“Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists

Back when I was in college I started collecting people’s Ten Best Film Lists. I still have ’em, dozens of them. And someday, I’ll dig them out and embarrass people I haven’t spoken with in 30 years. (You’ve been warned!)

Anyway, since I was a kid, I’d been compiling and revising and recompiling my own lists — of favorite films, favorite cars, favorite racing cars, favorite TV shows, favorite what-have-you-got? I’ve always been a bug about lists.

It always fascinated me how my own criteria changed from day to day, and year to year. So seeing how other people ranked stuff was high entertainment indeed. With the movie lists, some folks used “significance” as their main criterion — did a movie change things… Others said “If I could only watch movie X or movie Y tonight, which would I watch?” (repeat until you’ve narrowed it down to 10)… Still others applied the desert island test — “If I could only watch ten movies for the rest of my life, over and over, which would hold up best?” Great stuff…

I mention all this because I was recently asked to participate in a book project called “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” from Green Ronin Publishing and edited by an old colleague from my papergame days, James Lowder. I only got to write one chapter, darn it, and I really wanted to write about Sid Sackson’s Acquire (the Best Boardgame Ever) but someone else got it first. I went with Tikal, instead, another terrific, terrific game, of course, and one I was thrilled to write about.

I won’t list the entire contents of the book (you can find that at the Green Ronin website), but I will say the list of games is fantastic (though I’d quibble with many of the entries), and the list of authors is a who’s who among game designers (though heavily skewed toward boardgame designers, as you might expect). Totally worth checking out if you’re into games and looking for a fun read (and you’re into lists!)

Also, my old TSR colleague (and buddy), Jeff Grubb, recently posted about the book on his blog. He did run the whole list of games and asked readers to identify which games they owned, which they’d played and so on. An interesting idea. Check it out.

Anyway, now that I’ve confessed my affection for lists, here are my fave games/movies lists. They’re highly idiosyncratic, to say the least. In making these lists, I gave no thought to “significance” or “influence” (except as the games and movies may have influenced me). I didn’t include any games I worked on. In some cases, I’ll acknowledge that there are games I think are better than some on the list (e.g., Ultima VI is, I think a way better/more fun game than Ultima IV, but U4 kind of changed my life, so U4 makes the cut and U6 doesn’t — plus, I worked on U6).  Mostly, these are just games and movies I love — no more, no less.

(NOTE: I reserve the right to change my mind and amend these lists at any time… I’m going to try to come back and provide more information about each game, and why I listed it — in the meantime, you’ll have to Google anything you’re not familiar with. Oh, and since this is my blog, I’m going to give myself an extra, honorable mention slot for a game that almost made the cut…)

Boardgames

  1. Acquire
  2. Daytona 500
  3. Domination
  4. Monopoly
  5. Ogre
  6. Risk
  7. Settlers of Catan
  8. Speed Circuit
  9. Tikal
  10. TransAmerica
  11. (Rail Baron)

Videogames

  1. Diablo
  2. Guitar Hero
  3. Half Life
  4. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
  5. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  6. Suikoden
  7. Super Mario 64
  8. Tetris
  9. Ultima IV
  10. Warcraft II
  11. (Ico)
  12. (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess — okay, so I cheated and went for 12 on the videogame list. So sue me.)

Movies

  1. 7th Voyage of Sinbad
  2. 42nd Street
  3. Adventures of Robin Hood (and, boy, do I not mean the Kevin Costner film!)
  4. Casablanca
  5. The Hustler
  6. King Kong (the 1933 version, not the Peter Jackson)
  7. The Nutty Professor (the Jerry Lewis version, of course)
  8. On the Town
  9. The Searchers
  10. Sullivan’s Travels
  11. (American Graffiti)

Let the arguments begin!

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55 Responses to ““Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists”

  1. coldequation Says:

    I usually keep a mental top 5 list of video games, but I’ll take a little time and push it out to ten:

    1. Deus Ex
    2. Morrowind/Oblivion
    3. Far Cry
    4. Half Life 2
    5. Civilization 4
    6. Homeworld
    7. Battlefield 1942
    8. No One Lives Forever
    9. Max Payne
    10. Serious Sam

    Movies:

    1. The Matrix
    2. Lord of the Rings
    3. Children of Men
    4. Kill Bill
    5. Equilibrium
    6. Office Space
    7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    8. The Boondock Saints
    9. Apocalypse Now
    10. Pi: Faith in Chaos

    I haven’t played enough boardgames to create a favorites list, but to be fair I’ll also name the two which I value the most: Chess and Aggravation.

