4) Dramatic cutscenes
For as long as people could remember prior to 1998, most games presented story through in-game engines and long dialogue exposition that needed to be cycled through with a button tap. Metal Gear Solid was one of the first games to usher in the “cinematic cutscene” with unprecedented production values, camera angles straight from a high-end blockbuster action film and (!) strong voiceover work that didn’t cause nausea. Plus, it’s totally like playing a movie.
Soon, other games, undoubtedly influenced by MGS and seemingly impotent on how to tell an involving narrative, began employing cinematic cutscenes to an almost disturbing effect. Metal Gear Solid 2 continued the trend with higher quality visuals and even more story for you to watch - not play. This proved troublesome, as it soon distanced fans after the umpteenth time the controller was put down for a twenty minute-plus static Codec conversation. After only a few years, the common model for games grew to be: play from Point A to Point B, put down the controller for the cinematic and then continue playing.
Far fewer exposition-centric cutscenes were used in MGS3, either due to fan backlash from MGS2 or because Kojima realized people actually wanted to “play” a game. You can see how in recent years, games like Resident Evil 4 or Gears of War try to give you something to do during a story segment, either through interactive button-presses or exposition while you’re playing the game, something that Half-Life started doing in 1998 (the year MGS debuted). An innovation then has now become one of gaming’s top clichés.