This essay has a spoiler for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I shouldn’t need to give anyone a warning about that, but just in case, here it is. In addition, one could probably infer a spoiler or two from my description of Mass Effect 3 if you put your thinking caps on. You have been warned.
With the way that fans reacted to Mass Effect 3’s ending, you’d have thought that its developer, BioWare, implanted a virus that destroyed a console’s hard drive and replaced it with child pornography. The internet exploded into a frenzy of wrath within days of release, once the hardest of hardcore gamers got to the ending and then—armed with tar, pitchforks, and Professor Lawrence’s Home Exorcism Kit—vented their wrath upon all manner of forums, social networking sites, and petitions. Creators engaged them on the front lines before eventually issuing a retraction (of sorts). All was right with the world… or would be, once the creators released the patch.
It’s hard to put into words how titillating Duke Nukem 3D is to 13 year-old boys of all ages. I know; I speak from experience. There is an overabundance of violence, from blowing the brains out of an alien begging for mercy to gore exploding at the screen whenever a pipe bomb goes off. There were breasts – covered, pixilated, occasionally tasseled, and 2D – aplenty. The multiplayer feature was great (for its time), the weapons were fun, and the depth of the title (short enough in length so as not to be repetitious, but with enough extra features to encourage replay) made it super-appealing to those whose weekly allowances were measured in single-digits. To this day it features everything a hyper-hormonal young lad needs for a good time, save for a built-in box of Kleenex.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of Tetris. It influenced generations of puzzle games, sold millions of copies on multiple systems, crossed traditional gender boundaries (many of which still exist in gaming today), and continues to be one of the most popular titles of any generation of anywhere in the world. By almost any definition, it is THE video game of the 20th century.