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Dueling Games
"The year: 1994. The event: World Cup Soccer in USA. Both Williams and Gottlieb created their respectiv [sic] pinball tributes for the event. While Williams made a great game with the official license, Gottlieb made... er... this thing with flippers."
— IPDB user Paturlas comparing World Cup Soccer and World Challenge Soccernote 

This page is a list of games that are considered imitations of each other. Inspired by a game's success and/or popularity, others are made. Which is the original and which is the imitation is not always completely clear; sometimes, however, it is painfully so.

Of course, most of the examples shown below aren't copying other studios, but had just came out around the same time with the same theme. Keep that in mind when comparing two games or game series to each other. Most of the times it just leads to a Fandom Rivalry.

This is not related to Yu-Gi-Oh!. Or Duel Masters. Or... well, you get what we mean.

For rivalries in other media, see Dueling Movies and Dueling Shows.

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    Action Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
God of War Dante's Inferno Hack and Slash games with blades attached to chains, centering on mid range combat but also using close quarters and magic. Both games use a gothic art style and are based on violently over-the-top interpretations of religious mythology — ancient Greek religion for GoW, and Dante's Divine Comedy for Inferno. Quick time events. Lots of bare breasts.The creators of Dante's Inferno actually said they weren't trying to be original.They weren't kidding. DI is pretty much God of War II except with a crusader instead of a demigod, and more tits. Fan reception of the former seems to be strong.
Samurai Warriors Sengoku Basara Dynasty Warriors in the Japanese Warring States Era! Koei's Warriors came first, with Capcom's Sengoku Basara coming shortly thereafter.Series-wide, Samurai Warriors has the edge due to its association with Dynasty Warriors. In direct head-to-head matchups, it's a draw. SW1 scored better than the original SB (re-titled and rebranded Devil Kings) in North America, but SB: Samurai Heroes (which didn't have any silly changes made to it) beat out SW3. Both series have fourth installments in the works, with SB 4 released in Japan in early 2014.
No More Heroes MadWorld Both are action games with a fairly agile protagonist who dispatches hoards of intercity thugs using wrestling, Good Old Fisticuffs, and battery-powered weapons that glide through people like a hot knife through butter. Both also have a colorful collection of bosses oozing with obscene personality, and seem to incorporate cel-shading into their graphics engine. Lastly, both are named after music.Each game pushed the Wii into the big kids' playground of adult gaming, not just in Ludicrous Gibs, but every single kind of censor-bursting they thought they could get away with.Both games seem to be neck-and-neck tied in (im)mature jokes, fast-paced gameplay, and strategic boss fights. However, Metacritic scores the games 83% and 81%, giving the match just barely to No More Heroes. With Suda51 of Killer7 fame behind it, Heroes is more well-known and wins by a small margin.
Onechanbara Lollipop Chainsaw A Beat 'em Up / Hack and Slash where Stripperiffic chicks fights zombies. Keep in mind that Lollipop Chainsaw was probably never meant to copy Onechanbara. Both games just happen to be built around a similar concept. Ironically, in Onechanbara Z Kagura, one of the main characters happen to wield a chainsaw. But since chainsaws are common in zombie games nowadays, this should just be written off as a coincidence.Lollipop Chainsaw is the winner, as it sold better than 200,000 copies, and has the Suda51/Grasshopper Manufacture weirdness factor going for it. The two Onechanbara games that were released in North America were flops, likely ensuring that the newest game, Onechanbara Z Kagura, won't get a Western release.
Diablo III Torchlight II Isometric Hack and Slash games released in 2012The Torchlight games are Spiritual Successors to classic Diablo, and made by the original Diablo devs.Both games received high critical praise on release, and are by no means a slouch in sales either. Going by sales alone though, Diablo III sold 6.5 million copies, at $60 per copy, in its first week, more than it was expected to sell in its first year; in comparison, Runic Games were pleased to break 1 million copies on the $20 Torchlight 1 since 2009. Diablo III does have its share of problems, as it was plagued by post-launch issues (server troubles that have since then been addressed and complaints about its "always-connected" DRM scheme) and high player backlash from aforementioned issues, lack of modability and the in-game auction house.
I Am Alive The Last of Us A grizzled survivor climbs and scavenges his way through ruins of a modern city after a disaster, fighting off other scavengers.I Am Alive came out first and has lingered in Development Hell longer but Last of Us was probably initiated before Naughty Dog had even heard about I Am Alive.Following its release,The Last of Us has been receiving virtually universal praise from critics and gamers alike, with many declaring it the best game of its console generation. I Am Alive was a budget title with "okay, but not great" reviews, so it's safe to say The Last of Us is the winner.
DMC Devil May Cry Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Hack and Slash games released in early 2013. Both games are based off a preestablished franchise and made by another studio than the original series. While DMC Devil May Cry is a Continuity Reboot, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a Spin-Off. The rivalry seems to have started due to these rather shallow similarities and the fact that they come out around a month apart. It's worth noting that Hideki Kamiya, creator of the original Devil May Cry currently works at Platinum Games, the studio that developed Revengeance, which might have added more fuel to the fire, although he had nothing to do with the development of Revengeance (since he was busy working on The Wonderful 101). Revengeance by a country mile. Fans hated DmC, but critics loved it. Critics loved Revengeance, but fans loved it even more. So in this case DmC had a slight critical edge, but Revengeance found way more acceptance from the fans and consumer base. And most tellingly of all, DmC sold poorly and below Capcom's expectations, while Revengeance sold well enough that Kojima was already talking about having Platinum Games develop a sequel within a week of the game's release. Another factor in Revengeance's favor was that Platinum had taken over what was essentially a half-abandoned project and managed to turn it into a solid game. Comparisons to Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines abounded in Revengeance's initial run that basically said, "THIS is how a game should be Saved from Development Hell."

    Action Adventure 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Tomb Raider Uncharted The protagonist climbs, jumps and shoots his/her way through exotic places in search for ancient treasures and confronting evil conspiracies.Tomb Raider is more puzzle/platform-oriented while Uncharted is (much) more focused on combat.Draw. Tomb Raider still retains its cult status (much of it thanks to Lara Croft's popularity) but newer games got poor to average reviews, until it gained a well recieved reboot in 2013. Meanwhile, every Uncharted game is critically-acclaimed. Also, Uncharted has grown stronger with every new installment, but its first-party status prevents it from spreading its fanbase to those who don't have a PlayStation.
Lord of Arcana Gods Eater Burst Multiplayer Action Adventure games on PSPBoth games take cues from the Monster Hunter series, but God(s) Eater's inspiration seems to show much more clearly.God(s) Eater had a better critical and commercial reception, though both games have upcoming sequels.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance Justice League Heroes Superhero games with RPG mechanics where the heroes band together in groups of four to battle a group of well-known supervillains operating under a world-threatening overarching plot.The main difference is straight from the title: MUA is a Marvel Comics game, while JLH is a DC Comics game. Also, MUA does not focus in a single Marvel superteam, having members from The Avengers (both classic and New), the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.Marvel Ultimate Alliance offered, in addition to the rather innovative gameplay, plenty of extras in-game (like encyclopedic Marvel trivia) and interaction with NPCs; while Justice League Heroes is no slouch either, it is straight-up action-packed, has a shorter length and less characters, which led to it being overshadowed by MUA.

    Adventure Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
The 7th Guest Myst Scenery Porn Point and Click Games made as Killer Apps for the CD-ROM format.Both games were very graphically impressive for their time and played a big part making the CD-ROM format take off. Neither game had much, if any, character interaction or text and instead focused on visuals, atmosphere and abstract puzzles. Interestingly, both were originally released on the Macintosh, a format known for its lack of original games.Myst. It became one of the best-selling games of all time, and had five sequels and a remake. The 7th Guest sold well but had only two sequels, The 11th Hour and Uncle Henry's Playhouse, the first of which was poorly received and the second so obscure it sold less than 200 copies worldwide. Both games have later suffered Hype Backlash and gotten a Seinfeld Is Unfunny status, although Myst is generally regarded as having aged better between the two.
Police Quest: Open Season Blue Force Law enforcement-themed Adventure Games with an emphasis on proper police procedual.When Jim Walls, the designer of the original three Police Quest games, left Sierra, they decided to continue the series without him, hiring former LAPD chief Daryl Gates as a consultant for the fourth game. Walls however joined Tsunami Media, a company of former Sierra employees, and created a Spiritual Successor named Blue Force which was released the same year.Police Quest wins on a technicality since the series survived through its More Popular Spin-off SWAT. Blue Force is almost completely forgotten.
Leisure Suit Larry Les Manley PC adventure games from the early 90s starring a Casanova Wannabe who's out to get laid. Les Manley is obscure in America, being a clear British ripoff of Leisure Suit Larry, except it's for the Amiga instead of DOS. With that said, Les Manley was apparently released (in limited quantities) for DOS, too, Leisure Suit Larry by far. If Les Manley is remembered at all, it's only to mention that it's a second-rate clone of Larry.

    Beat 'em Up 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Final Fight Streets of Rage, Rushing Beat (aka Rival Turf!, Brawl Brothers and The Peace Keepers) Trilogies of urban Beat Em Ups released on rival platforms (SOR came out on the Sega Genesis, while the Super NES got Rushing Beat; Final Fight came out before either in arcades, but its first console port and two sequels were on the SNES).The SNES Final Fight and the Genesis Streets of Rage were both released during the 1991 Holidays season, although the Japanese version of the former actually came out earlier (being a Super Famicom launch title). While Final Fight featured more colorful graphics with larger character sprites, Streets of Rage gain favor with critics by offering a 2-Player co-op mode (a feature that Capcom later implemented in Final Fight 2). Jaleco later released Rival Turf! in 1992 as a 2-player alternative to the original Final Fight and eventually went on to spawn two sequels as well. Final Fight and Streets of Rage sold better and are remembered much more fondly than the Rushing Beat series, which more or less faded away with Jaleco's fortunes.
Die Hard Arcade Fighting Force 3D attempts at resurrecting the Beat 'em Up genre.Fighting Force was originally envisioned as a Streets of Rage sequel, which would have made this an in-house dueling. Both games had sequels, but Fighting Force underwent a Genre Shift in its next installment.Fighting Force sold better but Die Hard Arcade is slightly more respected among gamers. Both failed to launch the 3D Brawler genre.
Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance Urban Reign Dark and gritty Beat Em Ups.Urban Reign features cameos from popular Tekken characters Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law.Neither game got much love from the critics, but Urban Reign received somewhat more favorable (if still mixed) reviews, so it wins.
Dungeons And Dragons Shadow Over Mystara Guardian Heroes Fantasy-themed Beat 'em Ups with significant RPG Elements. Made by esteemed developers (Capcom and Treasure, respectively), these games are significantly more complex than what is typical of the genre. Each game features several playable characters with distinct strenghts and weaknesses that gain levels and abilities as the game progresses. There is also usable equipment, several different special attacks and magic spells, and other features such as branching paths and Multiple Endings. Shadow over Mystara was an arcade-onlynote  sequel to Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and is based on the popular Tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragonsnote , whereas Guardian Heroes is a wholly original title for the Sega Saturn. Guardian Heroes is also more plot-driven with a surprisingly detailed story, while the plot of Shadow over Mystara is very basic.Shadow over Mystara was well-received, but the lack of a home port outside of Japan hurt it. Guardian Heroes was critically acclaimed, but didn't sell particularly well. Both are now fondly remembered Cult Classics, with Shadow over Mystara (along with its predecessor) edging out slightly, likely due to its famous source material.

    Flight Sim/Flight Shooter 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Star Fox Cybermorph, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (SNES/32X versions) Sci-fi themed shooting games with primitive polygonal graphics. All three games came out within six months of each other. The difference is that Star Fox is a rail shooter while the other two are freeform. Star Fox was easily the best-reviewed and as the first released, had the biggest "wow factor." Starfleet Academy wasn't a major hit, but did well enough to lead to a much more successful PC version three years later. Cybermorph, while not totally bad, was critically panned and only had one sequel (Battlemorph) on the Jaguar CD just before Atari pulled the plug on the Jaguar.
Wing Commander The X-Wing/TIE Fighter series and the FreeSpace series Sci-fi themed "simulations" of space fighter craft featuring both Old School Dogfighting and complex interfaces and missions.Wing Commander was the Trope Codifier for the Space Simulator genre; X-Wing came later, but innovated with true 3D graphics and fiendishly complex missions — as well as the official Star Wars brand that inspired Wing Commander. FreeSpace came later, but combined the strengths of both its competitors. Wing Commander spawned 4 sequels, the last of which Jumped the Shark; the Star Wars juggernaut marches on, but moved on to more arcade-ish shooters. FreeSpace 2 is sometimes blamed for killing the genre, despite rave reviews; nevertheless, the game is still considered a classic and is being actively upgraded and played today.
Ace Combat Air Force Delta Pseudo-realistic 3D jet fighters simulations.Ace Combat was released early in the Playstation's life to rave reviews and had several sequels. Airforce Delta was released for the Sega Dreamcast launch.Ace Combat is still having sequels while Air Force Delta had one sequel early into the life of the Xbox and one more on Playstation 2 before being dropped.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey Heroes Over Europe WWII-themed flight games released within one week of each other. Birds of Prey attempts to bridge console and PC sensibilities by offering multiple settings of varying realism, whereas Heroes over Europe is purely an arcade affair. Birds of Prey is the clear winner. It had good critical acclaim, a Recursive Adaptation (Wings of Prey) and a cult fanbase, whereas Heroes Over Europe tanked at retail and had a tepid critical reception.
Ace Combat H.A.W.X. Modern combat flight sim franchises. Ace Combat was formerly console-onlynote  while HAWX has both console and PC versions. Both HAWX and HAWX 2 were released in the 4 year gap between Ace Combat 6 and Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. Gameplay-wise, Ace Combat tends of focus on more traditional (though slightly arcadey) flight sim mechanics, with Assault Horizon mixing it up with the Close Range Assault mode. HAWX tries to differentiate itself with the Assistance OFF mode, which zooms your camera out into a distant 3rd person view, allowing you to perform more advanced maneuvers. Overall, Ace Combat has still been going strong since 1992 with numerous iterations and spinoffs while HAWX only has two games to its name, both released a year apart. Also, almost all AC games have received positive reviews and fan support, while reactions to both HAWX games is mixed at best. Sales wise, the XBox360-exclusive Ace Combat 6 sold nearly as many copies as the 360 and PS3 versions of HAWX combined while Assault Horizon sold slightly more than HAWX 2. Ace Combat still seems to be the modern air combat flight sim franchise to beat.
Air Combat Warhawk Arcade-style flight combat games released in fall 1995 for the PlayStation. Air Combat is set in the present; Warhawk is set in the future. Air Combat, at least initially, because it got sequels. However, the ensuing Ace Combat series waned by 2007, the same year in which Sony released a well-received (but commercially unsuccessful) new Warhawk game for the PS3.
Elite: Dangerous Star Citizen Open-world space-simulator sandbox games Both games remain in development as of summer 2014. Elite continues its predecessors' tradition of an expansive procedurally-generated universe, while Star Citizen concentrates on deep immersion in a smaller playable universe, much like its spiritual predecessor Privateer. Note that this is explicitly a Friendly Rivalry; Chris Roberts and David Braben are both alpha backers of the other's game, and are both on record as wanting the other to succeed. To be determined
Aces High War Thunder Massively Multiplayer online air-combat simulatorsAlthough not the first game of its type, Aces High continued in the same format as Kesmai's venerable Air Warrior series, and many former Air Warrior players migrated to this simulator when Kesmai's support ceased, enabling it to outlast both Warbirds and Fighter Ace. Aces High is unusual for an MMO sim in that there's no "low realism" mode, with a very steep learning curve since all players are subject to the full physics model. Additionally, Aces High operates on a monthly subscription, with almost all aircraft available to fly without requiring they be unlocked first. WarThunder, which arrived on the scene much more recently, takes a different track with it's "Free To Play" model, focus on a simplified arcade flight model, and upgrade trees to gain access to its various aircraft (which can also be unlocked with real-money purchases). Too soon to tell. WarThunder does enjoy more mainstream success due to its more accessible arcade gameplay over providing more in-depth simulation and F2P business model, however the neglect of the high-realism gameplay modes, suspect accuracy in its flight modeling, and even the F2P model that is one of its main draws, have all received stiff criticism. However Aces High is the clear winner in longevity, having been online for 14 years and continuing to see steady updates and improvements, and in turn maintains a devoted community (many of whom began with Air Warrior over twenty-five years earlier!) despite its steeper learning curve and monthly subscription that shows no sign of weakening (buoyed by weekly events and scenarios, which draw hundreds of players at a time), and the two titles have a bitter Fandom Rivalry that doesn't look to be ending any time soon.

