Video games first made a big splash in society during the 80s. Gaming consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System and the SEGA Genesis were on every kid’s birthday or Christmas lists. Some games that are still considered classics enthralled young mind’s during those days. Titles like Marios Bros., Legend of Zelda, Contra, etc., which still have an influence on gaming today.
However, it was PC gaming that truly elevated the industry to new heights. PC Gaming has been a thing for a long time. However, in the 21st century is when it really took off. Nowadays, we’ve all heard of the big titles. Games like Skyrim, Elden Ring, Mass Effect, etc. However, these new games are all built on the back of old school computer games, some of which are still very much worth playing.
Elder Scrolls: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls franchise might just be one of the most popular fantasy roleplaying game series in the world. A big reason for the success of the franchise is the popularity of the third installment, Morrowind. Released in 2002, and created by Bethesda, Morrowind takes place in the fantastical world of the Elves. The player can take on a series of quests, but the main plot revolves around the battle against Dagoth Ur, a demi-god threatening the very fabric of the Elder Scrolls.
We could talk about the combat mechanics, which still hold up today, the intricate skill system, which is somehow both intuitive and incredibly complex, and the character creation which lets you customize your character down to the detail, but what truly makes Morrowind iconic to this day is the free-form game design. Combining psychedelic imagery with traditional fantasy art, Morrowind manages to capture something akin to old-school fantasy classics like Elric of Melnibone.
World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions
Gambling is a practice in which people have been indulging for millennia. In the early 2000s, the World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions game first hit the shelves. Based on the real-life poker tournament, the game lets players take a seat at the table, and test their skills against some of the most well-known poker players in the world.
While incredibly influential, we wouldn’t necessarily say the game is still worth playing. Not when there are so many other similar games. Players who want to seriously gamble can always try their luck at online casinos or sportsbooks. Nowadays, websites for sports betting and gambling are incredibly popular, and they even let players bet with crypto. Whether you want to test your luck against the odds or test your skill against fellow poker players, this is the way to do it.
But still, we couldn’t help but include the World Series of Poker, due to its popularity and influence on the genre of “gambling video games.” After all, without it we wouldn’t have standouts like, Poker Night at the Inventory, which remains one of the best video game crossovers of all time.
Half-Life I – II
How could we make a list like this without bringing up the classic First-Person Shooter game, Half-Life. In 1998, Valve released the first iteration of the game, following the beloved protagonist, Gordon Freeman. The normal, everyday scientist must become an action hero, when his institute is attacked by an alien threat.
The game is famous for its intricate use of puzzles and exploration, as well as the iconic action sequences. As the story goes, Valve were not interested in creating a “shooting gallery,” but rather a masterful game which combines elements of FPS, adventure, and intrigue. In the minds of many, they succeeded.
But, it wouldn’t be until 2004, when Valve would release a timeless classic that many people are still clamoring to continue. Half-Life 2 is perhaps one of the most famous games of all time. Gordon Freeman returns as the protagonist, this time as a revolutionary, having joined a resistance movement to combat the Combine.
Half-Life 2 improved upon all aspects of the original. From the story-telling to the puzzle-solving to the gameplay. Today, it remains one of the most beloved games in the world, and certainly a standout classic that is still worth playing.
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
Incorporating aesthetics and themes inspired by Celtic history, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is a 2D adventure game, with a point-and-click interface. Point-and-click adventures are no longer as popular as they once were. But, once upon a time, they dominated the PC gaming market.
Broken Sword follows George, an American tourist in Paris who witnesses an assassination, investigates the mystery, and becomes embroiled in a mass conspiracy involving the Knights Templar. The game is famous for its incredible art, Biblical references, and incredible imagery, which has certainly been influential on modern gaming.
While the game itself may largely have been forgotten by the mainstream, its influence has not. We can see it in the multi-million franchise, Assassin’s Creed, which also deals with Templar conspiracies. The game has also had a sequel, which is just as enjoyable, but largely follows the same gameplay and format.
Finally, we come to one of the most iconic games of all time. Portal released in 2007, and is still widely regarded as one of the greatest video games in the medium’s history. Portal is a first-person shooter, puzzle-solving adventure, very evidently inspired by Half-Life and Half-Life II. However, it sets itself apart by having zero enemies and pretty much no weapons.
But, how can this be in an FPS game? Well, the main gun in Portal is the portal gun, and the main character uses said gun to navigate a broken-down spaceship, accompanied by GLADOS, a sentient Artificial Intelligence, programmed to assist the player along the way. But, all is not as it seems.
Portal is a standout in the world of video games. If you consider yourself a game, we would recommend checking this game out, and giving it at least one play-through.