Video games are the backbone of the modern entertainment industry. Modern hits and retro classics alike are seeing new life as part of film projects and television series, from The Last of Us on Netflix to the blockbuster release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Now more than ever, musicians and even fashion designers are borrowing from the world of gaming.
Now that the industry is in full bloom, more and more classic titles are starting to become a part of popular culture. Early hits like Tetris, DOOM, and even The Oregon Trail remain an important part of Western culture—and are still popular games that players enjoy today despite being decades old.
But what about more modern hits? As gaming becomes an ingrained part of our experience in pop culture, we’ll continue to see more interesting crossovers between gaming and other fields like music, film, and fashion. But which games will make the cut? Let’s look at some of the ‘classics’ that are evolving right before our eyes.
The Last of Us (2013)
If you’ve watched this series on Netflix, then you might understand what makes it a classic for gamers. Not only is the title strong in terms of gameplay and mechanics, but it also has a complex and touching storyline. This storyline makes it naturally engaging and incredibly meaningful for players—who will be confronted to make a tough choice as the game ends.
This game shocked many when it was released. It combines elements of side-scrolling games, which challenge players in terms of speed and accuracy. However, the game’s unique visual design, inspired by the 1920s and 30s, made it a standout hit. This aesthetic even applies to its audio design and soundtrack, which culminates to create a memorable and addictive standout hit.
You may not have heard of this game before—and that’s because it’s actually a slot title. However, if you have spent time on virtual platforms that offer casino games, then you’ve likely seen Starburst. This slot has become a classic thanks to its bright and visual design, which draws off early slot games. Plus, its boosted RTP has given it a great reputation amongst players.
This was one of the first MOBA games to truly take off, helping put later releases like League of Legends(2009) and Arena of Valor (2016) on the map. Originally, Dota was a fan-made mod for Warcraft III.
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Similar to The Last of Us, Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption became an instant classic thanks to its advanced narrative. This narrative provides depth and meaning to the open-world structure. This open world is another important element of the game’s success, as it allows players to explore a Wild West world almost endlessly.
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Far Cry (2004)
Before action-adventure hits like God of War and Assassin’s Creed came out (in 2005 and 2007, respectively), Far Cry put complex and highly immersive action-adventure games on the map.
Guitar Hero (2005)
This musical game redefined gaming in the early 2000s—and introduced millions to the guitar controller. Not only was Guitar Hero accessible to gamers of all ages, it also helped curry interest from those who didn’t find FPS or action-adventure games appealing. In other words, it signaled the start of the casual gaming movement.
This sandbox game has also helped redefine the era of casual gaming, as it allows players to choose their own adventures and build their own worlds through a variety of modes. In other words, the game removed the need for an overarching narrative.
The Sims (2000)
Modern simulation games are some of the most popular for casual gamers. From interior design to city planning to dating, simulations offer a highly personalized approach to gaming. However, the original The Sims introduced millions to the concept of a simulation game, popularizing the genre.
Among Us (2018)
This title pushed the boundaries of video games in an unexpected way by adding a psychological challenge for players. Just like the social game of Mafia, players must determine who is a friend and who is a foe using limited information. Surprisingly, this type of bluffing hasn’t been utilized often in gaming.