I’ve spent some time over the last week helping my good friend and fellow game designer Jeremy P Bushnell compile a list of historically important video games.
Jeremy has been teaching a Writing course at Boston University on the topic of “Playing Games: How Video Games Work and What They Mean.”
In his discussions with the students about the concept of historical analysis: analyzing video games based on how they “fit” into the context of a developing timeline of games, he had a chance to create an initial list of about 40 games.
This list was then passed around between our friends and associates as well as being shared with his two classes of about forty students total. Jeremy encouraged his students to confront and challenge the games on this list as well as suggest ones they felt should be included. They even got to write persuasive papers as an assignment to get a game included on the list. If the argument was convincing enough they even received some extra credit for making the list.
Jeremy and I discussed some of the more convincing papers and kicked our thoughts back and forth on what made these games historically significant. It was a lot of fun and very interesting to get to consider where videos games have come from (with Spacewar in 1961) up through to the present day. It was a challenge to pick games not for being good or popular necessarily but for their historical significance.