Time Magazine Sounds Off On The Best Video Games

I still love lists, so I am going to keep talking about lists.

Last week we had a rather controversial list of the 50 Best PC Games of All Time.  EVE Online made the top spot there.

This week Time Magazine has a list of the All-TIME 100 Video Games, which includes consoles and arcade machines.

I have to say, it is much easier for me to get behind this list than last week’s list.

Some of the games you have to take in the context of their time, like Pong.

Others are just great regardless of when you set them.

This Castle is Timeless, Dammit!

Of course I had that screen shot sitting around.

Games I can totally support being on the list.

Honestly, there are too many good games on that list for me to call out.

Hunt the Wumpus!  I played freakin’ Hunt the Wumpus back in the day!

Okay, I’ll stop.

There are games on the list that I am not a big fan of.  But the only one I am dubious of is Leisure Suit Larry.  I always felt that people liked the idea of that game much more than they liked the game itself.  I think it is there by legend alone.  But that might just be me.

So how is this list?  Is this a better list than last week’s list?

It almost makes me wish I didn’t cancel my Time subscription last week.  Almost.

15 thoughts on “Time Magazine Sounds Off On The Best Video Games

  1. Jenks

    There’s really nothing on this list I can complain about. I like that it kept to 1 game from a series for the most part, too.


  2. Talarian

    My only complaint about that list is the author is factually incorrect on the Ultima Online page. He claims that it is the longest running MMORPG, which is incorrect. Both Meridian 59 and The Realm are also MMORPGs (in fact, the first two graphical MMOs, they just didn’t get called that until the term was coined later), and they’re running still as well, and they started in 1995 and 1996 respectively, compared to UO’s 1997.


  3. Fnord

    You’re going to put the Elder Scrolls series on there, reasonable enough, but you pick Oblivion? Really?

    Still, definitely better than last week’s list.


  4. mbp

    Any games on the list that I have played (about half of them) deserve to be there so I guess I am happy enough with it. Then again I though the PC games list you linked to last week was pretty good too. I guess I am easy to please.

    I am happy to read these lists as games that someone thinks are good enough to remember. I read a comment on your last post from someone asking ” who ever heard of X or Y” mentioning two games that I would consider highly influential milestones in their own genres and that made me think that the real value of these lists is in reminding us of those older games which time has forgotten but which were nevertheless important milestones.


  5. Matt

    I’d demur on the installments picked more than the series. For example(s), Morrowind was better than Oblivion. Super Metroid was better than Metroid, Mario 3 or Super Mario World was better than Mario 1 (although Mario 1 was more historically important), Half-Life 1 over HL2, and Vice City over GTA 3. A fairly minor complaint though.

    As for examples that shouldn’t be there at all, the only one I saw was Mortal Kombat, a game that would have been quickly forgotten if not for the controversy.


  6. ebberact

    Honestly, Lacking in either Baldur’s Gate\2, or Planescape: Torment, the credibility of this list is rather nonexistant.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Random Idiot – If I linked to every game on the list I liked, I would have had to create a much longer list. That said, I never played Doom. I was working as a Mac developer at that time and if it didn’t run on the Mac, I wasn’t playing it. Hence, for me, Marathon > Doom.

    @ebberact – They pick 100 video games out of the last 40 years… which represents thousands of titles, and they miss two you like and they fail?

    Tough audience.

    I will toss this back at you then. What would you cut from the list to make room for your two titles?


  8. enneract

    My personal opinion is that the infinity engine games were a distinct high point in the progression of video games as a medium, and continue to hold themselves up as relevant, and by framing the situation as ‘missing two I like from thousands of titles’ as misleading :)

    Angry Birds, Rock Band, Metroid*, Rez, Animal Crossing, Leisure Suit Larry, Desktop Tower Defense, Wii Sports, and Guitar Hero are all very marginal games from the perspective of ‘100 best of all-time’, in my opinion.

    The list omits most* of the seminal CRPGs (BG\2, PST, Fallout\2) from the 90’s and 2000’s, and I can’t help but feel that the main metric they used was ‘amount of revenue generated’.


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @enneract – Well, your initial comment was that they missed two titles, so they lack credibility. I am not sure how I was supposed to draw your subsequent statement from that. So I would argue as to who was actually misleading whom.

    I cannot agree with you on the exclusion of Rock Band or Guitar Hero, though I am not sure we needed both on the list. They were wildly popular, which is something that “amount of revenue generated” actually measures. (Though I see Windows Solitaire is on the list, so revenue clearly wasn’t the metric.) And they are a unique genre.

    I do agree with cutting LSL and find the omission of Minecraft glaring now that you point it out. But making such a list is always a fool’s errand and can be viewed as a troll to get people arguing about the list.

    So, working as designed.


  10. enneract

    I just woke up, slightly incoherent, apologies :)

    The metric is supposedly ‘100 BEST games of all time’, not ‘100 MOST POPULAR games of all time’. They seem to have fuged the corners and turned it into ‘100 best or most historically significant games of all time’, otherwise most of the early games wouldn’t be there (By any metric of quality, for example, Pong was not good).

    I feel that the list lacks credibility as ‘100 BEST’ because they have omitted many games which are widely considered the ‘best’ in genre, or even omitted representation of that genre entirely, for example (Ask nearly any gamer what the best story-based CRPG of all time is, and nearly any will tell you ‘Planescape:Torment’ or ‘Baldur’s Gate 2’). They then proceeded to include games which were…not good, by any metric other than ‘copies sold’ (Call of Duty, for example), and call them ‘Best’.

    Thus, very little credibility in my opinion.


  11. bhagpuss

    The most interesting thing about this list is just how many of the 1970s/80s games I’ve played. I always say I’m not a gamer but I guess I probably was back then.

    Also if this was a Top 100 from a U.K. based magazine rather than an American one it would look very different indeed. The UK had a booming games industry in the 1980s and the biggest games machine for at least half the decade was the ZX Spectrum. Even when the Amiga took over, much of the games development for it was done in the local market. Consequently, although I know and played many of the games on that era of the list, I remember them almost as also-rans to the big British games of that period like Melbourne House’s “The Hobbit” or Ultima’s “Sabre Wolf” to name two of many hundreds.


  12. SynCaine

    Marathon > Doom is the correct statement, regardless if at the time you were a mac fan or not.

    Marathon played better, looked better, controlled better, and innovated far more. A lot of what is now standard in the FPS genre comes from Marathon.

    The same can be said about Myth. Myth > Warcraft/SC by a mile and a half, but because of platform it never got as much exposure as it should have.


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