10 "Firsts" That Changed Video Games Forever

1. The First Survival Horror Game

Game Arcade

First: Nostromo (1981)

In 1996, the term survival horror was coined by one of the most quintessential examples of the entire genre, Resident Evil, which was predated by Sweet Home, Alone in the Dark and Clock Tower. The genre itself – which is defined by claustrophobic surroundings and limited resources – involves maintaining the player at a disadvantage, forcing them to avoid, escape or contain superior adversaries within an unsettling environment, while fulfilling other secondary objectives.

Popular examples include Silent Hill, Dead Space and Alien Isolation, the genre itself transforming considerably in recent years to incorporate more action/adventure elements.

With that being said, the genre began in 1981 with the release of Nostromo – a science-fiction survival horror published on PC-6000, and inspired by Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, Alien.

In the game, players are tasked with escaping an invisible alien whilst collecting crucial items and managing dwindling resources, trapped aboard a derelict spaceship. If caught, the player is immediately killed. Likewise, if the players fail to collect all the necessary items, the alien will corner the player and tear them to shreds, making it the earliest example of the genre.

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Did we miss any off? How far back do your favourite game mechanics go? Let us know in the comments!

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A postgraduate student at Durham University, Richard's passions include detective fiction and PC gaming, and he is currently writing a novel about neither.

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