — with its well-crafted, detailed world and infuriating difficulty level — has become a landmark title in the popular action role-playing genre. 

1024Px-Dark Souls IiiFromSoftware and Bandai Namco Entertainment on Wikimedia Commons

10. Hades (2020)

With its tight gameplay mechanics, branching narrative, and unrivalled replayability, it's easy to see why Supergiant Games’ 2020 hit title is often cited as one of the greatest video games of this generation. Hades masterfully combines fast-paced hack-and-slash combat with a compelling narrative and gorgeous art direction to deliver a modern classic that truly showcases the limitless potential of creativity in gaming. 

HadesLostplanetKD73 on Wikimedia Commons