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Dueling Works / Games
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"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 video 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.

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    Action Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Samurai Warriors (2004) Sengoku Basara (2005) Dynasty Warriors in the Japanese Warring States Era! Koei's Warriors came first, with Capcom's Sengoku Basara coming shortly thereafter. The Warriors games' stories are somewhat more historically grounded than its competitor. Series-wide, Samurai Warriors has the edge due to its association with Dynasty Warriors, and is the more well-known of the two outside Japan. In direct head-to-head matchups, it started with 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. However, the deciding match happened during the airing of the NHK TV drama Sanada-maru, in which both companies unleashed their Sanada-based spin offs, Spirit of Sanada and Yukimura-den. The former managed to stay strong and the latter ended up becoming the Franchise Killer of the series. Thus the overall winner is Samurai Warriors.
Onechanbara (2004) Lollipop Chainsaw (2012) A Beat 'em Up / Hack and Slash where Stripperiffic chicks fight 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 Onechanbara games on Xbox 360 and Wii both flopped in North America, ensuring that Onechanbara Z Kagura, didn't get a Western release.
God of War (2005) Spartan: Total Warrior (2005)

Rise of the Argonauts (2008)
Hack and Slash games set in the time of ancient Greece, drawing upon its mythology. God of War is the most over-the-top, with giant bosses and lots of blood and gore. Total Warrior is a spin-off of the Total War series and puts focus on large scale battles with many combatants on both sides. Rise of the Argonauts allows the player to make a few choices through the game, affecting their character's personality. God of War by a country mile. The other two games received average reviews, but God of war sold and reviewed very well, going on to span a franchise.
God of War (2005) Dante's Inferno (2010) 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 The 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 God of War seems to be strong and the franchise is still going after a highly-acclaimed sequel/soft reboot in 2018. On the other hand, everyone had completely forgotten about Inferno a month or two after its release.
Destroy All Humans! (2005) Stubbs the Zombie (2005) Games set in a satirical 1950s America where you play as a monster - a a grey alien in Destroy All Humans and a zombie in Stubbs - running around wreaking havok with powers. Stubbs the Zombie is the more linear of the two, giving you one mission after another, while Destroy All Humans has more elements of a sandbox game, with missions being given to you as you unlock more areas. Destroy All Humans, went on to spawn three sequels, and a remake of the first game was released in 2020. Stubbs the Zombie never got a sequel.
Titan Quest (2006) Loki: Heroes of Mythology (2007) Video Game/Diablo 2 clones based on ancient mythologies such as Ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt. Titan Quest is top-down perspective, has 9 classes (can be dual-class) and all dungeons are static. Loki is 3rd person perspective, has 4 classes and dungeons are randomly generated. Loki has lots of blood and gore while Titan Quest was criticized by fans for being too family friendly. However, Loki suffers from unresolved bugs, repetitiveness and fell to obscurity. Titan Quest is more polished and benefit from a mod editor. It received an Updated Re-release 10 years later and a second expansion. Both games were slammed for their disruptive Copy Protection, Starforce for Loki and Securom 7 for Titan Quest.
No More Heroes (2007) MadWorld (2010) 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.
Diablo III (2012) Torchlight II (2012) Top-down Hack and Slash games released in 2012 The 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 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 (2012) The Last of Us (2013) 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 (2013) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (2013) 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 PlatinumGames, 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 were split on 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."
Hyrule Warriors (2014) Fire Emblem Warriors (2017) Two most notable franchises of Nintendo getting a Dynasty Warriors spin-off. TBA Hyrule Warriors was universally considered the superior game even among the Fire Emblem fandom.

    Action Adventure 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Tomb Raider (1993) Uncharted (2007) 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-received 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.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006) Justice League Heroes (2006) 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.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006) Ōkami (2006) Both are Action-Adventure games with a protagonist who has been transformed into a wolf (or, in Ōkami's case, is a wolf) and must return life/light to a world corrupted by evil. Ōkami was specifically stated to be Zelda influenced, but was released months before the other game. Twilight Princess was started on first but went through development hell, so Ōkami beat it into stores. Also, the majority of Ōkami heavily focused on a paintbrush mechanic. While Twilight Princess, like previous Zelda games, takes place in a Medieval European Fantasy setting that also incorporates many elements from pre-modern Japan, Ōkami takes place entirely in a mythological ancient Japan. Both have been rated in the high 90s, but Twilight Princess sold nearly 7 million units, making it either the second or third best-selling game in the series. Ōkami, unfortunately, didn't even sell a full million units, even when combining both PlayStation 2 and Wii sales, and caused Clover Studio to go out of business (though Capcom saw its Cult Classic reputation as enough to warrant ports for the Wii And PlayStation 3, as well as a DS sequel, nevertheless).
Lord of Arcana (2011) God Eater Burst (2011) Multiplayer Action-Adventure games on the PlayStation Portable Both games take cues from the Monster Hunter series, but God Eater's inspiration seems to show much more clearly. God Eater won easily in the long run, spawning a sequel and an animated series.
The Last Guardian (2016) Scalebound (2017) Both are Action-Adventure games developed in Japan by Team Ico and PlatinumGames exclusively for Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One respectively. Both games have a human protagonist accompanied by a Cool Pet (a griffin and a dragon respectively). The Last Guardian was announced in 2009, originally for the PlayStation 3, before getting stuck in development hell. Scalebound was announced in 2014, but there was no information about it for a year afterwards. The main difference between them is that Scalebound is much more action oriented than The Last Guardian. The Last Guardian, by default. Upon release, the game saw good reviews from both the critics and public. Scalebound wasn't quite so lucky, as early into January 2017, Microsoft announced the game's cancellation.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017) Horizon Zero Dawn (2017) Both are post-apocalyptic open world games marketed with protagonists using archery, released in the same week of 2017 Breath of the Wild was the latest entry in the long running The Legend of Zelda series, being both a launch title on the Nintendo Switch and the final first-party game on the Wii U. Horizon is an original IP on the PlayStation 4, the most popular console of the generation. Both games sold very well and received positive reviews, but Breath of the Wild quickly became one the best-selling launch titles in Nintendo's history, a Killer App for the Switch, and was almost immediately hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time, receiving numerous perfect scores. That said, Horizon did pretty well for itself, scoring very solid reviews and sales, even managing to outsell BOTW in the UK and generally selling around the same amount as both versions of Breath of the Wild combined.
Monster Hunter: World (2018) God Eater 3 (2018) Both are the latest installments of hit multiplayer "hunting" games coming out to PC and modern consoles. Monster Hunter started the genre while God Eater tends to follow closely in its footsteps. Both have started to differentiate from each other in recent years with these installments being the most different. Monster Hunter World adds a number of changes and improvements in an attempt to make the series bigger in the west, meanwhile God Eater 3 looks to be focusing more on their core fanbase that the game has amassed over the years. Monster Hunter World has already launched on consoles (with PC to follow in the fall) and has already met its goal of making the series huge in the West. God Eater 3 however has yet to be released. Whether the changes that Monster Hunter World made to appeal to the West will help it retain its lead, or whether its success will act as a gateway for other games in the genre such as God Eater 3 to also succeed in the region is yet to be determined.

    Adventure Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Leisure Suit Larry (1987) Les Manley (1990) 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.
The 7th Guest (1993) Myst (1993) 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 (1993) Blue Force (1993) 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. Both games sold poorly, but Police Quest wins on a technicality due to being better remembered thanks to its esteemed predecessors, and the series survived for two more In Name Only installments, giving birth to the More Popular Spin-Off SWAT. Blue Force is almost completely forgotten.
D (1995) Phantasmagoria (1995) Controversial FMV horror adventure games released in 1995 starring a young woman exploring a haunted mansion to discover the truth of why one of her loved ones have suddenly become violent and murderous. Phantasmagoria used live actors and green screen while D used pre-rendered 3D-models and enviroments. Phantasmagoria used a traditional point-and-click interface while D used a first-person perspective similar to Myst. Both also had a fairly unprecedented amout of violence and gore for a video game at the time. Phantasmagoria is more well-known but is also frequently cited as an example of everything wrong with FMV games. D is much more obscure outside its native Japan, but has a bit of a cult following and its reputation increased somewhat after the death of its creator Kenji Eno.

