Bullfrog - 1989
Machine: Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Acorn Archimedes, PC, Apple Mac, and many others
In Space Invaders you protected the Earth from aliens. In Football Manager you... were... a Football... Manager... So what was next? What else could be done? Why not play God? This was where Populous came in.
It was a simple premise: you are a god and you have to lead your people to victory over the people who followed the Evil God... In fact, victory could only be achieved if you managed to annihilate those who would not follow you. At your disposal were an array of Godlike powers such as the ability to produce Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Floods and so on. You could even initiate Armageddon which made everyone have a big fight. Your power (manna) stemmed from the people who worshipped you, so that the more worshippers you had, the more powers you could use, more often... People would breed in houses that they built, and the larger the houses were, the quicker they would breed. Quite a lot of time of the game is spent making the ground level so that these houses could be built by your followers. It is incredibly satisfying.
Aside from the immense playabilty of Populous, the game heralded a new direction in video games. The scale, for one, was increased massively and you could wield your god-like powers with no more than a mouse-click... Populous also allowed for quite advanced strategy, both from you and the computer. Crucially, there was no set 'way' to play Populous which was (and still is) really refreshing. There was also the small matter of the multiplayer option, allowing you to play against a friend on TWO DIFFERENT COMPUTERS! Peter Molyneux, the creator of Populous, proved that he was one of the chief pioneers of video games... fortunately for us all, he still is.
Bubbaray 06 Apr '03
Populous: Reincarnated - A massive fansite with tons of goodness.
Populous Revolution - A great fansite including downloads of the game and its sequels.