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Influential Games That Have Shaped Entertainment in Canada

It's safe to say that over the past decade, gaming across all platforms has been thriving in Canada. As gaming becomes increasingly social once more, there are gaming genres and platforms for everyone. Whether it's playing a game on a mobile device on your lunch break, to entering eSports competitions, players are finding that gaming is more accessible than ever. In 2018 Canada ranked the 8th highest nation in terms of most tweets about gaming which just highlights the prevalance of gaming in our culture!

 

estercades, Somerville, NJ 5/3/15 by goodrob13, on Flickr
"Yestercades, Somerville, NJ 5/3/15"by goodrob13  (CC BY 2.0) 

Video games have come a long way since the black and white ping-pong games that were popular on home consoles in the early 1970s. But other the years there have been certain games that have stood out as groundbreaking or highly influential in the gaming world. 

Space Invaders

The concept of Space Invaders was so simple: the player must defeat the wave after wave of alien invaders before they have the chance to land on earth. It was the first fixed-shooter arcade game and remains one of the most influential games of all time. Such was its popularity that many arcades across the world installed dozens of Space Invader machines to cope with the demand. In 1980, the baton was passed to Pac-Man but it Space Invaders that set the ball rolling. In 2018, the Bank of Canada even hid a Space Invaders game on its own website, allowing visitors to play the "digital Easter egg" hidden in an article about the new $10 bill. Gems like this demonstrate how classic, cult games are still deeply ingrained in our culture and what we value as entertainment. 

 

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Nintendo 64 was not the best console ever made but it produced two of the greatest games of all time: Goldeneye and this classic from designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The role-playing genre was brought to players in the most beautiful way imaginable in this multi-layered masterpiece released in 1998. The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that continues to be popular with Canadian audiences and sales in Canada even outperform the U.S. The franchise also brought gaming to the more mainstream audience, reaching out to a whole new demographic and introducing them to this relatively new arm of the entertainment industry.


"Link Hylia" by armisaeru (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mega Moolah

The slot game genre has been transformed since the first online casinos opened in the late 1990s. With improved graphics and elaborate themes, slot games now have more in common with video games than ever before. Of all the online casino games released, none have had such an influence as one of the most popular slot machines, Mega Moolah. This wild Africa-themed game was launched in 2006 and was a pioneer of the progressive jackpot era. It brought Las Vegas gaming to the desktop, produced its first millionaire in 2007 and has created many more since. With iGaming becoming ever more popular in Canada, Mega Moolah has firmly established itself as a benchmark of entertainment.

Honourable mentions should go to sci-fi horror classic Doom (1993) which raised the bar for level design and became the benchmark for first-person shooters and Rockstar Game's legendary Grand Theft Auto III (2001) which paved the way for countless 3D cinematic adventures and kept a generation of teenagers locked in their bedrooms for months on end.

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