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The Video Game Canon: 2007 Edition

zork.jpg
West of House.
You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
>_
If those words don't stir something in your soul... well, you're probably younger than me, or at least you've never been a computer game enthusiast.

In case that line doesn't ring a bell: it's the opening of the classic text adventure game Zork, which ranks as one of the "ten most important video games of all time," according to a committee headed by Henry Lowood, curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University.

Lowood and his fellow committee members (game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky, researcher Matteo Bittanti, and game journalist Christopher Grant) envision this list as the start of something akin to the National Film Registry, which every year adds new films to its massive list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" American films (see pages 238-39 of the 2007 World Almanac for that list).

I'm interested to see if this list gains as much widespread recognition as the Film Registry:

  • Spacewar! (1962)
  • Star Raiders (1979)
  • Zork (1980)
  • Tetris (1985)
  • SimCity (1989)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
  • Civilization I/II (1991)
  • Doom (1993)
  • Warcraft series (beginning 1994)
  • Sensible World of Soccer (1994)
Seem like the right choices for the basic canon? What games would you nominate for next year's class of inductees? Do you think we should include this initial list in the 2008 World Almanac? Take it up in the comments...

Is That Just Some Game? No, It's a Cultural Artifact (The New York Times, March 12, 2007)

Image: Zork in 1980 from the-tml's Flickr stream (CC)

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