Most Recent: SPBVGOAT

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #90: Space Invaders

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

“Drop down, increase speed, and reverse direction!”

Somehow, the writers of Futurama found a way to sum up the essence of Space Invaders (in 2002’s “Anthology of Interest II”) with a single succinct sentence. And yet, in the days and years after its release in 1978, the game was considered something of a phenomenon. Even today, an oft-repeated urban legend claims that obsessive Space Invaders fans caused a shortage of the 100 yen coin in Japan.

Obviously, dropping a coin into an arcade slot will keep it in circulation, so it would have been impossible for Space Invaders to be the cause of any shortage. Though one thing those obsessive fans did do was raise the profile of the game’s titular aliens so that now they’re something of a mascot for all video games.

But it all started with, “Drop down, increase speed, and reverse direction!” Which as a formula was later refined and improved upon by Namco when they created Galaxian and Galaga. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #65: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

I’m just guessing here, but I’d imagine that many Mario fans have no idea a sequel to Super Mario World even exists. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was released for the Super NES in 1995 and starred the titular dinosaur in his first solo adventure. Most fans refer to the game as just “Yoshi’s Island,” because it’s such a departure from the rest of the franchise to that point, and because the “Super Mario World 2” print on the game’s box is almost invisible.

Serving as a prequel to the entire Super Mario franchise, Yoshi’s Island introduced Baby Mario to the world and tasked Yoshi with protecting the infant from Baby Bowser. While it’s Fall 1995 release was overshadowed by the launch of the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation, a dedicated cult following has built up around the game over the years.

Though they might not have known exactly which game it was promoting, I guarantee that everyone remembers the commercial Nintendo used to sell Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island in America. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #91: Madden NFL Football (Series)

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

A gambler will tell you that they believe Lady Luck will reward them for respecting a streak, and a professional football player will tell you that he doesn’t believe in the Madden Curse. The former is a wishful thinker, and the latter is a liar.

The sports world is filled with superstitions. As a Little Leaguer growing up, I could show you what a “rally cap” was and explain the importance of never touching the baselines. I understood completely why retired Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to change his underwear during a 12-game winning streak in 2011. I’ve even got strong opinions on what you say to a pitcher in the middle of a perfect game. The answer is you don’t say anything, because talking to him at all is bad luck.

For decades, the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx served as a well-known precursor to the Madden Curse. Those who believe in the Jinx are convinced that any player who appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated will experience some form of terrible luck, even though a handful of high-profile hits have obscured the long list of players who avoided the Jinx over the years. If the sheer number of cover subjects doesn’t dissuade you (more than 3,000 issues have been produced since the magazine’s launch in 1954), the illustrious career of Michael Jordan should. The basketball great has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated a record 50 times, and he’s had the kind of career that other athletes dream about… not counting his detour through Minor League Baseball and Space Jam.

But what of the Madden Curse? Although you’ll find a few executives at Electronic Arts who enjoy hyping up the current year’s game with talk of the Curse, most of them like to downplay it. In 2008, the then-President of EA Sports, Peter Moore, said, “I guess when you look back there’s a grain of truth to the Madden Curse.” At the time, he wasn’t wrong. Five of the last six offensive players on the cover succumbed to some horrible calamity. The publishing giant even considered producing a movie based on the Madden Curse in 2010, though that project seems to have fallen off the radar in the years since.

And that’s probably because the Madden Curse is as mythical as a wild turducken. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #68: Resident Evil

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

If a Bizarro Universe doppelganger of Jerry Seinfeld was a hacky comedian who worked the nerd belt, I have a feeling he’d start off every set with, “What’s the deal with all the zombies?” And he wouldn’t be wrong. Zombies are everywhere. Just absolutely everywhere. But why? And why now? If you trace the epidemic all the way back to patient zero, it leads to a publisher named Capcom and their desire to create a scary game with zombies known as Resident Evil.

George A. Romero is rightly considered the godfather of the modern zombie movie. Starting with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, his first film inspired a horde of filmmakers and lead to a pair of sequels in 1978 and 1985. But after the release of Day of the Dead and Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead, the genre fell out of favor with the moviegoing public and was reanimated only when some low-budget film studio wanted to add something to the direct-to-video slush pile. Not even Romero himself, who helped visual effects master Tom Savini remake Night of the Living Dead in 1990, could bring it back to life.

Six years later, Capcom brought the zed menace back in a big way with Resident Evil. First released on Sony’s fledgling PlayStation console (and eventually re-released 12 times over the next 20 years), the game’s amateurish acting and stiff tank-like controls never obscured the terrifying zombie tale underneath. You might say that exploring Spencer Mansion and delving deeper into the story behind the T-Virus infected players in a way that few games ever had before. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #34: Super Mario Bros. 3

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
– As You Like It, Act II Scene VII

Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom cohorts have held a surprising number of occupations over the years. In addition to his plumbing business and the hero-for-hire game, Mario has been employed as a multi-sport athlete, a race car driver, a referee, a dancer, an artist, a virologist, and a typing tutor. He’s practically done it all, and I think only political office has eluded him. I guess that’s the trouble with monarchies.

Bouncing from genre to genre like that is usually considered a liability for other game characters. As sublimely silly as the idea seems, no one wants to see Kratos squeezed into a go-kart. And yet, fans readily accept Mario’s multitasking, and many of his spinoff adventures are now more popular than some of the franchise’s traditional platformers. There’s a strong possibility this all stems from the fact that Mario’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, designed the character this way from the beginning. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #1: Tetris

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

In 1989, most mothers believed that video games were a childhood distraction that eventually would be brushed aside as their offspring grew into responsible adults. But something happened along the way that prevented this. Perhaps the Nintendo Entertainment System, the most popular console of its day, was just that much better than previous attempts to bring video games into the living room. But I have a different theory. I believe it was Tetris. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time: An Introduction and The Top 100

Visit our “Best Games” Hub Page every week to find original essays discussing each title from “The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” and their place in gaming history.

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

Is it even possible to select the greatest video games of all time in a scientific way? Do you just throw the question to so-called experts and let them hash it out in a no-holds-barred debate? Or is there some way to create a “Video Game Canon” that the wide-ranging community of developers, critics, and players can all agree on?

Probably not. But we can try.

Since gaming’s earliest days, dozens of publications have tried to sort through the noise and compile their own list of “The Best Video Games of All Time.” By analyzing all of these attempts at ranking the greatest games and combining them into a single list, we can figure out which games can rightly be called “The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time.” (more…)

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