One historic game I have played in my lifetime is the title Starcraft. Starcraft is a real time strategy game released in 1998 that still has a strong player base today over a decade later. Starcraft was one of the first to introduced many things to the real time strategy genre, including another dimension of resource management through army supply, and the three distinct races of terran, zerg, and protoss. Even though they were largely different races, blizzard made a strong effort to keep them balanced so that the race used by the player was based on personal preference instead of which race was stronger. The Warcraft series also had the same elements like three races and army supply management, and was also developed by blizzard. More Modern games like Company of Heroes have army supply management added into their gameplay too. The game eventually spawned Starcraft II as a sequel, largely the same game with different units.
Another important game I have played is Half-Life. Half-Life is a First Person Shooter released in 1998 that had heavy narrative elements and added many puzzles into the gameplay. The story was also presented through scripted events instead of uncontrollable cut scenes, allowing more immersion into the game. The puzzles also helped immersion in that the first person game wasn’t about getting to the other side of the map, and you had to shoot enemies to do so. The puzzles required you to think and would many times help to further the storyline of the game. Half-Life also did not have discernible maps, but instead had a flowing environment with chapter divisions. Many first person games now also integrate puzzles into their gameplay, though not as prominently as Half-Life much of the time. These principles were adopted into many other future games such as Call of Duty in 2003. Story telling in Call of Duty was handled mainly by scripted events like Half-Life and did not have distinct maps that the player could pick up other than the loading. It also had very minor puzzles in using what was in the environment to defeat opposing forces. Half-Life's legacy is still strong and far reaching. Valve released the sequel Half-Life 2 in 2004, and two more expansions to the story called episode one and episode two in 2006 and 2007. They all followed the basic principle of deep and immersive story telling without ever relinquishing player control, and heavy puzzle components. Valve will soon be releasing the highly anticipated title Half-Life 3 to further the storyline of the Half-Life universe
The final game that I think was important to video game history is Portal. Portal was a puzzle game published also by Valve in 2007. It was almost like the flipped version on the first person shooter and puzzle spectrum from Half-Life. Portal had a puzzle game basis, but played like a first person shooter. it was also able to seamlessly integrate an in depth storyline into its puzzle game groundwork. This made the experience much more engaging than just a puzzle game with multiple levels that god more and more difficult. The beginning of the game featured puzzles in set "maps" while introducing the story and characters. The story is developed through the narratives of the overseeing character and player interactions through these levels, and then transitions to the free flow levels with scripted events that Valve knew worked so well in their previous games. They were able to create a game that appealed to many players from many different genres, and that made it very successful. Portal spawned an equally successful sequel, Portal 2 in 2011. it was much the same in that it was a puzzle game with a rich storyline, but it also added a coop storyline. It was a multiplayer puzzle game where each player was actually needed to be able to finish the puzzle, instead of having multiple people doing the same thing faster. Story driven puzzle games are slightly more common now with games such as The Ball.