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Taking Issue With The Ten Most Important Video Game List

Illustration for article titled Taking Issue With The Ten Most Important Video Game List

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.

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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."

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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]

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DISCUSSION

I think 2ch, and some of the people who have posted here so far, are missing the point. If you read the article you'll understand why they chose these games.

This isn't just another of PC Gamer or IGN's "best games of all time!" lists that show up once a year. Many of the game listed here are firsts, and provided the foundation for all the games that came after them.

Also, this isn't some sort of long standing list that's supposed to be the definitive top ten of all time. These are just the first of many, many games that they are going to attempt to preserve for posterity. The objective is to make sure that people in the future, gamers in the future, know where their roots are. It seems pretty clear that the good people on 2ch are already out of touch with that history.

If it weren't for some of these games, gaming as we know it wouldn't exist. I'm not saying gaming wouldn't exist, or that it would be worse, just that there's a good chance it would be radically different.

Some of the games the 2ch'ners listed will be in the archive at some point. But I find some of the games they listed rather silly.

And as far as games like pong, and SpaceInvaders. The original Pong is already preserved, and there are so many copies of both Pong and SpaceInvaders floating around in the world I don't know if I really even see a need to preserve them any time soon. They're pretty well preserved already considering how many ways you can get them and play them.