The first / the root / progenitors

There are a good number of rather known ‘firsts’ of various genres or mechanics. RTS and Dune 2 on genesis comes to mind.

These first examples are in no way guaranteed to be ‘better’ than any successive iterations, but there is also a unique way early forays into a type of game are unhindered by later established norms. I know there are lots of articles around chronicling specific threads, but I would guess there are some nuggets of knowledge in this community worth sharing.

What are examples of ‘firsts’ you know of and were surprised to learn about? What genre or mechanical origins are you curious about? Any notable features?

This topic first came up for me as I checked out Mindustry, which is a turret defense game with Factorio-ish conveyor and material gathering. I was wondering what the real root of the ‘manage resources via complex conveyor systems’ genre was - is it in fact Factorio? I could imagine an almost text-based version of that kind of game, but have never heard of such a thing.

I'm not sure about absolute firsts, but during SEGA SUMMER (which is officially over as of today; rest in peace), I played a LOT of stuff that I could tell majorly influenced tons of games I love, which I used to think were “progenitors” in some way themselves. A brief list:

_Panzer Dragoon Saga_ is definitely responsible for a significant amount of the themes, storytelling style, and identity behind the _NieR_, _Ico_, and especially the _Drakengard_ games

_D_ had the identical puzzle-solving focus, oppressive atmosphere, and unmistakable confidence in that vision of _Resident Evil_ or _Silent Hill_ a full year before either of them released

_Shenmue,_ as far as I can tell, is singlehandedly (and more tastefully) responsible for nearly every trait that wound up evolving into modern AAA games, obviously finding its most closely-related descendant in the _Yakuza_ games

I'm sure other games had traces of these elements before (_Resident Evil_ is actually like _Sweet Home_, I know, yadda yadda...) but it was striking to me playing these games and seeing such perfectly-matching DNA of so many games that are heralded as medium-defining innovators. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but man, what _if_ SEGA wound up doing better than Sony? I think games like these would be in the general cultural conversation a lot more often.

(Sorry if this isn't exactly what you're looking for in this thread, but it sure does happen to be a perfect way to conclude [SEGA SUMMER](!)

Death Stranding is notable for being the first strand-type game

Good show here from Retronauts that covers this concept from a Japanese game design perspective.

Essentially it went (grouped loosely by genre in release order - they inspire each other as time goes on):
_Pong > Breakout > Space Invaders > Galaxian > Galaga > (maybe Scramble) > Xevious
...........................................Heiankyo Alien > Pac-Man > Tower of Druaga > Zelda
................................................................................> Donkey Kong > Pac-Land > Super Mario Bros
............................................................................................> Lode Runner > Spelunker > Castlevania
...........................................Mystery House > Wizardry > The Portopia Serial Murder Case > Dragon Quest_

Starting here you can extrapolate most games.

Most people don't know how influential **Heiankyo Alien**, **Xevious**, **Mystery House**, and **Tower of Druaga** were.

It's interesting to think the foundational games were around for years that people somewhat pass off today. Also, funny to think how much Steve Jobs hated video games that Wozniak would make one of the most influential games ever made with Breakout.

TV Tropes also has a Trope Makers page with a dedicated video games section that give some good and some way more arguable examples.

Among more obscure pioneers, I had mentioned in [another thread]( the interesting(?) case of Taito’s **Typhoon Gal** (🇯🇵**Onna Sanshirō**), a.k.a. the very first playable female character in a fighting game (1985), which also makes her one of the first female leading roles in a video game of any kind, and one of the first fighting game characters, period.

Continuing with Taito, there was (by my fault) [an entire thread]( about Taito’s **Lupin III** (1980) and the quest to find the first licensed arcade video game.

Taking it a bit past videogames, it's worth talking about how many fantasy tropes that show up all over the place in games and modern media came from specific authors/works, often not even that long ago, and were laundered into the public consciousness through D&D and early video games. To name a few:

Spells Per Day - Jack Vance in his "Dying Earth" series. Jack Vance also created The Grue (later used in Zork) and The Hormagaunt (later used in Warhammer)

Mana as a resource for casting spells - Mana originated in Polynesian religion and referred to someone's spiritual power. Larry Niven appropriated the word and gave it it's modern fantasy usage as a limited resource to perform magic in his series "The Magic Goes Away." Larry Niven also created "Ringworld" which served as the basis for Halo.

The Law-Chaos alignment system and the "Multiverse" - Both of these come from the works of Michael Moorcock and his "Eternal Champion" meta-series. The books also feature an archetypal hero who gets reincarnated throughout the ages, a black sword covered in runes that steals peoples souls, and a hero in a long red cloak with a mechanical hand.


Haven't actually played Death Stranding, but I loved this book about the game.

Alone in the Dark comes to mind.


@“edward”#p83631 Haven’t actually played Death Stranding, but I loved this book about the game.

Looks neat! This is literally so superficial of a thing to say that it is an idiom in the language, but that's a cool cover.


Ha! I love that cover enough that I bought a physical copy, which is something I don't often do anymore.

you could probably argue that gremlin‘s frogs is the first platformer (or at least first game to have jumping in a 2d, side-view space) ((unless something i don’t know of predates this!)):