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A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, Justine Ezarik, A.K.A. iJustine (, looks at some of the most influential video games of all time.

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Hey, it's Justine here from Mental Floss here on YouTube, and did you guys know that video games were invented in the 1940s? Yeah, I know. Back when people were still getting their milk being delivered by a milk man, video games were already being invented. Now, they didn't look much like Halo, or Call of Duty, but the Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device is considered one of the first ever video games. It was modeled after radars in World War II, and required hitting targets. This was the first game ever to be given a patent.

And that's the first of thirty game-changing video games I'm going to tell you guys about today, whether they were the first of their kind or popularized by genre, these games are responsible for changing the gaming world.

Let's get started!


The Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device was never played by the public and it's pretty surprising given its really marketable name... no, not at all. A couple of similar innovations emerged throughout the 50s, including the first video games designed to be played for fun.

Tennis for Two: It was created by a nuclear physicist as a project for the U.S. Government, believe it or not. The game itself was a lot like Pong.

Spacewar, which came about in 1962, was the first game played on a computer that became decently popular. Now, in the 60s, a popular game meant that it was played by essentially everyone who could afford a computer... which wasn't very many people. And it took over 200 hours per team to program Spacewar, the two-player game in which space ships would shoot missiles at each other. And you can find versions of this on the internet that people still play to this day.

A couple of years later, Pong emerged, which really put video games on the map. This was a product of an actual corporation, Atari, which was founded by Nolan Bushnell, who also launched the Chuck E. Cheese franchise, I kid you not. And I will leave it up to you guys to decide whether his work with Atari makes up for that terrifying animatronic mouse. By 1975, people were buying Pong to play in the comfort of their own homes, and video game were officially a cultural staple.

Space Invaders, released in 1978, was hugely successful. This arcade-style put future of video games back on track during a time when all people could find were Pong and its millions of knock-offs. It was also the first game to contain background music, and Space Invaders even has a place in the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Let's finally move on from tennis and space to action-adventure games. The Legend of Zelda, which came out in 1986, is widely believed to have jump-started the genre and, without it, who knows where Tomb Raider and God of War would be today. The Zelda series is attributed for providing elements from other games to create genre staples, such as puzzles, exploration, and action. This was also the first game to ever allow you to save your progress and return to your gameplay later. And, as someone who takes months to finish games, I can't even imagine having to finish a game in one sitting. Actually, yes I could, but I don't wanna do that.

In 1992, Wolfenstein 3D popularized the first-person shooter. The game was set in a Nazi prison and the protagonist was a spy who had to escape the prison and take out the Nazis. Wolfenstein 3D had predecessors, but this game brought first-person shooters to the forefront of the gaming world.

Now, Doom was released one year later, and the first-person shooter game exploded even more in popularity, proving that this style was here to stay.

Super Mario 64 from 1996 is considered one of the most revolutionary when it comes to three dimensional gaming. The format was a success and many believe that this was the game that drew customers to buy Nintendo 64 consoles. The game inspired all future 3D games, including the next on our list.

GoldenEye 007, and this was the first 3D first-person shooter game for Nintendo 64 and was also the first game ever to include multi-player death match. Now, I think I can say this on behalf of all Call of Duty players: Thank you GoldenEye 007. I love you.

Simulation games have been around for a while, but The Sims, after its release in 2000, exploded in popularity. It became one of the best-selling computer games ever, which really shocked people because it was goalless and seemed like a standard simulation of day-to-day activities. Which, yes, is true, but those people clearly don't understand how rewarding it could be to make your Sim a Level 10 in cooking.

In 2001, Grand Theft Auto III put sandbox gameplay on the map. This game let its player take the protagonist and decide whether to follow the story or to just steal some cars and crash them all over the city. Missions became largely optional, which inspired more games of the non-linear style.

The same year, the Halo series revolutionized first-person shooters. With its introduction of many elements, including the ability to carry more than one weapon, easier grenade access, and regenerating energy shields.

Another game changer, and my personal favorite in the first-person shooter world is Call of Duty, which began in 2003. The series' ability to seamlessly combine online gaming with role-playing components has forever changed the world of video games.

So many game changers, so little time. So let's speed it up!

First game with a female protagonist? Metroid in 1986, which is an innovation that's often overlooked, but it's very important considering 45% of video game players are women.

Snake was the first game to be put on a cell phone thanks to Nokia.

First role-playing video game? Dungeon, in 1975, but the Final Fantasy series often gets credit for popularizing the genre.

Tetris is the most-supported game, available on 65 platforms and counting.

Before Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero was Parappa the Rapper, the first popular rhythm-and-music-based game, which came out in 1996.

Mario, first named Jump Man, is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, making over 440 million dollars since the 1980s.

In 1982, Raiders of the Lost Ark, for Atari, was the first licensed video game based on a movie. The ET game also came out that year and these are two of the worst video games ever made, and this set the tone for movie franchise games for decades to come.

The first video game to cause controversy was Death Race in 1976. The game had its player acting as a car whose goal was to run over gremlins. 60 Minutes even picked up the controversy, reporting on the game and its potential psychological effects.

The first video game containing a known Easter egg was a 1978 video game titled Video Whizball. The Easter egg was the programmer's name.

Burnout Paradise from 2008 is the first game known to contain political advertising, as it contained billboards urging players to vote for Obama.

Now, Wii Sports was a major innovator and inspiration when it came to incorporating player motion and controls - a combination that forever changed video gaming.

The first video game to inspire a sequel was Hunt the Wumpus from 1972, and... I must have missed that one but it's real, I promise.

First horror game? Technically Haunted House, but Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil made the survivor-horror genre what it is today.