16 Innovative Games That Were Way Ahead of Their Time

From 'Herzog Zwei' and 'Winback' to 'Elite' and 'Body Harvest,' these are games that provided the blueprint for today's biggest hits

Elite (1984)

Since video games first appeared, we've all been drawn the potential to live inside something that feels like Star Trek or Star Wars. Over the years, we've seen the fantasy manifest in many forms: from deep space dogfights in X-Wing and Wing Commander, to intergalactic politics and commerce in EVE Online. But the granddaddy of them all was David Braben and Ian Bell's Elite, released for the 8-bit BBC Micro in the UK in 1984. Though squeezed into just 22 kilobytes of memory (for comparison: No Man's Sky on PC is 2.6GB, which is just shy of 120 million times the file size) the game featured 3D wireframe graphics for its spaceships and spanned eight galaxies that each contained 256 planets – all procedurally generated using an algorithmic "seed" that is fundamentally similar to what makes No Man's Sky's vast galaxy possible. Widely regarded as one of the most influential games of all time, it's considered the first ever truly open-ended, and went on to inspire creators to build the likes of World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto.