What does the term "cross-pollination" mean to you? Unless you're a botanist or an avid gardener, there's a good chance that these words will leave you cold. You may recall some vague memory of a tedious biology lesson, long ago, or perhaps you'll just find yourself thinking about an angry bee. But cross-pollination is something that frequently happens in the realm of video games, too. If a new mechanic works well in one release, you'll usually see it pop up in another – often in a title from a different genre completely. From recharging health to path-finding assists to ranking systems, everyone plunders the DNA of their gaming neighbours.
Take Codemasters' F1 2010, for instance. It's a racing title, yet it features an XP system to mark your progress, and the Prince of Persia-like ability to rewind time.