In 1998, Stanford University's Henry Lowood began preserving video games and video game artifacts. Lowood, along with a four member committee, has announced a game canon, for the Library of Congress. Japan begs to differ.
According to the New York Times, the canon is: 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).
"We have to be really careful here because the technology is just going to make this harder for us," said Warren Spector, a member of the four person committee. "The game canon is a way of saying, this is the stuff we have to protect first."
Some on Japan's 2ch, the world's largest bulletin board, have taken issue with the list. Here are some selected comments translated by AltJapan:
"Hey, what about strip mah-jong games!?"*
"Here's my list: Super Mario Brothers; Mario Kart; Dragon Quest (anything but 6); Puyo Puyo; Romancing Saga 2; Gradius; Fire Emblem; Biohazard; Winning Eleven; Fruits Cup."
"Doom!? NO WAY QUAKE'S WAY MORE IMPORTANT!!!"
"If you're Japanese, these are the most influential games: Super Mario Brothers; Mario 64; Pokemon; Dragon Quest 3; Final Fantasy 7; Tetris; Brain Training; Biohazard."
"Good list, but you're forgetting Xevious and R-Type."
"Look, if you're talking most influential it hast to be: Gradius, Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, Dragon Quest, Kamaitachi no Yoru, Biohazard, Wizardry, Street Fighter 2, Virtual Fighter, Tsuki-Hime"
"Space Invaders, Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, Raiden, Gradius, Nectaris, Daisenryaku, Princess Maker, Dragon Quest, Wizardry, Portopia Murder Mystery, Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter."
"Why Super Mario 3? And while it may be good, Civ isn't THAT important."
Chris Grant, an editor at website Joystiq.com, selected Super Mario Bros. 3 because of the game's non-linear play as well as the new ability to move both backward and forward. In fact, the New York Times piece does a fine job of laying out why each title was selected. So read that.
*This comment is obviously tongue in cheek!
AltJapan: Game vs Game [AltJapan]