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Gateway Series / Video Games

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  • There's an entire category of video games known as Casual Games that can serve as this trope, with such titles potentially serving as gateways to more "complex" games within their genre (e.g. Diner Dash for time management and Real-Time Strategy games).
  • Most people were likely introduced to Platform Games thanks to Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog, though PC gamers during the 1990s may find themselves thanking Commander Keen or Jill of the Jungle.
  • RPG Gateways:
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    • Final Fantasy VII was a gateway RPG for a lot of players — to the detriment of the genre, some might argue. And it doubled as a bit of a gateway introduction to anime as well. It was also a gateway to PlayStation games in general.
    • The Final Fantasy series as a whole can be considered a gateway to RPGs.
    • Super Mario RPG is a a very good introductory RPG too.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was deliberately designed to be a gateway to RPGs, simplifying the gameplay dramatically. Unforunately, not only did it fail to attract the mainstream as expected, but RPG fans derided the game for being extremely easy and formulaic.
    • Tim Schafer's Costume Quest is extremely short and easy because it was meant to introduce very young children to RPGs.
    • Pokémon and Yo-Kai Watch both act as gateways into RPGs due to their popularity and accessibility.
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    • Due to its Disney characters, Kingdom Hearts attracts players who otherwise have never been interested in JRPGs.
  • The Baldur's Gate series, the Mass Effect series, and the The Elder Scrolls series frequently serve as gateways to the Western RPG genre. The Elder Scrolls likewise doubles as a Wide Open Sandbox gateway.
  • Pokémon:
    Junichi Masuda: It's really my hope that all sorts of people will give these games a try.
  • Many games designed by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS and Wii were intended to be gateway games for people who never tried them before, with Nintendogs and Wii Sports being the biggest examples.
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    • Nintendo has the reputation of being the video game company that makes games to introduce people to video games who never played them before, something that the company openly states being their goal. Of course, some people don't say it like that. It's hard to fault Nintendo when they so often get results by taking this approach — games and systems, Nintendo and otherwise, are selling better than they ever have even in the economic recession.
  • The entries of the Total War series are all pretty likely ways that various gamers got interested in specific periods of history (Or Warhammer)
  • The Tony Hawk games are a two-way gateway — they've gotten a lot of skaters into gaming, but it's when they get gamers into skateboarding that Hilarity Ensues.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The series has a wide variety of Nintendo characters within its character roster, with even more Nintendo history to be found in the various unlockable trophies. As a result, the franchise is a mix of this and Colbert Bump, as some players may gravitate to a new franchise after learning about it from the party fighting game, with the appearance of Marth and Roy in Melee helping establish the Fire Emblem series outside of Japan. Later entries would even have unlockable demos of the titles its' characters originally starred in.
    • The Smash series as a whole serves as a gateway for fighting games, specifically the Mascot Fighter genre, due to its easy controls.
  • This is the intention behind the Kirby series. The games are easy enough that someone who has never played an action platformer before can get through the main game and see the ending, but at the same time offer extra challenges for older gamers seeking 100% Completion. Many of these fans then go on to play other games in the genre.
  • A variation of this trope: a lot of people become regular readers of GameFAQs after getting stuck in Guide Dang It! moments.
  • New installments of long-time series such as Castlevania — espeically Castlevania: Symphony of the Night — tend to be gateways for modern players into the world of retro gaming, especially those curious about references to characters from previous games.
    • If not into the world of retro gaming, then certainly the world of metroidvanias.
  • "People who don't like video games like Myst."
  • World of Warcraft is the most infamously addictive MMORPG out there nowadays, but those who have played it and quit often try to seek out other MMO's afterward.
  • Each generation seems to have its own gateway into the Multiplayer First-Person Shooter genre:
    • One of the earliest was Doom.
    • From the late 90s came Half-Life and Counter-Strike.
    • Halo. In particular, Halo: Combat Evolved, being a launch title for the Xbox, was the first FPS many gamers ever played. It's argued that Halo was the killer app that allowed the Xbox to compete in its early days against the wildly successful Playstation 2. So that's gotta count for something.
    • Later, both Call of Duty and Team Fortress 2 became insanely popular examples.
  • Thief, a stealth simulator, was marketed as a big new twist on the overinflated First-Person Shooter genre. It got quite a few action gamers interested in stealth games.
  • Metal Gear Solid served an almost identical function to Thief on an entirely different system. Also, due to its slow-paced gameplay, its focus on storytelling and the ability of the player to pause the action to talk to the other characters about trivial things, it also makes a great gateway series for people raised on JRPGs trying to break into Action Games.
    • Though it's rather complex for someone who has never touched a controller before, MGS has also been promoted as a counterargument to people who believe in the Video Game Ghetto—IE, that the terms "video game" and "true art" are mutually exclusive.
  • If you stick around the Dance Dance Revolution community long enough, you may come to try out other Rhythm Games — up until the release of Guitar Hero, this would be things like beatmania IIDX and Dance ManiaX.
    • Although for a lot of people it now works the other way around, with Guitar Hero or Rock Band being the gateway game that leads them to discover Dance Dance Revolution.
      • This can also work across media — Guitar Hero and Rock Band inspire people to buy and get into music from the games.
      • These two games can also turn people on to real instruments. Hilarity Ensues when they realize a real guitar's nothing like the plastic controller.
    • Of course, neither of these games would have been possible if PaRappa the Rapper hadn't opened up the world of rhythm gaming to start.
      • For people who play Rhythm Games without the hand for Guitar Hero or Rock Band, PaRappa the Rapper and Rhythm Heaven are both known to turn people into rhythm fanatics less on the instrument/physical side, and more on the technical/mental side.
    • As of The New '10s, Sound Voltex is this for new BEMANI fans, thanks to its low barrier to entry, wide selection of doujin music (including Touhou arranges and Vocaloid songs), cool-looking interface, and use of filter effects to give the player the impression of mixing a track in real time.
  • Street Fighter does this for 2D fighting games. The series is relatively user friendly and easy to pick up and play, leading many in more complicated games like Guilty Gear.
    • Tekken 3 was extremely influential on the popularity of 3D fighting games; SoulCalibur was this for weapon-based games.
  • Play one addictive puzzle game, and you're bound to wind up hunting for more. Peggle and Tetris are good examples.
  • Many gamers' first Real-Time Strategy game was Warcraft II, and for good reason, too. The graphics are nice to look at, the mechanics are fairly simple compared to other RTS games, and most importantly, it's a lot of fun (including against your friends, even if they do kick your butt in 95% of the games you play with them).
  • The Super Robot Wars series can potentially be a good Gateway Series for many Giant Robot Anime, considering that the plot for each game basically takes the plot of every series involved in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover and shoves them all together.
  • The Humongous Entertainment games were designed to be like this.
  • Although Rogue was, by definition, the first Roguelike, many fans of the genre get their start with the Trope Codifier, NetHack, leading into more difficult games like Angband, and a greater acceptance for ASCII games in general.
  • Touhou has introduced many a gamer to the wonderful world of Bullet Hell shmups, though learning about their existence is as far as many Touhou fans go; it's rare to see a fan of Touhou try out other danmaku games. It's also a gateway into doujin games.
  • Although two games predate it (in America, at least), Tales of Symphonia was the Gateway Series to Tales Series for a lot of Western fans. It being one of the better RPGs on the GameCube meant that it drew a lot of attention from people who had previously dismissed the previous games in the series. Also, Tales of the Abyss to an extent, purely because it was for the PS2.
  • Quite a few people have been introduced to either the First-Person Shooter genre, PC gaming, or both by way of Team Fortress 2.
    • Thanks to TF2 being Valve's top-selling and most successful product, it has also gotten countless people who hadn't played Valve's other games into those games. Left 4 Dead has done the same.
  • Sakevisual, the artist of RE: Alistair, wants her game to become a gateway series for fans who don't yet know about otome games.
  • Interactive Fiction started the Adventure Game genre, but many felt it to be too inaccessible. The move to graphic adventures was fairly rapid, but despite some awesome games like King's Quest and Maniac Mansion they remained a niche genre for several years. Then LucasArts (at the time still a strict part of Lucasfilm) went and made a game called Loom, one of the most accessible adventure games ever created. This created a veritable explosion in the PC adventure game market, which ended almost a decade later. And for those who were not yet fully convinced, Lucas Arts followed the left punch with the right soon thereafter, giving us the most famous PC Adventure Game ever created, The Secret of Monkey Island.
  • Persona 3, Persona 4 or Persona 5 are good start for those interested in the Shin Megami Tensei series, seeing how they're generally considered the most accessible of SMT games (except for Persona 3, whose PS2 versions were very rare for a while, until it was brought to PSN). In fact, the original Persona was designed to be an easier SMT in hopes of getting more teenagers interested in the main series.
  • The Sims, with its broad market appeal, was many people's gateway to videogaming in general.
  • Kingdom Hearts got a lot of people who had not yet played Final Fantasy into the series, as well as garnering interest in any Disney film the player might not have seen yet.
  • Poker Night at the Inventory got a lot of Team Fortress 2 fans into Sam & Max: Freelance Police, Penny Arcade and Homestar Runner.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy was basically a ton of video game worlds mashed together into one giant Nintendo Hard experience. While the areas and bosses are generally well known (except for the final boss, an original character) some of the music is a little more obscure, like the Castle of the Guy theme being from Monty on the Run and the theme for the Final Tower of the Guy and the final boss's first form being from E.V.O.: Search for Eden. This game opened games like those up to more players.
  • The Civilization series is a frequent gateway to the strategy genre, particularly the Turn-Based Strategy and 4X subgenres.
  • The Sega Superstars/All-Stars series has helped gain new fans for old Sega franchises.
  • Brütal Legend introduced younger gaming audiences to a plethora of music they might not have known or shown interest in before, leading newcomers to the genre of Heavy Metal.
  • Braid served as a gateway into independent Art Games.
  • The Purple Moon games were actually designed to be gateway series. Three related series (well, two series with multiple instalments plus one Stillborn Franchise) sharing the same characters but different genres, they were produced after extensive market research to attract girls ages 8-12 to games — and thus to computers — and keep them from abandoning science and technology.
  • Part of the reason Fallout 3 is so hated by many fans of the older Fallout games is that this was an Enforced Trope for it. Bethesda made little secret of the fact that it wasn't making it for longtime fans, but instead wanted something to bring new people into the world of Fallout.
  • Minecraft is the game that introduced most people into the Survival Sandbox genre as well as inspiring a lot of indie games.
  • Splatoon is a gateway series to shooters. Many Nintendo fans are known to be averse to shooters but the simple mechanics, bright colours, kid friendly nature, and general quirkiness of the series has made a lot of gamers more interested in shooters, especially third-person ones.
  • Free-to-play licensed mobile games often serve as a tool for curious players whose friends are into the license to check it out and see what all the fuss is about. Love Live! School Idol Festival is a popular one, being an addictive Rhythm Game in its own right, and for all the enduring popularity of the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon GO became a trend huge enough to eclipse the main series' sales... and then the next installment of said main series broke preorder records, in large part because of Go players being brought into the series, either for the first time or after lapsing out after the original games' craze in The '90s.
  • Owing to their minimalist gameplay and lack of challenge, Environmental Narrative Games like Gone Home or The Stanley Parable often serve as a gateway for new players to Adventure Games and indeed video games in general.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy got a lot of players into Final Fantasy as a franchise-fandom, rather than cherrypicking favourite individual titles. A lot of people bought it so they could play as Cloud (who was even designed with being an easy character for fighting game newbies to use, on the grounds that he'd be such an attractant), and then realised they liked Bartz, Cecil and Firion's personalities just as much, and had to check out their source material. The fact that the old games were in the process of being rereleased at the time suggests this was partly intentional. Theatrythm Final Fantasy, and the mobile Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and Final Fantasy Record Keeper, are also Massively Multiplayer Crossover games; World of Final Fantasy was designed to be an intro to the series and characters for new players.
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris is intentionally one to Puyo Puyo. The series is a Cash Cow Franchise in Japan but has a shoddy record elsewhere. Puyo Puyo Tetris combines the games with the extremely popular and well-known Tetris series, which grabs the attention of people who otherwise would ignore Puyo Puyo. It features plenty of tutorials for newcomers as well.
  • The Dishonored series served as many players' first introduction to the Immersive Sim genre during its comeback in The New '10s. Granted, Deus Ex: Human Revolution prepared the soil for said comeback the year before, but Dishonored was the first original game in a while to wear its Immersive Sim legacy on its sleeve, deliberately sparking new interest in the obscure genre.
  • Yo-Kai Watch is a gateway into youkai and Japanese mythology in general.
  • Overwatch's quirky design and bright colours make it appealing to people who generally scoff at shooters. It's also family-friendly enough for parents to let their kids play.
  • Harvest Moon has gotten a lot of fans interested in gardening and/or farming.
  • The battle royale spin-off Apex Legends introduced many newcomers into the Titanfall franchise. Although the previous Titanfall games were well-acclaimed, they were commercially unsuccessful and quickly forgotten. However, Apex Legends became so popular that this lead to both games getting a bump in player count.
  • If you're huge into modern Hack and Slash/Beat 'em Up games, chances are you got into the genre through either the God of War Series or the Batman: Arkham Series, the latter especially if you either didn't own a PlayStation console or weren't allowed to play M-rated games growing up. Older gamers will often cite either the Onimusha or Devil May Cry series as their introduction to the genre, while younger gamers often get into the genre through Bayonetta, especially those who are Nintendo fans thanks to the franchise's exclusivity and the title character's inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. series.

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