Edge magazine special - "The 100 best videogames"

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Bill Loguidice
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Platform does make a difference!
Matt Barton wrote:

... game that's only known on one system, since the gamers who owned it may have been limited and thus flocked to that game in greater numbers. I'm thinking here of games like Tunnels of Doom (TI/994A) and Dungeons of Daggorath (Tandy CoCo), which most people couldn't play because they were exclusive to less popular systems. I'm not knocking these gam ...

I think that's a terribly interesting point and one worth pursuing at some point. Are games like Dungeons of Daggorath and Tunnels of Doom great and "classics" because they were standouts on systems that didn't necessarily have an abundance of great games, or were they truly great that would have been revered like they were regardless of platform? In other words, would Dungeons of Daggorath and Tunnels of Doom have been brushed aside in lieu of the sea of better games of the same basic class on systems like the C-64 and Apple II, or would they indeed have distinguished themselves? Would they still be five star games, or would they be considered three star games in comparison? Etc. Interesting thought process there...

(My own opinion? Both games would still be considered classics, but would have been far lower profile. Basically added to the plethora of "underground" classics. Mentioned by enthusiasts and fans, but certainly not to the level each game is today due to their respective original platforms.)

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Matt Barton
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Criteria is the Key
Mark Vergeer wrote:

What criteria are used to create the list? Is it the reviewers own preference, games sold at this particular Indie game shoppe? Gameplay, graphics? Sounds? Leven of control? Multiplayer options? Easy installation? This list can be based on tons of variables.

That's exactly my thought as well, Mark. I always tell students, "Your opinion doesn't matter unless you can identify reasonable criteria for how you arrived at it." Just saying that such and such a game is the best ever made means very little.

If I were going to do a list like this and be serious about it, I'd want to have a careful weighted system of measurement. For instance, one key factor is how long people have or had actively played the game. In my opinion, a game like Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga deserves more points because people still routinely play them today, whereas who knows whether a recent game will be remembered five years from now. I'd also give extra points if the game is still drawing new players rather than just surviving among niches of hardcore nostalgic gamers.

Furthermore, I think you can look at games that were published on a variety of systems, and give them points if their game was popular on each system. This would seem better to me than a game that's only known on one system, since the gamers who owned it may have been limited and thus flocked to that game in greater numbers. I'm thinking here of games like Tunnels of Doom (TI/994A) and Dungeons of Daggorath (Tandy CoCo), which most people couldn't play because they were exclusive to less popular systems. I'm not knocking these games; just pointing out that almost everyone who loves these games had one of these computers; they're at least somewhat biased in my view. On the other hand, this factor means much less if the platform was a juggernaut like the NES or the Commodore 64. In any case, it's clear to me that games that were successful on a variety of platforms (say, Tetris) deserve special compensation. You can easily imagine, for instance, if tetris had been a hit on the Gameboy but flopped on other systems.

Finally, I think you can add points for what the game was trying to accomplish. Was it just designed for simple amusement, a "twitch" style game, or does it do more? If a game really makes a lasting impact on a player, I'd give it more points than a meaningless diversion. For this reason, I'd probably consider a game like Missile Command slightly "greater" than, oh, say Dig Dug. With later games, of course I'd privilege thought-provoking games like Deus Ex or Halo over Doom, even though the latter was more innovative for its time.

I don't think you can do something like this mathematically, but you can at least establish some sound criteria so that others can clearly see how you arrived at your opinion.

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Mark Vergeer
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What criteria are used?

What criteria are used to create the list? Is it the reviewers own preference, games sold at this particular Indie game shoppe? Gameplay, graphics? Sounds? Leven of control? Multiplayer options? Easy installation? This list can be based on tons of variables. How independant are those lists? Is there a secret plot from the gaming industrie to 'buy' a spot on the list in order to promote a specific game?
Je ne sais pas!
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Mark Vergeer - Editor / Pixelator
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Bill Loguidice
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List systems
Matt Barton wrote:

Well, the biggest problem with this sort of thing is that the typical gamer hasn't played but, I'm guessing here, something like 1-5% of the total games out there. Furthermore, most people are limited to a few (or even one) platform, and thus missed out on whatever was going on elsewhere. I'm not saying that a critic ought to play every game ever made (I'm not even sure if that's possible anymore), but should at least be familiar with the best on each of the major platforms. It's also helpful to have some context, so that you don't look at a Commodore 64 game and instantly think, "PRIMITIVE!"

In any case, the last thing I'd do is look to a poll of random people to get an idea of the best games of all time. You really need to consult experts to get anything resembling a solid opinion on the matter.

Well put and I agree. It would have to have some type of scientific process put to it to truly be definitive and it would have to involve many people, funneling down to one or two experts in a particularly category/genre. I'm not even sure you could do an "all time", as it's difficult to compare eras and often-times even classes of systems directly to each other.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Matt Barton
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Irrelevance of Lists
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Hmm, that list is a joke. Even assuming they're just going from the early 90's to the present day, some of those games don't even belong on the list due to the fact that they're not particularly great games. Still, there is nothing easier to attract attention than putting out one of these lists. I'm almost tempted for AA to do a mega list blowout one day just to prove the point.

Well, the biggest problem with this sort of thing is that the typical gamer hasn't played but, I'm guessing here, something like 1-5% of the total games out there. Furthermore, most people are limited to a few (or even one) platform, and thus missed out on whatever was going on elsewhere. I'm not saying that a critic ought to play every game ever made (I'm not even sure if that's possible anymore), but should at least be familiar with the best on each of the major platforms. It's also helpful to have some context, so that you don't look at a Commodore 64 game and instantly think, "PRIMITIVE!"

In any case, the last thing I'd do is look to a poll of random people to get an idea of the best games of all time. You really need to consult experts to get anything resembling a solid opinion on the matter.

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Bill Loguidice
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"Top" lists - the editorial crutch

Hmm, that list is a joke. Even assuming they're just going from the early 90's to the present day, some of those games don't even belong on the list due to the fact that they're not particularly great games. Still, there is nothing easier to attract attention than putting out one of these lists. I'm almost tempted for AA to do a mega list blowout one day just to prove the point.

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Mark Vergeer
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But Edge is one of the most clever magazines out there...

All I say is don't judge Edge by this list as it is one of the most in depth and clever/intelligent magazines out there. Games-tm, Retrogamer come close but there are few other publications out there that rank this high. All UK magazines btw!

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Mark Vergeer - Editor / Pixelator
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Matt Barton
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Rather Biased List

Heheh, well, I'd say this list is what I would expect from gamers with a fairly limited span of experience (say, less than 10 years of active gaming, mostly on SNES and later consoles).

I don't much stock in these lists myself, but it is interesting to see the media getting so carried away. I guess it's true--everybody loves lists!

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yakumo9275
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blah

I guess as magazine editors get younger, we loose entire swaths of video game history (c64/speccy/etc)..

apparently pokemon ruby/sapphire is better than soul calibur.. and apprently better than well.. lots of things...

no ultima anything to be seen or for that matter baldurs gate..

they pick tomb raider1 on ps1 with its lores graphics over the far superior pc version..
final fantasy vii was nothing but a huge long cutscene..

bah. going to stop picking holes in a crap list.

-- Stu --

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