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Genre Popularizer

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"Super Mario Bros. is equivalent to the Big Bang of our gaming universe. If it were not for this blindingly spectacular creation, digital entertainment as we know it today would not exist."
Hideo Kojima, Nintendo Power, November 2010

Basically, before these works came along, a genre either didn't exist, or was niche. After these works hit the scene, either the genre became popular (usually by being a Gateway Series to the rest), or we got loads of ripoffs which may or may not have become their own genre later on.

Heck, these works might instead create a Genre Relaunch of a once popular genre (whether or not the popularity lasts).

Being a Genre Popularizer is not proof that a work is awesome. Some might think these works are overrated, and if Nostalgia Goggles or Quality by Popular Vote are in play, they may even be right. Being an example of this only speaks to the response it gets in Follow the Leader works, not to its quality.

Please Note: while some Genre Popularizers are also Trope Makers or Codifiers, not all Trope Makers and Codifiers are Genre Popularizers. Keep this in mind when adding examples—just because it was the first to use a trope doesn't mean it made the trope popular.

Compare Trope Makers, Trope Codifier, Genre Turning Point.

Contrast Genre-Killer.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 


  • William Gibson launched the Cyberpunk genre with the novel Neuromancer. It is now a staple of film, games, and odd urban fashions.
  • William Gibson and Bruce Sterling co-authored The Difference Engine, which launched the Steampunk genre.
  • The Riddle of the Sands is this for Spy Fiction.
  • Amazing Stories, the first English-language Science Fiction Pulp Magazine, created and popularized the genre. (The slightly earlier American pulp Weird Tales published general fantastic fiction: Science Fiction, ghost stories, horror fiction, et cetera.)
  • Edgar Allan Poe wrote the first English-language detective stories. Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) once said "Each [of Poe's detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed.... Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" Although Poe's detective uses several early forensic techniques, this aspect of the genre didn't fully kick off until...
    • The Sherlock Holmes series popularised the idea of the cerebral, aloof detective examining clues and forensic evidence in order to solve the mystery. The stories helped introduce the public to this new idea of studying clues and information to solve crimes rather than just asking people what they saw and shaking up suspects until a confession fell out. This was true not just in mystery stories, but in real life: the Metropolitan Police, frequently dismissed up until that point as an inept and corrupt force, began to improve in success rates and public reputation upon taking some cues from these stories.
    • Dashiell Hammett created and popularized the subgenre of "hard-boiled" detective fiction. While he didn't create the genre on his own, Hammett's works were among the first to be picked up by the public at large. Many of that genre's tropes originated or were made popular in his works, and later authors of hard-boiled fiction (notably Raymond Chandler, author of the Philip Marlowe novels) cite Hammett as the forefather of the genre.
  • The True Crime genre was created and popularized by Truman Capote in his harrowing magnum opus, In Cold Blood. The true story of a vicious and senseless series of murders kicked off an interest in "real murder mysteries," and the genre remains startlingly popular today.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien is responsible for popularizing the High Fantasy genre. Despite James Branch Cabell, E. R. Eddison, and Poul Anderson coming first, Tolkien was the gold that got cloned, and even he borrowed heavily from mythology.
  • Like Tolkien, Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories effectively created many of the now-popular Heroic Fantasy tropes. Interestingly, it did this in large part by subverting many pulp fantasy tropes popular at the time.
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells took an existing genre speculating about foreign armies invading the United Kingdom and gave it a twist by casting as the invaders a race of highly intelligent alien beings invading Earth from another planet. This idea of an Alien Invasion proved somewhat influential.
  • The success of the Raffles and Arsčne Lupin stories in the 1890s and 1900s popularized the Gentleman Thief character and heist stories; The Lupin stories are also considered the Trope Codifier.
  • Similarly, H. G. Wells' novel about a man who built a machine capable of travelling through time got people interested as well. The idea of Time Travel itself wasn't new; the idea of someone actually using technology to build a means of travelling forwards and backwards in time was, though.
