August 26, 2007 4:02 PM | Simon Carless
So, the Leipzig, Germany-based Games Convention trade/consumer show ends today, but something that's relatively little-reported is the Telespiele 1972-2007 mini-exhibit at the show, with an all-star collection of German journalists voting on the most important and influential games of all time.
Obviously redolent of the Digital Game Canon project, which now has a much more filled-out entry at the IGDA's Preservation SIG Wiki, incidentally, the folks at GC organizer Leipziger Messe sent over a press release for their own project which I can't easily find anywhere online, so I'm going to reprint it here.
For those who can't be bothered to scroll down/click through - the list, organized by Leipzig-based game journo Rene Meyer, includes 16 titles that the assembled voters found particularly seminal. It's implied that the four most-voted titles, in descending order, are Tetris, Pong, Doom, Pac-Man. Ah, look, and the German-language site has a full list of nominations, which is additionally interesting. Anyhow, read on for the full release...
"Two lines and a square - the first, and still best-known video game, "Pong", spawned a billion dollar industry. Books, comics, cinema films, series and audio books have all been developed from games. They inspire information technology, media, industry and medicine, as technological influence, advertising medium, educator and the basis for virtual worlds.
Now a jury sitting at the GC special exhibition "Telespiele 1972-2007", compiled by the Leipzig games journalist René Meyer, has made a selection of the games that have exerted a particular influence. The panel of over 20 games experts - collectors, journalists and publishers - has chosen its favourite from a list of 150 nominations. The most influential games in chronological order are:
1972 Pong (Dexterity/Arcade)
1978 Space Invaders (Dexterity/Arcade)
1979 Pac-Man (Dexterity/Arcade)
1980 Ultima (Role Play)
1984 Elite (Space Trading Simulation)
1985 Tetris (Dexterity/Puzzle)
1985 Super Mario Bros. (Jump'n'Run)
1986 The Legend of Zelda (Action/Adventure)
1987 Maniac Mansion (Adventure)
1989 SimCity (City Building Simulation)
1991 Civilization (Strategy)
1993 Doom (First-Person Shooter)
1996 Tomb Raider (Action/Adventure)
1999 Counter-Strike (First-Person Shooter)
2000 The Sims (Relationship Simulation)
2004 World of WarCraft (Online Role Play)
In the selection the following four titles were named most frequently:
"Tetris" (1985). The dexterity game with the coloured cubes is the brainchild of the Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov. "Tetris" became a hit when Nintendo included it with its portable games system: it was almost as if Game Boy and Tetris were made for one another. Today there are hundreds of different versions of the game, for almost every computer system.
"Pong" (1972). The idea for this simple tennis game was developed as early as the late 60s by German-born Ralph Baer. However, it was not until the arrival of arcade machines from Atari and later the home console that it became a hit. "Pong" demonstrated that video games offer most fun when mastered together or against one another. Countless Pong clones appeared, including in the GDR.
"Doom" (1993). The first-person shooter promoted the idea of shareware: the first chapter was a free gift, with the aim of advertising for the following ones. "Doom" is not only a milestone in 3D technology. Its sophisticated network support means that it enjoyed particular popularity in multi-player mode, leading to the creation of LAN parties. "Doom" was played intensively on home and company networks, as well as via modem. In addition, "Doom" also heralded the breakthrough for the modding scene, with hobby designers creating thousands of additional levels.
"Pac-Man" (1979). The yellow pill-popper is redolent of one of the prime forces driving humankind: eat to survive. it was the first pop star among the video game heroes; appearing on the covers of magazines, it was also printed onto mugs, was the title of records and even had its own TV series.
The jury includes the following individuals:
Alexander Schön, private collector; André Peschke, Krawall; Andreas Kraemer, Andys Arcade; Christian Keller, Retrogames e.V.; Christian Stöcker, DER SPIEGEL; Dieter König, Classic Consoles Center; Enno Coners, CSW-Verlag / Retro; Gunnar Lott, GameStar; Harald Horchler, Skriptorium-Verlag; Heinrich Lenhardt, Buffed; Jan Fleck, Arcadeshop; Jörg Luibl, 4Players; Matthias Oborski, d-frag; Michael Spehr, F.A.Z.; Petra Fröhlich, PC Games; Robert Glashüttner, ORF; Sebastian Eichholz, Kultpower; Stephan Freundorfer, eGames; Sven Stillich, Stern; Sven Wernicke, DemoNews; Vitus Hoffmann, Gameswelt; Winnie Forster, Gameplan."