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One thing’s for sure: When you decide to make a list that ranks just about anything, people are going to have issues with it. Even something as innocuous as a top 10 list of carpet types is bound to upset someone. (Either berber is up too high or not high enough. Typical.) Our top 200 list is certainly no exception. Even though it was a collaborative effort, it doesn’t mean that we all joined hands and came to a complete agreement about every entry. Each one of us can point to games that we think are ranked too high or too low. Every editor can name at least a couple of titles that are conspicuously missing or perhaps shouldn’t have even made the list at all.
With all that in mind, here are a few games that are not on the list that I think deserved a spot, for various reasons.
1) Wii Sports I tried to get this one in there, and I got shouted down every time I brought it up. One of the criticisms I have about our list is that it’s a hybrid between the best, most culturally relevant and influential games of all time. We wriggled between each of the criteria when it was convenient, and it worked out surprisingly well. That said, I have a hard time thinking of a more culturally relevant game than Wii Sports. Is it the most amazing game of all time? Heck no. It’s not much to look at, either. It doesn’t matter. That game is the reason why an overwhelming number of people bought the Wii. It put game controllers into the hands of countless people who either gave up the hobby or never got into video games in the first place.
What would I have bumped for it? Doom II at number 167. Sure, Doom II was fun and all, but it didn’t add tread much ground that Doom didn’t already cover.
2) The Elder Scrolls: MorrowindThe Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was beautiful to look at, but it was ultimately flawed compared to its predecessor. Scaled enemies broke the sense of exploration (and danger), the dungeons were bland and lacked personality and the world was complete fantasy vanilla. In contrast, Morrowind felt like a real place. You could wander into areas that were beyond your level and get slaughtered. You didn’t run into bandits wearing full suits of Daedric armor. Most importantly, places were interesting. Oblivion did a lot of things and did most of them well, but it failed when it came to delivering a world worth exploring. In an action RPG, failing there is kind of a big deal.
This is an easy fix; remove Oblivion at number 30 and replace it with Morrowind. Ta dah!
3) PsychonautsLove for Tim Schafer runs deep in this office, but that’s irrelevant. When I first played the excellent game Psychonauts, I was familiar with Schafer’s games, but wasn’t yet aware of his cult-like following. Each level in Psychonauts has a completely different angle, whether you’re destroying a city as a giant lungfish, escaping federal agents in a conspiracy-theorist’s nightmare or playing a board game from an ant’s perspective. The characters were charming and memorable, with just enough pathos to counterbalance all the cute. (And no, Meat Circus wasn’t hard. You were just doing it wrong.)
If I’m adding Pyschonauts, I’m going to have to snip Batman: Arkham Asylum (number 104). It’s too recent of a release to be there, and much of its popularity seems to stem from the fact that it’s the first decent game based on the license. Take that baggage away and you still have an excellent game, but it’s not one of the top 200 of all time.
4) Dead RisingThis doesn’t really belong on the list, but it’s one of my favorite games and it’s my blog, so there you go. I understand the problems that some people have with the game, from its save system to its heavy-handed story, but I still love it. It was the first 360 game I remember playing that gave me the sense that what I was seeing just wouldn’t have been possible on older hardware. It also let me kill zombies with guitars.
What would I have cut to make room for it? Sorry, Kid Icarus (189). The only reason a lot of people even know about this game is because of Smash Bros. Brawl. I played the hell out of it on my NES, but it doesn’t belong here. Sorry, Pit.
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