Back when I was in college I started collecting people’s Ten Best Film Lists. I still have ’em, dozens of them. And someday, I’ll dig them out and embarrass people I haven’t spoken with in 30 years. (You’ve been warned!)
Anyway, since I was a kid, I’d been compiling and revising and recompiling my own lists — of favorite films, favorite cars, favorite racing cars, favorite TV shows, favorite what-have-you-got? I’ve always been a bug about lists.
It always fascinated me how my own criteria changed from day to day, and year to year. So seeing how other people ranked stuff was high entertainment indeed. With the movie lists, some folks used “significance” as their main criterion — did a movie change things… Others said “If I could only watch movie X or movie Y tonight, which would I watch?” (repeat until you’ve narrowed it down to 10)… Still others applied the desert island test — “If I could only watch ten movies for the rest of my life, over and over, which would hold up best?” Great stuff…
I mention all this because I was recently asked to participate in a book project called “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” from Green Ronin Publishing and edited by an old colleague from my papergame days, James Lowder. I only got to write one chapter, darn it, and I really wanted to write about Sid Sackson’s Acquire (the Best Boardgame Ever) but someone else got it first. I went with Tikal, instead, another terrific, terrific game, of course, and one I was thrilled to write about.
I won’t list the entire contents of the book (you can find that at the Green Ronin website), but I will say the list of games is fantastic (though I’d quibble with many of the entries), and the list of authors is a who’s who among game designers (though heavily skewed toward boardgame designers, as you might expect). Totally worth checking out if you’re into games and looking for a fun read (and you’re into lists!)
Also, my old TSR colleague (and buddy), Jeff Grubb, recently posted about the book on his blog. He did run the whole list of games and asked readers to identify which games they owned, which they’d played and so on. An interesting idea. Check it out.
Anyway, now that I’ve confessed my affection for lists, here are my fave games/movies lists. They’re highly idiosyncratic, to say the least. In making these lists, I gave no thought to “significance” or “influence” (except as the games and movies may have influenced me). I didn’t include any games I worked on. In some cases, I’ll acknowledge that there are games I think are better than some on the list (e.g., Ultima VI is, I think a way better/more fun game than Ultima IV, but U4 kind of changed my life, so U4 makes the cut and U6 doesn’t — plus, I worked on U6). Mostly, these are just games and movies I love — no more, no less.
(NOTE: I reserve the right to change my mind and amend these lists at any time… I’m going to try to come back and provide more information about each game, and why I listed it — in the meantime, you’ll have to Google anything you’re not familiar with. Oh, and since this is my blog, I’m going to give myself an extra, honorable mention slot for a game that almost made the cut…)
- Daytona 500
- Settlers of Catan
- Speed Circuit
- (Rail Baron)
- Guitar Hero
- Half Life
- Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
- Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Super Mario 64
- Ultima IV
- Warcraft II
- (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess — okay, so I cheated and went for 12 on the videogame list. So sue me.)
- 7th Voyage of Sinbad
- 42nd Street
- Adventures of Robin Hood (and, boy, do I not mean the Kevin Costner film!)
- The Hustler
- King Kong (the 1933 version, not the Peter Jackson)
- The Nutty Professor (the Jerry Lewis version, of course)
- On the Town
- The Searchers
- Sullivan’s Travels
- (American Graffiti)
Let the arguments begin!