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ARTICLE

Top 7 Industry Changers

After a brief hiatus due to the E3 onslaught, our weekend double-bill continues. Our Defining Moments series is taking a break as we transition into our new Sunday regular: Top 7.

Over the coming months we'll be looking at a range of subjects within gaming in a semi-chart show flavoured Top 7 (though there's no real countdown nor order to the lists). Neither will these be the definitive seven: as with any "Top" list, there'll be argument, disagreement and outright fisticuffs (and that's just here at the office).

So first up its the Top 7 moments that have changed the industry.

1. Nintendo dumps Sony

This one's akin to swinging a punch at your soon-to-be-ex-best mate, only to inexplicably punch yourself in the crotch.

Back in the early 90s Nintendo asked Sony to help design a CD-ROM version of the SNES. But by the time a prototype was ready Nintendo got cold feet and went elsewhere (it wouldn't make the shift from cartridge to disc until 2001). Understandably Sony decided not to be left swinging in the wind and carried on with development regardless.

Both were decisions that'd ultimately change the gaming landscape: Nintendo's unwanted bastard grew up into the industry-altering and mainstream-swallowing behemoth that was PlayStation, while the once-infallible Mario creator spent many years trying to dispel the notion it was behind the times.

2. The Analog Stick

You could argue for the SNES six button controller that became industry standard. You could even make a pitch for the Wii's motion control, that's yet to be bettered by competitors. Even without mentioning the analog stick, its clear that (CD-ROM aside) Nintendo's been the trendsetter for the console industry.

It mightn't have been the first to try, but Nintendo's was the most important. It's the company's analog stick, taking pride and place in the middle of the N64's three-pronged controller, that gave us a deeper, more precise control over our gaming characters as they transitioned to 3D - and has been adopted in every console and third-party controller ever since.

(Though ask yourself - when was the last time you did anything but hold that stick all the way down?)

3. Sega bows out of the hardware race

Considering where it was back in the 90s, the news this week that Sega was closing its European branches and concentrating on only four key IPs just shows how far the company has fallen.

Back in the 90s, the Sega Vs Nintendo war dominated industry headlines and divided gamers as strongly as any football club allegiance. Even dodgy calls with Mega Drive add-ons such as the Mega CD and 32X wouldn't shake the faithful. The Sega Saturn still has loyal followers today, and one of the best game catalogues on record. 1999's Dreamcast was supposed to change the company's fortunes, offering the first globally-available console with online capabilities and arcade perfect gaming: it instead proved the company's hardware epitaph. The Dreamcast was discontinued in 2001, barely two years after it'd launched.

4. DOOM

Wolfenstein might have been the original, but it was follow up Doom that perfected the idea. Famously - truth or not, it still makes a great story - banned from offices worldwide as productivity dropped dramatically and ported onto more formats than any other game (it even came out in the Jaguar and Game Boy Advance for christsakes!), the FPS granddaddy also highlighted the PC mod scene with user-generated levels. If you've got a favourite FPS, it's here because of Doom.

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