Monthly Archives: October 2003

The Game Canon

Since Greg Costikyan has just posted a list of 300 games that every game developer (or gamer) should now, here’s the game canon that me and Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen at the Game Center put together.

Note: Understand what status this list has: It was quickly put together in December to see if it is possible to create a list of the most important games of all time. It is certain that you will disagree.

It was created in response to a discussion at the Game Developer’s Conference in March, where it was suggested that IGDA or DiGRA should create a game canon listing all the games that a knowledgeable game developer or researcher should beware of.
I was against this not because I think canons are bad, but because canons are more useful when coming from an identifiable perspective than from the compromises of a committee.

The platforms are listed alphabetically, and each game is listed according to the platform that we have mostly played it on.
If you compare to Costikyan’s list, this list only discusses computer and video games. It is also quite European in that it includes the Commodore 64, Amiga, and ZX Spectrum [Timex Sinclair] but not the Apple II.

The list is, of course, completely objective. I think it makes sense.

Amiga
Defender of the crown
Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge
Battle Chess
Lemmings
Wings of Fury
Flashback
Blood Money

Arcade
Bomb jack
Death Race
Double Dragon
Battlezone
Space Invaders
Galaga
Lunar Lander
Mortal Kombat
Pacman
Night Driver
Outrun
Rampage
Space Invaders
Spy Hunter
Dragon’s Lair
Star Wars
Moon Patrol
Street Fighter *
Operation Wolf
Time Crisis
Gunfight
Galaxians
Gorf
Donkey Kong
Virtua Cop
Yie-Air Kungfu
Marble Madness
Qbert
Arkanoid
Asteroids
Tapper
Dig Dug

Commodore 64
Exploding Fist
International Karate
Elite
Mission Impossible
Commando
Little Computer People
Pitstop II
Matrix
Attack of the mutant camels
Revenge of the mutant camels
Sheep in space
Summer Games, Winter games, World Games, California Games
Football Manager
Raid on Bungeling Bay
Pirates
Blue Max
The Hobbit
Pinball Construction Set
Archon
Boulder Dash
Where in the world is Carmen San Diego
Monty Mole
Arkanoid
Barbarian
Beach Head
Raid on Moscow
Bruce Lee

Dreamcast
Shenmue
Crazy Taxi

Gameboy advance
Chu-Chu Rocket

Gamecube
Super Monkey Ball
Pikmin
Super Mario Sunshine
Metroid Prime

Macintosh
Maelstrom
Spectre VR
Balance of Power
Bolo

Nintendo 64
Super Mario 64
Starfox
Legend of Zelda

Other
Hearts
Minesweeper
Adventure
Tetris
Spacewar
Breakout
Sokoban
Hunt the Wumpus

PC
7th Guest
Myst, 2, 3, Riven
Monkey island
Blackout
Grim Fandango
King’s Quest
Space Quest
Lesiure Suit Larry
Maniac Mansion
Zork
Alone in the dark
Gabriel Knight
Day of the tentacle
Final Fantasy *
Last Express
Prince of Persia
Under a Killing Moon
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Blade Runner

Age of Empires
Age of Kings
Starcraft
Sim City
Sims
Civilization
Warcraft
Red Alert
Command & Conquer
Dune 2
Second Front
North & South
Colonization
Alpha Centauri
Railroad Tycoon
Rollercoaster Tycoon
Zoo Tycoon
Battle Isle
Europa Universalis

688 Attack Sub

Doom
Doom II
Quake 1,2,3
Wolfenstein
Magic Carpet
Descent
Unreal
American McGee’s Alice
Half-Life
Counterstrike
Battlefield 1942
Duke Nuke’m
Thief
Hitman 1 & 2
Max Payne
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Canon Fodder
No One Lives for Ever
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Serious Sam
Soldier of Fortune
Unreal Tournament
Tribes
Alien Vs. Predator
Deus Ex

EverQuest
Ultima *
Dark age of Camelot
Anarchy online
Asheron’s Call
Lineage
Baldur’s Gate
Diablo I & II

Wing Commander
Worms

Fifa
Actua Soccer
Flight Simulator

Heroes of Might and Magic
Warlords

Supercars
Micro Machines

Syndicate

Black & White
Dungeon Keeper
Populus
Megalomania

Airborne Ranger
Atomic Bomberman

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Barbie Fashion Designer
Bar Games

Playstation
Tomb Raider
Vib-Ribbon
Resident Evil
Gran Turismo
Tekken
Driver
Dance Dance Revolution
Parappa the Rapper
Metal Gear Solid
Puzzle Bubble / Bust-a-Move
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Battle Area Toshinden

Playstation 2
Grand Theft Auto III
Gran Turismo III
Tekken 3 & 4
Metal Gear Solid 2

Super Nintendo (SNES)
Super Mario

Sega MegaDrive
Sonic the Hedgehog

Sega Saturn
Virtua Fighter

XBOX
Halo
Jet Set Radio Future

ZX Spectrum
Jetpac
Jet Set Willy
Sabre Wulf
Manic Miner

’tis done

The dissertation. Turned it in today.

The title is “Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds”, will post more about it another day.