20 Most Influential Video Games of All Time

There are countless of video games released since gaming was first created, but some had a bigger impact in gaming than others. Here is a list of the 20 most influential video games of all time. 

20. Pong

Pong is a simple game but it had a major impact in the business side of gaming -- as people realized there was money to be made. It was a popular arcade game and was able to keep players busy for hours. 

19. Pac-Man

Pac-Man popularized mechanics like bonus or power-up items that are now commonly found in video games. It also became one of the first video games with an easily identifiable mascot. Pac-Man was seen in books, lunch boxes, and more.

18. Tetris

Tetris is another influential video game. Without Tetris, many of the pattern video games we know of wouldn't exist -- even Candy Crush. Despite having a very simple game design, Tetris inspired pattern video games and leisure games that challenged players mentally.

17. Metal Gear Solid

Any stealth games likely took inspiration from Metal Gear Solid. The game is based heavily on stealth and sneaking around, forcing players to pay close attention to their environment. The series also has incredible characters still loved by fans today.

16. Halo 2

The first Halo game was memorable on its own, but Halo 2 helped influence the popularity of online games. In Halo 2, the concept of online (console) multiplayer expanded. Players competed in online, 16-player matches and many players willingly purchased the Xbox Live subscription to play the game.

15. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time is often considered one of the best Legend of Zelda games, along with Majora's Mask, but Ocarina of Time is arguably the most important. It is a game rich with storytelling, characters, and set a bar for other roleplaying games to follow.

14. Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. rocked the video game community with its challenges and iconic mascots. It is an adventure genre that helped popularize a world with plenty of secrets, like secret levels, and incorporated physics-enhanced controls in its gameplay. Many platform games are inspired by the Super Mario games.

13. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil opened up the doors for survival horror genres in gaming. Despite its fixed perspectives, the third-person shooter angle and dual-character gameplay was one of the first of its kind. The game remains a very important Resident Evil game in the series and for survival horror games in general.

12. Grand Theft Auto III

It is one of the most popular and controversial Grand Theft Auto games and continues to receive love from its fanbase. It was rated one of the best video games and helped usher in more open world games where players can go anywhere and do anything. 

11. Angry Birds

Despite Snake being the first game to show the viability of mobile gaming, Angry Birds was arguably the first mobile game that popularized mobile gaming and the importance of on-the-go play and an easy to pick up game. It also helped create the model of a free-to-play mobile game with optional micro-transactions. 

10. Diablo II

Diablo was created by Blizzard Entertainment, and its sequel, Diablo II, was in every way an improved version of the first game. Diablo helped bring massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPG) to popularity and helped perfect gore in games, and almost never-ending levels in dungeons.

9. Pokémon

The Pokémon series was a hit for Nintendo. It quickly became a loved series, both as a video game and on television, and was one of the first games where defeating the main storyline did not mean you beat the game. Players would have to finish, or 100 percent, all the challenges introduced in the game.

8. Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is one of the few games of its time that was unapologetic with the amount of violence and gore it showed its players. It was a way for people in the industry to see the opening in creating games aimed at adults and teens, rather than just younger kids. It was also one of the first games with cheats that players would desperately try to discover.

7. World of Warcraft

Another Blizzard title, World of Warcraft was a hit with bringing more players to MMORPGs. Cooldown based combat became an important aspect in gaming, in both single-player and multi-player games. World of Warcraft also had a map that gave players the ability to run across it without nearly any restrictions, without needing to see a loading screen before moving onto the next section.

6. Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. was one of the first games to answer the question of "which character would win in a fight?" Characters from a number of games, not always Nintendo titles, are featured in Smash games. The game also developed an esports scene and continued to rise in popularity as the years passed.

5. Donkey Kong

It is the first Nintendo game designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, which popularized platform gaming. The style was adopted by Mario, but Donkey Kong's climbing aspects were also later taken by Ice Climbers. It was a hit in arcade gaming, too.

4. Snake

Snake is the first popular mobile game. It demonstrated the possibility of gaming and entertainment on mobile phones. It is a simple game, but was able to attract the attention of many players. It was the face of mobile gaming before Angry Birds or Candy Crush.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

It is one of the most popular Call of Duty titles and also helped create the basic leveling up or progression system seen in many shooter multi-player games. The longer people played, the more new weapons or upgrades they were able to unlock -- which was something other shooter games lacked.

2. Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike is one of the biggest games in the world and remains one of the most played games on Steam. The popularity of it helped create the extremely popular esports scene for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and is considered the most dominant first-person shooter.

1. Doom

A list of the most influential video games of all time would not be complete without Doom. It helped lay the foundation of what first-person shooter games typically look like, and was also one of the first video games to feature intense gore and blood.