  • E. E. "Doc" Smith, and the Lensman series, created Space Opera as we understand it. It is scary how much modern sci-fi writers in some cases outright stole from him, or copied without even knowing they had. To put it into perspective, reading the Lensman novels seems horribly cliche now, because every Sci-Fi trope associated with space operas came out of it ranging from inertialess drives, to Dyson Sphere megastructures, to the very idea of the "Neglectful Ancient Master Race" seen in...well every sci-fi series made since. In fact it is generally accepted that the Green Lantern Corps is the Lensman Corps, top to bottom. They even have a member named Arisia, after the planet where the Lensmen went (their Oa) to undergo training to use their Cosmic Lenses (GL rings).
  • H. P. Lovecraft popularized the Cosmic Horror Story, although "The Call of Cthulhu", At the Mountains of Madness and "The Whisperer in Darkness" stand out.
  • Tom Clancy effectively popularized the "military technothriller" genre, which is generally considered to have started with the Craig Thomas novel Firefox, written seven years before The Hunt for Red October.
  • H. Rider Haggard effectively created the "Lost World" genre of adventure fiction with his 1885 novel King Solomon's Mines. Since then, the genre has proven enormously popular.
  • While not the first ever Isekai, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation popularized self-published original stories like it in Japan, even in the face of other giants on the site it was published on, Shōsetsuka ni Narō, and the conventions it popularized would be copied endlessly.
  • Shakugan no Shana was one of the first Light Novels to receive an official English-language localization (albeit a very brief one, as Viz Media only ever released the first two volumes). Its popularity as such broke the dam for an explosion of them getting exported to Western markets in the late 2000s and 2010s, where previously only the anime and maybe manga adaptations usually were available in the West.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Scarlet Heart and Palace popularised time travel dramas in China. Unfortunately, China's illogical and tyrannical censors responded to both series' popularity by banning time travel in dramas. Nowadays the ban is rarely enforced, but it was the reason Scarlet Heart 2 is conspicuously missing time travel and is set entirely in the present day.
  • Star Trek and Lost in Space were Dueling Shows for a while, and BOTH helped shape the Wagon Train to the Stars genre as they became massive hits.
  • Bewitched's popularity in Japan was enough to spawn the Magical Girl genre.
  • Although The Real World and COPS came first, they did not define the Reality Show genre. These two ran for years prior to the introduction of Survivor, but were not in a format that could easily be adapted to other subjects. Survivor's format was easily adaptable, and it went on to define the most common form for Reality Shows.
  • The X-Files started a new trend of conspiracy and paranoia shows.
  • Hill Street Blues introduced the idea of multiple, intertwining Story Arcs to prime time television series.
  • Babylon 5, along with The X-Files, popularized the Myth Arc in live-action television series: Babylon 5 did it better, but it was The X-Files that took it mainstream.
  • Big Brother, while not the first Reality Show of its type, popularized it. It was itself based off The Truman Show, which was, itself, based on a Twilight Zone episode from 1985.
  • CSI popularized the Forensic Drama genre.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a show about three guys at the bottom of the screen making comments about a movie they're watching. It came out before the Internet. No wonder practically all of the episodes are on YouTube.
  • For one of the sub genres of the Variety Show, the Korean variety show Muhan Dojeon (or Infinite Challenge), which started airing on MBC in 2005 and is still going strong, is one for the "Real Variety Show" subgenre, where in addition to the base tropes of a Variety Show, the show adds in unscripted stunts, organised challenges and an all star cast from all walks of celebrity life, from traditional comedians, to singers, to even well known actors. This show arguably popularised this type of Variety, and set the base work for the wildly successful Korean show Running Man.
  • Vikings did this for viking fiction, but especially on the screen. Through vikings has appeared irregularly in cinema, the Vikings-series has defined how vikings are realized in modern cinema and more or less established the "viking movie" as a distinct genre with clear tropes and stylistic trappings: heavily tattooed vikings often dressing in Hells Angels-like leather clothing, a desaturated, moody look with green and blue being dominant, psychadelic imagery and magic realism, often in the form of visions. Vikings and several other films predating the series[note] Hammer of the Gods, Vikings - The Berserkers, A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day, Sword of Vengeance, Northmen: A Viking Saga[/note] were inspired by the film Valhalla Rising that were the Ur-Example of using all of these elements. Vikings built on this and added elements like strange hair-styles, face-paint and using music heavily inspired by "Nordic Ambient". The popularity of Vikings helped popularize this style cementing it's use in the portrayal of the viking age in films like The Northman, Draug, Macbeth and games like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, God of War Ragnarök and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.
  • Dallas for the Prime Time Soap.

  • Gene Autry: His work gave Country Music nationwide attention.
  • Bing Crosby created and popularized the 'crooning' style of singing. It helped that he emerged right when microphone technology was coming into its own. Thus, Bing set the standard for decades of singers to follow.
  • Chuck Berry and Rock & Roll music.
    "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'." ~John Lennon
  • Elvis Presley smuggled Rock & Roll and other styles of African-American music over the race barrier and into the mainstream.
  • Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys created a distinctive sound that was picked up by other groups and became a genre, bluegrass.
  • The Beatles may not have been the first to do pop-rock and Folk Rock, but they certainly jump-started the genre. They could also arguably be considered this for Psychedelic Rock, album-based rock, and Punk with songs like "Helter Skelter." Plus, they created the trend for a self-contained band, with the artists playing their own instruments and writing all of their own music. In a sense, they also started the idea of the "boy band", group of young male musicians. Unfortunately, this one led to a lot of bad music and ruined lives with some successes. A few of the Beatles ended up in tragic situations themselves.
  • Despite groups like Led Zeppelin and Iron Butterfly laying the groundwork for it a few years prior, Black Sabbath is usually credited as the band that established the genre of Heavy Metal as we know it.
  • Nirvana was the band who made the Grunge movement move up to full speed.
  • The Rolling Stones did it for Blues Rock in the 1960s. You could even make an argument that they invented and popularized Hard Rock, though AC/DC, who emerged in the 70s, is also a worthy candidate there.
  • The Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa popularized Alternative Rock.
  • Suede's self-titled debut album may or may not have been the first Britpop record, but it was the first popular Britpop record and thus codified and fostered the genre. Ironically, the band think little of Britpop and have since tried to distance themselves from it.
  • While quite a few other bands and albums had come before it, King Crimson's debut In the Court of the Crimson King was arguably the first full Progressive Rock album (rather than the more psychedelic sound that had come with the earlier bands), and laid the foundations for the genre.
  • Although the Post-Rock genre was codified in Slint's Spiderland, the genre as we recognize it wouldn't become popular per se until Sigur Rós and Godspeed You! Black Emperor arrived on the scene.
  • British grindcore band Napalm Death (whose drummer actually coined the term "grindcore", along with the term "blastbeat", a drumbeat regularly used in the genre and beyond) are often heavily credited for their importance in the development of grindcore.
  • Norwegian band Mayhem, and specifically their original guitarist Euronymous, are usually said to have created Black Metal as we now know it.
  • The success of Korn in the 1990s definitely kickstarted the rise of Nu Metal.
  • Rammstein are usually considered the codifiers and/or popularizers of Neue Deutsche Härte (New German Hardness), which can best be described as a fusion genre of Industrial Metal and Trance (the band describes their music as "dance metal"). The Ur-Example would be s Oomph!, who formed five years before Rammstein.
  • Joseph Haydn almost singlehandedly developed and popularized the sonata form and was the first big composer of the First Viennese School.
  • Similarly, Arnold Schoenberg was the godfather of the Second Viennese School.
  • Claude Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" is said to be the work that truly began musical Impressionism.
  • Ice-T did this for Gangsta Rap.
  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five helped to properly launch Political Rap. Before them were 1970s political preachers such as The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron.
  • Jokingly, a-ha launched the new genre of 'Pof' during an interview in which the German interviewer badly flubbed the words 'synthetic pop of the eighties'. Moments later it became New Pof, much to Magne's surprise and delight.
  • The Pogues blended Irish traditional music and punk as what became the first example of Celtic punk, a style taken up by Irish and Scottish inspired bands in both Britain and North America.
  • British band Skyclad began adding folk elements to their otherwise rather ordinary Thrash Metal, creating Folk Metal in the process.
