Oh, crap, you have to be wary when academia steams in and attaches definitive lists (or 'canons') to creativity. So, we are nervous that a Stanford professor has attempted to draw up the videogame ‘canon’ in a recent lecture straightforwardly entitled, "Ten Games You Need to Play: The Digital Game Canon".
The way to becoming an accepted art form or cultural practice - at least in the modern, pre-digital era - was to have an accepted ‘canon’ of exemplary works (of art, literature, music and so on) that was agreed upon by various ‘authorities’ and leading critics who specialised in their particular field. This also enabled universities and schools only to teach the works that sat in those canons, and thus put an end to any real thinking - cynical? No bloody way.
Seasoned gamer and clever-clogs Stanford professor Henry Lowood curates the History of Science and Technology Collections at this leading Ivy League University.
“Creating this list is an assertion that digital games have a cultural significance and a historical significance,” Mr. Lowood told The New York Times
. “And if that is acknowledged, maybe we should do something about preserving them”.
The first 10 titles Lowood suggests should be in the definitive videogame canon are:
• Star Raiders
• Super Mario Bros. 3
• Civilization I/II
• Warcraft series
• Sensible World of SoccerSensible World Of Soccer
? Come on. We love Sensi Soccer
, of course we do, but one of the 10 most important games of all time? A game requiring a preservation order? What exactly is the criteria here? What about Kick Off
then? Or just plain Sensible Soccer
? And Doom
? What about Castle Wolfenstein
? Come to think about it, what about Dungeon Master
See, lists eh? Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, you have to admit that they do serve one useful purpose, aside from informing you what you need from the grocery store, they almost demand
that you have an opinion. That you agree or, more usually, vehemently disagree with an aribitrary-seeming 'top ten best of'.
So, let us know in the Forum below what you think of the above ‘starter for ten’ – is there anything you feel has been unduly overlooked? Or are any of the above titles not worthy of being in the videogame canon, in your opinion?