    Light Gun Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
House of the Dead Carn Evil Horror-themed Light Gun Games that hit arcades in the late 1990s.House of the Dead played its horror theme somewhat straight (emphasis on "somewhat"), while CarnEvil dropped all pretenses and went with Bloody Hilarious Black Comedy.While CarnEvil was a pretty big hit (one of Midway's last arcade hits, in fact) it received no sequels or console ports. House of the Dead recieved several sequels and ports, and has become an arcade staple with pretty much any arcade hall having at least one House of the Dead cabinet.
Silent Scope Golgo 13 Light Gun games where the player takes the role of a sniper (or assassin).Both featured rifles fixed to the cabinet. While the scope in Silent Scope was a smaller monitor, the scope in Golgo 13 was a real scope. The screen itself would zoom in when it detected the player was peering through it.Silent Scope was a modest hit, was ported to several consoles and had two sequels. Golgo 13, while it also had two sequels, was not ported to any console and was only released in Japan.
Lethal Enforcers (Konami) Virtua Cop (Sega) and Time Crisis (Namco) Original light gun games that have some "saving the day from terrorist/criminals" plot.  Lethal Enforcers fell off the map, despite a few sequels (and one aimed at Time CrisisPolice 911), Virtua Cop probably enjoys the nostalgic value, since the last game was released in early the 2000s. Time Crisis is the winner here, since you're most likely to find it out of the three (in any incarnation) in a given arcade.

Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Everquest 2 World of Warcraft High fantasy MMORPGsThe first Everquest was the first successful 3D MMO, but its unforgiving game mechanics were beginning to show their age. Menaced by game juggernaut Blizzard's first MMO, the sequel was rushed to market and suffered for it.World of Warcraft is the largest game in the industry with over 12 million active subscriptions at its peak. Everquest 2 rarely even rates a mention.
City of Heroes/City of Villains Champions Online Superhero MMORPGsBoth games were developed by the same studio, Cryptic. Publisher NC Soft bought the CoX property and hired most of the people working on it away from Cryptic two years before Champions launched.For a fair while City of Heroes was winning, but the attitude between the games was fairly friendly and, unfortunately, City of Heroes eventually closed down. The reaction of Champions players was far from dueling, and very friendly. The vast majority of Champions players were sad about City of Heroes closing down, and many City of Heroes players moved to Champions.
Active Worlds Second Life Virtual words inspired by The Metaverse from Snow CrashActive Worlds uses a subscription model. Second Life is built around a virtual economy.Active Worlds actually predates Second Life by three years and was originally based around a consumer/producer model, whereas Second Life was social from the beginning. Second Life enjoys much success for its social features and higher amount and quality of user-created content, whereas Active Worlds is still lingering in obscurity.
Second Life Playstation Home, IMVU, Small Worlds, Google Lively, many others MMO/social entertainment virtual worlds where people hang out, interact, play games and customize their avatars and living quarters.Second Life (and many of its competitors) is all about user-generated content; everything in the game (outside the tutorial items) was made by ordinary players. Home, on the other hand, is more structured, with all content made by the developers, keeping it rather family-friendly by comparison. In addition, Home is only on PlayStation 3, while Second Life and most of its other competitors are for computers.Of all the many social entertainment games out there (and there are many), Second Life has garnered the most media attention, the most parodies, and the largest user base, though it's also grown notorious for the sheer amount of sex that permeates it, including just about every kink known to man (and some that aren't). Home took a while to start delivering on its promises; early on, it was seen as a symbol of many of the PlayStation 3's problems, though its fortunes improved with those of Sony's console. The other games have seen varying degrees of success, though most of them still live in Second Life's shadow.
Pet Society Pet Ville Multiplayer Facebook games based around raising Funny Animals.Pet Ville is a sister game to FarmVille. Pet Society came out first but is rather similar to FarmVille.Pet Society has more players, a bigger fanbase, and lacks the Hatedom that Pet Ville has.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Guild Wars 2 Next-generation story-focused MMORPGs that are (optionally in TOR's case) free-to-play.Not actually a case of initiator and imitator, these games were the hope of 2012 ushering in a new generation of MMORPGs with a much greater emphasis on story and defying established conventions of the genre.Guild Wars 2 is a commercial and critical success that has been actively supported by fans and its producer. Although The Old Republic was initially a smash hit, sales, subscriptions, and critical praise fell off sharply after a few months in light of the game's tepid support, numerous delays of promised content, uncommunicative developers, and severe restrictions on free-to-play players.
World of Warcraft Final Fantasy XIV A Hotbar Based MMO that runs on monthly subscription and puts out constant content updates. WoW is one of the oldest and remains the most popular MMORPG on the market right now eight years after its initial release. XIV was released in a disgustingly unfinished state reeking of lazy, poor design choices by a creator who ignored things fans requested by the thousands because it went against "his vision", and was generally considered to be the absolute lowest an MMO can reach. After admitting their failure, Square shut the game down entirely, fired the design team, and rebuilt it from the ground up as A Realm Reborn. If we're counting the first variant of Final Fantasy XIV, the game may as well not exist considering that it was the laughing stock of MMOs while World of Warcraft is still a juggernaut of the genre as a whole. After XIV was retooled into A Realm Reborn, the game redeemed itself by being a highly polished product that earned both critical and financial success from fans and reviewers alike. It says a lot that the game not only had 12M players during its last beta (more than World Of Warcraft at its absolute peak), but also single-handedly took Square from being financially in the red to a successful company again. Right now the two stand as equals in money and player size, and in the MMO market (especially comparing to WoW) that's perhaps the biggest victory any MMO can claim.

