They're timeless. They're inspirational. They inspire us, make us question our standards, and provide a roadmap for the future of development. They are the games that innovate and move the industry forward, and Gamasutra is proud to recognize them with our series of Quantum Leap Awards.
In December of 2006, Gamasutra asked its esteemed readership of games industry professionals, educators, and students to vote on the most important games of the year, as part of its ongoing Quantum Leap Awards series. Specifically, we asked the following:
Q: Which video game has made the biggest 'quantum leap' in 2006, in terms of innovation and advancing the state of the art of the industry?
You spoke, and we listened. Here, Gamasutra presents the winners of the 2006 Quantum Leap Award for Most Important Game. We'll start with three pages of honorable mentions, and then present the five most important games of 2006, as voted by our readers.
Over numerous iterations and side stories, Final Fantasy has established itself as the benchmark against which all other similar titles are measured, at least in terms of overall success. That is perhaps why it felt so appropriate that the series which is responsible for creating so many of the conventions now seen as commonplace within the RPG genre took it upon itself to so dramatically change what it meant to be a console RPG in Final Fantasy XII.
Adopting real time gameplay mechanisms more in line with PC MMORPGs, and tossing aside the turn based combat that had up until this release been a series staple, this game felt like the beginning of something entirely new, different, and altogether exciting for the venerable role-playing powerhouse. Final Fantasy XII is the perfect punctuation mark on the series, as it transitions from the current to next generation of gaming.
Jason Dobson, Editor, Serious Games Source
Although it's not a game, the real answer to this question in 2006 is the Nintendo Wii platform. It's not that Nintendo invented motion sensing or pointer-device technology -- it's how the company applied that to the product. It's easy to use, intuitive, and immediately fun to play with. It's a fundamental change to the interface of gaming, and how we interact with products. Combined with an always-on, online architecture of the system, Nintendo's Wii should both bring new people into gaming and open up new markets for innovative new game types. If that isn't a Quantum Leap, I want my Scott Bakula back.
Dave Kosak, Editor-in-Chief, FilePlanet.com