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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #17: Final Fantasy VII

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

Since the beginning, every new console cycle has existed as its own separate era that video game players speak of with as much reverence as comic fans who use “Golden Age” and “Silver Age” as a shorthand to represent the different decades of comic production. Ralph Baer’s Odyssey (1st Generation) directly lead to Nolan Bushnell’s Atari 2600 (2nd Generation). Atari’s machine gave way to the rise of Nintendo’s NES (3rd Generation), which in turn lead to the “16-Bit Wars” of the Super NES and the Genesis (4th Generation).

Up to this point, Square had only released three Final Fantasy games in America: 1990’s Final Fantasy, 1991’s Final Fantasy II (released in Japan as Final Fantasy IV), and 1994’s Final Fantasy III (released in Japan as Final Fantasy VI). Even though the remaining three games had yet to make their way across the Pacific, the publisher was determined to unify the franchise’s numbering across all regions with the next sequel. But they still had to find the right home for their game. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #73: The Sims

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

What is the best-selling video game of all time? It’s a surprisingly hard question to answer as game publishers, unlike Hollywood film studios, refuse to release sales figures for their games on a title-by-title basis. But for years now, the conventional narrative has been that The Sims became the best-selling PC game of all time in 2002 after dethroning Myst, the graphical adventure game that sold more CD-ROM drives than every other piece of “multimedia” software combined. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS2, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story | Tagged

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #64: Pac-Man

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

With more than 40 years of history behind it, it’s not surprising the video game community has developed its own catalog of urban legends that have been passed from player to player over the years. Everyone who played it desperately tried to resurrect Aerith after her tragic demise in Final Fantasy VII, and we all heard stories about the “nude codes” that supposedly existed in games like Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat II, and The Sims.

Unfortunately, every one of those rumors has more in common with the hook man at lover’s lane than they do with the unvarnished truth. But some of the legends are true. And nearly all of them revolve around Pac-Man in some way. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS3, PS4, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #78: The Secret of Monkey Island

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

Game publishers have been concerned with digital pirates illegally copying their games since the very beginning of the medium. Some have even gone so far as to include booby traps in their code for these would-be thieves. But when it comes to depicting actual pirates, gamemakers (along with major Hollywood players and one of the most celebrated fantasy authors of the last few decades) are content to pillage, plunder, and steal all the best ideas from each other.

It all began in 1967 when Walt Disney himself oversaw the construction of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. Over the years, the ride would go on to be recreated at Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris. Borrowing a bit from Treasure Island, the ride’s exciting ship-to-ship battle, raid on a coastal outpost, group of prisoners trying to bribe a dog for a key, and the frothy ditty “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” created the quintessential image of a pirate that was shared by kids the world over.

Tim Powers was not one of these kids. Already a teenager by the late 60s, Powers rose to prominence as one of the earliest authors of steampunk (and he, along with K.W. Jeter and James Blaylock, helped coin the phrase). In 1987, he published one of his most famous novels, On Stranger Tides. The novel tells the tale of John Chandagnac, an inexperienced youth who becomes the debonair pirate “Jack Shandy” and rescues the girl after he has a run-in with several undead buccaneers. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS3, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Xbox 360 | Tagged


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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #38: Tomb Raider

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

For better or worse, Lara Croft is the most famous woman in all of gaming. But all her fame might be a fluke, because the developers behind her creation claim it was all an accident.

Formed in the late 80s, Core Design was an unlikely candidate to be creating a wide open 3D title like Tomb Raider. The developer’s biggest claim to fame at the time was Rick Dangerous, a game that could charitably be called an “homage” to Indiana Jones. Other gamers might remember Chuck Rock, a platformer created by Core that starred a dimwitted caveman. But like many British developers of the time, they didn’t think about their limitations and just went for it. This definitely applied to Toby Gard, the artist behind Lara Croft’s original look.