  • Norwegian black metallers Bathory switched out the over-used Satanic lyrical content of their compatriots for Norse Mythology and history, creating and popularizing the thematic genre viking metal.
  • British rockers Motörhead are widely recognised as one of the first bands to blend punk and heavy metal, creating what later became known as "Speed Metal", the forerunner of Thrash Metal. Frontman Lemmy Kilmister characteristically dismisses such labels, declaring that "it's all just rock and roll".
  • The Ramones unintentionally created and popularized the Pop Punk genre.
  • Burzum pioneered atmospheric/ambient Black Metal, although some have pointed out that a few scattered ambient black metal projects existed before Burzum, thus making him a codifier/popularizer rather than a creator.
  • Deathcore was initially popularized by All Shall Perish, Job for a Cowboy, and Despised Icon, then received a bigger mainstream boost from Suicide Silence and Whitechapel.
  • Ray Charles is generally considered to have launched Soul; the question is whether he did it with "I Got a Woman" or "What'd I Say."
  • Christian Rock is arguably more of a scene than a genre, but in either case, Larry Norman's 1969 album Upon This Rock was the launching point.
  • Country Pop, although existing from the late 1950s, really took off in the late 1970s with Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton topping both country and pop charts at the same time.
  • There had been a smattering of Reggae songs that became hits in the UK and US in the late 60s and early 70s, but Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley were the ones who really brought it out of Jamaica to a worldwide audience.
  • Limp Bizkit, who were discovered by Korn, both made Rap Metal mainstream, and then killed it years later.
  • Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Trivium, Atreyu, and As I Lay Dying popularized Metalcore (specifically the melodic kind) after Nu Metal died out. Years later, Issues popularized fusing metalcore with nu metal together with their debut EP to create what is referred to by fans as "nu-metalcore".
  • Dream Theater is generally considered to have helped define the Progressive Metal genre, combining the speed and heaviness of Thrash Metal with the variety and musical complexity of Progressive Rock.
  • Klaus Schulze's album Trancefer is often regarded as the album that really put Trance on the map among electronic music fans. As of the 2000s-2010s, however, Armin Van Buuren and his long-running radio show A State Of Trance are cited as the driving forces in bringing trance music into mainstream acceptance, ultimately inspiring several other trance-centered broadcasts such as Aly & Fila's Future Sound of Egypt and Ferry Corsten's Countdown.
  • Peter Gabriel and David Byrne are credited with pulling this off twofold for World Music: in 1980, Gabriel's Melt and Talking Heads' Remain in Light brought worldbeat to the mainstream forefront, while in 1989, Gabriel's Passion and Byrne's solo album Rei Momo popularized unfiltered world music itself in the west after worldbeat's decline, both times breaking the novelty stigma that was associated with nonwestern musical styles.
  • While Synth-Pop first rose to mainstream prominence with the commercial success of Gary Numan's "Cars" in 1979, it was The Human League's Dare in 1981 (and especially its fourth single, "Don't You Want Me") that turned the genre into the defining musical movement of the early '80s, kickstarting the Second British Invasion in the US and popularizing synth-pop on both sides of the Pond.
  • The Sugarhill Gang's 1979 single "Rapper's Delight" is generally regarded by analysts as Hip-Hop's Breakthrough Hit, being the first song in the genre to reach the Top 40 in the US and paving the way for its rise during the '80s.
  • Bruce Springsteen helped to popularize Heartland Rock in the late seventies and into the eighties with albums like Darkness On the Edge Of Town and Born in the U.S.A.. While he was not the first artist to write about blue-collar and working-class issues, his popularity and commercial success in the genre led to other artists receiving prominence and getting compared to him, ranging from contemporaries like Tom Petty and John Mellencamp to even artists who predated Springsteen like Bob Seger.
  • 100 gecs's debut album 1000 gecs is widely considered the defining album of what is now known as Hyperpop. While the subgenre had existed for a while as a niche field of experimental, post-ironic pop music, the viral and critical popularity of 1000 gecs launched the sound into the internet consciousness, with the "hyperpop" name being attributed by Spotify following its success to codify artists of its sound to wider audiences.