    Puzzle Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Meteos Lumines Stylish Falling Blocks games, developed by Q Entertainment and released in 2005 for portable systems.Meteos was a launch title or close to it for the Nintendo DS, while Lumines was the same for the Playstation Portable.Lumines has had more sequels on PSP, PS2, Xbox LIVE Arcade, PC, Play Station Network, and PlayStation Vita. Meteos only got a Disney-themed Dolled-Up Installment for DS and an Xbox Live Arcade sequel.
Angry Birds Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas Physics-based strategy games that revolve around firing characters to destroy structures in a quest for revenge.Birds is more linear and cartoony, while PvNvZvP is a different, more serious art style, has more characters, and allows the order of the firing devices and character line to be changed.Which one has been purchased over 500 million times, is more recognized, and has its own parody? Point goes to Angry Birds, although PvNvZvP isn't a bad game in itself.
Crush the Castle Angry Birds Physics-based games that involve you firing things into objects to make them crash and kill the opponent Crush the Castle is a free browser title and is more violent than Angry Birds Crush the Castle only had two installments, three if you count the "Player Pac K'. Angry Birds has over eight games and is a Cash Cow Franchise.
Professor Layton (and the Last Specter) Doctor Lautrec And The Forgotten Knights A Victorian-era puzzle game where you're a European archaeologist with a top hat and a younger sidekick, for a Nintendo handheld. With Layton and the Last Specter specifically, specify the sidekick as a young lady and add "released Fall 2011".Doctor Lautrec is said to be inspired by Layton, though Lautrec adds stealth gameplay and Mons combat to Layton's pure puzzles. Further, Layton is a Quintessential British Gentleman while Lautrec is a French Jerk.Professor Layton wins. Fans of Layton haven't taken much of a liking to Lautrec, and Layton is one of the most popular series on the Nintendo DS.
Professor Layton (and the Miracle Mask) Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure More Victorian-era puzzling with snappily-dressed protagonists, this time on the Nintendo 3DS. Rhythm Thief, like Lautrec, is also inspired by Layton, while adding musical-themed mini-games and puzzles to the mix. Layton wins again. Although Rhythm Thief received mostly positive reviews, it sold rather poorly.
Tetris (Nintendo era) Columns Simple to play but highly addictive games based on Falling Blocks.Though neither originally developed by a major video game company, and both had appeared on numerous computers previously, Nintendo and Sega acquired the rights to release console versions of these games, and they were among the launch titles for the Game Boy and Game Gear, respectively. (Sega also produced several Tetris Arcade Games.)Tetris, without a doubt, though Nintendo no longer has an exclusive license (though it has released games since then; it has released its own game, Tetris DS, in addition to distributing Hudson Soft's Tetris Axis in North America and rereleasing the Game Boy game on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console).
Boulder Dash Repton The founders of the rocks-and-diamonds genre, with Boulder Dash having comparatively more focus on dexterity, Repton more on logical puzzle-solving. Repton creator Tim Tyler was inspired by a description of Boulder Dash, but had never actually played the game. Boulder Dash is more widely known and has far more imitators — nearly all subsequent games follow BD in details such as rocks falling at the same speed the player moves, diamonds also falling, etc. However, Repton is still alive, with a fanbase creating new levels, to this day.
Angry Birds Flappy Bird Popular mobile games starring birds. Angry Birds is a game where birds are launched from slingshots to save their food from pigs. Flappy Bird is about a yellow bird trying to dodge as many pipes as possible. Angry Birds has been around for four years and has become a massive global franchise. However, it's rise to popularity was nowhere near as meteoric as Flappy Bird, which blew up overnight and was much more popular than Angry Birds was at its peak. However, Angry Birds will almost certainly maintain much greater longevity as Flappy Bird fades away.

    Real Time Strategy 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Age of Empires Empire Earth, Rise of Nations Three Real-Time Strategy games with a Civilization motif to it (Meaning you are building a city rather than a base. While Age of Empires focuses on one Era per game (The Ancient Era, The Medieval Era and The Age of Colonialism), Empire Earth and Rise of Nations asked you to develop your faction through multiple eras.It was not uncommon to see all three games sharing shelf-space in office supply stores during the 90s and early 00s. Age of Empires also had an Ancient-era spin-off, Age of Mythology, and would be the engine used for the Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds series.While they all fought desperately, eventually the changing attitudes of the game-buying public would kill these three series. Empire Earth 3 dropped the ball with silly units (farting camels, for example) and incredibly simplified gameplay, as well as looking graphically inferior to its competitors. Rise of Nations would manage a single expansion pack and the well-received, poorly-sold spin-off Rise of Legends. Nation's developer, Big Huge Games, would ultimately be contracted to work on the final expansion pack of the traditional Age of Empires games. Age of Empires, despite critical acclaim and decent sales, found itself the victim of the shift to consoles and the final entries did not sell enough to keep Ensemble Studios afloat. A new free-to-play entry in the series was released in 2010, but stopped accepting new users in 2013 with the death of the Games for Windows - Live Marketplace, and completely shuttered in 2014. However, AoE was revived around that time with the release of an HD Edition of the second game on Steam, which included a new expansion that was originally fan-made and support for Steam achievements and the Steam Workshop.
Pikmin Overlord Adventure/RTS hybrids where your character leads a small army of followers.In Pikmin you're a tiny spaceman leading tiny flower aliens in exploring a garden. Overlord is a fantasy parody that has fun with Evil Tropes; you're an Evil Overlord going out with your enthusiastically destructive Mooks to pillage, plunder, and conquer.Pikmin is considered by most to be the better game, and gets more recognition as part of Nintendo's family of franchises. That said, Overlord did fairly well for itself and eventually got a multi-platform sequel and two spin-off games onto Nintendo consoles, funnily enough.
Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars Demigod, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth; Heroes Of The Storm, DotA 2 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games. DotA is a hit Game Mod for Warcraft III which popularized the genre; the other five, listed in order of release, are the various commercial/professional attempts to cash in on it. Heroes Of The Storm, by Blizzard Entertainment, and Dota 2, by Valve Software, are (as of this 2014 writing) both in beta-testing.DotA and LoL are free to play; Demigod must be purchased. Newerth switched to Free To Play only recently. LoL, HoN and Dota 2 all (claim to) have at least one member of the original DotA staff working on the game.For now, League of Legends, which has surpassed World of Warcraft as the most-played online game in the world. Demigod was hamstrung from the start by an anemic roster of heroes, and Newerth, which tried to capitalize on the (admittedly huge) crop of "Stop Having Fun" Guys from DotA, essentially settled for being a Cult Classic. Dota 2 has settled into a comfortable second place close behind Lo L, however it has been in the media more thanks in part to the $10 million prize pot in the International 4 (Dota 2's premiere tournament) as well as said tournament receiving mainstream media coverage on ESPN 2
Total Annihilation Starcraft Futuristic RTS released in a close timeframe in 1997. The two are very much polar oppposites despite being in the same genre. Starcraft has three different factions with markedly different playstyles, simple resource management, heavy emphasis on unit micromanagement, and an involved plot with many characters. Total Annihilation has only two factions with minor differences, a complicated flow based resource system, a similarly complicated tier system for unit creation, an emphasis on large-scale action and long term strategy with almost no micromanagement, and a sparse backstory with no named characters.Starcraft is the most popular RTS of all time, and influenced the overall direction of the genre. But, Total Annihilation still sold well and spawned an independent remake, a spiritual sequel, and another spiritual sequel. While Starcraft is the king of the hill, there are still plenty of Total Annihilation fans on the Internet still producing Game Mods to this day for it, and any hardcore RTS player will most definitely have heard of (and likely played) the game.
Command & Conquer series Starcraft series Two of the most prominent Real Time Strategy franchises since the 1990s, the C&C series took a more realistic, Earth-based approach in terms of background setting, while Starcraft focused on a distant inter-stellar future. Both games also pioneered the concept of Faction Calculus.C&C's first title, Tiberian Dawn, marked the beginning of proper RTS games in recent era after the release of Dune II, and became a Long Runner since, spawning three sub-series and 17 titles. When comparing with Starcraft C&C's gameplay is more casual, though Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath were on the game list in WCG 07-08.Both series are critically acclaimed while the C&C series probably won slightly on financial front (since it has more titles and came out earlier), but after two of the latest installments for C&C (Red Alert 3 and Tiberian Twilight) proved to be very divisive among its fans, Blizzard ended up with the lead with the release of Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. With C&C Generals 2 getting cancelled in late 2013, the future of the C&C franchise is currently very much in doubt. Meanwhile, Legacy of the Void is still in development, so for now, the winner is Starcraft.
Star Wars Force Commander Star Trek: Armada Real-Time Strategy games, based on the massively popular Star Wars and Star Trek franchises. Both games were released in early-mid 2000. Armada had a top-down viewpoint, while Force Commander had a full 3D camera system. Armada sold better, and its mod-friendly nature soon gave rise to a huge fan community and a sequel. Force Commander wasn't a total disaster, but its sloppy gameplay mechanics and Camera Screw soon turned gamers off of it. LucasArts would have more luck with its Spiritual Successors, Galactic Battlegrounds and Empire at War (which incidentally adopted a very Armada-like interface and perspective for its space combat portions).

