National Technology Day is a time to celebrate innovation and how technology has changed the world. In the world of video games we’re no strangers to innovation and new technologies being rolled out, whether they be new hardware, exciting and interesting peripherals or games that set new boundaries for genres.
There’s so much to celebrate in gaming so let’s take a look at some of the most innovative video games from the last few decades.
Half Life set a new bar for FPS games from the very moment it started. Your journey on the train into the Black Mesa facility shows glimpses of the world you’re embedding yourself in such as the places you’ll visit and the people you’ll meet. The voiceless Gordon Freeman allowed you to feel more immersed as you experienced the story not only through Gordon’s eyes but also in real time with the AI characters you meet. You were rarely ever taken out of the action and always felt at the heart of it.
Half Life introduced us to more advanced enemy AI than we were used to. Flanking, taking cover and using their arsenal to flush you out and take you down were gameplay elements that gamers hadn’t experienced before. Even now, playing Half Life is still a fantastic gaming experience that stands the test of time.
Grand Theft Auto 3
It’s safe to say that Grand Theft Auto 3 influenced an entirely new gameplay experience. Not only did we have an open world we were free to roam in there were pedestrians going about their lives, bringing Liberty City to life. Additionally, we had a deep, rich story to get lost in with a mission approach that allowed players to do things in their own time and in their own way.
The idea of being able to go anywhere you want and do what you please wasn’t really that familiar. Yes, there were GTA games before, but this was 3D. Rockstart had created the ultimate sandbox to just mess around in for hours upon hours.
Halo: Combat Evolved
First person shooters on console before Halo came along were… not great. Mostly due to the fact that getting the control schemes right was hard to do. However, Bungie managed it and then some. Not only was Halo: Combat Evolved a joy to play with fantastic story-telling, characters and world building but the open nature to a lot of the levels allowed room for you to use your imagination and try different approaches.
In addition, the game’s multiplayer revolutionised gaming for many coming to the console. Chances are if you were playing an Xbox around the turn of the century you were playing it for Halo’s multiplayer, helping to bring gaming to the masses and popularise shooting your friends in the head. In-game, of course.
The Orange Box. What a joyful collection of gaming contained within. Including Portal. the mind mending, world manipulation puzzle game that made use of clever physics and liberal usage of portals. There was no violence needed, (except for the companion cube incinerating and the few turrets who met a sticky end, I suppose). This was about using your head to solve tricky puzzles. Experimenting with solutions was encouraged and rewarded.
‘Thinking with portals’ was the strapline and when you did, it enabled a brand new way of thinking about gameplay puzzles. Overall, Portal is a joyous game from start to finish. Valve even managed to squeeze in a memorable story with dark humour, memorable characters and much more.
If you want to see more innovation in gaming, why not head over to our Coming Soon section on our store where you can see exactly how gaming is evolving and whet your taste buds with what’s coming next.