The 50 most important games of all time

1. Spacewar! (1961)

Programmed by Steve Russell in 1961, Spacewar! pitted two players against each other, each controlling a tiny ship that spun around a gravity well in the center of the screen. Both ships had limited ammo and fuel, as well as a "hyperspace" ability that could be used as a last-ditch attempt to avoid an enemy's shot - pretty complex for a game running on a computer only marginally more powerful than a sun dial.

What, you haven't played Spacewar!? That's fine, we won't hold it against you. It's not like you have a Programmed Data Processor-1 computer sitting in your basement or anything. But despite being relatively unknown in 2013, it's unarguably significant to the history of video games for one, important reason: It's the very first one to gain any semblance of popularity. Like, ever. Spacewar! wasn't a replica of a real-world sport, either - it was its own thing, and that originality inspired development of future games like Computer Space, Tank, and Combat. It laid the foundation for our industry, and earns its place as the most important game ever made. Though there were some experimental game-type-things before it, Spacewar! is the one that's most directly related to the foundation of the game industry.

Looking to the future

Are there other games incredibly important to the video game industry's colorful history? Absolutely. But these are the 50 that we feel are the most impactful. What games would you include on your list, and why? Let us know in the comments below.

For more check out the 100 best games of all time, and the 100 best heroes in video games.

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.

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