  • While "pin games" existed before Baffle Ball, it was David Gottlieb's game that propelled the genre from a minor amusement novelty into a fundamental aspect of Americana. Baffle Ball's success came from a combination of challenge and affordability during The Great Depression; a Baffle Ball machine cost $17.50 to buy and cost only a penny to play, while competitors' machines cost over $100 and required a nickel to play. To put its popularity into perspective, Gottlieb's factory could produce 400 Baffle Ball machines a day - but he had 75,000 orders to fill. The game's influence is so deep that many people misidentify Baffle Ball as the first Pinball ever made.
  • Before Humpty Dumpty came along, the only action a player could perform in a pinball game was to launch the ball and (gently) nudge the machine. Humpty Dumpty's novelty came from its six red "flipper bumpers," which allowed the player to kick the ball back up the field. This innovation instantly made flipperless games obsolete — competitors rushed flipper add-on kits for existing machines, and flippers became an industry standard just six months later.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Spitting Image launched political puppet shows in numerous different countries, many of which are well-received amongst the audience.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions is responsible for creating the point buy system.
  • Dungeons & Dragons began as an offshoot of the miniature wargame Chainmail and became the first Tabletop RPG, launching the genre. Unlike many other popularizers, it's still the alpha dog.
  • Magic: The Gathering in 1993 popularized the collectible card game.
  • Tabletop wargames using miniature figures have existed for centuries, especially in the Prussian Army where they were used to train officers in tactics. It wasn't until H. G. Wells published a book of rules called "Little Wars" (subtitled "A Game for Boys From Twelve Years Of Age to One Hundred and Fifty, and for That More Intelligent Sort of Girl Who Likes Boys' Games and Books") in 1913, that the general populace got to play one. Even then, they weren't tremendously popular until Jack Scruby created his line of miniatures, which made the genre burgeon.
  • In the mid-1980s, Warhammer and Battletech popularised fantasy and science fiction settings, respectively, in Wargaming, which had previously been dominated by historical games.
  • Dominion and the "deckbuilding game". Thunderstone, Puzzle Strike, Race for the Galaxy... The list is large. There are also even upcoming licensed deckbuilding games based on Blood Bowl, Resident Evil, and Gundam (since Japan seems to love the genre). While Dominion is still regarded as the best and most balanced of them, the others do all feel different and have many new mechanics, keeping the Follow the Leader to a minimum.
  • Settlers of Catan introduced Euro-board games to the United States.
  • Pandemic:
    • The original Pandemic demonstrated that board games could be strictly co-operative and accessible yet still provide an engaging and challenging puzzle with replay value. The number of co-operative board games on the market notably rose after its release.
    • Pandemic: Legacy popularized the Legacy Board Game genre four years after Risk Legacy (with which it shares a designer) invented it. The introduction of a strong narrative element was extremely well received and caused a rise in the number of legacy games being produced.