    Role-Playing Game (Western) 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Dragon Age II The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Sequels to extremely popular Western RPGs set in a Dark Fantasy setting with lots of Black and Grey Morality. The Witcher is focused on one pre-set main character, while Dragon Age utilizes a customizable protagonist and party-based gameplay. The Witcher 2 was critically and commercially acclaimed and is regarded as a great example of an Even Better Sequel. Dragon Age II is very much a Contested Sequel and generally considered inferior to the original. The Dragon Age series is also seen as a Dueling Game to Elder Scrolls.
UltimaWizardryTrope Codifiers of Western RPGs, inspired by Dungeons & Dragons Ultima focused on a single slightly customizable hero(ine) while Wizardry featured an entire party of characters created from scratch.note  Both initially stuck closely to the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons, but Ultima eventually shifted away from it to focus more on story and morality. Wizardry however embraced the spirit fully and remained a hardcore dungeon crawler. In America and Europe: Ultima. Both series fizzled out and died around the turn of the millennium, but Ultima had been more successful commercially and remains alive thanks to Ultima Online, which still has an active playerbase. In Japan: Wizardry, where the series saw unexpected success and remains alive and popular with Japan-exclusive titles still being made more than 10 years after the last official game.
WizardryMight and MagicThe two original grid-based dungeon crawler Western RPGs, who were the Trope Codifiers of the genre.While both series were Nintendo Hard, Wizardry was infamous for its difficulty, with the 4th game in the series in particular considered one of the most difficult Role Playing Games ever made. Both series ultimately featured a mix of fantasy and sci-fi elements; these were present from the beginning in Might and Magic, whereas sci-fi elements were only introduced in the last few games of the Wizardry series.During the Golden Age, the two series were about equal with each other in terms of popularity. While Wizardry as a series is now defunct in the Western market where it originated, it was a massive hit in Japan and is still alive there. The main Might and Magic series is likewise defunct, but the franchise lives on through the Heroes of Might and Magic series of strategy RPGs. Notably, the Wizardry series was able to end things on a fairly high note with a Grand Finale in Wizardy 8, whereas the last couple of games in the Might & Magic series were generally considered Franchise Zombies, with the dismal failure of Might & Magic 9 leading to the collapse of the publisher and developer, and the series being cancelled abruptly.
UltimaThe Magic CandleTop-down Western RPGs in which a diverse party of adventurers sets out to accomplish an epic quest; exploration and puzzle-solving ultimately turn out to be more important to resolving the main plot than simply facing the Big Bad in a straight-up fight.The Magic Candle series had a few features not seen in Ultima, such as the ability to split the party into a number of smaller adventuring units that could act seperately. The Magic Candle is also much more influenced by The Lord of the Rings, whereas Ultima takes a lot of its influence from Dungeons & DragonsThe Ultima series by far had a much wider following and is still relatively well-known today, although the Magic Candle series had quite a cult following back in the day, nowadays it's really only known amongst the older, more hardcore Western RPG enthusiasts (that and possibly the abandonware scene).
Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven Baldur's Gate Reconstructions of the then-dying Western RPG genre, based on established RPG properties. Might and Magic VI brought back the Might and Magic series from a five year hiatus, while Baldur's Gate attempted a faithful computer adaptation of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Tabletop RPG rules set in the popular Forgotten Realms universe. Their winning concept was sticking closely to the spirit of the traditional RPG formula, but trimming down and removing the overly complicated and boring parts to make it more accessible and user-friendly (such as Real Time with Pause combat). Might and Magic sticked with old-school party-based dungeon crawling while Baldur's Gate spiced it up a little with more story and role-playing elements. Baldur's Gate is the clear winner, being one of the most beloved games of all time and often credited as almost single-handedly saving the genre. But Might and Magic VI was a winner in its own right, and along with Heroes of Might and Magic managed to revitalize the Might and Magic brand for a while. The Might and Magic sequels stagnated though, while Baldur's Gate had an Even Better Sequel (and, as of January 2013, an Updated Re-release).
Dungeon Crawl Tales of Maj'Eyal, Dungeons of Dredmor Roguelikes typically played with tileset graphics as opposed to the traditional ASCII graphics, with a focus on polishing the genre for a modern audience.Crawl is generally considered the heir to Nethack, featuring a single dungeon, a hunger system as a time limit, and a focus on resource management. ToME has an overworld with many dungeons, no time limit of this type, almost no consumable resources to manage, and generally takes longer to play, a full game taking 12-18 hours as opposed to 4-8. Although Dungeon Crawl is generally the most respected by veterans of the genre, who call the other two games easy, overly grindy, and poorly balanced, Tales of Maj'Eyal is the winner, as it has won Ascii Dreams: Roguelike of the Year on three consecutive years, the only game to ever do so. Its fans typically dislike Crawl's nature as a Luck-Based Mission and its counterintuitive strategy. Dungeons of Dredmor was a commercial success, but was considered watered-down and silly by many as it attempted to pander to more casual fans of the genre. Still, it can be considered a success in its own way.

