Picking the 10 most influential games is not a easy task but with over 20 years of video gaming experience, I figure I had to put my two cent in. My taste in games may differ than yours so you don't have to agree with my picks, but hey! nobody is stoping ya from reading.
10. Space Invaders (Taito, 1978)
The goal: Successfully kill a large group of invading aliens before they manage to reach the ground you are defending! Kill every last one to beat the level.
Why is it here?: Space Invaders introduced a cool scoring system to video games by showing both the current person's score as well as the high score too. The game play was also innovative because of the blockers that guarded you from enemy attacks so the game could be played defensively as well as offensively. When Space Invaders was released exclusively on the Atari 2600VCS, the game and the system sold like crazy.
9. Revenge of Shinobi (Sega, 1990)
The goal: Neo Zeed attacks Joe Musashi's Master and steals his future bride. The Shinobi must go through 8 greuling levels to save his girl and get revenge!
Why is it here?: Revenge of Shinobi was the first great 16-bit game I ever played. The graphics still look good today with very realistic backgrounds and characters, the music was currently the best out there (thanks to Yuzo Koshiro), and the game really force the gamer to think because you only get one chance to use magic (each spell was different) plus you only get so many ninja stars too. Just compare the graphics of Revenge of Shinobi to any NES game.
8. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo, September 30 1996)
The goal: Help Mario collect Stars to restore Peach's Castle back to normal.
Why is it here?: Super Mario 64 reintroduced the Analog control stick to video games. The Analog was around during the Atari era but it disappeared after the NES came out. Super Mario 64 also introduced us to a unique and new all 3D world filled with new ideas like spinning Bowser by tail to throw him into a bomb and more. Like I said in my earily review of this game; Super Mario64 is a long and challenging 64 meg game in a fully interactive 3D universe with 15 different worlds to explore and master. Unlike Nintendo's launch GameCube game; Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario 64 will take a good solid month to get everything and not just a couple of days. It's still a great game even today and if you never played it yet then you owe it to yourself to try it.
7. Street Fighter II (Capcom, 1991)
The goal: Select from one of eight Street Fighters and then battle it out around the world to become the best.
Why is it here?: Nobody really cares about the original Street Fighter but the sequel had 8 different characters, each with their own style (except Ryu and Ken) and storyline. The six button game play gave the players more options to fight with various speeds and power to excute moves. This game was so great that it was heavily copied in the early 90's....... even by Capcom themselves!
6. Pac Man (Namco, 1980)
The goal: Help Pac Man collect all the yellow dots on the board but beware of the 4 ghosts.
Why is it here?: "Why wouldn't it be here??!!" Midway and Namco introduced us to a non violent maze game with lovable characters and fast action. Pac Man himself was one of the first real mascots at the time and he even had his own Cartoon show, Cereal, and even his own record (Pac Man Fever!). It's just a added bonus that the game rocked too!
5. Donkey Kong (Nintendo, 1981)
The goal: Mario chases the giant Donkey Kong to save Pauline.
Why is it here?: Although Super Mario Bros. is a great game that helped to redefine the video game, we can't forget the roots of Super Mario Bros. Donkey Kong was a early platformer with a lot of high risk jumps to stay alive and each of the four levels gave Mario a new set of dangers and pitfalls. Who knew that the 'Jump' would be so popular?
4. Gradius (Konami, 1985)
The goal: Guild the Vic Viper star ship to destroy the Bacterntion army.
Why is it here?: Although Gradius was not a huge hit in the US, the game is still quite amazing! Players had the choice of selecting which power ups they wanted first thanks to an ingenious weapon select system. Collect two power ups and now you have chance to get missiles for ground attacks, collect five power ups and then you have the chance to get a option which doubles your attacks, even if you have missile, the choice of getting Shields, Lasers, Options, first is up to you! Not a easy game but it's still a fun one.
3. The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo, 1987)
The goal: Link has to collect 8 pieces of the TriForce and then save Princess Zelda from Ganon.
Why is it here?: The Legend of Zelda was the first home video game to feature a save option thanks to the build in battery, how cool is that? The game is also a epic adventure with loads of items and secrets to discover. It's still one of the best adventures games of all time.
2. BomberMan (Hudson Soft, 1990)
The goal: BomberMan must rescue the Professor's daughter from the Black BomberMan gang.
Why is it here?: This is NOT based on the old NES game but rather the 5 player TurboGrafx-16 version of BomberMan. BomberMan on the TG-16 helped to prove to console owners that multi player games can be fun. The game was so simple yet it was so hard to put down when you and your friends try to blow one another up in a last man standing war. Don't be fooled by the cute graphics, BomberMan can be very vicious.
#1. Phantasy Star (Sega, 1988)
The goal: Alis must save the Algo Star system from the evil ruler Lassic.
Why is it here?: Sega's Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System is not only the first ever RPG in North America (1988, pre Dragon Warrior) but it's also a outstanding game even today and it's my favorite SMStitle of all time. Phantasy Star is a huge 4 meg game with 5 save files, over 50+ hours of gameplay, fantastic graphics, and an engaging storyline. If you haven't played this awesome game yet then you don't know what you're missing.