  • Mamma Mia! sent the Jukebox Musical genre from an occasional curiosity to a sure-fire money maker. You can confirm this yourself by giving the genre's Wikipedia page a quick look, and comparing the list of examples before and after Mamma Mia!.

    Video Games 
  • Going back to the earliest days of any video game, Colossal Cave (also known as Colossal Cave Adventure, Adventure, or simply ADVENT) was the first Adventure Game, leading into both Interactive Fiction and Point-and-Click adventure games, as well as sparking the whole Dungeon Crawling genre. One could even argue that ADVENT was the first computer game ever to be more than just a puzzle or sports game—while it's pretty light on story, the wide variety of environments, objects, and NPCs, even if they were just described in text, was far beyond anything else at the time.
  • Minecraft was not the first sandbox cube building game, but it was the first to make it big and inspire numerous clones and 'clones'.
  • While the first-person dungeon crawler was a rather popular genre at its peak, Etrian Odyssey has caused a new wave of such games to appear, making it a Genre Repopularizer.
  • Kaizo Mario World and I Wanna Be the Guy did this for Platform Hell. Sure, it existed before in the form of a SMB 1 hack and a Japanese flash game, but once those two came around, the flood gates opened and clones were springing up all over the place. There's a reason I Wanna Be the Guy has a fan game section, or that Kaizo has become a generic term for any ultra difficult Super Mario World hack...
  • The runaway success of the Super Smash Bros. series inspired a number of other developers to make Platform Fighter games, which distinguished themselves from other fighting games by allowing more than two players at a time, platformer-like stages and jump physics, a score- or lives-based goal, randomly-dropped items, and usually (but not always) a Massive Multiplayer Crossover with the library of a given game company.
  • An interesting case with Metroidvanias. The Metroid games were always popular and successful, but it was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that popularized the genre. Fans recognized that the elements came in Metroid first, and thus the term Metroidvania was born.
  • The Pokémon games sparked off the collection RPG trend, which can extend beyond Mons and into almost any game where there are tons of party members to collect. However, Dragon Quest V (which predated both by several years) had almost no human party members for a good chunk of the game. To round out the player's party, the player would tame monsters that they fought in the wild, convert them to his party, and subsequently use them to fight other monsters. While not officially released outside of Japan until well after the mon trend was established, this was the third RPG-style video game to feature such a gameplay mechanic, and likely paved the way.
  • Diablo 2 wasn't the first, even in its own series, but is one of the most popular "Action RPGs" ever made (one of the most popular games full stop for that matter) and is the game still copied by the genre today. As with Doom, the genre was even referred to as "Diablo clones" before its popularity and evolution ended up giving us the more neutral name.
  • While 3D fighting games like Virtua Fighter have been around since the days of the Sega Genesis, Tekken is what helped establish this subgenre as a worthy alternative to 2D fighting games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and The King of Fighters, with titles like Dead or Alive and Soulcalibur following in its wake.
  • Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night both popularized the Metroidvania genre so much that it was named after both franchises.
  • While the JRPG genre has been popular in Japan since Dragon Quest first began, it was at first very niche amongst western audiences at first. Enter Final Fantasy VII from Square Enix, which became a massive success and catapulted the genre into mainstream popularity outside of Japan. Nowadays, franchises like Bandai Namco's Tales Series, Atlus' Persona, Nintendo's Fire Emblem, Monolith Soft and Nintendo's Xenoblade Chronicles, Capcom's Monster Hunter, and even Square Enix's own Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Quest have been able to reach levels of popularity that wouldn't have been possible without Final Fantasy VII.
  • In Japan, Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side popularized the Otome Game genre, while in the west Hakuouki was the first to achieve success with the gaming public and paved the way for more otome localizations.
  • The Harvest Moon series pretty much created the Farm Life Sim genre; but while the games were popular, the genre it established remains pretty niche outside of itself and some obscure, indie titles. It was the popularity of Stardew Valley (itself inspired by the Harvest Moon games) that finally propelled the Farm Life Sim into a mainstream video game genre.
  • While far from the first to use the Visual Novel style, the Ace Attorney series popularized the format outside of Japan, where it had previously been treated as an extremely niche style with no widespread appeal. The success of Ace Attorney led to other visual novels such as Danganronpa and Zero Escape gaining sizeable foreign fanbases, as well as the creation of a number of Western visual novels such as Doki Doki Literature Club! and Katawa Shoujo.