    Beat 'em Up 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Final Fight (1989) Streets of Rage (1991)

Rushing Beat (aka Rival Turf!, Brawl Brothers and The Peace Keepers) (1992)
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.
Arabian Magic (1992) Arabian Fight (1992) Four-player Beat Em Ups set in "Arabian Nights" Days and released to arcades in 1992. Taito's Arabian Magic and Sega's Arabian Fight were both produced on 32-bit arcade hardware (albeit 2-D evolutions of earlier 16-bit systems). Arabian Fight used the somewhat unusual effect of having character sprites zoom as they walk. Neither game seems to have been popular at the time, and no console ports were produced. Retro critics have found little in Arabian Fight's favor; unlike Arabian Magic, it has never appeared on a Compilation Rerelease.
Golden Axe (1989) Knights of the Round (1991) Sword-themed Beat 'em Up with ridable mounts released for the arcade in the early '90 era. Both games let you choose between three warriors with various strengths and weaknesses. While Golden Axe is set in a Sword & Sorcery world, Knights of The Round is closer to Arthurian legends with many liberties taken with the myths. Golden Axe allows you to damage all enemies on-screen with magic while Knights of The Round give you a special attack. Both games allows you to choose between 3 characters. Knights of The Round is the superior game with better graphics, the ability to play with all three characters simultaneously instead of two. Its gameplay mechanics were more sophisticated with blocking, RPG Elements, a more varied enemy roster and bosses. However, Golden Axe was the more memorable game with more sequels, spin-offs and Port Overdosed. The mounts in Golden Axe came with their own unique abilities, the music was more engaging and the characters were more remembered today.
Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara (1996) Guardian Heroes (1996) 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.
Die Hard Arcade (1996) Fighting Force (1997) 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 (2005) Urban Reign (2005) 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.

    Flight Sim/Flight Shooter 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Wing Commander (1990) The X-Wing/TIE Fighter series (1993)

The FreeSpace series (1998)
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 series (1992) Sidewinder (1996)

Air Force Delta (1999)
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. The first Sidewinder was released one year after the first console Ace Combat and attempted to distinguish itself with somewhat more realistic elements. Ace Combat is still producing sequels while Airforce Delta had one sequel early into the life of the Xbox and one more on PlayStation 2 before being dropped. Sidewinder had some success in its native Japan and saw four sequels, but failed to catch on in the west and eventually faded into obscurity.
Star Fox (1993) Cybermorph (1993)

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (SNES/32X versions) (1994)
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.
Ace Combat series (1992) H.A.W.X. series (2009) 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: Fires of Liberation 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 Xbox 360-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 (1995) Warhawk (1995) Arcade-style flight combat games released in 1995 for the PlayStation. Air Combat is set in the present; Warhawk is set in the future. Air Combat, while not a port or sharing any assets, is directly related by developer to the 1992 arcade game of the same name and its own sequel Air Combat 22 from earlier in 1995, while Warhawk is a PlayStation exclusive that has no ties beyond the name to the 1986 arcade game. Air Combat spawned the successful Ace Combat series with 16 sequels and spinoffs. Warhawk didn't receive a new game until 2007 for the PS3, which was critically well-received but commercially unsuccessful.
Aces High (2000) War Thunder (2012) Massively Multiplayer online air-combat simulators. Although 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. War Thunder, which arrived on the scene much more recently, takes a different track with its "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. War Thunder 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.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (2009) Heroes Over Europe (2009) 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 on PC with the rest of the Il-2 Sturmovik series) and a cult fanbase, whereas Heroes Over Europe tanked at retail and had a tepid critical reception.
Elite Dangerous (2014) Star Citizen (2017)

No Man's Sky (2016)
Open-world space-simulator sandbox games Elite: Dangerous released in the fall of 2014, while Star Citizen is in open alpha as of winter 2015/2016. 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 as far as the developers are concerned, 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. Likewise, No Man's Sky promised to be an open-world space-simulator sandbox, with a larger emphasis on exploration. While it's still too early to tell, ED is still going strong, especially with the reveal of the existence of an alien civilization in 2017 and the beginning of a large community event to initiate contact with it. SC is still in alpha stage with still no clear release date in sight, with fans worried the game will never fully release due to the features the developers keep adding in. NMS stumbled and fell right out of the gate at release when it was revealed the full game did not have nearly as many features as the developers had promised, although work has been made to fix its varying issues in the years since.

    Light Gun Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Laser Ghost (Sega) (1989) Beast Busters (SNK) (1989) and Crypt Killer (Konami) (1995) Three of the first light gun arcade cabinets to allow up to three players simultaneously, against hordes of horror creatures, released at around the same time. Both Laser Ghost and Beast Busters are set in a random American town, overrun by ghosts and zombies respectively, while Crypt Killer is set around the world where three explorers attempt to defeat creatures to receive a treasure; the former has a more cartoonish tone but all three are inspired by Western horror B-movies with the latter being inspired by Indiana Jones. Neither game became especially famous, and all three are mostly forgotten today. Laser Ghost received a Sega Master System port in 1991, which however wasn't a direct remake of the arcade. Beast Busters received three sequels in the span of 25 years, but one had pretty much nothing to do with it, another one was made for the failed Neo Geo 64 system and as such never received much attention, and the last one was a smartphone app that lasted barely a year. Crypt Killer received PlayStation and Sega Saturn ports and it had no sequel whatsoever. Technically BB wins, but good luck finding anyone who has ever heard of it.
Lethal Enforcers (Konami) (1992) Virtua Cop (Sega) (1994) and Time Crisis (Namco) (1995) Original light gun games that have some "saving the day from terrorist/criminals" plot. Virtua Cop and Time Crisis use systems to allow the player to hide out of the way of incoming fire, while Lethal Enforcers does not. Lethal Enforcers fell off the map, despite a few sequels (and one aimed at Time CrisisPolice 911), Virtua Cop probably enjoys the nostalgic value and comes in a close second to Time Crisis, since the last game was released in early the 2000s and it did receive three sequels (one short of Time Crisis' four) and a remake. Time Crisis is the winner here, getting four sequels, and you're most likely to find it out of the three (in any incarnation) in a given arcade (or in bigger arcades, you'll find that the Time Crisis machines outnumber Virtua Cop machines two to one).
House of the Dead (Sega) (1996) CarnEvil (Midway) (1998) 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 major arcade hits, in fact) it had no sequel and has never been ported to a home system. House of the Dead proved to be a massive hit in arcades and has become one of Sega's biggest franchises with three arcade sequels, all ported to at least one home system, eight spinoff games, and two (awful!) film adaptations.
Silent Scope (1999) Golgo 13 (1999) 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 (perhaps because it was based on a a manga series which at the time was barely known oustide of Japan).
Time Crisis (Namco) (1995) Johnny Nero Action Hero (ICE/Play Mechanix) (2004) Action-themed Light Gun Games that hit arcades in the early 2000s with similar gameplay. Time Crisis played its terrorism theme somewhat straight (emphasis on "somewhat"), while Johnny Nero Action Hero dropped all pretenses and went with hilariously Comic Book-themed action-comedy with aliens, mummies, and wild west zombies/ghosts. While Johnny Nero Action Hero was a moderate hit (despite the arcades declining in America due to the rise of First Person Shooters, in fact) it had no sequel, has never been ported to a home system, achieved a small "Cult Classic" status, and was a kit-only game. Time Crisis proved to be a massive hit in arcades and has become one of Namco's biggest franchises with four arcade sequels, all ported to at least one home system, and six spinoff games.

Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Active Worlds (1995) Second Life (2003) Virtual words inspired by The Metaverse from Snow Crash Active Worlds uses a subscription model. Second Life is built around a virtual economy. Active Worlds actually predates Second Life by eight 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.
Everquest 2 (2004) World of Warcraft (2004) High fantasy MMORPGs The 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.
Second Life (2003) IMVU (2004)

PlayStation Home (2008)

Small Worlds (2008)

Google Lively (2008), 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 (and advertiser-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, the largest user base, and overall, the most success, though it's also 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, but its fortunes quietly improved with those of Sony's console. By the time it was announced that it would be shutting down in 2015 (with the PlayStation 3 on its way out), one observer called it "Sony's most successful failure" in how it continued to build a dedicated fanbase despite being mocked and all but forgotten initially. The other games have seen varying degrees of success, though most of them still live in Second Life's shadow.
City of Heroes/City of Villains (2004) Champions Online (2009) Superhero MMORPGs Both 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.
World of Warcraft (2004) Final Fantasy XIV (2010) A Hotbar-based MMO that runs on monthly subscriptions and puts out constant content updates. WoW is one of the oldest and remains the most popular MMORPG on the market right now, more than fifteen 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 version of FFXIV, the game may as well not exist considering that it was the laughing stock of MMOs while WoW is still a juggernaut of the genre as a whole. After FFXIV 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 12 million 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. By the time that Shadowbringers launched to critical acclaim that even hit the mainstream gaming press (A rarity in the MMO market), Final Fantasy XIV is at the status of genuinely threatening WoW's success and reputation as the most successful MMO ever, while schisms between WoW's development and gameplay decisions are starting to create sour feelings towards the game — and leading many to trying FFXIV as an alternative, meaning for the first time a competitor game may genuinely start getting a leg up on World of Warcraft. By the time of WoW's 9.1 patch, and FFXIV's incoming Endwalker expansion, this finally passed the tipping point with multiple major names in the Warcraft community leaving the game in favor of XIV, causing an explosive growth in the game's playebase while WoW hemhorrages them. In other words, XIV has succeeded at Defeating the Undefeatable, and looks poised to take WoW's title as the best MMO ever.
Pet Society (2008) Pet Ville (2009) 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 (2011) Guild Wars 2 (2012) 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 Tanks (2011) War Thunder (2012) Vehicular Combat MMO with focus on World War II and early Cold War tanks. World of Tanks was the first on the scene, with more focus on competitive gameplay, while War Thunder was more of a Follow the Leader but initially focused more on aircraft. With the latest updates however, tanks are also becoming a big focus. When compared to each other, World of Tanks has a more arcade-like feel while War Thunder focuses heavily on realism, though both games have lots of Shown Their Work between them. Currently, World of Tanks has a larger fanbase and more publicity (to the point that google searches make mention of it pretty often). However, War Thunder itself has found success by mixing tank and aircraft gameplay to offer the experience of combined arms warfare. That said, the ground vehicles are a relatively new update to War Thunder so it may still catch up to World of Tanks.
World of Tanks (2011) Armored Warfare (2015) Vehicular Combat MMO. Both games focus on competitive PvP matches and share similar game mechanics. World of Tanks has vehicles dating from World War II and the early Cold War era while Armored Warfare has vehicles from the Cold War and Post-Cold War Era. However, Armored Warfare has additional co-op missions and a more fast-paced combat (even their slowest vehicles are faster than their World of Tanks counterparts). Even with some creative liberties taken, both games have lots of Shown Their Work between them. Currently, World of Tanks has a larger fanbase and has more publicity by virtue of being around for much longer. However, Armored Warfare has gained a sizable fanbase with many praising the game for correcting many combat imbalances of World of Tanks while providing an accessible experience for both hardcore and casual players. Since Armored Warfare is still in open beta phase, it still may continue to develop and can become a worthy rival to World of Tanks. However, as of 2017, Armored Warfare has seen a general decline in playerbase due to its own balance issues, and hasn't really succeeded in putting a dent into World of Tank's own playerbase.
World of Warships (2015) War Thunder (2012) Vehicular Combat MMO with a focus on World War II naval warships. Similar to its predecessor World of Tanks which focuses solely on tank combat, World of Warships focuses solely on naval combat. On the other hand, War Thunder is focusing on its combined arms gameplay where players can battle on land and in the air simultaneously, and as of 2016, have announced that they will be adding a naval aspect to the game as well. Still too early to tell since the naval features haven't been fully released in War Thunder yet, but the developers of War Thunder have explicitly stated that for balance reasons, players will not be able to control full fledged warships, but will instead be limited only to smaller patrol and torpedo boats. This would most likely limit War Thunder's ability to directly compete with World of Warships.
City of Titans (2018) Valiance Online (TBA), Heroes and Villains (TBA), Ship of Heroes (TBA) Independently made Superhero MMOs made by Promoted Fanboys to fill the void left by the cancellation of City of Heroes. City of Titans was the first to start, having hit Kickstarter in 2013 to fund its development and raised over double what they asked for. Valiance Online followed soon after. Heroes and Villains was created after Titans dev Golden Girl split over Creative Differences and started her own game. Ship of Heroes was the last to be announced. City of Titans aims to be a successor while also creating its own identity and mythos, and new gameplay mechanics to stand on its own. Valiance Online has a heavier sci-fi element, being set in 22nd century California. Heroes and Villains essentially aims to be a replacement for City of Heroes by being as close to it as possible. Ship of Heroes takes place in space. TBA, though of the four, Titans and Valiance are the frontrunners for having been in development the longest.
Final Fantasy XIV (2010) Phantasy Star Online 2 (2012) MMORPG titles based on long-running JRPG series that, at one point, competed with one another on opposing consoles (Nintendo for Final Fantasy and Sega for Phantasy Star). At the time that PSO2 launched, the original iteration of FFXIV was four months from being shut down, having been an abysmal failure. Eventually, FFXIV relaunched as A Realm Reborn and proved to be much more successful than its predecessor. FFXIV, by merit of being an international smash hit following its relaunch with thousands of players subscribed, critical acclaim, and financial success that pulled Square Enix back from the brink of financial ruin. PSO2, on the other hand, is a decent free-to-play game in its own right, but has been hampered by having never been officially released outside of Japan (not counting the abysmal SEA version that made FFXIV 1.0 look like a masterpiece in comparison) and the western release for the game teased in 2012 never so much as being mentioned again until 2019. The game finally received its western release in 2020, but by this point, FFXIV's successes have far eclipsed it.

