Friday, February 27, 2009

Guiness Knows Video Games

So apparently Guiness World Records decided to put together a list of the most influential console games in history. In short, it's ridiculous. I'm not going to reproduce the whole list (it's a top 50 list), but let's just look at the top 10:

1. Super Mario Kart
2. Tetris
3. Grand Theft Auto
4. Super Mario World
5. Zelda Ocarina of Time
6. Halo
7. Resident Evil IV
8. Final Fantasy XII
9. Street Fighter II
10. GoldenEye

Now remember, these aren't supposed to be favorites, or best games, or anything of that sort - they're "most influential" games. Now, I would measure influential games by the kind of impact they had on the games that followed them, so one rule I apply from the get-go: No games from the last couple years. And yet there's FFXII staring me in the face, and a little further down (at #14) they have Call of Duty 4. Even the Orange Box (further down the list), which seems like it's guaranteed to have a long-lasting impact on gaming because of it's inclusion of Portal, is something I would hesitate to put on their, because there simply hasn't been enough time for it to have a "legacy," which is one of the criteria used to judge these (supposedly).

But that's not the big issue. The big issue is all of the things that aren't in the top 10 list here. I mean, where's Mario - you know, the game that invented the side-scrolling platformer, which for a while was the pre-eminent genre? Where's Dragon Quest, the first console RPG? If you're going to include a Final Fantasy game in the top 10, why isn't it VII, which not only made JRPGs mainstream in America, but got a movie made about it? Why are Super Metroid and Castlevania: SotN so far down (in the late 30's) when they're the origin of "Castleroid" games? DDR isn't even on the list, even though it's a predecessor to games like Guitar Hero (which did make the list)?

And that's granting already that they're discounting all PC games (in some cases, this also seems kind of disingenuous, since titles like Oblivion and Call of Duty are probably more significant for their PC versions than their console ports). That means things like SimCity and Civilization aren't even in the running.

I would probably feel better about this list if they at least had a consistent metric that they were basing it on, but from the Kotaku article, it sounds like every item on the list has vague justifications. Guiness should probably stick to things they can measure, like "largest game cartridge ever," "longest loading screen ever," and "most copies sold back to GameStop."


1 comment:

William said...

*tries to comprehend list*

Hmm... let's see... what if they mean influential, not to the games that followed them, but to society/pop culture? So, like, GTA is influential because it started arguments about violence, and GoldenEye is influential because it's about James Bond, and... uh... hmm. Mario Kart? Really?


So, yeah. That's pretty bad. Do they have a list of "most influential" for other media? TV shows? Movies? *Books*? There's really no excuse. I want to say that at least video games are getting some attention, but really, that's been the case for far too long for this sort of silliness. I think this should be added to the list of "least influential Guiness records".