Oftentimes, the first person or project to do a certain thing isn’t the same one that made a thing popular. This is very true in the world of video games, where the game series that often popularize a genre isn’t the same one that began the genre. There are plenty of examples of this happening in just about every genre under the sun.
A very popular instance of this is Super Mario Bros. being believed to be the first platformer video game. In reality, this isn’t the case, as the platforming genre did exist before Super Mario Bros. Despite that, many believe Mario to be the pioneer of the platformer.
10 Super Mario Bros. Isn’t The First Platformer, It’s Nichibutsu’s Crazy Climber
As previously stated, Super Mario Bros. popularized the platformer genre, but it wasn’t the first of its kind. Nichibutsu’s Crazy Climber and Universal’s Space Panic both preceded any game with Mario in it. Both games came out in 1980, but Crazy Climber came first.
Both games involve climbing up a structure while avoiding obstacles. However, neither had the jumping mechanic that is often considered necessary for a platformer. That wouldn’t come until Donkey Kong, which, in fairness, did star Mario, but it still came before the first Super Mario Bros.
9 Neither Ultima Nor Wizardry Were The First Western RPGs, It Was Dungeon
The Western roleplaying game was considered to have started in earnest with Wizardry and/or Ultima, but neither was the first actual pioneer of the genre, though both helped popularize it while establishing many of their trademark elements. However, the genre truly kicked off in Dungeon in 1974.
Dungeon was a text-based adventure game created by Don Daglow. It was followed by graphics-based games in the years leading up to Ultima and Wizadry, namely dnd, avatar, and moria. Temple of Asphai by Automated Simulations came around in 1979 was computing power increased, finally followed by Ultima and Wizardry in 1981.
8 Tetris Popularized But Didn’t Start Puzzle Games, Digger Did
Tetris and Minesweeper are often considered the first true puzzle game, and they did help popularize the genre in an exciting manner. However, it wasn’t the first true puzzle video game to exist.
Digger, known as Heiankyo Alien in Japan, was the first true puzzle game to exist in electronic form. It was created by the University of Tokyo in 1979. It involved navigating a maze and digging holes to trap invading aliens.
7 King’s Quest Was Preceeded By Colossal Cave Adventure In The Adventure Game Genre
King’s Quest is one of the most long-lived adventure game franchises in existence, and it is quite old. However, it wasn’t the first adventure game of its type. Zork predates it by a bit and is often credited as the pioneer of the genre as well, and it is the first adventure game to be graphics-based.
However, Colossal Cave Adventure was the true first adventure game, albeit text-based. It was developed by William Crowther and Don Woods in 1975.
6 Elite Was The First Sandbox-Style Video game, Not Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto III is considered the pioneer of the single-player sandbox game genre, and many sandbox games that followed were even called “GTA clones” for a time. However, the idea of an open-world game in which the player can explore, adventure in, and generally find their own fun long predates GTA III.
Elite is a space exploration simulator with wireframe graphics from 1984. It was developed by David Braben and Ian Bell. It allowed the player to fly a ship through space, trade with merchants, explore the universe, and fight enemies as they appear. It’s the game that was succeeded by Frontier: Elite, Frontier: First Encounters, and Elite: Dangerous.
5 Herzog Zwei Isn’t The First RTS, It Was Actually Utopia
Herzog Zwei is considered the first true real-time strategy game, and it did pioneer many of the aspects of the genre. However, it isn’t the first true RTS game. That title belongs to Utopia by Mattel Electronics in 1982. Admittedly, it’s more of a city or civilization management simulator than a proper RTS war game.
In that regard, the Herzog series is still preceded by Bokusuka Wars by Koji Sumii in 1983, which allowed the player to oversee a war between different factions.
4 Neither DOOM Nor Quake Pioneered The FPS, It Was Wolfenstein 3D
Id Software’s DOOM and Quake are considered the first first-person shooters in video game history to the point that many early FPS games were called “DOOM clones.”
Ironically, these games are stealing the credit from yet another Id Software video game, Wolfenstein 3D. This was the first true FPS, which was preceded by Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, both platforming shooters.
3 Dragon Quest Wasn’t The First JRPG, It Was… A Bit More Complicated Than That
Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are often considered the first JRPGs, and Dragon Quest kind of is, in a way. It’s the first game that checked most of the boxes of what is considered a Japanese RPG. However, in a more literal sense, Dragon Quest was beaten out by a few games.
1982 saw Koei’s Underground Exploration and Pony Canyon’s Spy Daisakusen as the earliest manifestations of a JRPG. Koei’s The Dragon Princess later in 1982 came closer to a traditional JRPG with random encounters and turn-based action. 1984 saw Falcom’s Dragon Slayer, T&E Soft’s Hydilide, and Courageous Perseus by Cosmos Computer. These brought Japan closer to the JRPG one thinks of when the genre is discussed. There was also Black Onyx in 1984, which was developed by non-Japanese company Bullet-Proof Software, but it was highly influential in Japan and helped push things towards Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.
2 Island Of Kesmei Preceeded The Likes Of Everquest And Ultima: Online
Everquest is usually thought of as the first MMORPG, and it did solidify many major aspects of the genre. Ultima: Online is another one often credited for kicking off the genre, but there were a pair of games that finally led to the idea of an MMO.
Island of Kesmei by Kesmei was a 1985 multi-user dungeon, or MUD, that was released commercially and had many of the hallmarks of a modern MMORPG. Kesmei wasn’t the first MUD, but it helped bridge the gap between MUD and MMO. Habitat by Lucasfilm Games and Quantum Link was the first attempt at a true MMO game in 1986, though it wasn’t an RPG. Everything really came together at last with Neverwinter Nights by Stormfront Studios in 1991. It was the first true MMORPG and was a video game adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons.
1 Resident Evil And Alone In The Dark Weren’t The First Survival Horror Games
Alone in the Dark is often given credit as the first survival horror game, though others mistake that honor for belonging to Resident Evil. However, neither game is the true first entry into the survival horror genre.
The first survival horror game is 1982’s Haunted House by Atari. 1987’s Shiryou Sensen: War of the Dead by Fun Factory is another early entry into the genre and has been considered the first true survival horror in the past. However, everything seemed to come together with Sweet Home in 1989 by Capcom. It is an adaptation of a Japanese horror movie with the same name. It had all the elements that would later be used by Resident Evil and seemed to truly cement the genre.
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