First, take a few minutes and glance through this list of the "20 Games That Changed Gaming Forever." Or is it the "20 Most Innovative Games Ever Made?" The article's title says both, although they mean different things. Keep this list open for reference as we journey through it together:
This is undeniably an innovative game, unless you want to consider the indie game Narbacular Drop that was the predecessor to Portal, and was essentially the same concept. It was made by the same team, and was pretty rough, so I guess I can concede this one. Portal was the first commercial game of its kind.
#18: Dance Dance Revolution
The article claims "Before DDR, music-based videogames were a virtually unknown niche genre. But DDR changed all of that with its patented "dance platform" that enabled players to bust a move instead of busting their thumbs on a typical game pad." So, while they acknowledge it is not the first music game (which it wasn't), it was the first to utilize a unique controller. I guess they forgot Beatmania, which had a DJ controller and came out a year before DDR? If DDR didn't actually innovate in the way they claim, then maybe it "changed gaming"? I don't know, the guitar hero series seems to have much more in common with Beatmania than DDR. I suppose that's debatable.
#17: Resident Evil
The article says "Alone in the Dark did it first, but Resident Evil made it iconic." So...it didn't innovate, then? I guess it must have "changed gaming", then.
First complaint right off the bat, the article lists it as a 360-only game. I guess they forgot that it released on the PC simultaneously, and was also ported to the PS3 later? Now that that's over with: I just...I have no clue what this is doing here. It was a great game, but it was essentially a dumbed-down, steampunk version of System Shock 2. How does the article claim it innovates? "But the real spark in the BioShock experience was the realization that you could choose to be the hero or the villain"; "BioShock is also enormously influential for advancing steampunk chic." It was the first game with a morality system that let you choose between good and evil actions to affect the outcome of the story? No, that can't be it...that's been a part of gaming for a helluva long time. In fact right now I'm playing through Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, which gives you moral choices every five minutes and has two fairly different endings to the story based around that. So, Bioshock was the first game with a steampunk art style? Certainly not. That style has been a staple of (mostly japanese) RPGs for a long time. Did Bioshock change gaming? Not that I've noticed...what games after it have tried to emulate anything it has done? I really can't think of anything.
"Though Dune II technically set the modern real-time strategy (RTS) genre into motion, it was Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft: Orcs & Humans that turned a fringe game style into an international sensation." Changed gaming? Yes. Innovative? No. They admit that Dune II did it first, right in the first darn sentence!
#14: Final Fantasy VII
The article doesn't present a single reason for this game being innovative, because it just wasn't, aside from being 3D. But I can concede that it was definitely influential.
#12: Geometry wars
This entry says flat out that the gameplay itself isn't revolutionary. Anyone who has played Robotron can tell you that. Instead, the article claims that the way that Geometry Wars was digitally distributed has changed gaming by popularizing downloadable games. Um, I don't know about that. Even if we discount the PC and just make this claim for consoles, the first game on XBLA to hit a million downloads was apparently Uno. Maybe that helped just as much as GeoWars? I don't really know.
#11: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Hahahaha! I guess "identical to the previous three games, but this time it's not set in world-war-II! Oh and it added one new feature to the multiplayer that essentially gives players the ability to choose an unfair advantage over others!" means "innovative." I suppose you might make the claim that a few console shooters after CoD4 have copied its perk system for multiplayer, which makes it influential...but the fact that this is on the list but games such as Super Mario Bros. (the first platformer!) or Quake (the game that essentially created online multiplayer deathmatch) or any number of other far more famous and undeniably innovative games are not, is just ridiculous.
There's no denying that Halo changed console gaming. Practically every FPS since then has had regenerating health, for example. I don't necessarily like the WAY in which Halo changed gaming, but it certainly has. Sigh.
#3: World of Warcraft
"World of Warcraft was by no means the first MMO, but it was the game that perfected the rules and the experience." Once again the article flat-out admits that the game is not innovative. Just because its the most popular game in its genre, does not mean it innovated, or even that it changed gaming! One might argue that MMOs today all try to copy WoW, but one could also just argue that those MMOs are all trying to copy Everquest, since that's what WoW essentially tried to do.
#2: Grand Theft Auto III
Aside from the fact that it was just a 3D version of the standard GTA formula, I guess it did innovate.
I'm mentioning this one because it's probably the best entry to this list. I mean, it started the FPS genre! Oh, what's that? Wolfenstein was the first FPS, not Doom? Nevermind.
So, now that I've established just how ludicrous this list is, how about all of the games that should be here, but aren't? Like, I don't know, the games that CREATED GAMING AND EVERY GENRE WE PLAY TODAY? Spacewar, Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Wolfenstein, Dune II, Adventure...compared to any of these games, NO game of the last 10 years can even be considered "innovative" or "influential."