Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pixel Best

Time magazine recently ran an article detailing the best 100 video games of all time.

Lists done by magazines are almost always done to create controversy, while readers debate what should and should not have been added to the list, and discussing the merits of each. Thankfully, this list is not ranked; ranked lists often add an extra layer of artificial controversy while people debate about whether something should be #56 or #57 on a list of 100.

Still, this list is reasonably (and surprisingly) solid, although I would think they should rename it "most influential"--most of the early games (like Pong) aren't even close to being the "best games ever."  I really would only change some of the similar games (for example, I would place Maniac Mansion instead of Grim Fandango, even though they are both excellent games). And I don't quite get how the sequels are incorporated into the game; in some write-ups the game represents the entire franchise (King's Quest is a proxy for all King's Quest games) while others are about a specifically sequel (say, Half-Life 2).

There's also the problem of platform abuse: it's hard to compare, say, Civilization on the PC, Goldeneye 007 on a console, and Angry Birds on your iPhone. Yeah, they're all games, but the creations are almost too different to compare properly. Also I'm not sure that Solitaire really counts.

Things sort of fall apart towards the end, as the multitude of platforms fracture the list beyond comprehension. I've never even heard of a lot of these games even though I'm fairly well-versed in popular video game releases. And there are some glaring omissions, such as Fallout 3. And there doesn't appear to be more than one real-time strategy game in the mix--a genre that dominated PC gaming (think Command and Conquer and Age of Empiresfor about three years--which is laughable. (The comments also seem to be lamenting the fact that Minecraft isn't listed, but I don't know enough about the game to say much.)  (Also: no Pokemon? Really?) Still, it's an interesting read, especially for younger gamers who aren't familiar with the arcade and computer games of the 70's and 80's.

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