    Party Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Itadaki Street (aka Fortune Street, Boom Street) (1991) Mario Party (1998) Party Game series featuring video game mascots (including Super Mario Bros. characters 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 Bros. 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.
Mario Party (1998) Sonic Shuffle (2000) Two games involving the then-new party game genre, and both were developed by Hudson Soft. Mario Party, of course, features Mario and his friends, and the gimmick with their board play involves rolling dice and collecting enough coins to earn Stars. Whoever has the most Stars after a set number of turns wins. Sonic Shuffle was a Dreamcast-exclusive, and used cards that then determined how many spaces Sonic and his friends could move, plus they could move in multiple directions. There were seven stones, and all of them had to be collected for the game to end; again, player with the most stones wins. Mario's series originally had the option of playing 20, 35, or 50 turns, with a Mini-Game played at the end of each turn. Listing all the details would require its own page, but Big Bad Bowser acted as a Whammy on the board with his space. You originally had to play a game and then purchase it, but after two games, they were unlocked upon first play. Sonic, on the other hand, had no Whammy spaces with that series' Big Bad Dr. Eggman, who instead had his own card with a roulette of doom shuffled into the deck. Mini-Games could only be played by landing on the Mini-Game space, which also handed out Mini-Events, though "Accident" Mini-Games and a board ending game also came with the package. Mario Party by several miles. The first game did have an infamous control stick gimmick with a few of its games that actually required Nintendo to hand out gloves when people started tearing their hands; that scheme was eliminated from future games and the original game was never reissued as a result, but otherwise, it started a long series of games that is a regular franchise for Nintendo, though it's far from being without its detractors (the Game Informer magazine editors hate almost all of these games with a passion, the exception being Mario Party 6 due to its Mic Mini-Games). Sonic Shuffle got dealt negative press immediately due to being on a dying system and Hudson unwittingly enforcing The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard trope on it; the game's A.I. was very difficult to deal with no matter what skill level you were on (a recurring problem for SEGA games in the 2000s) and were smart enough to possibly require Save Scumming to beat the game's story mode, plus Mini-Games could not be played in a Mini-Game only mode without unlocking it first, plus there were a few glitches. G4 called this game a "spectacular failure" in 2003, and the game's lukewarm reception sent any ideas of a ''Sonic Shuffle'' series deep into the ocean. This is one of the few Sonic games prior to SEGA leaving the console race to never get reissued on future consoles; if one wishes to play it, they will need the disc and a Dreamcast (same rules apply for the first Mario Party; that one requires its cartridge and a Nintendo 64).

    Puzzle Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Boulder Dash (1984) Repton (1985) 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.
Tetris (Game Boy) (1989) Columns (1990) Simple to play but highly addictive games based on Falling Blocks. Though neither was 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, with licenses being distributed to various developers by The Tetris Company (though Nintendo has released installments 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). Columns had numerous smaller-scale releases throughout the 90s, many of which did not even leave Japan, but was ultimately relegated to re-releases after Sega began to fully utilize the far-more-popular Puyo Puyo series that they acquired in 1998.
Puyo Puyo~n (1999) Magical Drop F (1999) 4th mainline entries in competition-based arcade series, released exclusively for consoles in 1999, that mostly ditches Super-Deformed character art and experiments with field-clearing Limit Breaks. Two fundamentally different puzzle games (Puyo Puyo is a Falling Blocks game, Magical Drop is a "grab and toss" sorting game) with near-identical premises, created by two companies desperate for a hit.note  Puyo Puyo~n released first, with Magical Drop F coming seven months later. Puyo Puyo~n "wins," if only due to the legacy of Puyo Puyo compared to Magical Drop. Both games are generally agreed to have suffered hard from Sequelitis, and neither developer lasted beyond early 2004. Puyo Puyo ultimately regained its former glory thanks to a Retool by Sega; Magical Drop didn't get a major sequel until 2012, which also had a mixed reception and appears to have killed both the franchise and the indie team that developed it.
Lumines (2004) Meteos (2005) 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.
Crush the Castle (2009) Angry Birds (2009) 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 Pack". Angry Birds has over eight games and is a Cash Cow Franchise.
Angry Birds (2009) Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas (2010) 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.
Angry Birds (2009) Flappy Bird (2013) 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, its 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.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter (2011) Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights (2011) 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/Nintendo 3DS.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (2012) Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure (2012) 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. Rhythm Thief sold poorly despite positive reviews, so Layton wins again.
Tetris Effect (2018) Tetris 99 (2019) The PlayStation 4 gets a console-exclusive Tetris game. Not to be outdone, three months later, the Nintendo Switch gets one too. Tetris Effect is focused on the visual effects, has a large soundtrack, and has gameplay centered on single-player with rule variants. Tetris 99 is pretty minimal in visual presentation, has a much more limited selection of skins and music, and sticks to traditional Tetris gameplay but with 99 people playing at once under a Battle Royale system, as popularized by games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite. With the dust settled, Tetris 99 has become a Killer App for the Nintendo Switch Online service and the latest big splash onto the battle royale genre, with monthly events and crossovers with Nintendo franchises. Tetris Effect, though still very much respected and a great seller for the PlayStation VR, couldn't quite gather quite the tremendous momentum Tetris 99 did. This was quite the Dark Horse Victory, considering Sony aggressively hyped Tetris Effect for months whereas Tetris 99 had Invisible Advertising, released on the day it was announced.

    Real Time Strategy 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Command & Conquer series (1995) Starcraft series (1998) 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 the 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, leading to a victory for Blizzard's Starcraft.
Total Annihilation (1997) Starcraft (1998) 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 one of the most influential video games of all time; in addition to shaping the future of RTS, it basically invented eSports as we know it. It has not one but two South Korean cable channels devoted to it exclusively. Total Annihilation, for its part, also sold well, spawned an independent remake, two Spiritual Sequels in Supreme Commander and Planetary Annihilation, and still has fans producing Game Mods to this day. It was, in short, a successful video game. It's just that it has the bad luck of being compared with StarCraft, which is less a videogame and more a globe-spanning cultural force.
Age of Empires (1997) Empire Earth (2001)

Rise of Nations (2003)
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.
Star Wars Force Commander (2000) Star Trek: Armada (2000) 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).
Pikmin (2001) Overlord (2007) 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 (2003) Demigod (2009)

League of Legends (2009)

Heroes of Newerth (2010)

DotA 2 (2013)

Smite (2014)

Heroes of the Storm (2015)
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games. DotA is a hit Game Mod for Warcraft III which popularized the genre; the other six, listed in order of release, are the various "professional" attempts to cash in on it. DotA, LoL, Smite and HoTS are free to play; Demigod must be purchased. Newerth switched to Free-to-Play midway of its run. LoL, HoN and Dota 2 all (claim to) have at least one member of the original DotA staff working on the game. Smite offers a third person view gameplay akin to MMORPG unlike the others, which all display the action from an isometric perspective. HoTS gathers prominent characters from various Blizzard franchises. It's also the only game in the franchise defying the "They Changed It, So It Sucks" attitude that often dogs the MOBA subgenre. We have several distinct losers. Demigod was hamstrung from the start by an anemic roster of heroes; HotS had its development team scaled down, and its competitive circuit entirely canceled, at the end of 2018, part of a perceived Dork Age from Blizzard Entertainment in general, but the game continued to be under development for quick, casual games with some indie groups hosting their own tournaments. Newerth, which tried to capitalize on the (admittedly huge) crop of "Stop Having Fun" Guys from DotA, essentially settled for being a Cult Classic for a time, but stopped updating at 2019 and then closed down in mid 2022 (but this made them a MOBA that lasted the longest amongst dead MOBAs), surprisingly while Heroes of the Storm is still not shut down despite Blizzard's blunders.

League of Legends ruled from 2012 to 2018 as the most-played game in the world, before being passed by first Player Unknowns Battle Grounds and then Fortnite, but Dota 2 has the old players of DotA as well as an extremely strong following and a very strong major media presence such as the International and their ludicrous prize money for winners, making it LoL's greatest rival. Smite is in third place for the unique 3rd person view (which allows them to release console versions and garner player beyond PC gamers), the mythological aspects which draws myth-buffs to them, and having pretty good publicity. But the truth is, anything could happen... and it doesn't even have to be a MOBA to do it.

    Role-Playing Game (Western) 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Ultima I (1981) Wizardry (1981) Trope 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.
Wizardry (1981) Might and Magic (1984) The 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 Wizardry 8, whereas the later 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 for many years, until an attempt at a revival with X. Time will tell if more sequels to X are released.
Ultima I (1981) The Magic Candle (1989) Top-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 & Dragons The 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 (1992) Baldur's Gate (1998) 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 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 (1997) Dungeons of Dredmor (2011)

Tales of Maj'Eyal (2012)
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.
Dragon Age II (2011) The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011) Sequels to Western RPGs set in a Dark Fantasy setting with lots of Black-and-Gray Morality. The Witcher is focused on one pre-set main character, while Dragon Age utilizes a customizable protagonist and party-based gameplay. Both games were well-received with good critical reviews — the Witcher 2 more so than Dragon age II — but did have some hurdles. Many fans were disappointed with the different direction that Dragon Age II took, while Witcher 2 faced some criticism for a few bugs and flaws until they were patched out.
Wasteland 2 (2014) Fallout 4 (2015) Sequels to western rpgs set in a Post-Apocalyptic United States. Wasteland 2 is played as an Isometric CRPG with a turn-based combat system similar to Fallout 1 and 2. Like Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Fallout 4 is an action RPG that can be played in a first or third person perspective. Ironically, Wasteland 2 is made by many of the people (Director/Producer included) who worked on Fallout 1 and 2. They created Fallout as a Spiritual Successor to Wasteland because they couldn't get the rights from Electronic Arts at that time. Now a lot of Fallout veterans see Wasteland 2 as a Spiritual Successor to the first two Fallout games. Fallout 4 by a landslide. While Wasteland 2 was hailed as a great old school CRPG, Fallout 4 got better reviews and sold about 12 million units in its first week.
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) The third installments in Western RPG series set in a Dark Fantasy setting with lots of Black-and-Gray Morality. The worlds in both games are much, much larger this time around. Same as above. Both games have received high critical and commercial acclaim—with Wild Hunt inching out in reviews and with many more awards.
Pillars of Eternity (2015) Torment: Tides of Numenera (2017) Isometric CRPGs crowdfunded mainly on Kickstarter, intended as Genre Throwbacks to the Interplay Entertainment/Black Isle Studios era of Dungeons & Dragons-based games, particularly Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. The two games share some of the same devs, including Chris Avellone, who previously worked at Black Isle, and both studios encouraged their fans to donate to each other's Kickstarters. Torment is based on Monte Cook's Numenera setting and ruleset, while Pillars uses a homegrown but clearly D&D-inspired setting and system. Torment earned slightly more from its crowdfunding efforts ($4.5 million to Pillars' $4.3 million), but Pillars released first in March 2015 to rave reviews (89/100 on Metacritic), had sold half a million copies by October, and already has a sequel, Deadfire, released in 2018. Torment released in January 2017 to similarly strong critical response (82/100 Metacritic).
Bionicle Masks Of Power (2016) Bionicle Quest For Mata Nui (2020)

BIONICLE: the Legend of Mata Nui REBUILT (2019)
BIONICLE fan games recreating the 2001 saga. Masks of Power and Quest for Mata Nui are both Action RPGs, with Masks focusing more on exploration and Quest focusing more on combat. Legend of Mata Nui REBUILT is a Fan Remake of the highly publicized yet ultimately canceled tie-in game of the same name. Too early to tell.
Horizon Zero Dawn (2017) Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017) Open-world WRPGs with a strong sci-fi bent, which were both released in Spring 2017. Despite Horizon taking place After the End, and Andromeda being a Space Opera, they shared a lot of similar story and gameplay elements, in particular the widespread presence of ancient, hostile machine enemies, and exploring high-tech underground installations. Horizon wins this one rather handily, being regarded as one of the best PS4 games to date, and getting strong sales figures. Andromeda received a So Okay, It's Average reaction from critics, a massive backlash from gamers due to its Obvious Beta status and various other shortcomings.
Fallout 76 (2018) The Outer Worlds (2019) Action RPGs set in Punk Punk dystopias. Fallout 76, developed and published by Bethesda Softworks, is an online multiplayer prequel to the Fallout series, set on an Atom Punk post-nuclear Earth. The Outer Worlds, developed by Obsidian Entertainment (developers of Fallout: New Vegas and descended from Fallout creator Black Isle Studios) and published by Private Division, is a Raygun Gothic single-player RPG set in a faraway Mega-Corp-ridden space colony, and is largely a satire of laissez-faire capitalism run amok. Fallout 76 was heavily criticized for rampant bugs, lack of plot, and abuse of microtransactions and an expensive premium service (also heavily bugged) (49-52/100 on Metacritic). It also sold fewer copies than either preceding Fallout game. The Outer Worlds drew some flak pre-launch due to the PC version not being available on Steam for the first yearnote , but managed one of the smoothest launches of any Obsidian game to date and has much higher review scores (81-86/100 on Metacritic). Amusingly, this rivalry became somewhat moot after both Obsidian and Bethesda became part of Xbox Game Studios.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous (2021) Baldur's Gate III (2022?) Fantasy isometric RPGs based on the d20 System. WOTR, developed by Owlcat Games, is the sequel to 2018's Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and an Adaptation Expansion of the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path for D&D 3.5E derivative Pathfinder. BG3, developed by Larian Studios, is a Distant Sequel to Baldur's Gate II and uses Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Both use Turn-Based Combat and were partly financed via Kickstarter. Too early to tell at time of writing. WOTR's launch received praise for its story and character writing but was marred by a massive number of gameplay bugs; the game was also criticized for its extreme difficulty tuning. BG3 is still in Early Access, its full release having been delayed several months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

    Rhythm Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
DanceDanceRevolution (1998) Pump It Up (1999) Rhythm 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. Both of the latest releases (DDR 2013 and PIU Prime) have switched to a patch-based form of updating (gaining new content every few months but otherwise staying the same game): as before, Konami started it first, but Prime has consistent updates each month, so the duel lives on. Oddly enough, Konami actually made a short-lived Pump clone as a pop'n music spin-off.
beatmania (1997) DJMAX (2004) 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.
BEMANI (1997) Guitar Hero (2005)

Rock Band (2007)
Rhythm games that require special instrument controllers. Rock 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 RedOctane 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.
DanceDanceRevolution (1998) In the Groove (2004) Rhythm games in which the player steps on panels as instructed by on-screen arrows. DanceDanceRevolution 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.
Guitar Hero pre-World Tour (2005) Rock Band (2007) Rhythm 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 were released as less frequent DLC, along with Mission Pack Sequels. See below.
Rock Band (2007) Guitar Hero post-World Tour (2008) Rhythm games wherein 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. Ultimately, there were no winners. 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. It's unknown which series did better financially — while Guitar Hero generally sold more copies, Rock Band also sold respectably well and its staggering amount of DLC did well enough that new songs were added on a weekly basis for about five years. Of the two series, Rock Band was generally far better received both by critics and fans. Though in 2015, this changed... See below.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString (2010) Rock Band 3 (2010) Rhythm 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.
Just Dance (2009) Dance Central (2010) Rhythm 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, and was the first full-body dancing console game released (whereas Just Dance initially required the player to hold the Wiimote in one hand; the series was later adapted for Kinect beginning with Just Dance 3, thus supporting full-body motion as well). 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; Dance Central Spotlight changes this by including eight routines for every song). Also, the difficulty for the dance routines in Just Dance are on average easier. Just Dance is pretty much the only motion-control dance game franchise left today which still churns out titles year by year, so despite all the love Dance Central ever gets (even if Dance Central Spotlight, the last entry, often gets criticized), Just Dance is the clear winner.
Dance Central (2010) Dance Masters (a.k.a. Dance Evolution) (2010) Rhythm games that require you to dance. Dance Central involves actual dancing while DanceMasters 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.
Aikatsu! (2012) PriPara (2014) Arcade games for young girls that focus on idols. It should be noted that while Aikatsu! had no predecessors, PriPara is a spin-off of Pretty Rhythm, sharing some elements with that series. Aikatsu! did pretty well in its first two years, making 13 billion yen. When PriPara came out, it became more popular than Aikatsu and made 7 billion yen in its first year, increasing to twice that amount by 2016. Its popularity led to the release of a boatload of spin-offs, including four movies, two musicals, and multiple sold-out events. Ratings-wise, Aikatsu! got 5 million viewers per episode and appeared in the list of top 10 anime shows of the week multiple times pre-Akari Generation as ratings decreased, while PriPara averaged 2 million viewers an episode. PriPara won out in the end as it was more successful.
Rock Band 4 (2015) Guitar Hero Live (2015) Resurrected music games wherein you play songs by using plastic instruments, both due for a late 2015 release. Rock Band 4 has the classic five button gameplay, allows transfer of most previous DLC and disc songs, and is intended to be a "platform" for all future updates through patches and further downloadable content rather than creating entirely new sequels. Live returns to guitar-only gameplay with a new, six button (three rows of three) controller. Due to changes in the gameplay system, previous songs, both on-disc and DLC, cannot be transferred to Live. The Guitar Hero TV system seems intended to provide a better downloadable content experience to compete with Rock Band's. Rock Band 4 got the better reviews, but Guitar Hero Live sold more copies. Both games earned an 80 on Metacritic, despite weak reviews for the on-disc setlists. However, Rock Band 4 is still getting new DLC tracks as of December 2018 while Guitar Hero Live's GH TV has been discontinued.
Idol Paradise (2014) Tokyo 7th Sisters

IDOL-RISM (2014)

Idol Chronicle (2015)

Aikatsu! Photo on Stage!! (2016)

8 Beat Story (2016)

Idol Connect -Asterisk Live- (2016)
Mobile female idol rhythm games which follows the success of Love Live! School Idol Festival and The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls. Idol Paradise relies on GPS as a method to scout for idols. Tokyo 7th Sisters has weekly events which has only breaks during maintenance. IDOL-RISM is the only idol game which has idols of both genders. Idol Chronicle has a relatively unique gimmick of having fixed characters and uses equipable clothing and accessories instead. Aikatsu Photo On Stage is an adaptation of a formerly existing game series. 8 Beat Story has a unique system where characters can only evolve after maxing affections instead of levels or having duplicate copies in other rhythm games. Idol Connect -Asterisk Live- is more or less a clone of The Idolm@aster Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage, except with an addition of a fan system. IDOL-RISM, Idol Chronicle and Idol Connect have shut down, with the latter lasted for a mere 3 months. Idol Paradise is unknown outside Japan thanks to its GPS mechanic preventing foreign players from playing. Aikatsu Photo On Stage is doing relatively well, but considering that the parent series has dead, its long term survival is in doubt (though having contents from Aikatsu Stars! helped). 8 Beat Story has just released on May 2016, which has seen some potential (with a live a mere four months after release) but its popularity is relatively small. Thus, the winner goes to Tokyo 7th Sisters, which had a dedicated Comiket booth twice and two live concerts.
Just Shapes & Beats (2018) Project Arrhythmia (2019) Hybrid Rhythm/Action games where the player plays a monochromatic shape that has to avoid other monochromatic shapes that move to the beat.   TBD. Just Shapes and Beats was critically acclaimed and was very well received by critics and fans alike. Project Arrythmia has yet to be released.

Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
MechWarrior (1989) Star Siege (1999) Real Robot Humongous Mecha simulators Dynamix, the creators of Starsiege, developed the very first Mechwarrior game before working on their own mech game. Mechwarrior. While the Starsiege games were commercially successful, they couldn't match the might of Mechwarrior, which was backed by an existing tabletop game, a cartoon, and a expanded universe. Mechwarrior received 8 sequels (and is still running), numerous expansion packs and two spinoffs, whereas Starsiege had four games and two spinoffs. Starsiege did get the last laugh, as its fast-paced Tribes spinoff became enormously popular and outlived Dynamix.
Gungriffon (1996) Armored Core (1997) Console mech games with a Real Robot flavour. Armored Core is played from a third-person perspective and is heavily focused around building your own mech. Gungriffon is played from a cockpit view and casts the player as a participant in combined arms scenarios. The original installments for both series sold well in their native Japan and were critically aclaimed, but Gungriffon suffered from being released on the struggling Sega Saturn. The series ended after the poorly received Allied Strike, while Armored Core is still going strong.
Trauma Center: Under the Knife (2005) LifeSigns: Surgical Unit (2007) Combination Visual Novel and stylized surgery simulator. Lifesigns actually debuted in Japan first with its predecessor Kenshuui Tendō Dokuta in the end of 2004. Trauma Center became a very successful franchise both in Japan and abroad, totalling five installments across two hardware platforms, while Lifesigns was the final game released.

    Shoot 'em Up 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Gradius series (1985) R-Type series (1987) Shoot'em ups with lots of powerups.   Both have strong cult followings to this day, and both Gradius and R-Type had even branched out into Turn-Based Strategy RPG territory with Cosmic Wars and Gradius Arc for Gradius and R-Type Command/Tactics for R-Type.
Dodonpachi (1995) Touhou Project (1996) Bullet Hells featuring lots and lots of bullets and an Excuse Plot as per most Shoot 'em ups. The 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 Dodonpachi 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.
One (1997) Apocalypse (1998) 3D overhead shooters exclusive to the original PlayStation, exhibited side by side at E3 1997. One has more emphasis on platforming and cinematic setpieces. Apocalypse is more actioney and features Bruce Willis's likeness as its main selling point; unfinished in its original version, the game was redeveloped by Neversoft after its resemblance to One was noted. Both games were modest critical and financial successes. If you're stretching things, one could say Apocalypse had more impact, as Neversoft reused its engine for the massively successful Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series.
Geometry Wars (2003) Neon Wars (2006) 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.
Zombie Apocalypse (2009) Nation Red (2009)

Burn Zombie Burn (2009)

Dead Nation (2010)
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.

    Sports Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
FIFA Soccer (1993) Pro Evolution Soccer (2001) Long running soccer game series. The samurai vs. knight of soccer games. Since their debut in the mid-90s, 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), although PES received well for its superior gameplay over their competitor.
NHL Hockey NHL 2K Realistic 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 (1996) NBA Hangtime (1996) 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.
Cool Boarders (1996) 1080° Snowboarding (1998)

SSX (2000)

Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding (2001)
"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 afterward due to oversaturation, even with boldly strange titles like Amped3. SSX is the only franchise to have survived and produced more installments since then.
1080° Snowboarding (1998) Snowboard Kids (1998) Two snowboarding games come out for the Nintendo 64 almost simultaneously. Though 1080° Snowboarding was developed first, Snowboard Kids had a substantially shorter production cycle and actually beat 1080 to release by a few weeks. One crucial difference is that 1080 is focused on realistic snowboarding and executing tricks, but Snowboard Kids is essentially a kart racer with snowboarding physics, with very stylized character design and surreal settings, and a focus on the racing aspect. Though Snowboard Kids was briefly able to take 1080's thunder due to coming out first, it was quickly overshadowed by its more realistic counterpart. That being said, in the long term, 1080 was forgotten, with the very rare sequel every now and then, whereas Snowboard Kids became a Cult Classic with three sequels over the next few years before it, too, was forgotten.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999) Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (2000)

Jet Set Radio (2000)

Aggressive Inline (2002)

