Recently, my honourable friend Kunal Mathur of Quixotic Quagmires issued a challenge to several persons, myself among them, to list the ten books that have most influenced their thinking.
It occurred to me, however, that although I have the highest respect and admiration for good literature, not least as a writer myself, my own path has been shaped to a far profounder degree by video games. I could certainly have listed the books from which I have derived greatest influence, but a list of the most influential video games appeared more fitting to my circumstances. It would also be an opportunity to challenge anti-videogame prejudices, and show that games, as much as books, have the worthiest contributions to make to a person's growth and thought. This article, therefore, is my response.
It took me some time to narrow down the list. I should point out that these are not necessarily my favourite video games, though I consider them all splendid or better. Nor is this list like the other I have compiled here, which gives ten examples of video games' excellence as an art form and potential for socio-political commentary. These, here, are simply the eleven games which I believe have had the greatest influence on my thinking, my values, and the person I have become.
You read that right, by the way. Not ten. Eleven.
The list is as follows:
1) Rallo Gump
3) Star Control 2
4) Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
5) Command and Conquer series
7) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
8) Pokémon Blue
9) Ultima 7 & 8
10) World of Warcraft
11) Monster Girl Quest
I should also give honourable mention to the following, among others: Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy; Theme Hospital; the Metroid Prime series; Bioshock; the Legend of Zelda games Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess; the Advance Wars series; Little King's Story; Planescape – Torment; and the two games that most directly oriented my path towards Japan: Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon and Okami.
Click below for the specifics.