Top 20 videogames of cultural and historical significance

12 March 2007
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TetrisHenry Lowood, the curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University, started preserving video games and video-game artifacts in 1998. He thought it was closer to professional oblivion than a bold new move into the future. According to the NYtimes he has now submitted a proposal to the Library of Congress saying: “Creating this list is an assertion that digital games have a cultural significance and a historical significance, maybe we should do something about preserving them.”

Pac-ManJoined in his committee by game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky; Matteo Bittanti, an academic researcher; and Christopher Grant, a game journalist. They announced their list of the 10 most important video games of all time:
1. Spacewar! (1962) the first multiplayer/action game,
2. Star Raiders (1979),
3. Zork (1980) introduced the adventure game,
4. Tetris (1985),
5. SimCity (1989) established the god games genre,
6. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990) was important for its nonlinear play,
7. Civilization I/II (1991),
8. Doom (1993),
9. Warcraft series (beginning 1994) introduced real-time strategy overlaid on a narrative,
10. Sensible World of Soccer (1994).

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  • The problem with lists like these is that you can never fit them in a Top 10, and it’s not ok to have a historical list without the likes of:
    Super Mario Bros1. Pong (1972) for bringing gaming into everyday life,
    2. Space Invaders (1978) for being one of the forerunners of modern video gaming,
    3. Pac-Man (1979) for being universally considered as one of the classics, virtually synonymous with video games,
    4. Donkey Kong (1981) for being an early example of the platform genre with a developed storyline for its time,
    5. Super Mario Bros. (1985) for a huge impact in entertainment at the time and selling 40+ million,
    6. Pokémon Red and Blue (1996) for reviving a dying handheld gaming market with simple yet complex game,
    Space Invaders7. Super Mario 64 (1996) for being a revolutionary 3D platformer with a lasting impact on 3D gaming,
    8. Half-Life (1998) for its revolutionary FPS gameplay with scripted sequences and selling 8+ million,
    9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) for still ranking as one of the greatest video games ever made.
    10. Grand Theft Auto III (2001) for advancing sandbox gaming and being source of moral panic and controversy.


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  • About the author

    Ferry Groenendijk

    By Ferry Groenendijk: He is the founder and editor of Video Games Blogger. He loved gaming from the moment he got a Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. on his 8th birthday. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and at Google+.

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