In almost any form of media, there are examples of the media that are considered iconic. Romeo & Juliet is considered the iconic love story in the medium of plays, Star Wars is considered the iconic science fiction movie, and The Brady Bunch is considered to be an iconic family sitcom. The video game medium is rather new, but iconic games have also arisen in the medium. For video games, there are basically two eras: games of the 20th century and games of the 21st century. The following games, made during the 21st century are the iconic games of the current generation.
World of Warcraft (Blizzard) – This game is basically synonymous with the term MMORPG. Over 10 million people play this game and despite massive competition in the market, it is easily the dominant game. If you have never played, take advantage of a free trial membership, at least to get a taste of what you are missing.
FarmVille (Zynga) – The social media game is a relatively new phenomenon, and one that Zynga has practically perfected. It attracts casual gamers and no game has attracted more fans that Farmville. Over 50 million people play this free to play Facebook game. And unlike the majority of games on the market, this game is free to play.
Mass Effect (Bioware) – Amazingly, the iconic RPG of modern gaming is not a Final Fantasy game. Mass Effect combines the elements of role playing games, first person shooters, and squad based games into a formula that is clearly the new standard for the modern RPG. The excellent storyline just adds luster to an already impressive game.
Halo: Combat Evolved (Bungie) – This game is the iconic first person shooter of modern games because it was the first game to prove that first person shooters could thrive on a console. Smooth game play, beautiful graphics, an epic story, and a wide variety of equipment makes this game still thrilling almost ten years later.
Rock Band (Harmonix Music Systems) – Rock Band is to karaoke like a Corvette is to a Hot Wheels. The game features singing, guitar playing, and drum playing to some of the best music ever written. No other rhythm game is half as entertaining and with the addition of a real guitar in the next version, this series is only getting better.
Wii Fit (Nintendo) – This game is iconic in part because it is practically unique. Fitness games basically didn’t exist until Wii Fit was released. Almost instantly the game became one of the best selling games ever and started a trend of healthy gamers.
SSX Tricky (EA) – It isn’t Madden or FIFA that defines the sports genre. Instead, the iconic game of sports is this exciting snowboarding game. The game combines powerful rock, insane game play, and stunning visuals to make a truly exceptional sports game that appeals to a wide audience and is fun to watch.
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (Polyphony Digital) – With the possible exception of the Burnout series, racing games simply do not compare to this series. The detailed graphics are phenomenal, especially given the enormous variety of cars in the game. Racing is tight and truly tests your skill at controlling a high velocity automobile.
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule) – There is no game more iconic of internet connectivity features than Little Big Planet. By going online you can share the levels you have created, download levels created by others, and even vote on your favorite designs. Millions of users take advantage of this, creating nearly infinite game play.
Grand Theft Auto III (Rockstar Games) – Grand Theft Auto III is iconic of two genres of game. It is both the iconic sandbox game and the iconic example of sex and violence in video games. Thriving on the theory that there is no such thing as bad press, this game rode the coattails of controversy and spawned three amazing sequels that continue to dominate the modern market. Just about every sandbox game in the market borrows concepts and design from this game.
Just as you are required to read Romeo and Juliet in high school, if you truly want to be considered a gamer, you should try to play these iconic games. All of them are historically significant new classics as well as being excellent games. These are the games that gamers talk about on public forums and the games that it is assumed people have played. If you haven’t played them, then you are simply missing out.