    Rhythm Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Dance Dance RevolutionPump It UpRhythm games that debuted extremely close to each other (November 1998 and August 1999, respectively) in which the player steps on panels as instructed by on-screen arrows.Dance Dance Revolution is four panels and developed by Konami under their BEMANI line, Pump It Up is five panels and developed by Andamiro. Both games have their own unique styles and songlists, complete with in-house artists, and both sport more difficult modes of play for more advanced players, but each with their own spin.This duel is one of the longest and hardest fought in rhythm gaming history, with both series being something of Worthy Opponents to each other. With the most recent arcade DDR switching to a DLC-based form of updating (gaining new content every few months but otherwise staying the same game), and PIU still releasing new full games, it would seem Pump is set to gain the win by simply lasting longer.
Guitar Hero pre-World TourRock BandRhythm games wherein you play songs by hitting notes on a plastic guitar.Guitar Hero came first; when the license was passed to another development studio, the original team created Rock Band as a Spiritual Successor, upping the ante by adding drums and vocals. Each franchise has a different timing window, overdrive system, and hammer-on/pull-off system. Rock Band's extra songs were released as Downloadable Content while Guitar Hero's we released as Mission Pack Sequels.
Rock BandGuitar Hero post-World TourRhythm games wherin you play songs by hitting notes on a plastic guitar or drum pads, or sing along and try to match the pitch.You read that right. Following the success of Rock Band, Guitar Hero added drums and vocals to its fourth main installment, which it continued to use in subsequent Mission Pack Sequels.Guitar Hero was officially cancelled on February 9, 2011. Rock Band also saw its sales take a heavy plunge and Harmonix was sold off for fifty dollars. However, Rock Band was far better received.
BemaniRock Band, Guitar HeroRhythm games that require special instrument controllersRock Band and Guitar Hero are Western imitators of the Japanese-borne originators beatmania, Drum Mania, and Guitar Freaks.In Japan and a couple spots in East Asia, Bemani is the clear winner. Everywhere else, Bemani is relatively unknown outside of DDR. Konami decided too soon that nobody outside of Asia likes rhythm games, and especially not Bemani's Nintendo Hard difficulty on harder settings; Activision through Red Octane and EA through Harmonix simply filled the niche and ran away with pockets bulging with cash, now fighting each other instead of Konami for supremacy. Late in the game, Konami finally realized that there was demand in the West for rhythm games, and unsuccessfully tried to cash in with Rock Revolution.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixStringRock Band 3Rhythm games that also teach you how to play real music. Rock Band 3 has keyboards, and cymbals for drums. Power Gig doesn't have keyboards or bass, and has air drums. No contest. Rock Band 3 received rave reviews, while Power Gig has been compared (unfavorably) to the aforementioned Rock Revolution.
Dance Dance RevolutionIn The GrooveRhythm games in which the player steps on panels as instructed by on-screen arrows.Dance Dance Revolution came out in 1998, In The Groove was released in 2004. Konami, the developer of DDR, gained the rights to ITG as the result of a lawsuit and killed the series. Dance Dance Revolution wins. It is immensely more popular among the general public and is the first dance game almost anyone thinks of. However, despite having died several years ago, In The Groove still is the game of choice of the top-notch players and enjoys a thriving community.
Dance CentralDance Masters (a.k.a. Dance Evolution) Rhythm games that require you to dance.Dance Central involves actual dancing while Dance Masters requires you to just hit targets or strike poses in the style of dancing. It is fun to actually perform the dances involved in Masters, though. Split among international lines. Harmonix's Dance Central is more popular in America and Europe, while Konami's Dance Masters/Dance Evolution is more popular in Japan. Like Bemani, both games were a relief to many newcomers who were daunted by the songs many DDR hardcores play.
Just DanceDance CentralRhythm games that require you to dance. Notably, they both require you to do full-body motion.Just Dance is, as the name implies, all about dancing, while Dance Central has some Excuse Plot and characterized avatars. However, Just Dance has several features not present in Dance Central, the most important one being having different dance routines for multiple players for the same song (in Dance Central, this can only be achieved by having the two players choose different difficulty levels). Also, the difficulty for the dance routines in Just Dance are on average easier.They are both very popular games, that's for sure, but while Just Dance has been able to churn out a title every year, there has yet to be news on Dance Central 4 as of December 2013, so Just Dance may be heading for a win.
beatmania DJMAX Rhythm games where you press buttons to a note chart. DJMAX Technika offered touch based controls similar to Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents. In terms of popularity and continuity, beatmania wins. DJMAX is still popular but because of no new songs, Technika 3's server closing, and no new games since Technika Q, DJMAX is falling down slowly.

    Shoot 'em Up 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Gradius series R-Type series Both of them are shoot'em ups with lots of powerups.  Both have strong cult followings to this day, although R-Type had branched out into Turn-Based Strategy RPG territory with R-Type Command/Tactics.
Zombie Apocalypse, Nation Red Burn Zombie Burn, Dead Nation Downloadable top-down shooters about surviving the inevitable. Dead Nation has a linear story mode and is the Darker and Edgier one of the group, while the rest (especially Burn Zombie Burn) are more over-the-top. If going by number of installments alone, then Zombie Apocalypse (one sequel) and Burn Zombie Burn (a Spiritual Successor in the Action RPG All Zombies Must Die!). As for critical reception, Dead Nation wins with a slight edge over Burn Zombie Burn.
One Apocalypse 3D overhead shooters released exclusively on the original Playstation. One has more emphasis on platforming and cinematic setpieces. Apocalypse is more actioney and features Bruce Willis's likeness as its main selling point. Both games were modest critical and financial successes. If you're stretching things, one could say Apocalypse had more impact, as its engine was reused for the massively successful Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series.
Geometry Wars Neon Wars Top down fast-paced arcade-ish shoot'em ups   Geometry Wars is much more well-known than Neon Wars. In addition, there are many installments of Geometry Wars although both games are critically well-received.
Dodonpachi Touhou Project Bullet Hells featuring lots and lots of bullets and an Excuse Plot as per most Shoot 'em ups. Difference is Dodonpachi uses the traditional ships and Touhou is about little girls shooting each other. It should be noted that when ZUN first unveiled the series, he made a direct Take That to Dodonpachi, stating his series could have more bullets thanks to the Hitbox Dissonance. ...It's clear the idea caught on, because later installments of the Dodonpachi series and MOST Bullet Hells used this. While Dodonpatchi was big in its time, Touhou Project is THE definitive danmaku series, to the point where nearly every danmaku game nowadays borrows elements from Touhou. Touhou has seen immense popularity since 2002, and continues with an enormous fanbase that produces games, fanime, manga... The list goes on, but the winner is clear.

    Sports Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Wii SportsKinect Sports, Sports ChampionsSports game compilations showing off a system's new motion controls.Let's face it, the real fight's between the control systems: Wii Sports demonstrated the Wii remote, Kinect Sports is made for the Xbox 360's controllerless camera system, and Sports Champions utilizes the PlayStation Move.Wii Sports had a four-year head start, being bundled with the Wii at launch and becoming synonymous with it. The other two systems are playing catch-up, with their motion controls as optional add-ons to existing systems - the Kinect seems to be getting most of the hype (in both cases, the sports game seems to be at best lost in the shuffle as only one of several showcase titles).
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Aggressive Inline, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, Jet Set Radio, Evolution Skateboarding Early extreme sports games Activision and Neversoft put out THPS, while the latter four were done by Acclaim, Z-Axis, SEGA and Konami respectively. AI, Dave Mirra and Evolution generally copied the look and feel of the THPS games while Jet Set Radio tried to separate itself from the others through its use of Cel Shading and emphasis on Graffiti tagging. AI and Dave Mirra BMX were decent games, but AI never received any follow-up while BMX XXX failed and led to Acclaim's death. Evolution Skateboarding is best known for it's Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid levels, otherwise being forgotten as a poor Tony Hawk ripoff. Tony Hawk and Jet Set Radio are the most fondly remembered of them all, however Tony Hawk outlasted all four and made far more money, remaining a household name in "extreme sports" games until...
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (starting from Proving Ground) Skate Wide Open Sandbox Skateboarding simulators. Tony Hawk relied mostly on name recognition (with the Hawkman and several other pro skaters making appearances), while the skate series promised a different approach to trick control (utilizing both analog sticks on the PS3 and Xbox 360 controllers instead of the face buttons and D-Pad). skate won this battle handily. Even before RIDE and Shred ultimately scuttled what was left of the Hawk franchise's popularity, skate routinely outperformed and outsold its competition.
FIFA SoccerPro Evolution SoccerLong running soccer game seriesThe samurai vs. knight of soccer games. Since their debut in the middle 90's, both series are a constant source of Fandom Rivalry.So far the FIFA series is usually more acclaimed than PES (with help of the real FIFA organization that gave it their official seal of approval).
NHL HockeyNHL 2KRealistic hockey simulations EA Sports' NHL Hockey wins, as 2K Sports haven't made a hockey game since NHL 2K11 (and that was a Wii-exclusive title, even).
NBA Jam Extreme NBA Hangtime Fast-paced two-on-two basketball games with over-the-top dunks, no fouls besides goaltending, and players catching fire after making three straight baskets. Midway made the first two NBA Jam games for arcades and Acclaim ported them to consoles. A dispute over the name led to a split where Acclaim kept the NBA Jam name and made a sequel, while Midway made its own sequel under a different name. Also notable is that Extreme is in 3D, while Hangtime remains 2D. Despite more advanced graphics, Extreme couldn't compete with Hangtime's added depth and far faster load times. Acclaim continued to make Jam as more of a simulation, while Midway adapted the formula further to make NBA Showtime and NBA Ballers.
UFC 2009 Undisputed EA Sports MMA Video games based on Mixed Martial Arts, the former focusing on UFC (and Pride in a future installment), the latter on Strikeforce and several smaller promotions When EA's game was announced, UFC President Dana White was furious, since he had failed to make a deal with EA before eventually partnering with THQ for Undisputed. White later even declared that anyone who signs their likeness to EA will never work for UFC (which he later retracted). Both games were critically very well received though Undisputed was criticized for on-line mode glitches. Undisputed was a far more successful franchise, spawning two sequels. Eventually, UFC purchased Strikeforce and in June 2012 announced that the video game license has transferred to EA Sports to create EA Sports MMA 2. If anyone is to be called a winner, it would be UFC the company.
Cool Boarders 1080 Snowboarding, SSX, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding "Extreme" snowboarding games featuring varied courses, stunt jumps, challenge modes and unlockable characters Cool Boarders was first to the market, while 1080 arrived a year later around the same time as Boarders 2, the franchise's highest-selling installment. 1080 took a bite out of Boarders' dominance in the genre, and the release of SSX finished it off in 2000/2001. The whole snowboarding genre nearly went under afterwards due to oversaturation. SSX is the only franchise to have survived and produced more installments since then.