  2. tymo Says:

    Agreed, lists are great. For board games I’m a big chess guy and remember liking Othello, and I love to hate Monopoly but that’s about it. I didn’t realise the extent of the wonderful world of board games.

    My lists!

    Game:
    1. Deus Ex
    2. Panzer Dragoon Saga
    3. Baldur’s Gate 2 + Throne of Bhaal EXP
    4. Final Fantasy 7 (admittedly almost certainly because it was my first proper RPG experience)
    5. Zelda OoT
    6. NiGHTS
    7. Sonic & Knuckles + Sonic 3
    8. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
    9. UT 2004
    10. SCUMM games in general (Monkey Island 1&2, day of the tentacle, full throttle, etc)

    Movies:
    1. Lost in Translation
    2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    3. GATTACA
    4. LOTR: Two Towers
    5. Batman Begins
    6. Collateral
    7. Truman Show
    8. Cube
    9. Spirited Away/Princess Mononoke/Ghost in the Shell (joint ninth)
    10. Children of Men
    Honourable mentions: Kill Bill Vol 1, Lion King

    Hopefully I will never be embarrassed about any of these choices!

  3. Bryant Says:

    Hardest question ever O_O I’ll follow coldequation and skip out on the list of favourite boardgames (it’s so hard to get a group of people together to play nowadays). But here’s a rough guess at my favourite video games and movies:

    Video Games:

    -KOTOR (not only can you have a conversation with other characters, but the conversation is *meaningful*)

    -Morrowind (wonderfully simulated world that offers the player so many opportunities to explore)

    -Geometry Wars (classic arcade experience with a strong, competitive social component)

    -Metal Gear Solid (engaging plot and characters, detailed world, intense gameplay)

    -The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker (the character animations are so expressive and emotional…and the sense of exploration!)

    Movies:

    -Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (flawless! too bad no one watched it…now I’ll never get my sequel 😦 )

    -The Happiness of the Katakuris (it just makes me smile…I love to smile 🙂 )

    -Amelie (same reason as above)

    -Pan’s Labyrinth (the power of a child’s imagination…)

    -Galaxy Quest (I wish I knew why I loved this movie so much)

  4. gshonk Says:

    Aw man these list are always so hard to make.

    Ok top movies (in no order)

    Citizen Kane
    Muppet Treasure Island
    The Lord of the Rings
    The Departed
    PI
    Pride and Prejudice
    Singin’ in the Rain
    Snatch
    The Good the Bad and the Ugly
    Rear Window

    Video Games (in no order)

    Half Life (series)
    Dues Ex (not just because you made it)
    Morrowind( a lot of this one on the list)
    The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past
    Metal Gear 2
    Warcraft 2
    Peggle Deluxe (stupid game has me addicted)
    Final Fantasy X
    Overload: A coding nightmare (game me and a team just finished only because I learned so much making it)

    Board Games (no order)

    Monopoly
    Chess
    Star Wars Duels
    Settlers of Katan
    Killer Bunnies
    Poker
    Careers
    Pay Day
    Clue
    Blokus
    Now that I look at my lists I realize that they will probably change. Maybe even tomorrow. Interesting I never really realized how much I change them.

  5. the wizard Says:

    Very difficult indeed.
    Im just listing the games which immediately come to my mind, in no particular order. I may have missed a few titles here…anyway.
    Thief: The Dark Project
    System Shock 2
    TES series
    Fallout series
    Planescape: Torment
    Another World
    The 7th Guest
    Myst
    Deus Ex 1
    Shadow of the Colossus
    Sanitarium
    Alone in the Dark
    Killer 7
    Final Fantasy X
    Metal Gear Solid 2
    Forbidden Siren

    Movies: Again, the same thing. Listing the ones which come to my head.
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Last Life in the Universe
    Donnie Darko
    Requiem for a Dream
    Pi
    Rope
    The Science of Sleep
    Mullholland Drive
    Le Samouraï
    Tokyo Story
    Days of Being Wild, In the Mood For Love and 2046
    Kurosawa’s Dreams
    8 1/2
    The Piano Teacher
    Before Sunrise, Before Sunset
    The Apu Trilogy
    My Life to Live (Vivre sa vie)
    Primer
    —-tone more. I have definitely missed a lot of movies here.

    Board Games, honestly, I cant even count how many board games I love. Other than the usual suspects Monopoly, Settlers of Catan I am a huge fan of Coda, Blokus and other puzzle games. Other than these I have spent countless hours playing Scotland Yard, Pictionary, Yahtzee etc.

