First seen in: Dragon’s Lair (1983)
Important because: During an era when videogame characters were limited to simple sprites, Cinematronics dreamed of something bigger with the arcade release of Dragon’s Lair in 1983. Featuring animation from former Disney animator Don Bluth, Dragon’s Lair was the first game to truly marry full-motion video with traditional game controls. The end result was a stunning mix of gorgeous, high-quality animation and somewhat awkward controls. But Dragon’s Lair’s real gift to gaming was the quick time event, which has players follow onscreen prompts to input commands, giving you the feeling that you’re controlling the amazing action onscreen without directly controlling that action.
Above: A quick time event in God of War II. When used sparingly, quick time events can be awesome
Legacy: Dragon’s Lair was essentially one gigantic quick time event, but it cleared the way for other, more modern action games to make comparatively restrained use of them, God of War, Bayonetta, and Uncharted being just a few examples.