10 Pioneering Video Games That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time

Boldly going where no game had gone before.

Resident evil 4

Sometimes, the ambitions of a creator can exceed the limitations of technology, technology and imagination maintaining a seemingly uncooperative relationship. In fact, sometimes an invention can come along too soon, long before the world is adequately prepared for its arrival, leaving people confused, or downright concerned.

In regards to gaming, there have been countless games released ahead of their time that have attempted to revolutionise the medium, reinventing core concepts or reimagining narrative and gameplay preconceptions. In some cases, these games have been praised for their groundbreaking achievements; in others, they’ve been outright rejected, misinterpreted, or otherwise ignored in favour of more cautious, conventional or unadventurous titles.

Without a doubt, every example on this list has pioneered in one way or another, and while many have received the recognition they deserve, others have been disregarded, overlooked or otherwise forgotten. Without them, the current state of gaming would be virtually unrecognisable, these games having pushed the boundaries of possibility, transforming the medium into what it is today.

As such, here are ten pioneering video games that have paved the way for everything to come…

10. Body Harvest

Resident evil 4

Released in 1998, Body Harvest was developed by DMA Design, and was originally planned to be published by Nintendo, but was dropped by the company following concerns relating to depictions of violence. In the game, players assume the role of a genetically engineered soldier capable of travelling through time, tasked with preventing numerous alien “harvests” being carried out in multiple locations throughout history.

Interestingly, the game was entirely non-linear, meaning players could venture wherever they pleased, tackling each individual section of the game in whatever order they preferred. Body Harvest also featured numerous sandbox elements, allowing players to commandeer their own vehicles, and wreak havoc in an open-world environment. As such, the game has been credited with revolutionising concepts which would eventually be popularised by Grand Theft Auto (DMA Design became Rockstar North), but has since been unfortunately eclipsed by the notoriety of that particular series.

Regardless, Body Harvest was remarkably ahead of its time, and - while it may appear considerably dated by modern standards - there was nothing quite like it back in 1998.


Formerly an assistant editor, Richard's interests include detective fiction and Japanese horror movies.