Bungie's Halo series follows the adventures of space marine Master Chief as he fends off dangerous aliens. This first-person shooter game transformed Microsoft's Xbox console from a newcomer to the market to a must-have item for any hardcore gamer. Its sleek graphics and innovative focus on in-game vehicles have shaped the first-person shooter genre for years to come.
This 1980s Nintendo classic is one of the best-loved video games of all time. Super Mario Bros. is hands-down the best-known side-scrolling platform game, and effectively created the genre. The game helped make Nintendo's early fortune in video games, and Mario and his friends have appeared in countless spin-off games since.
The original 1996 Pokémon game, released for the Game Boy, allowed players to travel a fictional world collecting "pocket monsters," which do battle and level up. Pokémon's cultural legacy is difficult to overstate; not only has the game become a manga, an anime and a collectible card game, but it and its spinoff video games have become must-haves for Nintendo consoles and handhelds.
1991's Sonic the Hedgehog is another side-scrolling video game that's had a tremendous influence on the genre. Sonic's physic engine created a feeling of freedom while moving, allowing players to build up momentum and fairly fly through levels. It successfully turned the Sega Genesis into a hit console.
Dance Dance Revolution, released by Konami in 1998, popularized the rhythm game genre. Whether a gamer is playing one of DDR's arcade releases or its home console releases, its high-energy tunes, sea of arrows scrolling across the screen, and upbeat announcer have all made a huge impression on generations of gamers.
Mortal Kombat was a sensation when it was released in 1992, and not in the good way. While its use of digitized, highly realistic sprites was revolutionary, the game drew the attention of several concerned groups of parents for its graphic, cartoonish violence. The controversy had a strong impact over the Australian Classification Board's decision to regulate video games.
For many gamers, Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior is the archetypal fighting game. It introduced a combo system, which has become virtually mandatory for all fighting games since. The game effectively created its genre due to its massive popularity, both as an arcade game and a release for the SNES.
Konami's Silent Hill series is set in a fictional American town of the same name, where gruesome psychological horrors await the game's protagonists. Unlike many games that had come before, the goal of Silent Hillwasn't to violently defeat enemies, but rather to survive. With its unique gameplay and striking imagery, Silent Hilleffectively created the survival horror genre.
Wii Sports came bundled with Nintendo's Wii console, allowing players to try out the Wii's innovative control system with games like tennis, bowling and boxing. It helped introduce players to the Wii, and these simple yet fun games converted a whole generation of new, "casual" gamers to the Wii.
The Grand Theft Auto series' wide open worlds allow players the chance to explore big cities and become crime lynchpins. They became formative examples of sandbox games, with their genre-bending emphasis on racing, first-person shooting and other gameplay components. However, the game's perhaps best known for the controversy it has attracted, both through players' capacity for outstanding violence within the game, and the graphically sexual nature of some modes available online.