Evolution Skateboarding (2002)
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 its 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 RIDE screwed everything up.
Madden 2005 NFL 2K5 Realistic football simulations based on the (then upcoming) 2005 NFL season. Madden was more known for leaning more towards an arcadey-feel, while NFL 2K set out to be the most realistic football game in the market. NFL 2K5 also had the licence of ESPN and was able to use their personalities, while EA didn't have a particular network license, but it did have Al Michaels and John Madden calling the games. One of the fiercest competitions ever seen from two competing sports games. 2K Games got the upper-hand in the battle when the launch price for NFL 2K5 was $19.99, compared to Madden's $49.99 launch price. EA was fearful that Madden could be outsold by another football game. Not only did they slash the price to match 2K5, but they were able to acquire to exclusive license from the NFL and NFLPA so they would be the only video game company to make NFL games. 2005 still remains the closest instance Madden came to being outsold by a competing football game. Both are regarded as phenomenal games to this very day, with Madden winning acclaim with the revolutionary "Hit Stick" feature and a refined franchise mode, while 2K5 won acclaim for its overall presentation and focus on realism. While Madden 2005 is still fondly remembered, NFL 2K5 is still regarded by many to be the best football game of all time and the game that every Madden is measured up to even with the newest installments.
Wii Sports (2006) Kinect Sports (2010)

Sports Champions (2010)
Sports 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 controller-less 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 played catch-up, with their motion controls as optional add-ons to existing systems — the Kinect got most of the hype (in both cases, the sports games were lost in the shuffle as only one of several showcase titles).
MLB: The Show (2006-present) R.B.I. Baseball (2014-present) Licensed games for Major League Baseball. The Show is a long-running series by Sony Interactive Entertainment, and the last man standing after EA and 2K stopped producing baseball games. R.B.I. is produced and published directly by the league itself, and is the first game to bear the R.B.I. Baseball name since Tengen's R.B.I. Baseball '95 on the Sega 32X. A decisive victory for Sony's baseball sim. R.B.I. may be on more platforms, but its critical and commercial performance pales in comparison to The Show.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (starting from Proving Ground) (2007) Skate (2007) 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.
UFC 2009 Undisputed EA Sports MMA (2010) 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 online 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 had been transferred to EA Sports to create what became EA Sports UFC. If anyone is to be called a winner, it would be UFC the company.

    Stealth Game 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Metal Gear Solid (1998) Syphon Filter (1999)

Splinter Cell (2002)
Stealth-based third-person action-adventure games in which you play as a grizzled badass soldier on covert missions, untangling complicated terrorist plots with the help (or hinderance) of Mission Control. Metal Gear Solid mixes stealth gameplay and technical detail with anime tropes. Syphon Filter blended stealth and run-and-gun gameplay with its conspiracy plot. Splinter Cell was supported by techno-thriller author Tom Clancy, and was more of a pure stealth game with a slower pace than the other two, though later installments leaned into the Actionized Sequel trope. Metal Gear Solid used an isometric perspective but later games moved to a traditional third-person camera, while Syphon Filter and Splinter Cell used traditional third-person perspectives from the start. While each series was well-received and profitable, Metal Gear Solid takes first place overall. The original Metal Gear Solid is one of the most influencial games of all time, wowing critics and players with its Hollywood-like presentation and Deconstructive plot, and spawned a massive and successful series that has sold over 50 million copies in total. Splinter Cell wasn't quite as influencial, but consistanly receives high review scores and has sold over 31 million copies in total as of 2011. Syphon Filter became one of the best-selling action games on the Playstation 1 with three titles on the console, though its sales numbers and impact never matched the other two series. Metal Gear Solid remains a relevant series today, while Splinter Cell has been on hiatus since 2013's Blacklist and Syphon Filter waned after the PS1 era, eventually suffering a Franchise Killer with 2007's Logan's Shadow.

    Survival Horror 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Alone in the Dark (1992) Resident Evil (1996) In 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, the failure of the 2008 game and AitD: Illumination, a cheaply made, barely noticed In Name Only co-op shooter cash-in.
Resident Evil (1996) Silent Hill (1999) Same as above, except that Silent Hill's setting spans an entire cursed town. In contrast to Resident Evil's zombie-killing frenzy, Silent Hill features more puzzles, less monsters and a more mature and psychological storyline. For a long time, both series were relatively neck-and-neck, with us reaching the consensus that Resident Evil is, generally, more "popular" while Silent Hill is, generally, more respected as a horror series. However, Resident Evil ultimately ended up the winner by default with the release of Resident Evil 7, thanks to Konami arbitrarily cancelling Silent Hills for no reason at all and basically ceasing to give a shit about the series (unless you like pachinko machines).
Alone in the Dark (2008 reboot) Alan Wake (2010) 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.
Eternal Darkness (2002) Resident Evil remake (2002) Nintendo GameCube-exclusivenote  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 Body Horror, science fiction elements, and jump scares. Pretty much a tie. Both were well-received by critics and players alike. However it's worth noting that the REmake has been ported and rereleased several times since it came out, while Darkness's Spiritual Successor Shadow of the Eternals has failed to hit Kickstarter targets twice and is stuck in Development Hell.
Infestation: Survivor Stories (formerly The War Z) (2012) ZombiU (2012)

State of Decay (2013)

DayZ (2013)
Four Zombie Apocalypse games built heavily around survival, with players experiencing Permadeaths 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 backlash 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.
Dead by Daylight (2016) Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

Last Year: The Nightmare (2018)
Asymmetric Multiplayer horror games where players take on the role of either the killer out of a Slasher Movie, or the would-be-victims trying to survive his rampage. Dead By Daylight has a selection of original killers along with classic killers like Michael Myers from the Halloween series, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Freddy Krugger from A Nightmare on Elm Street to play as.

Friday the 13th is a licensed adaptation of the film series, boasting the involvement of special effects artist Tom Savini, composer Harry Manfredini, and actor Kane Hodder, all of whom are famous for their work on the films. Initially, the studio was working on a Spiritual Adaptation of the Friday films titled Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp (which would've dueled with the Friday game itself), but when Sean S. Cunningham (the director of the first film) saw their work, he gave them his blessing to make a licensed adaptation.

Last Year, meanwhile, was successfully funded through Kickstarter, but is currently on hold due to an IP dispute with New Line Cinema over similarities to the Friday films. The developers have continued working on it, however, and intend to release it in fall 2018 with the offending elements removed. The game also notably has a more lighthearted tone, informed more by '90s teen horror movies than the '80s slasher influences of Friday or the Torture Porn of Dead by Daylight.
Both games got similar review scores, but Dead by Daylight outlasted Friday the 13th, which ultimately wound up a victim of the legal battle between Victor Miller and Sean S. Cunningham over the rights to the Friday film series but had been losing for a while by then. Currently, Dead by Daylight manages well over ten thousand players average at any given time and over 25,000 at peak hours, while Friday the 13th had been bleeding players even before the lawsuit forced Illfonic to cease all development; these days, it's well under a thousand players even at peak hours, and at times only a few hundred.

    Tower Defense 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Dungeon Defenders (2010) Orcs Must Die! (2011) Tower 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 won out on account of its larger scope (multiplayer and multiplatform) and regular content updates.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Fire Emblem (1990) Shining Force (1992) 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 (1990) TearRing Saga (2001) 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, but is well viewed in the Fire Emblem fandom which gave it a Fan Translation.
Final Fantasy Tactics (1997) Tactics Ogre (PS1 Updated Re-release) (1997) 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.
Star Wars: Rebellion (1998) Star Trek: Birth of the Federation (1999) 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.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown(2012) Xenonauts (2012) 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 (along with a similarly lauded expansion pack, Enemy Within), although the legion of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! naysayers was inevitable. Xenonauts came out two years later to favorable reviews, though not to the degree of XCOM. XCOM also boasts a large and healthy mod community, which has helped significantly extend its shelf life to the point where Firaxis decided to start development on a sequel.
Elemental War Of Magic/Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes (2010) Eador: Masters of the Broken World (2013)

Age of Wonders 3 (2014)

