The 10 Games You Should Have Played

This list is WRONG (and it’s on the Internet)

…and here’s your chance to challenge it.

This was written in a frantic half-hour with 30-odd people with many different ideas and suggestions. My role was to shepherd the opinions towards a concrete list of 10. There *was* a specific agenda/aim I had in mind – but I didn’t tell people that up-front, I wanted to let them go in whatever direction they wanted.

Now it’s done, I’m reaching out to everyone who cares about this stuff, and saying:

Come up with your own rules for a top-10, define it clearly, and share your list.

Blog it, link it back here, and we’ll see what people come up with. I’m expecting a lot of variation on the inclusion-criteria for a top-10, and (hopefully) as much variation on the games people choose / reject.

Other people’s top-10’s

The original top-10

May 2011 – GameCamp 4

A few weeks ago, London was host to the fourth GameCamp – a 1-day unConference devoted to games, game-design, and game-playing.

I wanted to give a talk, because that’s half the fun of an UnConference. I wanted to do something fun, interesting, and above-all *new*. What’s the point of giving a talk you could have given at a “normal” conference?

My Plan

I vaguely remembered that Darius had once run a session on “Indie games that haven’t had the attention they deserve” (or something like that), where he’d cherry-picked some great fun games that were relatively unknown in mainstream circles, and gave them a free boost of attention.

I didn’t feel confident to do that myself,but I knew there were plenty of people at GC4 who were much deeper into the fringe of games and game-design, and no doubt *they* knew what was out there, and had played it all.

So, one quick scribble later:

“10 Games you Should have played (but probably haven’t)”

Reality

I was afraid I’d get an audience turn up and expect me to do all the work, where I needed them brainstorming and providing the ideas themselves. I could see it easily being shaped by the (lack of) variety of the first few suggestions, so I set out to come up with a wide range to kick off.

With a full TEN MINUTES before the start, I roamed the hallways, looking for victims. I spotted a few familiar faces, game designers and writers I could corral, and asked them for a quick 3 “games people should have played”.

First response I got, courtesy of Adrian Hon: “Paintball”. Ah. Thanks, Adrian. You just exposed the flaw in my title. I never mentioned the words “video” or “computer”, although I’d assumed them.

Other interesting titles I was given in the hallway included: Civilization (the computer game, via Adrian), Journey to the End of the Night (via Holly Gramazio, I think), Tetris Attack (ditto)…some good variety to kick us off.

Those 10 games in full

We had a packed room, approx 20-30 people. I won’t detail the process, but in our 30 minute slot we managed a long list, with some brief explanation of the more obscure games, and then we voted on which ones should go to top-10. Fortunately, there were 10-12 games that were CLEARLY a lot more popular than the rest.

Here’s the full list (illegible with crossings-out)

And here’s the top-10, with their respective (approximate – I was counting fast!) votes:

  1. Tetris [*]
  2. Portal [*]
  3. SimCity [*]
  4. The Secret of Monkey Island (either/both) [11]
  5. Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (text adventure) [10]
  6. Mario Kart [10]
  7. Zelda (any/all) [10]
  8. Deus Ex [9]
  9. Day of the Tentacle [9]
  10. Populous [9]

[*] = so many I didn’t bother counting; more than 2/3 of the audience.

9 thoughts on “The 10 Games You Should Have Played

  1. Harald

    I would select 10 titles that, for me, define or hugely influence a genre. Of course there’s a lot of personal bias (and nostalgia) in which games actually “define” their genre, or even which genres are picked. What is the pivotal FPS? For me it’s Doom, but one could make a strong argument for Wolfenstein, Half Life (2?) or a number of other great games.

    So the actual list, picked according to the above criterium, would be:
    Doom, Rock Band, Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Super Mario, Street Fighter 2, God of War, Secret of Monkey Island.

    That’s only eight, after those I usually break my own rule and add two more shooters: Left 4 Dead and Goldeneye, just because I enjoyed those two so much personally and couldn’t bear leaving them out.

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  4. Takezo

    Wow — I’m a long time gamer, but there are lots of games I’ve missed out on. This is the first (and probably last) time I’ll ever see a top 10 list where I’ve actually played every single one!

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