    Web Original 
  • First there was Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Then there were imitators. Now The Abridged Series is a genre unto itself. LittleKuriboh has gotten into a (joke) war with the other creators.
  • The Zero Punctuation review of Mercenaries 2 comments on this phenomenon; Yatzhee decides to not use the term "GTA clone" when the Wide-Open Sandbox has become so common, and compares it to what happened with Doom, above. (But then goes on to say that many such games, including Mercenaries 2 itself, do still deserve to be branded as "Grand Theft Auto clones" because of how directly they copy the formula.)
  • Toastyfrog's Evangelion Thumbnail Theater touches off a brief fad of anime series-based Thumbnail Theaters.
  • AMV Hell started a style of Gag Dub. It even quotes the last line from the Cowboy Bebop text at the start of AMV Hell 4.
  • Ruby Quest launched the co-operative image board genre. To the point that the games being called quests.
  • Xiao Xiao spawned a lot of stick figure fight scenes (and perhaps fight scenes for Flash itself) as soon as the third installment got Weekly User's Choice at Newgrounds.
  • When YouTube first came out, some amateur filmmaker decided to put two parody video game reviews for some old NES titles up on it. Now it seems like every third gamer or so insists on trying to become the next AVGN. Likewise, The Nostalgia Critic has gotten quite a few imitators - and quite a few so good, he's teamed up with them! Most of the genres on YouTube have been created this way, for example the Slice of Life vlog style made famous by Kevin Nalts, aka Nalty.
  • Freeman's Mind launched the "X's Mind" genre, showing what Heroic Mimes are really thinking.
  • "Hyakugojyuichi" by Neil Cicierega launched the Animutation genre.
  • Horror web series and ARGs were seen sporadically during the Turn of the Millennium, but it wasn't until Marble Hornets and Just Another Fool that they really took off. Aside from more directly influencing the direction of The Slender Man Mythos, they also inspired the creation of other horror series such as The Fear Mythos.
  • Slowbeef's let's play of Super Metroid made Let's Play a video and live-commentary based internet sensation, as opposed to what it used to be where you just took screenshots every few minutes of gameplay and had typed commentary on it.
  • Mike Nelson's RiffTrax helped popularize the fan film commentary genre.
  • Played with involving the destruction genre. While one of the founders of the genre, dOvetastic, was already popular in his own right, it was mostly just destruction via microwaves (and the few early Follow the Leader shows like microwavecam and a YouTube show called Microwave Monday are often forgotten) or smashing things. However, Will It Blend? brought the genre to the forefront of popular culture, and when Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? debuted, the fact that it combined Will It Blend? with dOvetastic Microwave Theater (which is how the creator initially described it), let the microwave sub-genre itself become very popular with other shows debuting, some more successful than others, that used their formula to some extent.
  • LOCAL58 spawned an entire subgenre of similar horror videos informally known as "analog horror".
  • RedLetterMedia's Mr. Plinkett Reviews, specifically their 70-minute deconstruction of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, launched the long-form online video essay, a genre that has largely supplanted the The Nostalgia Critic-style Caustic Critic schtick. The review even predated Youtube's increase in maximum video length, forcing it to be release in seven parts. These days, videos featuring multiple hours of detailed film analysis (and other related topics) are quite common.
  • The Super Mario 64 iceberg, while far from the first of its kind, popularised the format to the point where just about every fandom or topic has their own dedicated iceberg chart cataloguing information on the subject. The explanation video by Mish Koz also popularised the idea of YouTubers from the fandom or subculture the iceberg represented making their own videos going through them point by point to elaborate on what everything means.
  • While there were popular Minecraft SMP servers on web video platforms prior to its debut, the genre was considered largely a thing of the past before SMPLive's debut in 2019. It exploded in popularity, direectly leading to the success of its spiritual successor SMPEarth, and the Dream SMP, which it shares many of its cast members with, and would go on to have its popularity greatly overshadow that of its predecessor.

  • Neglected Mario Characters was the original Sprite Comic, and spawned a swarm of imitators. Bob and George, however, is usually thought of as the father of sprite comics, with thousands of imitation comics coming out (and often promptly dying) in its forums.
  • Penny Arcade: started a thousand couches.
  • Kevin & Kell was the first webcomic to manage a consistent, reliable daily schedule. The cartoonist, Bill Holbrook, had not one but two daily comics in newspaper syndication when he started K&K, and brought the same degree of professionalism and discipline to the new distribution medium.
  • Homestuck and MS Paint Adventures have spawned hundreds of imitators not just of the Interactive Comic genre, but of the Text Parser presentation style of MSPA itself; some of these are followed by hundreds of people and come close to matching MSPA's legendary update rate.

    Western Animation