In business, we often hear of overnight successes of entrepreneurs who had a brainwave one day that they quickly turned into a product or service that was so great, that everyone wanted to get their hands on it. However, these stories are often exaggerated or simply made up as part of marketing and branding efforts and accepted by the media because it’s much easier to tell the tale of an overnight success than it is to portray years of hard work and sacrifice.
Facebook, Groupon, Instagram, and Yelp are all great examples of these overnight successes. They may have all attracted a lot of people very quickly, but there were years of work that preceded their explosive growth. Not only that, but in every case, these services started out in life as something else.
Facebook was originally “Facemash” before becoming a directory for students at Harvard and then, finally, the social network we know today. Yelp was initially an email system for making referrals, while Instagram started as a complex app called Burbn before becoming a lightweight photo app.
This happens in gaming, too. Many games start life as something else before morphing into the titles and franchises that eventually make it to market. Had they not gone through this transition, it is likely they would never have been the major successes that we have come to love. Here are some of those games.
Grand Theft Auto
Rockstar Games made waves recently with the release of the first Grand Theft Auto VI trailer, which revealed to gamers that they’d be returning to Vice City in this upcoming title. No game can attract the level of hype that a new GTA does. This, of course, is helped by the long wait between the release of each new installment, but it’s mainly down to the fact that Grand Theft Auto is one of the most advanced, detailed, and enjoyable video game franchises ever made.
But Grand Theft Auto almost never existed. The original concept for the game was a simple car chase title titled Race’n’Chase that saw players driving around a city as they attempted to evade the pursuing police car.
Race’n’Chase came close to being scrapped several times during its development, likely due to managers focusing on measurable factors like time tracking. Thankfully, the team working on it at DMA Design (now Rockstar) managed to convince the powers that it was worth the effort.
A bug was accidentally left in the game that turned up the aggressiveness of the police to comical levels. The team quickly noticed that it was more fun to play this way, and the GTA model was eventually derived from this.
Roulette is one of the oldest games played today, with several hundred years of heritage behind it. It remains popular today, thanks in part to online gaming sites that offer multiple variants of the game, such as High Roller and American roulette, to help appeal to a very wide audience. These different options vary in the number of pockets on the wheel, the betting limits, and other key wagering rules to create a unique playing experience that requires players to change their approach.
But roulette came about entirely by accident. It was created by a French inventor and mathematician by the name of Blaise Pascal, who had been experimenting with the creation of a perpetual motion machine. Of course, we know that such a device is scientifically impossible, but Pascal had to learn this first-hand.
Happily, his wheel did not go to waste. Very shortly after, it began to be used by casinos, creating early versions of this now classic title.
Video games based on movies are usually a big flop because they’re designed to cash in on a film’s success rather than to offer a truly unique and exciting gaming experience. So it probably shouldn’t be too surprising that GoldenEye 007, a game based on the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye, was almost scrapped.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, and the masterpiece was finished and released. While the game’s graphics look tired today, it remains an incredibly popular title thanks to its fun features and gripping plot.