Warlock 2: The Exiled (2014)
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 the abysmal failure of its first game, while Eador brings something different to the table with its "shards" of territory. The Metacritic scores between all four games have a spread of seven points between them. Age of Wonders 3 and Fallen Enchantress both led the way with 80 each, with Eador and Warlock 2 behind with 74 and 73, respectively.
Auto Chess (2019) Dota Underlords (2019)

Teamfight Tactics (2019)

Hearthstone Battlegrounds (2019)
"Autobattler" games: players buy units, place them on a grid, and have them fight against other players' armies. Auto Chess started off as a very popular Game Mod in Dota 2. Valve attempted to contact the mod's creators, Drodo Games, to collaborate with them in making a stand-alone version of the mod (similar to Dota 2's own history as a custom game in Warcraft 3), but found that they had already started work on such a project, so they made Dota Underlords in response. Dota Underlords thus started out as a nearly identical port of Auto Chess, though later patches have since caused it to become significantly different by introducing new items, heroes, alliances, and Underlord units. Teamfight Tactics is Riot's own answer to the autobattler phenomenon, featuring League of Legends characters and items. Unlike its competitors, TFT is played on a hexagon-based grid, and it is played within the League of Legends client, rather than as its own stand-alone game; this also means it does not have a mobile version, unlike the other games mentioned here. Battlegrounds, Blizzard's take, uses a simplified format with two rows on the field instead of a grid and combat using a fully turn-based attack order. It is also directly built into Hearthstone's client, and is available on both PC and mobile. The Auto Chess mobile app currently has many more downloads than Dota Underlords, in part thanks to its earlier release and less resource-intensive graphics, but its PC version is not yet available. Teamfight Tactics lacks a mobile version, but has the advantage of being integrated into the League of Legends client, making it easily accessible to that game's extremely large player base, but also making it hard to determine how popular it actually is on its own. Battlegrounds brought a lot of attention back to Hearthstone and remains a very popular gamemode among players and streamers. However, since it is built into the base game, it's also hard to know the exact numbers.

Initiator Imitators/Competitors Description Implementation Winner?
Reader Rabbit (1986)
The ClueFinders (1998)
Jump Start (1994) Edutainment 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 ClueFinders 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.
Mario Paint (1992) Art Alive (1992) Console painting programs. Even 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).
The Firemen (1994) The Ignition Factor (1994) Super Nintendo Action games where you play as fire fighters, putting out fires. Of the two, The Firemen is more cartoony, while The Ignition Factor is more grounded in reality. Both got decnt review scores at the time. The Firemen recieved a sequel fro the Playstation, whle The Ignition Factor was released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2011.
The Idolmaster (2005) Dream C Club (2009) Xbox 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.
Wii Fit (2007) EA Sports Active (2009) Fitness games for the Wii. 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 (2008) We Cheer (2008) Wii-based cheerleading games. THQ's ASCS shoots for realism, while Bandai Namco's We Cheer games take a more cartoony approach. Both games had improved second installments, but the slight critical edge goes to ASCS.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) Dragon's Dogma (2012) Wide-Open Sandbox High Fantasy Action RPGs with a large focus on dragons as an antagonistic force. Skyrim is the fifth game in the long-running Elder Scrolls series, while Dragon's Dogma was created by Japanese developer Capcom. Dragon's Dogma, however, has much in common with Western RPGs, particularly from an aesthetic standpoint. Skyrim is the very clear winner. From a critical standpoint, it's no contest: while both games were well received, Skyrim has absolutely dominated in review scores. To best illustrate this, Famitsu gave Dragon's Dogma a score of 34/40, while Skyrim was given a perfect 40/40 score, the first Western game to be given such a score. Skyrim has also enjoyed far greater longevity in the gaming zeitgeist, receiving ports, Updated Re-releases, and ports of updated re-releases to practically every console released since the game first came out with continued support. Dragon's Dogma, meanwhile, received an online multiplayer follow-up in 2015, which ran for four years and never officially launched outside of Japan, along with an upscaled port for contemporary consoles.
Katawa Shoujo (2012) Everlasting Summer (2013) Animesque freeware visual novels with romance and erotic elements, both made in the West and originated on Image Boards (4chan and the Russian iichan) roughly at the same time. Both have An Aesop: "the disabled are people too" and "don't waste your life". Summer was originally conceived as a horror game and so is more fantastical than Katawa, including elements of time travel, alternate dimensions and such. Also Summer wears its imageboard origins on its sleeve, with lots of references to Russian anon culture and in-jokes. Katawa Shoujo is way more well-known, critically acclaimed and originated several (failed) imitators. However Everlasting Summer is still very highly regarded among its smaller audience, and unlike Katawa was released on Steam. Since both games are completely free to play, questions of "winners" or "losers" are entirely academic anyway.
Fate/Grand Order (2015 (JPN), 2017 (NA)) Fire Emblem Heroes (2017) Gacha games based on two established franchises, with an overarching original story and the catch of gathering your favorite characters throughout the franchises to form a dream team as well as being playfully referred as a 'waifu simulator' using both franchises' characters. FGO was a Japanese exclusive release at first, FEH had a simultaneous global release, then FGO had its global release two months later. Because of this, the FGO NA players actually are given insight on what to come next in order to prepare their savings. A very tight tie for a long time. Both Aniplex and Nintendo gave these games heavy attention, whereas Aniplex caused the game to become a Gateway Series for the Nasuverse. FGO is known for its VERY stingy gacha rate, but it can be done with Single Player. FEH has an arena-based ranked features where Casual/Competitive Conflict may rear its head, but it has the more widespread brand power of Nintendo and the gacha rate is more forgiving, although it has the Boon/Bane system whereas getting your favorite hero doesn't always mean it's the most optimal version (whereas FGO has none such thing to balance its extremely stingy gacha rate). By 2020, however, FGO has steadily won awards even in the Global version, while FEH hasn't seen a great increase in players and introduced a subscription system (FEH Pass) that enraged a lot of fans, thus FGO currently has the advantage, despite the battle still going on.
Ensemble Stars! (2015) IDOLiSH7 (2015)

THE iDOLM@STER: SideM (2015)

Uta No Prince-sama Shining Live (2017)
Idol training games born from the gamut of idol training games made in the mid 2010s, but focusing on boys instead of girls. The majority of these games are spinoff of some sort; Enstars is a spinoff of the female idol training game Ensemble Girls! from the same company, SideM is spun off from the main iDOLM@STER franchise, and Shining Live yet another installment in the popular UtaPri franchise. IDOLiSH, on the other hand, is an original work. Enstars by a huge margin. By no means are any of these series suffering, but as far as merchandise, mobile revenue and fan reception go, Enstars gets the lion's share of love. It regularly competes with mobile giant THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls and Love Live!, scored four original stage plays, and has a wealth of supplementary material to keep fans satisfied. And all this before it even got an anime, something the other three franchises can't say for themselves. However, IDOLiSH is not far behind; it follows just behind Enstars as the second most popular male idol game on mobile and scored its own very successful anime adaptation. While SideM and Shining Live are lagging behind quite a bit, with Live on Stage being a contentious game, both are still well loved; SideM has had two well received adaptations and a handful of manga, while Shining Live has been trucking along. But even with all these factors, one cannot deny just how big each series is.
Dreams (2020) Game Builder Garage (2021) Console-exclusive Game Maker games that uses built-in programming nodes to program game logic. Dreams is a Spiritual Successor to the LittleBigPlanet games, allowing players to design detailed environments, characters, and even sounds and music. Game Builder Garage is a stand-alone expansion of the "Toy-Con Garage" editor from Nintendo Labo and is simpler to use than Dreams, but is more limited in that only built-in models, characters and environments can be used, outside of a limited sprite editor. Last but not least, Dreams has an in-game online portal allowing players to easily find new content while Game Builder Garage content can only be shared through codes on other online platforms. Too early to tell.

Alternative Title(s): Dueling Games