  6. whilgrey Says:

    1. Ultima 7 I/II
    2. Deus Ex
    3. Planescape Torment
    (4.-9 in no special order)
    System Shock 2
    StarCraft
    Crusader: No Remorse
    Final Fantasy 6/7
    Ultima Underworld I/II
    Ultima 8
    10. Dozens if not hundreds of games share this spot. If I had to decide here, the first thing coming to my mind would be Final Fantasy Legend 2 on GB because I played through that like a dozen times

    Movies is another story, never thought about that, but…

    1. Star Wars 5
    2. Star Wars 4
    3. Star Wars 6
    4. Children of Men
    5.-10. (again no special order)
    Blade 1
    Last Samurai
    Serenity
    Mummy 1/2 (the funny ones)
    Indy 3
    Aliens

    Don’t play boardgames much recently…

    1. BattleTech
    2. Carcassone
    3. “Auf Achse” – don’t know the english title right now
    4. Settlers of Catan

  7. tymo Says:

    Okay let me try this again..
    in roughly this order

    Games:
    1. Deus Ex
    2. Planescape Torment
    3. Panzer Dragoon Saga
    4. Baldur’s Gate 2 (with TOB expansion)
    5. Final Fantasy 7 (admittedly just because it was my first real epic RPG)
    6. Zelda OoT
    7. NiGHTS
    8. Dreamfall: the Longest Journey
    9. Sonic 3 & Knuckles
    10. Scumm games (Day of the tentacle, monkey island 1+2, full throttle)

    Movies:
    1. Lost in Translation
    2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    3. GATTACA
    4. Lord of the Rings: Two Towers
    5. Collateral
    6. Batman Begins
    7. Truman Show
    8. Cube
    9. Ghost in the Shell/Princess Mononoke/Spirited Away (grouped together joint ninth for some reason)
    10. Children of Men
    11. Lion King
    12. Kill Bill Vol 1

    A shout out to othello for the board games!

  8. mannpower Says:

    I’ve got stuff for each category, which I’ll crop into a triage of 10 each to run with the crowd.

    MOVIES
    1. Conan the Barbarian
    2. Unforgiven
    3. Ghostbusters
    4. The Empire Strikes Back
    5. Saving Private Ryan
    6. Planet of the Apes
    7. A Fistful of Dollars
    8. The Iron Giant
    9. Aliens
    10. Predator

    VIDEO GAMES
    1. Wing Commander II
    2. Deus Ex
    3. Ultima VII (Parts 1 & 2)
    4. Crusader: No Remorse
    5. Half-Life 2
    6. Out of this World
    7. Gears of War
    8. Dawn of War
    9. Full Throttle
    10. Super Metroid

    BOARD/HOBBY GAMES
    1. HeroQuest
    2. AT-43
    3. Descent: Journeys in the Dark
    4. Arkham Horror
    5. Space Hulk
    6. Solar Quest
    7. Spider Wars
    8. Cranium
    9. Twilight Imperium
    10. Chess

  9. originmuseum Says:

    OK–here’s mine (I honestly have never done this before):

    MOVIES

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life
    2. Empire Strikes Back
    3. A Hard Days Night
    4. Seven (or *any* Morgan Freeman movie)
    5. The Producers (the original-Mostel and Wilder)
    6. Strange Brew
    7. Field of Dreams
    8. *ANY* 60s-70s ‘Hammer’ film
    9. Spaceballs
    10. Mom and Dad Save the World (Lovitz kills me in this…)

    VIDEO GAMES

    1. Ultima Underworld 1/2
    2. Starflight 1
    3. Wing Commander 3
    4. Paradroid
    5. Ultima IX (I’m serious!)
    6. Bioforge
    7. Halflife 1
    8. Jumpman
    9. Day of The Tentacle
    10. Fort Apocalypse (Synapse)
    (I’m the Origin Museum guy…what’d you expect?!)

    BOARD/HOBBY GAMES
    (don’t play many anymore, but here goes…)

    1. Chess (with my son)
    2. Trouble
    3. Monopoly
    4. D-N-D (but not since 1981-I miss it…)
    5. Poker (at home, socially, just for matches…)
    6. Payday

  10. tymo Says:

    The comment system here works like the London busses here, for me at least it seems (though the london busses reveal I somehow forgot to mention Planescape). Interesting lists there Warren. I never would’ve expected Guitar Hero would be your second place. I temporarily lost my faith in the world and everything when I saw The Nutty Professor up there, till I read the clarification.

  11. gshonk Says:

    Sorry it posted so many times I was having trouble like tymo. You can delete any of them if you want. Glad to see good old films in your list (of course I guessed there would be). So if you like On the Town do you like Sigin’ in the Rain?

