Deus Ex Machina
Last year, I came across this book Soft & Cuddly, in which Jared Kobek talks about his experience playing his first bootleg video games on a ZX Spectrum. I went home, spent the next few days googling this amazingly intriguing, but now mostly obsolete, system, and found out about a specific game called Deus Ex Machina.
Before getting into DEM specifically, I wanted to mention that I became momentarily obsessed with ZX Spectrum--as someone who's never really played that many video games, I was intrigued by how much had been done by such minimal engineering (relative to today). The artwork was so communicative with just 6 neon bright colors, and the music, as well as creative, unique storytelling was clearly industry-changing (creating?).
Deux Ex Machina was made in the time when "video game" was still being defined--thus, it functions less as a playable game, and more of an interactive narrative. What inspires most about this game is that it pushed the boundaries of its time by focusing on the narrative and executing that through syncing an audio tape that the player has to pause at critical points throughout. In today's perspective (and even back then), the gameplay is actually quite boring, since you don't actually need to do anything. However, I believe there have been remake(s) of the game since then that are more player-oriented.
The creator of the project, Mel Croucher, had already been known at the time to be quite innovative. He had already had other more successful games under his belt, but felt that the industry over all was "derivative" and that the "concepts were all stale".