The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Hazerd
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by Hazerd Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:16 pm

Scrabble (1948)
OutRun (1986)
SimCity (1989)
Street Fighter II (1991)
Doom (1993)
Daytona USA (1993)
Virtua Fighter (1993)
Half-Life (1998)
Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Starcraft (1998)
Counter-Strike (1999)

Here's where i stand! :mrgreen: :roll:
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Erik_Twice
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by Erik_Twice Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:50 am

J T wrote:I really like that board games are dovetailed in with video games because it immediately places the list into a broader thinking about games.

There are a fair amount of games here that I haven't played, especially with respect to the board games. I like this list for being so different from what I would expect, or what I would have put together myself.

Those are very kind words, thanks! :D

I think that's what we are missing: broad thinking, perspective, a wider reach. There are too many things we accept or take for granted or don't notice how terrible they can be. I feel like I'm hammering this over and over but playing boardgames was such a revealing excercise I'm ashamed of my ignorance.

For example we have this big push lately to create narratives and complex plots and we have games with hours and hours of dialog and cutscenes yet the best narrative I've ever seen in the medium are the ones the players create in Car Wars or The Republic of Rome, which have no text or voiceovers, just mechanics. There are similar lessons in the elegance of eurogames or the meaningful characterization of RPGs.


R-Type is a game that everyone should have played but they haven't. I think it's a very important game for the genre but it seems everyone just names it instead of checking it out.

I think I've got to finally force myself to sit down with a real time strategy game some time. I can never get through the tutorial before I decide I don't have the time for it.

The average tutorial is so awful I can't blame you for it! I thought Total Annihilation was the best game to understand real time wargames, you really feel the pressure of time with it. I would try it if you don't like Starcraft or C&C.


Ack wrote:So...why Arkanoid instead of Breakout?

Both are valid to me. Breakout is the progenitor while Arkanoid is the best example.

I'm surprised you don't have anything more to ask. I can't believe it, what are you hiding ,man? :lol:
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by Erik_Twice Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:51 am

isiolia wrote:In turn, there are ways to make a rule system work that are "right" for one medium, but not another.

I agree with this.

I'd just think that a short list of must-plays would more appropriately focus on the defining attributes of video games as they have evolved over the past few decades

But not this.

The reason is that the single most important attribute of videogames is the same attribute of boardgames, which is interactivity. That's what defines the medium, in the same way movement defines film.

This is no justification for a boardgame version of Robotron for the same reason I find talking heads to be a waste of animated shows. But the core, the core is the same. It's like jazz and classical music, they are direct opposite yet follow the same principles.

But it's even more necessary in practise than in theorical terms. Sid Meier was incredibly influential and all his designs are evolved from Avalon Hill's boardgames. Ultima is an attempt at copying D&D and Starcraft follows the principles laid by wargames.

I don't know, I don't think we will agree on this.

Hazerd wrote:Here's where i stand! :mrgreen: :roll:

The only way I can forgive you is if you play Xevious :P
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by Ack Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:53 am

Well, you've made your point already about why you included multiple types of non-video games, and I feel your reasoning is valid, so no arguments. And beyond the Arkanoid/Breakout debate, I believe you presented a list with excellent examples. There are some that I might suggest have trade offs, but I think it's a solid list(of which I've played the vast majority).
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by isiolia Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:11 pm

General_Norris wrote:The reason is that the single most important attribute of videogames is the same attribute of boardgames, which is interactivity. That's what defines the medium, in the same way movement defines film.


Sure, but "interactivity" is a very broad thing. Narrowing both board and video games down to that, to me, is like saying both novels and films exist to tell a story, or in a broader sense, to communicate ideas. While true, like you said, the medium of film is defined by how it does that.

Board games give a set of rules for players to interact with one another. Video games, first and foremost, are an interaction with a computer program.

To me, that's a fairly big split.

This is no justification for a boardgame version of Robotron for the same reason I find talking heads to be a waste of animated shows. But the core, the core is the same. It's like jazz and classical music, they are direct opposite yet follow the same principles.

But it's even more necessary in practise than in theorical terms. Sid Meier was incredibly influential and all his designs are evolved from Avalon Hill's boardgames. Ultima is an attempt at copying D&D and Starcraft follows the principles laid by wargames.


If you're studying a great movie based on a book, going back to read the book might provide insight on the film. However, if you were putting together a list of great films, it wouldn't be half populated by books.

I suppose it's simply that things are disproportionate. Ties to board games tend to become quite tenuous outside of a relative handful of genres. Other games are probably more closely related to electro-mechanical arcade games, or toys, or as mentioned, actual activities like sports or driving.

It's not so much that there's no level at which different types of games are related. More that it'd seem more appropriate to me to focus on the landmark attempts at creating a computerized version of them - and probably more in between as well. While your post doesn't explicitly spell out video games critics should play, it seems targeted at video game critics.

To me, it comes across somewhat that you like both video games and board games, and want to create an intersection of the two interests.

I don't know, I don't think we will agree on this.


Probably not :lol: But, there's no real need to. It's just a discussion.
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by dsheinem Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:17 am

Ok, I've read the list/site and been shamed into responding. :lol:

Aside from the fact that they are apparently necessarily male (he or she, mate :wink: ), what do you consider to be the definiton of a "game critic"?

If you are talking about someone who reviews games for a living for a major game-related website or magazine, I think they need only be familiar with the games that their readers are most likely familiar with in order to be a good reviewer. That is, I don't know that whoever Kotaku or Game Informer has review Fire Emblem Awakening or Bioshock Infinite should make an effort to make sure those people have first played any of the games on your list. By contrast, they should have played earlier entries in those series, similar games in similar genres from the same console generation, and be able to get a sense of the game's place in the current gaming landscape. They are largely offering comparative reviews that are meant to help people make decisions about resource expenditures, not trying to discuss how a particular game sits in the history of a medium/genre or of interactivity "more" generally.

