Up For Debate – What is the most revolutionary game mechanic ever?


Usually, the most exciting games which ever arrive are those which push forward something truly revolutionary. A change which advances videogames forward as an interactive medium, inspiring other games to build off this new idea.

Radical ideas usually come to fruition in indie titles these days as it’s often seen as too expensive a gamble to take genuine risks with a AAA behemoth. Not every game can be Death Stranding, but plenty can be Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. The indie scene is a hotbed of fresh ideas, the best of which typically bubble up to the big budget showcases in due course.

AAA has had its fair share of innovations though, whether it was Half-Life 2’s physics-based Gravity Gun, Assassin’s Creed 2’s groundbreaking parkour systems, Total War’s gargantuan battles, or Ultima Online ushering in the popularised form of MMORPGs.

The unfortunate sting in the tale for most truly revolutionary features is that practically any game that’s vaguely similar will steal the idea for the next five years and ground a revolutionary mechanic into dust. It means we sometimes don’t think too kindly on what actually were and are great ideas, and certainly lends some recency to revolutionary game mechanics.

As an example of this, look no further than the cover-based shooting system. Right now you probably roll your eyes when you hear cover-based shooters being talked about again, but this once was revolutionary. One of the first times we ever saw this used was in PS2 shooter Kill.Switch, followed up by Rainbow Six: Vegas. It wasn’t until it was utilised in Epic Games’ Gears of War that third-person cover shooting really took hold, though. Gears of War was the moment in which a game delivered cover-based combat which was simple to use and had environments built specifically around this concept. It proved a truly revolutionary concept and its lingering effect was for practically every third-person shooter to use a similar mechanic since. 

But, we’ve all got probably got our favourites, or at least the ones which we believe have revolutionised gaming. They don’t even have to be for the better either. Love them or hate them, but loot crates have left an indelible mark on this hobby of ours. 

So, over to you, what do you think is the most revolutionary game mechanic of all time? Share your favourite below!