  12. wspector Says:

    Some responses.

    First, to tymo: Note that the order of my lists is alphabetical. I wouldn’t dare try to stack rank these lists. That way lies madness. (So Guitar Hero is “one of my top ten” but not “number 2” on the list.) Okay, I lied. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past is number 1, but after that I’m not saying! And as far as The Nutty Professor goes, I confess to a strange love of Jerry Lewis movies — especially the ones directed by Frank Tashlin (a freakin’ supergenius of a director) and the early ’60s stuff from Lewis himself. If you haven’t seen The Nutty Professor in a while, check it out. Also The Ladies Man, which is right up there on the genius-o-meter, too. Great stuff. Radical stuff. Way ahead of its time stuff…

    To gshonk: I love On the Town, and do prefer it to Singin’ in the Rain, mostly for its seriousness of intent, which is rare in musicals, and for its ground-breaking, location shooting and realism, both of which changed movie musicals forever. Oh, and that Leonard Bernstein score (augmented by some nice enough new numbers by Roger Edens). Man, I love the music in On the Town. Having said all that, Singin’ in the Rain has appeared on many drafts of my top 10 list — it’s just not a consistent thing. Frankly, if I’d allowed myself more honorable mentions, or gone with a top 15 list, Singin’ in the Rain would have been there, for sure.

    To Originmuseum: Several of the films on your list flirt with my top 10. Specifically, Hard Day’s Night, which I saw over 30 times IN THE THEATRE when it came out — I used to bring my lunch and dinner with me in a brown bag and hide out, hoping I wouldn’t get caught and tossed out! Love that movie. It’s a Wonderful Life used to be on my list, but as I get older, I find its sweetness and optimism a little hard to take. Make of that what you will… And Hammer films, I agonized over a list without a Hammer film on it. Love the late 50s/early 60 British cinema — Hammer films (especially Terrence Fisher’s stuff and especially Devil Rides Out… Okay and the early Dracula Stuff… And Plague of the Zombies… aw, I just love ’em all!). I’m also really fond of the Angry Young Man school of Brit films and even the Carry On movies (I have all of ’em that have been released on DVD and bought an all-region DVD player just so I could watch them! And there goes MY credibility!) I’m a total Anglophile. Speaking of which, go to BBC online and listen to Round the Horne and I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue — two of the funniest radio shows ever. You won’t regret it…

  13. lazarusledd Says:

    My first true gaming steps started somewhere in 2001, thanks to that I got to know Deus Ex. I’m not much of a board gamer, havent’ play them much. So here are some movies and games(before&after2001)

    Deus Ex
    Thief 2, i’d enlisted the unofficial expansion for T2: Thief2X Shadows Of The Metal Age, but i’m having problems with this old PC atm….
    Thief 3
    Metal Gear Solid series
    Vietcong
    No One Lives Forever
    Contra
    Blackthorne
    Legacy of Kain series
    Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines

    i’d say Boiling Point, but my nonSSE CPU can’t run it. I’m refreshing my PC soon. I’m a sucker for open ended, FPS-RPG games. Damn you Warren ;))

    Movies?

    Flash Gordon
    Casablanca
    Con Air

  14. frankward Says:

    Board Games:

    1. Pirates Cove
    2. Settlers of Catan
    3. Risk
    4. Fireball Island
    5. Mastermind
    6. Puerto Rico
    7. Carcassonne
    8. Mall of Horror
    9. Parcheesi
    10. HeroQuest

    Videogames
    1. The Legend of Zelda
    2. Super Mario Bros. 3
    3. Frederik Pohl’s Gateway
    4. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
    5. The Curse of Monkey Island
    6. Zork
    7. Animal Crossing
    8. No One Lives Forever
    9. Alone in the Dark
    10. Gabriel Knight 2
    11. Pinball (NES)
    12. Crazy Taxi

    Movies
    1. Hot Fuzz
    2. The Third Man
    3. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera
    4. Lilo and Stitch
    5. Star Wars
    6. No Man’s Land
    7. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
    8. Yojimbo
    9. Goldfinger
    10. His Girl Friday
    11. Love and Death

  15. Narcissism Incorporated » Surprise Says:

    […] thought I’d point out that Warren Spector’s list of his top 10 (no wait, 12) favourite games is hilariously unlike the games he himself makes. I would’ve expected some Thief and some […]

  16. wspector Says:

    To Narcissism Incorporated: I blogged earlier about my affection for games unlike those I make, so I won’t reiterate much of that here. I will repeat two things from those earlier posts:

    First, there just AREN’T that many people/companies making games I’d describe as like my own, so the fact that they don’t make my top 10 list isn’t too surprising, at least to me. The larger the set, the greater the chance something in that set is going to be great…

    Second, playing games SORT of like my own is an exercise in frustration, because I’m constantly reminded of all the things I would do differently, which kind of detracts from the experience.

    I’ll also add something I probably should have said in one of my “Am I a Hypocrite” posts — that ANYTHING, regardless of style or even medium that’s EXCEPTIONALLY well executed can bring joy, and the not-like-my-games games on the list are all really (REALLY) well executed.

    Finally, just to get SUPER-defensive, I said I wasn’t going to list any games I worked on, in any capacity, so that left off a bunch of games I think are pretty swell, including Thief…

  17. niroz Says:

    Hmmmm

    Games

    1. Deadly Rooms of Death (If you haven’t heard of it, google it. You won’t regret it)
    2. Deus Ex
    3. System Shock 2
    4. Far Cry (I value gameplay over story, obviously.)
    5. Bioshock (I’m surprised you haven’t commentated at all on this game yet, Warren)
    6. Counterstrike: Source (simply because I’ve played it so much, it has to go on this list)
    7. Half Life
    8. Half Life 2
    9. Unreal Tournament 2004 (The only game I know of that I would rather play against bots than real people)
    10. No One Lives Forever

    An now that I think about it, Max Payne really needs a mention, as well as Red Alert 2. So here it is.

    Movies

    6th Sense
    Ghost in the Shell (I’m curious as to how much an influence it had on the making of Deus Ex, to be honest)
    Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
    City of God
    Serenity
    Shawshank Redemption
    Spirited away
    Man on fire
    Monty Python and the holy Grail
    Lord of the Rings: Return of the king

    No, my movies are in no order in particular. I’d go insane if they were. Also, regarding your list Warren, are they movies that you love to watch any time? Or are they movies which you have fond memories of? Are they movies that you love in spite of their flaws, or do you consider them masterpieces?

  18. lazarusledd Says:

    I’m not much of a movie fan. I do like them but they all sum up into one-ma-shows: he’s the only one who can save the earth for disaster and that kind of stuff. It’s similar in the games, we’ll almost every game is like that. The whole thing is transparent. You can see that in the books, but there I prefer heroes that are underrated by the surrounding and in the end they kick ass out of everyone.

    It’s easier for me to list some series that mean something to me, that have a deeper side or i like to think it has

    Series:

    HORNBLOWER
    red dwarf
    allo allo
    Yu.Gi.Oh(anime)=i think here the great deal of joy for me was the strong voice acting in croatian in the first 2 seasons, i tend to find something mature in some rare childlish media)
    ST. Voyager
    John Doe
    X.Files
    M.A.S.H.
    Rescue Me
    The Job
    MAD ABOUT YOU
    Everybody loves Raymond
    Prison Break
    Trigun (anime)
    Berserk(anime&still ongoing manga)
    Shaman King(anime)

    Ghost in a shell is a tuff cookie for me to swallow yet. That’s why there are Mamoru Oshii, Warren Spector, Hideo Kojima, Ben Bova and other novel, games, animation creators that dwell in the future so our mind could smoothly adapt to the new, when they become reality.

  19. mannpower Says:

    Hi, Warren. This is sort of off-topic, but as Deus Ex is mentioned in almost every list, there’s some phantom of relevancy.

    Back in May, it was announced that a Deus Ex 3 was in the works at Eidos Monstreal. Or planning to be in the works, whatever. Do you have any involvement in that undertaking at all, or is it too early to say? I fret a Spector-less Deus Ex – it’s kind of like the life of Wing Commander after Chris Roberts, or Ultima after Richard Garriott. That’s your series, in my mind and those of your fans.

  20. jonaswaever Says:

    Hey Warren, Narcissism Incorporated is my blog, I forgot it does that weird talkback thing where it posts excerpts of my blog posts as comments for other WordPress posts I link to.

    I’ve been reading your blog since you started it, so I know your points, and I’m not calling you a hypocrite. I mentioned at the end of my post that I see where you’re coming from because Diablo is really a good game in terms of gameplay, replayability, and sheer polish (hey even the story is pretty good, just a little too linear). Still, you have to admit that it’s kinda funny how your Best Games list represents your own design philosophy in no way what-so-ever. I’m not saying it’s bad, on the contrary I think it’s quirky in the good way.

    Just wanted to clear that up. Don’t want you thinking I’m not an enormous, blatant fanboy 😉

  21. Michaël Samyn Says:

    I don’t think 10 games have been made already that I like enough to put in a top 10. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us. It’s to early for such a list, for me. Too much potential remains unused.

  22. sobic Says:

    My top 10 of games:

    1. Planescape Torment
    2. Fallout 1+2
    3. Deus Ex
    4. Baldurs Gate 2
    5. Vampire: Redemption
    6. Vampire: Bloodlines
    7. System Shock 2
    8. Call of Duty 1+2
    9. Gothic 1+2
    10. Half – Life 1+2

  23. chjoodge Says:

    “Note that the order of my lists is alphabetical. I wouldn’t dare try to stack rank these lists. That way lies madness.” – Now that is a relief. I was pretty freaked out about Diablo being first in your video games list.

    Anyway, since I am here, I can as well figure out my current top-tens (talking in the terms of series):

    PC Games:
    ————-
    Alpha Centauri
    Baldur’s Gate I, II
    Deus Ex 1, 2
    Knights of the Old Republic I, II
    Mafia
    Might and Magic VI, VII
    Neverhood
    Quake III Arena
    Rayman 2
    Warcraft III

    Movies
    ——–
    Blade Runner
    Forrest Gump
    Ghost in the Shell
    Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain
    Reneissance
    Run Lola Run
    The Hero
    Star Wars I – VI
    The Godfather I – III
    The Matrix I – III

  24. tymo Says:

    Woo film recommendations from Warren Spector. I will be sure to check those 2 out.

  25. goflashy Says:

    I’m glad I found this blog.

    To be on topic:
    Can I say your movie list indicates that THEY are not making good movies nowadays?

  26. wspector Says:

    To goflashy: the old crotchety side of me wants to agree with you that the proverbial “they” aren’t making good movies these days, but there are other ways to look at it: For one thing, my lists are usually biased toward older things — things that have stood the test of time. It’s awfully hard to say what films (or games or books or whatever) will hold up over the years and which will be forgotten flashes in the pan.

    Go back to Shakespeare and you’ll find contemporary writers saying stuff like, “Who is this Shakespeare who thinks he can bombast out a blank verse?!” I think we’d all agree Shakespeare’s work holds up pretty well!

    On a much more trivial level, if you go back to may fave film lists from the seventies and eighties, you’ll find films like Annie Hall and Love and Death — movies I loved at the time, but no longer consider top-10 material.

    One of my criteria for determining if a film (or game or whatever) belongs on the list is whether the work has demonstrated, proven value — the work has to be as entertaining and enlightening today as it was when originally released. In the world of Top 10 lists, your criteria may differ. I’m totally fine with folks saying, “I want my list to include the movies that gave me the most joy this past weekend.”

    Or maybe the movies were just better before CGI and summer blockbusters took over. Who knows? 😉

  27. tulareanus Says:

    Mr.Spector’s not too much on computer rpgs or adventures, ey? 🙂

    well my top 10 is :
    1.Baldur’s Gate 2 + Throne of Bhaal Expansion
    2.Fallout 2
    3.Heroes Of Might & Magic 3
    4.Albion
    5.Quest For Glory 1
    6.Planescape Torment
    7.The Elder Scrolls Morrowind
    8.Wacraft 3
    9.Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines
    10. The Longest Journey & Monkey Island 2

  28. lazarusledd Says:

    I’m just glad we all understand what is taste in things like movies&games and wars are not fought over it.

    If there weren’t so many opinions, things would be boring.
    Else, it’s annoying, joyful, cool and what other emotions.

    We say, in our country:

    100 peoples, 100 wonders
    100 womens, 200 bosoms.

    I wonder if got the rhyme in english =D….

    Hold on to your lists. It’s one of little things in the pool of outer surrounding that define who you are. Cause…your self is empty =p

    😉

  29. shuuki Says:

    I wonder, is it considered sucking up to put Deus Ex in the list?

    – System Shock 2
    – Homeworld
    – Deus Ex
    – Shadow of the Colossus
    – Independence War
    – Half Life 2
    – The Longest Journey
    – Planescape: Torment
    – Grim Fandango
    – Anachronox
    – (Curse of Monkey Island)
    – (Riven)

    Recently it has come to my attention that I favor the slightly abstruse games which require development of some real life skill to master. For instance, I consider Independence War the mother of all space sims. It was the only thing that came close to fulfilling my Star Trek driven childhood fantasy of flying a chunk of steel into space combat. Lately games haven’t quite invoked the deep catharsis I remember once feeling, though I’m finding BioShock and Oblivion a refreshing change from the humdrum I’ve been getting from the last few years’ titles. I find this to be a ridiculously elitist attitude, and purchased a Wii to try to stamp it out.

