The top 10 most important games ever

By Dan Zuccarelli . March 13, 2007 . 12:19pm

spacewar-1.jpgI’m usually loathe to advertise lists that people make. Top 10 this, best 5 that… they seem to pop up every few minutes on the internet and exist solely to aggravate people. But this one here has not only alot of talent behind it but a good reason to exist in the 1st place.


Back in the late 90′s, as curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University, a man named Henry Lowood began to catalog video games and video game artifacts. Since then, there have been rumblings from the Library of Congress that they just might begin to include video games into their massive collection.


Mr. Lowood assembled a group of journalists and game designers to come up with a list of what games should be included. The group takes after the National Film Preservation Board, who every year put together a list of films to be added to the National Film Registry, which is maintained by the Library of Congress. His group included game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky; Matteo Bittanti, an academic researcher; and Christopher Grant from Joystiq.


So what games did they come up with?

  • 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).

What’s important to remember though is that this list is hopefully the 1st of many, since every year more games would be  added to the library in order to be preserved. A problem arises though with the proprietary nature of the systems the games play on. How do you preserve a copy of Star Raiders or Zork? What happens when there’s no more Atari’s or C64′s that work? Technically emulators are illegal. It raises an interesting question moving forward about how to best preserve the history of video games.


Why is this list important? Here’s what Mr. Lowood says that “creating this list is an assertion that digital games have a cultural significance and a historical significance,” … “maybe we should do something about preserving them.”


As an aside if I were on this board I would’ve lobbied for the inclusion of Space Invaders or Pac-Man, simply because of their cultural relevance. Those 2 games more than any others brought video games to the masses. Of course as game fans we know there are hundreds of games that deserve to be included. 

Read more stories about & & & & & on Siliconera.

  • Andy

    I was similarly surprised that Pac-man did not make that list.

  • Matt

    I like the list very much. I can see why all these games were included. I also like the list because there are no “fanboy”-esque titles like Zelda, which just rehashed and repackaged concepts of other games.

  • HorusReborn

    Personally I wouldn’t of put the Warcraft series on that list, they are good but not particularly important to the future of games developement.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos