Video game lists are one of my favourite internet time wasters. It's rather unique when you stumble upon an article that has that special mix of subjectivity, pointlessness and the sweet smell of fanboyism.
That's why I was oh-so amused to read that Entertainment Weekly has posted a list of the top 50 video games from 1983-2008. Actually, they lied - the list really starts from 1985 (unless of course you believe no video game worthy of a top 50 list came out in '83 or '84 - and if so, I say you need to play Jumpman, M.U.L.E., or that Excite Bike game that I hear was okay.)
What I find striking about these all time best lists is that rarely do the publishers provide the criteria used to judge the games that comprise the list. Certainly, it can't be relevance to modern gaming given the innovations of our sophisticated gaming market.
I mean, look at number 7 on the list - Super Mario Kart. Yes, I played the hell of that game back in 1991, in fact I easily put in 150 hours of gameplay time. It had amazing replay value for it's time, and deserves high praise. It was that feeling of nostalgia that prompted me to play the game again earlier this year, but after firing it up, I could only stand playing it for three short races. The game certainly felt dated when playing. When compared to later iterations of the game, the graphics are blindingly bad, there are limited tracks and characters, and the controls don't feel as responsive.
As another example, number 6 - Street Fighter II - isn't nearly as good as it's (milking-the-cow) sequel Street Fighter II Turbo for SNES. So why does SFII make the list and not it's clearly superior successor?
It could be argued that Entertainment Weekly created the list taking into consideration the hype and response the games received when they were released. While this sounds great on paper, I say it's just not relevant to today's gamer. I firmly believe that Top XXX gaming lists need to take into consideration the appeal of the game in comparison to modern games. Let's be realistic, many games on that list, as good as they once were, would make much better door stops these days.
Well it's getting late, I'm off to play some Doom before bed. Yeah, that was a joke. ;)
Source: Entertainment Weekly - The New Classics: Videogames