    Stealth Game 
Metal Gear Solid Syphon Filter Stealth-based action-adventure games released in October '98 and January '99 for the Playstation, in which you play a grizzled badass soldier on a covert mission to stop a terrorist plot. Along the way, you're continually harangued by your superiors at mission control over radio. Both games have pretty over-the-top animations, with Syphon Filter's ridiculous taser mechanics being a standout, but Metal Gear Solid goes straight into fantasy anime tropes, including cyborg ninjas, telekinetic psychics, and Humongous Mecha. Both games were very well-received and sold well, but Metal Gear Solid moreso. MGS remains a relevant series today, and the original is regarded as a classic, while the relevance of Syphon Filter waned after the PS1 era.
Metal Gear Solid Splinter Cell The first Splinter Cell game was released in 2002 and focuses more on stealth rather than blending action elements. As with Metal Gear Solid and Syphon Filter, you play as a grizzled badass soldier to stop a terrorist plot. Although unlike the former games, mission controll in Splinter Cell tries to be helpful, with witty conversation going back and forth. Splinter Cell focuses a lot on being invisible in the shadows and finding alternate means to getting past enemies. While the protagonist is armed, ammunition is severely limited and enemies will be able to kill him within seconds. The second game also added a multiplayer component, which survives to the latest version of the game. Both games were very well-received and sold well, however Metal Gear Solid receives a bit more recognition. The two series do enjoy a friendly rivalry however.

    Survival Horror 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Alone in the DarkResident EvilIn both games the protagonists must fight their way through a mansion filled with puzzles and monsters to uncover its secrets and survive to tell the tale.Alone in the Dark was released way before and features a Lovecraftian style of horror. Resident Evil has better graphics, live-action cutscenes and looks more like an interactive zombie B-movie.After spawning several multi-million-selling installments and a solid live-action movie series, Resident Evil is today one of the world's top videogame franchises. Alone in The Dark tried to follow the same path, but fell into oblivion instead after the release of two lousy Uwe Boll movies and the failure of the 2008 game.
Resident EvilSilent HillSame as above, except that Silent Hill's setting spans an entire cursed townIn contrast to Resident Evil's zombie-killing frenzy, Silent Hill features more puzzles, less monsters and a more mature and psychological storyline.Since their debuts in the last millennium, both franchises are still alive and kicking, but let's say Resident Evil is, generally, more "popular" while Silent Hill is, generally, more respected as a horror series.
Alone in the Dark (2008 reboot) Alan Wake An episodic game where a normal man investigates and fights against a villain that is responsible for said paranormal. Alone in the Dark is the continuation of the classic series set in New York's Central Park, while Alan Wake is set in rural Washington state and is inspired by Stephen King and Twin Peaks. Alan Wake got a much better initial reception than Alone in the Dark, which was first released in a highly unpolished state that landed on many "worst of the year" lists. However, an Updated Re-release for PlayStation 3, Alone in the Dark: Inferno, corrected many of these problems and received better reviews.

Infestation: Survivor Stories (formerly The War Z)
State of Decay

Four Zombie Apocalypse games built heavily around survival, with players experiencing final deaths when killed and being given new characters instead of respawning. DayZ began life as a PC-exclusive Game Mod for ARMA II that takes place in that game's Eastern European setting, eventually being expanded into a stand-alone game in 2013. State of Decay and Infestation are set in rural America, with Decay available on both Xbox LIVE Arcade and PC, whereas Infestation is a PC exclusive. Finally, ZombiU takes place in London and is exclusive to the Wii U, making use of that console's touch screen controller. DayZ wins on account of the hype that came out of its beta, to the point where sales of its "daddy" game, ARMA II, skyrocketed, people purchasing it just to play DayZ. Its success helped spawn an entire new genre of survival games — and all this was before its full release! Both State of Decay and ZombiU received positive reviews, though Decay takes silver on account of it being the sleeper hit of summer 2013, selling over half a million units in two weeks despite being a downloadable title that relied almost entirely on word of mouth. ZombiU, meanwhile, lost money for Ubisoft.

The big loser was Infestation: Survivor Stories, a blatant mockbuster of DayZ that is best known for the outcry that resulted when it was released with severe bugs and without a number of promised features — but hey, the microtransaction store was working perfectly! The Internet Backdraft was loud enough that Steam not only pulled the game from sale, but offered refunds to those who weren't satisfied. As a final insult, Infestation wasn't the game's original title — the developersnote  had to change it from The War Z due to a trademark dispute concerning the film adaptation of World War Z.
Eternal Darkness Resident Evil remake GameCube-exclusive survival horror games released in spring 2002, set in a vacant mansion filled with grotesque monsters and idiosyncratic puzzles. At the time, they were the only M-rated GameCube games on the market. Eternal Darkness is a psychological horror game strongly inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, while Resident Evil (aka the REmake) relies more on jump scares. Pretty much a tie. Both were well-received by critics and players alike.

