Nine games that were ahead of their time

What it was: As the showpiece of the Amiga personal computer, Hunter broke free from the rut of linear side-scrolling gameplay common at the time. In Hunter you play as a shadowy operative contracted to assassinate rival generals, destroy strategic buildings and gather intelligence. To facilitate your nefarious deeds you can hijack cars, boats, helicopters and more. Careful, though, as AI controlled enemies would ambush you out of nowhere.

What made it ahead of it time: If any of the above sounds familiar, it should. Hunter's 3D mission-based gameplay, even today, feels like a prototype of Grand Theft Auto. The only thing missing is some low-res naughty bits.

How would today’s games be different without it: Hunter pioneered what we consider sand-box gameplay today in games like the GTA series, Crackdown, Infamous, and others using a loose dossier of missions.

Gone but not forgotten: It'll take some digging, but you can find old Amiga ROMs floating around the web that will run either on your PC or PSP.

What it was: Video may have killed the radio star, but Total Distortion helped. As an inter-dimensional music video producer in this PC adventure game, you'll teleport your personal media tower into the Distortion Dimension to search for killer footage. There, you'll duel Charlie Daniels-style with Guitar Warriors hellbent on protecting their dimension's intellectual property rights and haggle with predatory media moguls to make a sale, all while listening to lewd radio spots.

What made it ahead of it time: The game's biting social commentary still rings true today, but what really made Total Distortion ahead of its time were the portable music video files that players could create inside the game. Developer Pop Rocket even ran a promotion in Tokyo where users could upload their music videos and compete for a custom Total Distortion guitar.

How games would be different without it: Rockstar wasn't the first to skewer American pop-culture with faux radio spots, though they did build an empire on it. Total Distortion's bigger contribution was its sharable game videos, a feature just now reaching prominence in newer titles like Super Street Fighter IV, Halo 3 and Forza 3.

Gone but not forgotten: Don't expect any XBLA, PSN or iPhone ports from Creator Joe Sparks, as many of the game's assets are still written in Director, an early Flash precursor. For those willing to jump back into the Distortion Dimension, YouTube user NayusDante (opens in new tab) has uploaded a full playthrough of Total Distortion.

Above: Total Distortion also featured the best game over song of all time

What it was: Released in 1998 by Sierra, Tribes was a boots-on-the-ground FPS off-shoot of the StarSiege and EarthSiege mech simulator games. A little mod called Counter-Strike would later overshadow the Tribes series, but the jet packs, class-based combat and vehicles from Tribes still drive a loyal fanbase today.

What made it ahead of it time: For many FPS plebeians, Halo defined squad based multiplayer combat. However, Halo owes more than its lush outdoor locales and sci-fi aesthetic to Tribes. Tribes pioneered vehicle and class-based combat, allowing players to kamikaze into enemy bases and choose their armament level accordingly.

How would today's games be different without it: Most modern FPS game modes can be found in Tribes. It's hard to imagine a Call of Duty game without Capture the Flag, Plant the Bomb or Capture and Hold. In fact, without these modes, FPS games often feel incomplete. You can thank Tribes for setting the bar so high.

Gone but not forgotten: Though you can still snag the client software for Tribes (opens in new tab)and Tribes 2 (opens in new tab)freely on the Web, the official servers powered down in 2007. GarageGames has since acquired the license and is currently hard at work on a browser-based version (opens in new tab) of the game.