In response to the blog I posted yesterday titled, "Missing the Next Big Thing", GIO Community Member Josh replied with a valid response when he asked "Give me examples of things that were the next big thing.


I started to respond to the comment but quickly realized I could probably devote an entire blog to the subject. So, here goes.



Well, clearly defining “Next Big Thing” moments in the history of gaming is going to depend on a few factors and be a purely opinionated topic. In all likelihood, what I think are defining moments won’t necessarily be what others think are defining moments. But since I’m the guy pushing the keys here, well…here’s my thoughts on the subject.



When I think of “Next Big Thing” moments, it’s really something that could fall into various categories. For example, new hardware/software or next generation hardware/software could be a next big thing. I say software because some video game engines are software and certainly some of them have been the next big thing. The next big thing could be a legendary character that has carved a niche in the video game history books. The next big thing could be a new genre or game play mode or…quite simply…the the next big thing could be the game itself.


The “Next Big Thing” can be any of the defining moments in the world of video games that left you bewildered and amazed; anything that you feel just totally changed the entire complexion of the industry; anything that just totally…er…



Sometimes you can’t just define why something is the next big thing…but you just know it is. So, here are some things that I consider “next big things” throughout my lifetime as a gamer…in no certain order of importance or how “big” of thing I think they are/were.


-Pac-Man: How can such a simple game capture the hearts of so many and create such a legacy? I don’t know, but it did. The cultural following this game created was undeniable and phenomenal. I can remember like it was yesterday a buddy telling me the local arcade got this new game and people were lining up to play it. Who knew the success that would follow.



-Rainbow Six: This game is often considered the first real tactical shooter. The planning phase was intense and the realism brutal. A true one shot, one kill shooter…and it was usually you being the one getting shot. It introduced a whole new sub category of the First Person Shooter genre. The game spawned several sequels and a few other games emulated it’s realistic mechanics, but no game ever captured the essence of the squad based, tactical approach this game offered.



-NES Gamepad: I remember opening my NES for Christmas and when I saw that controller I was confused. You see, back then we had the traditional joystick. Actually, at the time, I had an Atari 2600 and was able to steal some time on my brother’s Commodore 64. You could use the standard 1 button Atari 2600 joystick on either system. So when I opened the NES box and saw this rectangular controller with a D-Pad and 2 buttons, I wondered something along the lines of, “Uh. How do you hold this thing?” It really revolutionized the gaming controller and was the basis for the modern era controllers we use today.




-Kratos. I don’t have a Playstation (actually my daughter has a PS2 but I don’t know that I’ve ever played it) and have certainly never played any of the God of War games, but I know who Kratos is and a bit about his story. That kind of name (or sight) recognition speaks volumes for the popularity of the character. Not since Mario and Lara Croft has a character garnered the kind of popularity that Kratos has. Yes, I know there is the Masterchief. Yes, I know there is Commander Shepard. But what Kratos has come to symbolize and the legacy he has created is epic. This is coming from someone who has never played ANY of the games and has never seen ANY of the games.



-MMORPG. While many might think, “There’s World of Warcraft and there’s everything else” the truth is there are quite a few titles in the MMORPG genre that are remarkable success stories. Games like Evercrack, er…I mean Everquest, EVE Online and yes…absolutely World of Warcraft. The concept and implementation of a MMORPG into the world of video games was absolutely a game changer.



-Far Cry 2. While I didn’t play through the whole game and had some issues with the gameplay, the mechanics behind the game…the game engine…was amazingly impressive and a worthy member to be included in any discussion about next big items. The day and night cycle alone was enough to blow me away, but add in dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, and this game engine was breathtaking. This game is one of the most visually stunning games I’ve ever played.



-Wireless Controllers. No, I’m not talking the Mad Catz aftermarket deals. I’m talking once Microsoft and Sony started providing them as standard equipment. Being able to turn the system on from the couch without having to get up…hah…that’s the next big thing indeed!



-Unreal. The game, the engine, the community…it’s all spectacular. Unreal has been licensed by so many and the mod community has some real talent that has produced some high caliber content. Everything about this product screams, “Next Big Thing”.



-Wii. Pretty much everyone laughed off the Wii motion controller until it came out. Now everyone is scrambling to recover from that blunder. If the Wii has proved anything to us, it’s never assume or underestimate the power of a bold and refreshing concept that has never been tried before. Although, had the Wii failed, everyone would almost certainly have been expressing their, “I told you so” comments.



Okay, well this is certainly no where near a  complete list. I could go on and there are many key events and items that deserve a mention, but honestly it’s late at night…I have to get up early and there is a hurricane headed my way…so time to batten down the hatches and button up this blog.

Feel free to discuss your own “big thing” or “next big thing” in the world of video games.


Oh…one more…




In my book, it needs no explanation. It just is…




(Excuse any errors. It's late. I'll proofread tomorrow. Also, Member Herding is going to be late. To be honest, I was very busy at work because of the hurricane threatening the East Coast. Your patience is appreciated)