Innovative games and critical consideration

#1

When people discuss innovative video games they usually reference the first game to pioneer a genre, games like Diablo, Minecraft, H1Z1, DOTA, etc. However most games that I know of have been designed and built iteratively, both before and after the game is released. Minecraft was publicly iterated on many times before it had an end and is still iterated on today.

So what I am wondering is does it make sense to say that the first game in a genre is seminal and most worthy of canonical or critical consideration? Also considering the released game is unlike it’s first playable build?

When I’m telling someone about the battle royal genre should I point to H1Z1? PUBG is more identified with the rise of the battle royal genre. Fortnite has produced the most content in a short time, but they still copied the ping system from Apex Legends two weeks after Apex was released. Long lasting games like WOW is not the same game it was ten years ago.

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#2

Yeah games are so interesting and sloppy like this and I kind of love it. Like sports and classic board games like chess have the same thing, where they’ve all changed a lot over time.

For me at least the history is important if you’re coming at it from a serious critical angle. I’m really glad WoW has always had a community running old builds on private servers because it really isn’t the same game, and the way its changed I think can kind of erase the memory of what specifically was special about it, how exactly it felt and interacted with peoples’ lives, how much more people who played it were willing to give to it.

I feel like dorks are always going to have preferred patches of games, and maybe if preservation is good enough we’ll have that version of important games saved to look back on as ‘canon.’ Like I think there are already armchair WoW archivists who have a specific patch they’ve sort of mostly all decided is the canonical one.

As far as telling someone new about a genre, I think it’s appropriate to just point to the most popular and iconic contemporary example, because I think the genre definition is actually evolving with those games anyway. So like unless its an arcane historical/critical conversation I’d just be like ‘yeah Fortnite.’

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