Thursday, June 25, 2009

The 25 Games You Need To Play Before You Die

Crispy Gamer has a feature up listing the 25 games you need to play before you die.  I can't help but look at lists (so long as they aren't THE BEST GAMES EVER), mostly to see whether or not the creator did a decent job.  If you see a list about great games to play, and they consist entirely of Zelda, Mario, and Master Chief (maybe through in Cloud for good measure), you can guess that they don't really know what they're talking about.  If you're a gamer, and a hardcore one at that, then you know about all the great games of the past.  What I look for in a list are small gems, or maybe unique choices.  Crispy Gamer writer Scott Jones has done a great job on this one.  This starts with his 25th position (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, which is a great choice because THPS games really are great and the earlier ones lost respect because of the beating Activision committed to this dead horse).  The next couple of positions include the usual fare I've state above, including Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Resident Evil 4.  The next spots are filled with nuance.  Jones lists Final Fantasy VI but garnishes it with Chrono Trigger; he enters Grand Theft Auto III instead of Vice City or San Andreas; he includes Advance Wars for the GBA instead of one of the DS iterations.  As Jones nears the end of his list, he seems sure to finish strong.  He lists The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, which I couldn't ever imagine in a list as short as 25.  Listing Super Metroid for the SNES as high as #5 gains a lot of respect from me as well, but what really seals the deal with this list is the number one spot.  Jones obviously has a soft spot in his heart for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! because I don't know why anyone would put that as the number one game you should play before you die.

In that choice is really the rub, the whole point of my writing today.  Why do we make these lists if our only goal is to please our readers?  When a critic writes a list of the top 10 movies of all time, it is their opinion.  While video games might have the most opinionated (and that's being nice) fans, that doesn't mean that our journalists, our writers, our critics have to be total pussies.  Please, for the love of video game God, have a backbone people.  If you're crafting a list, consider your options, consider the games you've spent hours of your life with, but most of all, consider your opinion, and put a goddam by-line on it.  Own your opinion and your writing, because no one is going to buy your bull shit when all it does is suck up to one half of the fanboys or the other.  Jones does a great job here, but he's still caught in a balance.  Why are there two Mario games on such a short list?

Either way, I could only really add or subtract a few things from this list.  Read the full article at

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