The first 'God Game
', a realtime
strategy game developed by Peter Molyneux
and Les Edgar
) in 1987, and published by Electronic Arts
in 1989 on the Commodore Amiga
(other platforms followed). Populous casts you as a deity
with dominion over a tribe of mortals on a map generated from a seed value
(of which there were 1,000). The map is viewed from an isometric
As a god you can raise and lower land to allow your followers to build, and provided with enough Mana, can cast miracles (such as the creation of volcanoes and floods) to wipe out followers of an 'enemy god'.
A data disk followed with new graphics sets and 1,000 'new' levels (which Molyneux later admitted were the same 1,000 levels in reverse order). Later Bullfrog developed a full-blown sequel (Populous 2) and a 3D 'prequel' called Populous: The Beginning. The basic elements of the game recur in most of Bullfrog's (and Molyneux's) subsequent titles.
A little known fact: Palace Software's Dragon's Breath (released around the same time) is vaguely similar to Populous, as it stemmed from the same design (and was developed by coders who 'split off' from Bullfrog - yes, it was all the rage back then too).