If, by contrast, you are talking about someone who does criticism as an attempt to understand the game in a larger cultural/social/historical/etc. context, then there might be some arguments to be made about a list of "requisite" experiences for the reasons you identify. But I think it is as disingenuous to attack IGN reviewers for not playing Adventure, Zork, or Outrun as it is to attack TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly reviewers for not having watched Hill Street Blues or The Honeymooners. That is, they can still offer fair and useful reviews of the latest episode of CSI Miami or How I Met Your Mother without knowing that history.
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by Erik_Twice Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:58 pm

dsheinem wrote:Aside from the fact that they are apparently necessarily male (he or she, mate :wink: ), what do you consider to be the definiton of a "game critic"?

Don't push my buttons :lol:


You might be surprised but I don't think I can answer your question truthfully. It's not that I haven't thought about it or that I don't have some good ideas on the topic but it's a hard question and I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer it.

Which is why I'm going to quote Roger Ebert. Same concept, different medium.

Critic is a four letter word wrote:But enough of baseball and cars. What about movies? I believe a good critic is a teacher. He doesn't have the answers, but he can be an example of the process of finding your own answers. He can notice things, explain them, place them in any number of contexts, ponder why some "work" and others never could. He can urge you toward older movies to expand your context for newer ones. He can examine how movies touch upon individual lives, and can be healing, or damaging. He can defend them, and regard them as important in the face of those who are "just looking for a good time." He can argue that you will have a better time at a better movie. We are all allotted an unknown but finite number of hours of consciousness. Maybe a critic can help you spend them more meaningfully.


It's not a surprising definition and perhaps a very humble one. You like the medium, you help people understand it better, teach them to get more out of it. And you can't teach if you don't know yourself.

I think, if you allow me to be a little bit spunky, if you are so full of yourself that you write down your opinions and push them into others you should, at least, try to justify them. Judging other's people work as a living and notcaring about yours makes you kind of an asshole :lol:

I'm not sure if that answers your question but I think you'll understand where this concern of me arises from :D
Last edited by Erik_Twice on Mon May 20, 2013 3:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by Erik_Twice Tue May 07, 2013 3:19 pm

I'm starting to think the quick explanations of each title are a waste of time because they all end up terribly written when they can't exceed three or four lines.

I don't know if it's worth finishing. Perhaps I should just leave the original article and remove the rest. I mean, it takes me a lot of time to get those pictures and translate and write. Perhaps bringing back my old articles is a better use of my time.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, it's already too late.

Oh, well :lol:
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by dtrack Sun May 19, 2013 11:21 am

I don't think interactivity is the key. Even cooking is interactive. The way a medium offer/implement interactivity is the splitting line. Medium-specific as i used to say.
Some movies could be novels and some painting could be a photo. When a movie doesn't offer anything more than a previous medium then it is not specific. Therefore that isn't really a movie (however technically it is).
A video game is a video game when it could't have realized the other way. Playing chess on the monitor is not a video game.
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Re: 40 Games critics should play

by finnSomniac Sun May 19, 2013 3:12 pm

I actually made an account just to respond to this topic.

I think the idea of this is great, a list of "must play" games for critics, especially since games journalism (which to me, includes criticism and reviewing) seems to be written by awful bloggers with little skill in writing, and with really simple understanding of the medium.

I haven't read your reasons behind each game, but I think you should finish the list off with a clear explanation. Even if it takes you a month, just put some time into each, polish it off, otherwise, your list is kind of hard to understand.

Now to the discussion of Board vs Video Games and whether they're compatible, I think they are. Board Games feel as if they were logically a predecessor to Video Games, both have rules, the only difference is the presentation, which is either physical (Board), or representative (Video).

The only thing that creates a real issue is how the rules are in play. Board Games have a set of rules, but they're only in use if everyone acts as a referee, and makes sure everyone else follows the rules. Video Games have a much more dominating referee, code, which restricts much more evenly. "House rules" can be found in a numerous amount of Board Games because of the looser rules, whereas they generally aren't found, outside of maybe FPS mods throughout the decades.

Obviously we can't say that Board Games are Video Games, because that defies logic. But is one an extension of the other? I think so. Think of multiplayer, be it local or online. It operates just the same, with rules being put in place in a different manner. Play is competitive, cooperative, or sometimes a mixture of the two. This is present in all games created, it's what makes them games. And this is what the list is about, games with a focus on Video Games because that's where the innovation is, that's where the future is.

I don't think it's bizarre or incorrect to talk about Board Games when you're suggesting titles for a Video Game critic. The games you list are important for reasons other than just fun or artistic quality, they have ideas that are important in understanding what Video Games are and how they work.

dtrack wrote:I don't think interactivity is the key. Even cooking is interactive. The way a medium offer/implement interactivity is the splitting line. Medium-specific as i used to say.
Some movies could be novels and some painting could be a photo. When a movie doesn't offer anything more than a previous medium then it is not specific. Therefore that isn't really a movie (however technically it is).
A video game is a video game when it could't have realized the other way. Playing chess on the monitor is not a video game.


I think it's incredibly inaccurate to say that Video Chess isn't a Video Game, it defies logic. Video Chess doesn't make every game of Chess a Video Game, but to say that a Video Game version of something, like a Movie, isn't a Video Game because it was done in another medium is just defying logic whatsoever.

You're right on the interactivity issue, though. All entertainment is interactive, Movies, Pictures, Paintings, and it would be wrong to define Video Games purely on some weird interactivity level.
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