    Tower Defense 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Dungeon DefendersOrcs Must DieTower Defense games with a mixture of third-person action and RPG Elements.Orcs Must Die is faster-paced and single-player, while Dungeon Defenders is slower-paced but can be played with up to four players at a time.Both games received very good reviews, but even though Orcs came out one month earlier, Defenders wins out on account of its larger scope (multiplayer and multiplatform) and regular content updates.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Final Fantasy TacticsTactics Ogre (PS1 Updated Re-release)Turn-Based Strategy games for an Eastern RPG series.Both games were designed by Yasumi Matsuno and were released in the same year (1997 in Japan and 1998 in North America; release order remained the same). It should be noted that Tactics Ogre is originally a 1995 Super Famicom game and that Final Fantasy Tactics is its Spiritual Successor.Germans Love David Hasselhoff strikes. In Japan, Tactics Ogre was a well-remembered and beloved game that had already received an updated release on the Sega Saturn the previous year. It sold very well and was the clear winner. Final Fantasy Tactics was seen as a Follow the Leader game and sold poorly. In North America, Tactics Ogre was being released for the first time. But with FFT being released first, TO was seen as the knock-off. The cash-cow name recognition of the Final Fantasy brand (fresh off the success of Final Fantasy VII) meant that FFT won by a landslide to the point where most people there didn't know or remember there even was a dueling game. It also sold well enough to get a reprint before the Japanese market got one.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Xenonauts Squad-centric Turn-Based Tactics games focused on repelling alien invasion due for release in 2012 Until Firaxis revealed Enemy Unknown, which is a full-blown official "reimagining", Xenonauts was considered the only credible Fan Remake of the original. Xenonauts is more faithful to the original's mechanics, while Enemy Unknown has made some changes to the formula. On the record, both sides are fairly sporting about the competition. Enemy Unknown was released on October 9, 2012 and received widespread critical acclaim, although the legion of They Changed It, Now It Sucks naysayers was inevitable. Xenonauts is still in alpha, albeit playable and available to anyone who preorders, and has had several development setbacks with no clear release date.
Fire Emblem Shining Force Fantasy-themed strategy RPGs where you command a squad of up to a dozen heroes at a time. Nintendo's Fire Emblem series focuses more on its story and character development, while Sega's Shining Force puts more emphasis on its combat system. The Shining Series later branched out into Action RPG territory, while Fire Emblem has stuck to its SRPG roots throughout all of its incarnations. A strange reversal: in the '90s, Fire Emblem was virtually unknown outside of Japan, while Shining Force and its sequel quickly established themselves as must-have Genesis/Mega Drive titles. Come the Turn of the Millennium, Shining Force games have remained exclusive to Japanese gamersnote  while Fire Emblem began to gain popularity internationally thanks to, of all things, Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Fire Emblem Tear Ring Saga Fantasy-themed strategy RPGs where you command a squad of up to a dozen heroes at a time. Tear Ring Saga is essentially a Spiritual Successor to Fire Emblem on the PlayStation. It was developed by Fire Emblem creator Shouzou Kaga, and incorporates the vast majority of its game mechanics, to the extent that Nintendo attempted to sue for copyright infringement. In fact, it was originally meant to be called Emblem Saga, but the lawsuit prevented this. Fire Emblem has far more name recognition and success, especially since its gain in international popularity and securing of an American release since Marth and Roy's cameos in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Tear Ring Saga wasn't released outside of Japan, and is generally viewed as little more than a Fire Emblem clone (though its sequel Berwick Saga did a lot to differentiate it from Fire Emblem).
Elemental War Of Magic: Fallen Enchantress - Legendary Heroes Eador: Masters of the Broken World, Age of Wonders III, Majesty Warlock: Master of the Arcane 2 Turn-based strategy games set in fantasy worlds with hex-based battlefields released in late 2013/early 2014. Also, three of the four games are sequels to other turn-based fantasy games, two of whom were direct competitors (Elemental and Warlock). Age of Wonders has the pedigree and history, with this being the first entry in the series since 2003. Warlock is based off of the Majesty universe, but is considered the spiritual successor to Wonders old rival Master of Magic and was released to take advantage of Wonders fans' waiting. Elemental is marred by tbe abysmal failure of its first game, while Eador brings something different to the table with its "shards" of territory.Too soon to tell, but the Metacritic scores have a spread of FIVE points between them, Eador on the bottom with 74 and Age of Wonders III on top with 79.
Star Wars: Rebellion Star Trek: Birth of the Federation Strategy and empire-building games based on the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises. Both games were released around a year apart. Rebellion (also known as Star Wars: Supremecy) was a hybrid of turn-based and real-time elements, whereas Birth of the Federation was a more straight-up turn based game. Rebellion sold a lot more copies, but Birth of the Federation was better-reviewed and seems to have more of a fan modding community than Rebellion.

Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Mario Paint Art Alive Console painting programsEven though Sega released Art Alive first in 1991, Mario Paint's SNES Mouse made painting easier and had more things to do with its custom stamp maker and music composer, and the flyswatter game made Mario Paint more recognizable.Neither sold well in their heyday, although Mario Paint has gotten a new life fan-interest-wise through YouTube (and before YouTube's existence, it also had the fly-swatting minigame).
Wii FitEA Sports ActiveFitness games for the Wii.The Wii Fit uses the pack-in Balance Board for its exercises, while EA Sports Active uses its own motion sensor and resistance band, allowing for more varied exercises. Obviously, Wii Fit has Nintendo's brandname behind it, so in terms of sales, there's no contest. However, many regard EA Sports Active as the better program.
All-Star Cheer Squad We Cheer Wii-based cheerleading games. THQ's ASCS shoots for realism, while Namco Bandai's We Cheer games take a more cartoony approach. Both games had improved second installments, but the slight critical edge goes to ASCS.
Reader Rabbit / The Clue FindersJump StartEdutainment Game series, in which games up to second grade only involve Funny Animals while games from third to sixth grade are about mystery-solving humans.While the Reader Rabbit and The Clue Finders names are used for the Baby-2nd Grade and 3rd-6th Grade series respectively, Jump Start games from 3rd-6th Grade still keep the same title as the Baby-2nd Grade series.None; both series sold very well.
Itadaki Street (aka Fortune Street, Boom Street)Mario PartyParty Game series featuring video game mascots (including Super Mario for both).Mario Party is a Minigame Game, while Fortune Street is an investment game similar to Monopoly. Where Mario Party features exclusively Super Mario characters, Itadaki Street has an assortment of characters from Mario (in Nintendo installments), Final Fantasy (in Playstation installments), and Dragon Quest (in all installments).Itadaki Street actually came first, debuting on the Famicom, but didn't add the game mascots or get international release until after Mario Party established itself. Mario Party is a well-established franchise that has sold big in the West, while Itadaki Street only got its first release as an additional mode in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, then as a standalone release outside of Japan with the Wii installment.
The iDOLM@STERDream C ClubXBOX 360 games, in Japan, which had Dating Sim and Rhythm Game elements.Although Dream C Club is a game which focuses on hostesses, it still has singing idol elements for no other reason than to attract The iDOLM@STER crowd.Dream C Club remains a fairly modest series compared to the giant that is The iDOLM@STER in Japan. As a result, each new Dream C game got more and more Fanservicey while iM@S remains fairly innocent in comparison.

Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Misc. Winner?
Theatre of Magic Pinball Magic Two pinball games centered around Stage Magicians, both released in 1995. Theatre was the second title designed by John Popadiuk, while Pinball Magic was the first pinball from Capcom's new pinball division. Theatre of Magic is centered on a magic performance, while Pinball Magic has the player being tested by a society of magicians and mystics. Theatre of Magic became the best-selling pinball machine of 1995, but Pinball Magic has a devoted following who prefer its more challenging ruleset.
World Cup Soccer by Bally World Challenge Soccer by Gottlieb Two tables released in February 1994 about soccer. World Cup had a license for... well, the World Cup, while World Challenge had no such claim. World Cup by far. Has anyone even heard of World Challenge?
White Water Wipe Out Vacation resort-themed games released in 1993. White Water was made by Williams and featured a white water rafting theme and voiceovers peppered with cowboy slang. Wipe Out was made by Gottlieb and centered around alpine slalom skiing featuring Surfer Dude voiceovers. Both games made heavy use of ramps. White Water is an incredibly well-regarded game among pinball enthusiasts due to its challenging shots and fast gameplay. Wipe Out was not a bad game though, and is often regarded as one of the better Gottlieb pinballs from their later years.
Tee'd Off No Good Gofers Two pinballs involving golfers and wisecracking gophers. Tee'd Off was released by Gottlieb in 1993, while No Good Gofers came out four years later by Williams Electronics. Despite the suspiciously similar themes, however, both were most likely inspired by Caddyshack Mixed results for both; Tee'd Off is considered a decent game, but is often overlooked due to Gottlieb's smaller distribution. Pinball fans largely prefer No Good Gofers, but some still find it a letdown after Pat Lawlor's The Addams Family and The Twilight Zone.
Gold Wings F-14 Tomcat Two pinballs based unofficially on Top Gun, with ace pilots against evil Communist fighters. Gold Wings was released by Gottlieb in 1986, while F-14 Tomcat came out a year later from Williams Electronics. F-14 Tomcat by a nautical mile. Designed by renown pinball creator Steve Ritchie ensured lots of fast action, addictive gameplay, and Rated M for Manly appeal. Gold Wings, in contrast, is best know for being a shameless Mockbuster of Top Gun.

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