We're never going to know what the 10 best video games of all time are. But we sure can try.
Since early 2010, my friend N'Gai Croal and I have been trying in the most semi-serious, pseudo-scientific way possible to deduce the 10 top games ever. Our way is surely the best.
On Friday, in Boston, we'll update the world on our progress and allow our list to be changed yet again. We started this project, which we call Canon Fodder, one year ago.
We started with as flawed but neutral a list as we could find, the GameRankings.com list of the 10 best-reviewed video games of all time (who knew Metal Gear Solid on the Game Boy colour was so damn good?)
Then we went to the professionals, allowing game developers - and no one else - to each make a single change to our list. They could remove a game and put a new one in its place. They could swap the position of any two games on the list.
This was the starter list, pulled from GameRankings last year.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 2. Super Mario Galaxy 3. Grand Theft Auto IV 4. Super Mario World 5. Metroid Prime 6. SoulCalibur 7. The Orange Box 8. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 9. Super Metroid 10. Metal Gear Solid (Game Boy colour)
We had 13 developers make their moves by the end of 2010's PAX East convention in Boston. (You can read about those moves, if it's not going to make you too angry.)
By PAX Prime in September, another dozen game creators made their moves, leaving us with a list that looked like this:
1. Doom 2. Super Mario World 3. Dance Dance Revolution 4. Civilization 5. Tetris 6. Half Life Counter Strike 7. World of Warcraft 8. Mega Man 2 9. Street Fighter 2 10. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Over the course of our first two "seasons", we lost Zelda. We lost Metroid (two of them!). We lost Metal Gear. Only Super Mario World survived! And, hey, we gained DDR, despite the hissing and booing of the PAX crowd. (Read about that second round of moves, if your blood pressure is under control.)
Tomorrow, at PAX East, our Canon Fodder list will change yet again. N'Gai and I have spent recent weeks getting another 10 game developers to each make one change to the list. They've done that and made their moves, each of which will be presented for public praise and scorn at PAX East tomorrow during our Canon Fodder, Season 3 panel. We'll also have three game developers on the panel with us. Those brave men will make their moves live, possibly with the help of our live audience.
On the panel will be Eitan Glinert of Fire Hose Games, whose very fun puzzle/fighting/tower-offense/co-op game Slam Bolt Scrappers will be released as a PlayStation 3 download next week, Greg Kasavin of Supergiant Games, whose majestically voiced action game Bastion was just revealed today to be debuting this summer on Xbox Live Arcade, and Tim Gerritsen of Irrational Games, a team working on a game called BioShock Infinite that we hear has some potential.
Do you think Doom will survive in the number one spot? Is the best Mario really in there? Where in the world is Pac-Man?
Season 3 of Canon Fodder climaxes tomorrow in Boston at 11am in the PAX East Manticore theatre. We'll have a blow-by-blow for Kotaku readers next week.
(Super Mario World image via DeviantArt.)