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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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Video Game History Foundation wants to create a digital record of the industry’s past

Frank Cifaldi is a developer who has worked on Mega Man Legacy Collection and IDARB, but he is also the founder of the Video Game History Foundation, a new non-profit that seeks to preserve and digitize the history of video games.

The Video Game History Foundation launched their first “Digital Collection” yesterday, focusing on The NES Launch in 1985. Cifaldi is also seeking donations to expand the scope of the Foundation, as detailed on their “What We’re Doing” page:

The heart of the Foundation is its digital library, an online repository of artifacts related to the history of video games and video game culture. The ultimate goal is to create a searchable, organized, always-online archive of verified, high-quality material that is accessible to researchers and historians as a public education resource.

All donations to the Video Game History Foundation are tax deductible, and I can’t wait to see what collections they come up with next.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Etcetera, Mobile, News, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Retro, Switch, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One |


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

“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.

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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Nominations now being accepted for the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017

After inducting Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders into video gaming’s inner circle last year, the World Video Game Hall of Fame is ready to begin accepting nominations for its Class of 2017.

Any game is eligible to be enshrined in the World Video Game Hall of Fame, and gamers of all stripes are encouraged to visit the Nominate A Game page to submit any title for nomination that fits the Selection Criteria:

  • Icon Status: The game is widely recognized and remembered.
  • Longevity: The game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time.
  • Geographical Reach: The game meets the above criteria across international boundaries.
  • Influence: The game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general. A game may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.

All submissions for nominations must be made by March 6, and this year’s finalists will be announced on March 29.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 will be selected by an internal committee on the advice of an international team of “journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society.” This year’s inductees will be announced as part of a special ceremony that’ll be held at The Strong Museum in Rochester, NY on May 4.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Mobile, News, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Retro, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One |

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…)

Posted in 3DS, DS, Features, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

It’s In Your Blood: A History of Horror Games (Part Five)

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The survival horror genre has traveled a long road since its infancy. What began with a frantic retreat from a pursuing dinosaur eventually gave way to ghosts, mutants, beasts, and countless hordes of zombies. Alas, the genre’s fiercest foes may have been those it relied on most: the developers overly reliant on sequels and spinoffs, and the gamers who would soon lose interest.

For those who’ve been following this series from the beginning, we’ve previously reached back to the birth of survival horror, charted its rise in popularity and a sudden onslaught of sequels, as well as its golden age. So now, join us for a look at survival horror’s last gasp in the spotlight… before it’s currently-ongoing resurrection, of course. (more…)

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