Can't Resist One Post

Slash.dot's had a running conversation of a recent NYTimes article that included a list of the top ten most important video games of all-time. Their list:

[Henry] Lowood and the four members of his committee -- the game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky; Matteo Bittanti, an academic researcher; and Christopher Grant, a game journalist -- announced their list of the 10 most important video games of all time: Spacewar! (1962), Star Raiders (1979), Zork (1980), Tetris (1985), SimCity (1989), Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990), Civilization I/II (1991), Doom (1993), Warcraft series (beginning 1994) and Sensible World of Soccer (1994)

The list was compiled by collecting entries from experts in the field (and the Slash.dot discussion centers on the fact that there seems to be no clear metric for decisions). Nothing here surprises me--save that I have never heard of the "Sensible World of Soccer." I am surprised that no old school Sierra games made the list (I played significant amount of King's Quest and Space Quest in my formative years--not enough to make the list below, however).

Here's my list, and my metric: these are the games that I have played the most, chronologically, in my life. For whatever reason, they captured my attention and would not let go.

  1. Enduro (Atari 2600, my memory doesn't really stretch back this far-but I remember this game utterly pissing me off. Countless hours were wasted trying to win this fucking race. I'm mad just typing about it)
  2. Castlevania I, II, & III (Nintendo, I was not a huge SMB fan, but this game series was a great addiction)
  3. Madden Football 1990 (Genesis, and you can add every other Madden to this list)
  4. Wing Commander Privateer (Computer, very cool game--kind of pre-dates GTA in your ability to be a "rogue" rather than a typical hero)
  5. Mortal Kombat I & II (Genesis, a college staple, I finished many a dorm-mate)
  6. Doom I & II (Computer, many hours, late at night, wondering where that noise was coming from)
  7. Tekken II (Playstation)
  8. Final Fantasy VII (Playstation, I've played all the others--X was very good, XII was also quite good, but nothing compares to the "original" Playstation release; Sephinroth is the coolest character ever)
  9. Hot Shot Golf I-IV (Playstation - Playstation 2, seriously, I still play this game, so superior to TW Golf it ain't even funny)
  10. Socom Navy Seals I & II (Playstation 2, apologies to my wife, family, and friends. This game took over my life for an entire year. Go Myth)
  11. Grand Theft Auto, (Playstation 2, here's the deal--a part of me really hates these games. The controls are clunky and non-responsive, the camera work needs serious help, and the plots are downright infantile. Yet I play them.)
  12. Resident Evil IV (Playstation 2, I could put the whole Resident Evil and Silent Hill series, given my familiarity with these games. I certainly played the hell out of all of them. But Res IV deserves special recognition--dumb plot, but outstanding game. Outstanding. Did I mention that its awesome... only one game better, actually:)
  13. God of War (Playstation 2, This is so much the best game ever that I refuse to even hear an argument otherwise. Don't bother, I'm not listening. Na-na-ni-na-na. Fingers in my ears. Am nervous about the sequel--don't know if it can live up. This game has everything--awesome controls, great characters, incredible story, and it is fun. It might be too violent for some, but for me its poetry in pixels)

Well, not the best games of all time, just the ones that have eaten up the most hours of my life. Bases Loaded almost made the list. Last summer I played an entire 30 year career as a starting pitcher in MLB The Show. I'm sure I'm fogetting a few more that will come back to me later...


Michael Covarrubias said...

What? No one mentions Pac-Man at any point? Didn't that one pretty much start the idea of walking around as an objective? Donkey Kong sprang from its model. Super Mario grew from its seed. All 1st person games that require you to walk through a castle or old factory and collect objects only added the element of fighting--but they got the quest idea from Pac-Man!


Insignificant Wrangler said...

Pac-Man would certainly make my list of important games--but, honestly, I didn't play a ton of pac-man as a kid. Missile Command, Defender, Atlantis, check. Just not Pac-Man

Insignificant Wrangler said...

One more thing--I wouldn't connect Pac-Man to Mario Bros, though I would connect it to Tetris. There's no "end" to Pac-Man, you're always facing the inevitability of death, and, in a sense, competing only against yourself to land a high score. Unless, of course, there's an end to Pac-Man?

Casey said...

I think Pac-Man is like cave-painting by most contemporary estimates. Interesting as an anthropological relic, maybe.

I'd suggest Zelda and/or Metroid.

Michael Covarrubias said...

I believe the end of Pac-Man is simply the game giving up. After enough stages the game stops. I'm not sure how many. But I know that at least one guy got all the way through and captured every possible extra fruit without losing a life. I saw him on a documentary about gaming.

The big difference I see between Tetris and Pac-Man is that in Pac-Man you have to move to collect pieces to complete the level. In Tetris you just have to stay ahead of the game--and you are simply trying to perform the same repetetive task at faster and faster rates.

Geez--I wasted weeks on Tetris in college. One game lasted an hour and a half.

Insignificant Wrangler said...

Casey: I also thought of Zelda right away. My guess is that Zelda is too much like Zork, just with better graphics. But I think Zelda is far more a-linear than Mario Bros 3, and if that's the reason Mario 3 made the original list, then, I agree with you. Metriod is also a good call, but I'm not sure what I would bump for it. And I played quite a bit of Metriod (but I played more Section Z-- which remains on my list of "how-is-anything-this-fucking-hard-supposed-to-be-fun" games that I sunk hours into.

Mike: I guess I never made it far enough into Pac-Man (Ms. Pac Man, actually) to think of it as a "plot driven" game. And I too wasted hours on Tetris. But I'm not sure what I would bounce from my list to squeeze it on there.

And, tripping down memory lane, I found a great Wing Commander Privateer Remake project. I downloaded the current version, looks and plays well but I have no sound effects, only music. Am going to post to their forum to see if there is a fix. This should keep me occupied until God of War 2 or until I finally find the now sublime object Nintendo Wii. Now I need to order a joystick for my mac.

Anonymous said...

What about Road Rash? And also NHL 96? Or maybe you didn't have Genesis?