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7 video games that were ahead of their time

By / 09.15.12
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When a game that has a new gameplay mechanic is being promoted, you can bet your ass the publishers are going to tout it as the game's main selling point. Some video games recycle gameplay features of past games shamelessly, like Darksiders which mixed elements of God of War, Zelda, and Portal among others. And although Darksiders was a solid game, what's really impressive is when a game is one of the first pioneers to bring something new to gamers and does it with great results. Check out these games that paved the way for loads more that took a cue from their innovations.


Photo Credit: CLF, Flickr

CLF, Flickr


The Prince of Persia series came back with a serious vengeance in the Sands of Time trilogy which debuted in 2003, but it all started in 1989 as an Apple computer game. In it, you controlled the prince; running, jumping and fighting his way through catacombs (and other environments that also sorta looked like catacombs) using a clever system for timing jumps. This system relied heavily on the visual cues of the prince's body movement and was achieved by the first form of motion capture in a game. The technique used is called rotoscoping and involves the artist tracing over live action film movement, one frame at a a time. Is it just me or does rotoscoping sound like some type of robotic sex move?


Photo Credit: CLF, Flickr

YouTube


Soul Reaver was a dark and atmospheric 3D vampire adventure that introduced two unique concepts. One was that since you're an undead vampire, you couldn't just succumb to your wounds. Instead, when your life was depleted you'd revert to a soul-hungry wraith of sorts and need to feed in order to come back to your physical form in the physical world. The other concept involved using these two worlds to your advantage by switching between them. This would cause environments to shift, providing you with access to new areas and secrets as you watched the world's shape and colors change right before your eyes.


Photo Credit: YouTube

YouTube


Half Life wasn't the first game to use artificially intelligent enemies, but it was the first to use it with great success. For example, the commandos communicated with each other, flanked your position, used a combination of long projectile, explosive and melee attacks and generally worked as a team to take you out. Another new gaming territory Half Life opened up was a storytelling style which omits any type of cut scene in favor of a continuous tale being told through the eyes of the protagonist. It was unprecedented, and made everything from the opening sequence to the closing credits all the more engaging.


Photo Credit: YouTube

YouTube


Perfect Dark had a lot of great things going for it, including stellar graphics and gameplay making it one of the best shooters of its time. Something it brought to the table was the addition of multiplayer bots. This was a big deal at the time as the gaming console's multiplayer experience largely relied on who else was in the room with you playing. Having bots though, allowed you to play 4-person rounds of multiplayer with less than four people, and even by yourself. Forever alone? Not with bots!


Photo Credit: YouTube

YouTube


Halo's graphics had a rich color palette and glossy luster to them that gave them an edge for years to come. Even a couple of years later when it came out for PC, the graphics were still among the best around. Halo also brought an incredible physics engine to the table, the quality of which had never existed prior to it. This allowed simple maneuvers like fishtailing your vehicle around a corner to be something that was rewarded with practice as a thrilling visual feast. It also made blowing up a crowd of oncoming Flood quite the joyous occasion as their bodies rained down around you.


Photo Credit: YouTube

YouTube


Goldeneye will always be known as one of the best multiplayer experiences of the 90s. Though it could be slightly unbalanced at times (ahem, Oddjob), it had loads of fun and interesting game types, it was super accessible and incredibly popular. And there was also dual wielding, which automatically made you a total badass, even if you were sporting...double Klobbs.


Photo Credit: YouTube

YouTube


The original Metroid was a unique title for a lot of reasons; it had complex and engaging music that took far more musicianship to create than the average NES soundtrack, the world was huge and expansive and the game relied heavily on exploration. That exploration would net you permanent upgrades allowing you access to areas that were previously locked off, which is a format that has been emulated by many games since. And the most futuristic quality of this game? The fact that after finishing it you found out your heavy armored, bounty hunter character is none other than a lady with long blond hair. Score one for women's rights...to fight non-sentient aliens in space.


Photo Credit: YouTube




(Originally published on April 3, 2012.)

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TAGSArbitrary Rankingsbest video gamesfeaturedgoldeneyegreat video gamesHalf LifeHaloinnovative video gamesLandmark video gamesListsMetroidPerfect DarkPrince of PersiaSoul ReaverVideo game innovationVideo games
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