8 Games That Influenced Pop Culture

Some people argue that gaming has overtaken music when it comes to pop culture influence, with the industry rising from strength to strength. There are plenty of influential games on the market today, but only a few of them have changed the face of pop culture – we discuss below. 


You likely haven’t heard of 1962’s Spacewar! but it’s important to include because it’s considered the first video game by historians. Although there were digital games before, Spacewar! was the first original game. 

Super Mario Bros.

We’re jumping forward a few years now and skipping out on titles including Pong and Pac-Man, but Super Mario Bros proved more than influential. The Nintendo giant has spawned a dominant franchise that’s 36 years old and still going strong, with Chris Pratt taking up the Mario mantle in an upcoming Hollywood movie.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil wasn’t the first horror game, but it’s the one that cemented horror as a gaming genre. Since its initial release in 1996, there has been a plethora of follow-up games, a movie franchise, graphic novels, and a brand new Netflix series. 

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is the outing that put Sony’s award-winning franchise on the map, and perfectly captured the essence of the story, graphics, and characters. Now, the game has been remastered for modern platforms, which means owners of these gaming Chromebooks at Lenovo can rejoice. Further, the world of Final Fantasy was merged with Disney to create the Kingdom Hearts phenomenon. 

The Legend of Zelda: Orcania of Time

There were 13 games in the Zelda franchise before The Legend of Zelda: Orcania of Time (1998) was released, but it’s considered by many the best in the franchise. According to Metacritic, the game has a score of 99/100 and helped to build up the game’s enormous fanbase. 

The Sims

Everyone has an opinion on The Sims, but there’s no denying that this life simulator has had a profound influence on pop culture. When the original game was released in 2000, it became an instant success and sold over 16 million units, which was 100x the initial projections. Since then, the game is still in its 4th game phase and is still churning out new content. 

Grand Theft Auto III

Until Grand Theft Auto III was released in 2001, GTA was a pixelated birds-eye view game that was fun for a while. Fortunately, the third outing reinvented the series and turned it into the open-world game it is today. Further, GTA III’s open-world mechanics influenced the way games were created from then. 

Call of Duty

Call of Duty wasn’t the first FPS game, but it took the genre to another level. The fanbase is enormous and the franchise is still reaching new heights of success, which is impressive for an FPS that doesn’t change its gameplay too much. 

There are too many pop culture-shifting games to list, but those discussed above are certainly the most high-profile. We are excited to see what the gaming landscape will look like in another ten years and if the same games will be held in such high regard. 

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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