Earlier today, The times published what it hoped would be a revered list, an evergreen piece that set in stone what the paper deemed the “20 Greatest Video Games of All Time”.
Compiling the list was an “expert jury” and I use quotation marks there only because those are their exact words, not because I’m condescending to them. It’s a good cross section of voices! It’s Charlie Brooker, better known these days as the creator of Black mirror, but who also worked for a very long time as a game critic. It’s Lucy Prebble, a writer at Succession and co-creator of I hate Suzie. Rounding out the team are YouTuber DanTDM and journalist Helen Lewis (as we, uh, have written about before).
Their collective output isn’t what you’d expect from this type of list, and as a result it’s being torn apart online. There’s so much vitriol I’m not even going to bother pasting any highlights. Just imagine some nerds very angry at the subjective opinion of others, many calling it the “worst” example of this work they’ve ever seen, and you’ll be 99% of the way there. Much of the criticism revolves around the fact that the list does not include a single one Zelda games, while others are chippy about the fact that games like Far Cry 4 and Sonic Adventure 2 made the cut.
How did Far Cry 4 make the list of, say, Link to the past? As the list says, “Any game where you can hang glide over a waterfall is fine by me.” And you know what? They are Right! It ruled! And if that makes it one of them favorite games of all time, then it deserves a place on your list.
I can’t believe I have to say this in 2023, I thought we’d gotten over this collectively, but since we obviously haven’t let me spell it out clearly: this is their list. They can put whatever they want on it! I’m a longtime, professional game critic, and my list would include crap like FIFA 98 and if I felt particularly fit that day, Gregory Horror Show.
And rightly so, because that was my list! I think the more personal the rating the better, it shows you’ve put some real heart and thought into things rather than just jotting down the same tired old classics either because you’re too scared of negative feedback or never have played a more interesting video game than Metroid Prime.
You can read the full ranking (paywall). hereif you want to see why Skyrim is the 17th, how Civ V hit Hello and why Super Mario Odyssey did it Mario Kart. And if you disagree, feel free to go ahead and publish your own rating.