To play or not to play, that is the question—

“They” have decided to create a video game canon. Kudos to whomever chose Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky.

The games are:
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).

“Almost all of the games on the Lowood list represent the beginning of a genre still vital in the video game industry.”

Of course they went for the more popular titles. It’s Zork instead of Adventure, Doom instead of Wolfenstein 3D, Civ instead of Colonization, [STRIKE]I’m a Sensi fan so no mention of Kick Off[/STRIKE] and it has the Warcraft games.

“The first three Warcraft games represent the introduction of real-time strategy overlaid on a narrative”. What a sense of humour, including WCIII in a top ten… The narrative of the first two Warcrafts was actually rather thin. They could have easily substituted Dune II, which also introduced the RTS game mechanics. Though I loathe to admit it, C&C would fit the bill better if they just wanted one early game. WoW.

Opting for a top ten was kinda stupid actually. This way they have no Pong, no Pac-man (!), no Akalabeth. Where is teh RPG?!?

And they could have included a simulator (blushes in shame).

Including Super Mario Bros 3 instead of the first one (or indeed Donkey Kong) does kinda make a mockery of the whole ‘beginning of a genre’ ideal. As is SWOS insread of the original Sensible on Amiga.

They went for the ones that helped consolidating genres and that would represent a style better than their similars. For example, I never geard of Colossal Cave of Adventure, but I knew about Zork. And if you compare the amount of people who are hardcore fans of Civ with the amount of people who even heard of Colonization… You get what I mean.

Now, about Doom and Castle Wolfstein. I think Doom was more important because of the technological improvements over Wolfstein. Though the one shooter that should be there is Quake I. It was the first one to have both a decent and functional concept of multiplayer FPS. It changed the way these games are made and is still a great influence to this day. It was also the first one to officially allow players to create their own modifications, even going so far as opening the source code and giving them an API.

Opting for a top ten was kinda stupid actually. This way they have no Pong, no Pac-man (!), no Akalabeth. Where is teh RPG?!?
And they could have included a simulator (blushes in shame).
They had to pick some, and maybe going for a top 100 would be too much work for a start. And then, if we were to really put ALL the good games in there, it’d have to be a top 1000. I feel other games like the Monkey Island Series, Quake and the first Final Fantasy games should be there, but I agree with most of the current list.

Just fucking grab a hard drive and fill it with roms. >.>

I’d like to see a video game canon, but a canon’s different from a list of innovators. A canon consists of works that have dominated the fan discourse over time: the ones that fans continue to think and talk about, the ones that are still used as standards for comparison, the ones that refuse to be forgotten.

For that reason, putting Spacewar! and Star Raiders and Zork in the “top-ten” video game canon is as ridiculous as putting caveman etchings in the “top-ten” literary canon.

The others games? Some work well, some don’t. Tetris is still the premier example of the simple, compelling puzzle game – a definite yes. SimCity was popular and influential, and it eventually spawned the Sims. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to me that 10% of video game discourse relates to Sim-type games, and it’s also somewhat redundant with the Civilization series, so I would rank SimCity lower. Super Mario 3 is arguably the best example of the best platformer series, and the platformer has always been among the most popular genres – certainly a yes. Civilization I/II is like SimCity in that it is development-oriented, but adds the element of turn-based competition with others. <i>This</i> type of game has been far more popular and influential than the Sim-types – a yes. Warcraft is also competitive and development-oriented, but functions in real time. The RTS genre has been more popular than the Sim-type and turn-based strategy together, and the Warcraft series has the most consistently excellent RTS games – a clear yes.

Doom is problematic as the top FPS because, even though it <i>was</i> the most popular early FPS, people no longer talk about it. Whereas Super Mario 3 is better than most later Marios, and people still enjoy it, it’s hard to argue that Doom is as good a game as Goldeneye or Halo. Certainly nobody <i>plays</i> it anymore. I don’t think Doom should be on this list; I vote for Goldeneye, since its control scheme and mission structure were utterly innovative, whereas Halo was basically just well-executed.

As for the Sensible World of Soccer, I had never heard of it. If we were going to talk about old, influential sports games, I’d point to the Tecmo Bowl series, which I still see people playing. Mainstream sports games like Madden don’t make the cut, because they’re basically all one game with slight variations. Frankly, though, I don’t think <i>any</i> sports game has been singularly influential and popular enough to make the top-ten canon.

So that leaves us with five open spots. We certainly need an MMORPG – Everquest might be a good choice. A traditional console RPG as well – FF7 or Chrono Trigger are the likely candidates. We need a fighter – I think the Street Fighter series has been the most consistently popular. There should also be some non-controller-oriented game and a music game – Dance Dance Revolution satisfies both criteria. Finally, we don’t yet have a pure party game on the list, and the Wii’s success has proven how important the party game is – I’d vote for Mario Party here.

So, my canon is Tetris, Super Mario 3, Civilization, Warcraft, Goldeneye, Everquest, Chrono Trigger, Street Fighter, Dance Dance Revolution, and Mario Party.

My dad still plays Doom and Doom 2. >.>

Also, I agree with XWing’s point about Tecmo Bowl. In fact, you still see people hacking the damn thing to create modern rosters. I read a simulation of Super Bowl XLI using Tecmo Bowl with last year’s rosters.

I would also like to add The Legend of Zelda, SaGa Densetsu, Dragon’s Lair, Space Invaders, and King’s Quest VI to the dicussion.

LoZ for the obivious reasons.
SaGa Densetsu mostly due to the fact that it was pretty much the first handheld game that had depth, wasn’t a port from the NES, and wasn’t Tetris.
Dragon’s Lair being the first game built for cimematic purposes.
Space Invaders for being the first Smup.
And King’s Quest VI for being one of the best examples of adventue gaming.

I can see SimCity being on the list due to it being one of the first simluation type games. But having that and the Civ games was an exercise of redundancy by the redundant department of redundancy. And can someone tell me why Star Raiders is on that list. It also seems to me that most of these games on that canon list started life on the PC.

They should make a video game cannon, that would be way more awesome.

Decidedly America-centric list. The lack of Zelda is mindblowing.

Zork is still influential .

Anyway, j/k. Isn’t it actually early to have a video game canon? Video games are still an evolving form of media and that affects the way we perceive them. Think of cinema: How many silent films have managed to compete with sound films? Furthermore, there haven’t been many generations of gamers. Even I have seen 17 out of the 35 gaming years since Pong and I surely don’t judge games the same way an older or a younger gamer does. Our favourite games may be seen in time as inconsequential, following plenty of examples in literature. Those that survive will be the canon.

Time will solve many of our problems. Old games like Doom and Sensi are still being played but the real question is if new gamers will like them, the way I can like Nosferatu or Stoker’s Dracula.

Here comes the cultural bias into effect. Football for the U.S., soccer for Europe/Latin America and I there must be cricket games for India and Pakistan up and coming.

By the way doesn’t Mario Party also suffer from the Madden/FIFA malady? Pokemon sold millions but it was basically an rpg with the ‘collectible’ twist. Isn’t MP a board game with old Nintendo minigames?

Forgetting Street Fighter… I’m so having my gaming card revoked.

Yeah. For the point-and-click adventure genre, KQ series is as good as it gets. And using Xwing’s interpretation of which games should be on that “canon list” - the lasting impact on the gamers psyche, rather than the game that begat it all - KQ VI deserves a spot there.