A History of Video Game Trends

Can we predict what's coming next from what has already come and gone?

Created by Michal
On Dec 25, 2016

Shooters and Simple Puzzle Arcade Games

Games like PacMan, Space Invaders, and Tetris defined this era.


Beat 'Em Ups

Street Fighter, TMNT, and all sorts of side scrolling fighting games became majorly popular. The spirit of these games live on today through games like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Castle Crashers.


Light Gun Games

Remember seeing these at arcades? Home consoles tried to mimic the necessary external hardware trend with games that required Bongo controllers (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat), but none took off as much as Guitar Hero did. This trend has mostly died off by now.


That Slow Transition from 2D to 3D Gaming

There was a bit of a learning curve when it came to that "3D gimic," but I think eventually we all got the hang of it.


WWII Shooters

Wolfenstein, Call of Duty, and Battlefield paved the way for the war time FPS genre. By 2005, everyone had played through that World War too many times.


Cute Animal Platformers

Banjo Kazooie, Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Dexter, Sly Cooper, should we keep going?


Escort Missions

Every other game was an escort mission or wartime struggle. Think Resident Evil.


Heavy Narrative Games

Games like Bioshock, Half-Life, Last of Us, and more rely on their dark story to capture the player's intrigue. They all have great gameplay mechanics but these games really stepped it up when it comes to narrative and motivation.


Choice Based Games

From Mass Effect to TellTale's Walking Dead Game, video games started to care more about what giving the user control over the narrative they played through. You have control over who lives and dies, how to distribute supplies, and even who to express romantic interest in. This format has really taken off in recent years through indie titles.


Survival Horror

Outlast, Slender, PT, Five Nights at Freddies, and pretty much every other game designed to make you scared of the dark.


Return of Pixel Art: Indie Side Scrollers

Super Meat Boy, Fez, and BattleBlock Theater definitively PROVED


Exploration of Narrative

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Games such as Firewatch or Gone Home throw the concept of a main objective out the window in exchange for emphasis on character development and piecing together a character driven story.


Virtual Reality

Is this another gimmick or a long lasting trend in the making? Only time will tell on this one...