Like Rick Dangerous, Lara began life as a man with no name that bore a striking resemblance to Harrison Ford. Fearing a lawsuit, Gard redrew the character as a woman and began tinkering with a number of different personalities. The artist told IGN in 2008 that the proto-Tomb Raider began life as a “sociopathic blonde” before morphing into a muscle woman, a “flat topped hip hopster,” and a “Nazi-like militant in a baseball cap.” None of these looks fit the game that Core envisioned, but Gard’s final pass at it proved to be the winner. Laura Cruz, “a tough South American woman in a long braid and hot pants,” was born. (more…)

Posted in Features, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Xbox 360 | Tagged

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #56: Ms. Pac-Man

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

It’s easy to forget nowadays, but Ms. Pac-Man was actually created by accident. Like Doc Brown’s invention of time travel after a tumble from the toilet, Ms. Pac-Man was created when a group of game developers from MIT attempted to release an unauthorized sequel to Pac-Man known as “Crazy Otto.”

Before turning their sights on the biggest arcade game of the day, the development team, General Computer, first used their programming skills to create an “enhancement kit” for Atari’s Missile Command. Instead of creating their own game from scratch, the enhancement kit hooked into Atari’s code and altered it to provide a new gameplay experience. Essentially, General Computer created the first expansion pack.

Even though the enhancement kit required an original Missile Command cabinet, Atari later attempted to sue General Computer for copyright infringement. But rather than become mired in a protracted court case, the arcade giant and the enterprising college students reached a settlement. Atari would hire General Computer to design original arcade games so long as they agreed not to create any additional enhancement kits without the permission of the original game publisher. The developers quickly signed on, but first they took a nearly complete version of “Crazy Otto” to Midway, the North American distributor of Pac-Man. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #3: Super Mario 64

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

For Mario’s first foray into “The Third Dimension,” Nintendo wanted to ensure that everything was perfect. In fact, the Nintendo 64, its unique three-pronged controller, and the controller’s analog stick designed to better simulate 3D movement were all created with the needs of Super Mario 64 in mind.

Nintendo had good reason to be worried about getting all of the details just right, as most video gamers had never even seen a 3D platformer before Super Mario 64. Aside from a few experimental titles from the late 80s and early 90s, 3D movement was only found in a handful of titles on the market at the time, the most famous of which was probably EA’s Fade To Black. Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot, which included pseudo-3D movement, beat Super Mario 64 to store shelves by about five weeks, but a majority of the game took place on a 2D plane.

So Nintendo used Super Mario 64 as an opportunity to introduce players to what was, in their mind, an entirely new genre. Shigeru Miyamoto’s exacting attention to detail helped mold every part of the game. The first interaction players had with the game was the appearance of an actual cameraman (Lakitu the Cloud), and instructions on how to control the camera’s angle with the diamond-shaped set of C-Buttons on the right side of the Nintendo 64 controller. Actually, let me back up… the very first thing most players experienced after booting up Super Mario 64 was the interactive Mario face on the Title Screen. Miyamoto saw fit to even offer players a primer on polygons as the squares, rectangles, and rhombi that made up Mario’s face could be grabbed and manipulated in dozens of different ways. In a way, “It’s-a me, Mario! Hello!” was a coded message that encouraged players to jump right into this new 3D world. (more…)

Posted in DS, Features, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Wii U | Tagged

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #16: Halo: Combat Evolved

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

Microsoft is usually portrayed as the stodgy suit in contrast to Apple’s hip turtleneck, but would you believe that the first Xbox prototype was built on a whim by a quartet of guys from the company’s engineering department?

Kevin Bachus, Otto Berkes, Seamus Blackley, and Ted Hase first took their “DirectX Box” to Ed Fries, the head of Microsoft’s video game division, in 1998. Even though everyone in the world had played a dozen hands (or more) of Windows Solitaire, Microsoft wasn’t a big player in the game development arena at the time. Similar to today’s line of console-like PCs, the original “DirectX Box” was an off-the-shelf Windows PC with a video card and a hard drive that hid the Windows-ness of the system from the player.

Before the “DirectX Box” could move forward, Fries and his team had to fight off a challenge from a separate team within Microsoft that had worked with Sega to produce some of the system software for the Dreamcast. They were pushing for the company to create a more traditional console (no Windows, no hard drive), and Bill Gates himself ultimately stepped in to give his blessing to Fries and his “DirectX Box.” (more…)

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