    My board game list is short and probably equally elitist. Usually the board games I meeet are one night stands, so these are the three that have stuck around for a long term relationship.

    – Lord of the Rings (2001)
    – Arkham Horror (2005)
    – Go

    – Casablanca
    – The Illusionist
    – Dark Crystal
    – Blade Runner
    – Amelie
    – Fight Club
    – Brazil
    – Gattaca
    – Garden State
    – Wind in the Willows (1983)

    For that matter, what about TV series? Movies are all well and good, but they generally require some effort. Television is usually just there, filtering into our minds a little less consciously with much more discretion.

    – Cadfael
    – Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    – Poirot
    – Star Trek TNG and later
    – Red Dwarf
    – Farscape
    – Firefly
    – Battlestar Galactica (2003)

    I disgust myself. Half my list is science fiction, the other half is on PBS. I think I’ll just go over here and drink tea with some socialist Canadians and discuss how we feel about the coming proletariat overthrow and if any stuffed animals will be hurt when it happens.

  30. mtureck Says:

    Wow, there must be a lot of young folks on this board…here are my favorite video games, in no particular order:

    1) Adventure
    2) Pitfall
    3) Might and Magic II
    4) Myst
    5) Track and Field
    6) Baldur’s Gate II
    7) Deus Ex
    8) Tetris
    9) Zork
    10) Lemmings

    I can’t believe that I don’t have any Nintendo/Playstation/Xbox games on the list. I’m sure that many of these wouldn’t hold up if I went back and played them, but if I was rating them at the time they were played, these would have gotten the highest scores. I’ve yet to play any Zelda games, and I haven’t gotten around to Morrowind/Oblivion…I’ll have to fix that at some point.

  31. flugi1 Says:

    I think it may be better to look this topic with a more analytic view. Instead of games I show a list of raw features, with example games.

    tech:
    independent agents (introduced as Lemmings/DuneII)
    multiplayer (as Quake)
    simulations (cars, fighters, FPS)

    replay value:
    random action+logic (as Tetris)
    random action+story (as Deus Ex)
    character development (Nethack/Diablo, TES)
    party development (Might&Magic series, many CRPGs)
    cooperative multiplayer mode (rare but valuable feature)

    styles:
    exploration style (secret places, etc)
    domination style (mostly strategies and Doom-like shooters)
    stealth/runaway style (as Thief, also in Maniac Mansion)
    collecting style (points, keys, etc)
    (freelancer) quest solving style (Might&Magic, Deus Ex, Vampire Bloodlines,..)

    For me the Deus Ex was a great example of a well balanced mixture of possibilities from this list. It’s like C++ language, you can decide how to solve the situation, every style is usable.

    I like quest/exploration/stealth/collecting style in FPS tech with stories. Now it’s quite popular to make FPS games with character development (weapon collecting, extra features, etc) without the freedom of story and quests. Like COD2, or the Snowblind game. These games are like work: you always have the one and only order, do this, do that. That’s a bit boring, don’t you think?

    Movies are totally different topic. I like Wim Wenders and Hal Hartley movies.

  32. flugi1 Says:

    ahh, board games:
    We regularly play Settlers of Catan with a lot of expansions, spending whole afternoons. For faster games, we play Carcassonne (now with dragon:D), Metro, Tikal, and card games strictly for more than four person.

  33. cimerians Says:

    Ahh…my first post here and I found this site from the UT archive!
    Great to hear from Warren.

    I was never into board games but I remember loving these:

    Stratego
    Monopoly
    Risk
    Dungeon! (the old TSR game)
    D&D (not a ‘boardgame’ but anything pre-1981, not todays garbage)

    Videogames

    Pac-Man
    H.E.R.O.
    Ultima IV
    Tetris
    Maniac Mansion
    Super Castlevania IV
    Prince of Persia
    Suikoden I
    Diablo
    Thief Deadly Shadows
    Ninja Gaiden Black

    Movies

    Dracula (Horror of; Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing)
    The Ten Commandments (:P)
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Star Wars
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Jaws
    Alien
    Blues Brothers
    Princess Mononoke
    My Neighbor Totoro

  34. smike Says:

    I just wanted to mention that I quoted and proceeded to disagree with you on the basis of your criteria in a perhaps less-than-nice way over here. But that I don’t intend for it to be disrespectful, as it should be noted that I have a profoundly high level of respect for you and for what you have done so far in your life.

    It’s not much of an issue, granted, but I do think that one should trust their own judgment enough to include, say, ONE great film from the last thirty years.

  35. consoleer » Blog Archive » Listorama: Warren Spector’s 12 Favorite Top 10 Games Says:

    […] “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists [Warren Spector’s blog via GameSetWatch] […]

  36. proscryptus Says:

    Lists… boy do we love ’em or what?

    BOARD GAMES
    I remember when Rock was young, me and Lucy had so much fun, and we phisically roll a solid resin 6 sized dice to conquer the oponent´s territory or hotel. Some of these 6 sized dice, found today mostly in dig sites, is a valuable evidence that can prove an debated archeological theory that boarding games co-existed with Atari 2600 lying right beside it. That was before the dark times, before the Empire…
    My Top 10 list of boarding games:

    War (In US is called “Risk”)
    War II
    Investiment
    Monopoly
    Scotland Yard
    Clue
    Game of Life
    Ludo
    Waterloo
    Ouija (Does me creeps out, by the way).

    MOVIES
    Call me purist, but for me movies aren´t good if books haven´t been written about it first. Face it people; books existed before they were rectangular shaped. There are books since the time that guys and girls used to wear the same long skirts and leather sandals. Homo sapiens has a genetic heritage of writing, reading and express his feelings to paper (or goat skin). No original screenplay can be better than a adapted screenplay. The mind of a book writer is not limited to fit his work in a few inches of white screen or in a couple of hours duration. Is like bonsais and oaks.
    Don´t get me wrong, I am as capable to turn off my cortex and enjoy watching “Universal Soldier” munching my Doritos, as the next Cro-Magnon, but seeing movies as an art form, is necessary tell finger-painting made by an autist child from Renascence masterpieces. And for me, the top 10 list of movies since George Méliès until today goes as follows:

    Gone With The Wind
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Blade Runner
    LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
    Silence of the Lambs
    État de Siège
    Ben-Hur
    Lúcio Flavio, O Passageiro da Agonia
    Solaris (1972)
    Farenheit 451

    GAMES
    I listed the games in chronological order, that made an impression on my life by inflicting me at least one of the following effects:

    1) I played to the brink of obsession.
    2) Felt really bad about having social life affecting my gaming schedule.
    3) Cried or stared voidly at the monitor when my charecter died.
    4) Noticed an orifice in my skull that I haven´t noticed before.

    And those are:

    Pittfal (Atari 2600)
    Hero (Atari 2600)
    Magical Tree (MSX)
    The Goonies (MSX)
    Elevator Action (Arcade)
    Castlevania IV (Snes)
    Doom 2 (PC
    Ripper (PC)
    Quake (PC)
    Deus Ex (PC)
    DX2: Invisible War (PC)
    Disciples II (PC)

    Reminding you this list is chronologic. But the fun factor, the fulfilling haze that a game is capable to bring to my brain cells is in no way compared to the one that was provided by Deux Ex.
    By the way, is it me or Deux Ex was in just almost everybody´s list? And I wonder; is Deus Ex the “Citizen Kane” of the game industry? If Orson Welles had a blog today, we would be talking about “Kane” now, wouldn´t we? Sure, we would mention “Touch of Evil” and so, or talk about other movies, but always in reference to “Kane”.
    Deux Ex is no longer only a game anymore. It became a reference like a gaming indicator, like Dow Jones. Could it be that the PC gaming industry has less than 2 decades and it already reached it´s pinnacle?

    keep on gaming
    Proscryptus

  37. mark3000 Says:

    Wow, Diablo? Ouch! I have major issues concerning mouse clicking amount on a computer. I think when something is clicked rapidly both hands should be holding a gamepad but that’s just my thing.
    Plus I never was brought up with RPGs that didn’t have any locks on things (doors chests) like in Diablo. I thought you would put a real RPG at the top but I agree with all of your console game choices wholeheartedly, although I only got around to playing Mario 64 so far from that list.

    I get to edit my list later too.

    My Top Ten are:

    – Deus EX Invisible War. I liked having control over the story (pissing people off is worth it; and fun for the hint guide person to write)
    – Daggerfall (Multiple solutions to many quests with a seamless world)
    – Quest For Glory series
    – Kings Quest series
    – Prince of Persia series
    – Eye of the Beholder 1 and Wake of the Ravager DnD
    – Phantasmagoria 2. I have to try Beast Within.
    – Planescape: Torment
    – Fallout
    – Arcanum
    – Freelancer
    – Sid Meier’s Pirates: Live the Life (2004)

    P.S. I think it would really suck if they made the large levels and playstyle of Deus EX 1 with the dynamic story of Deus EX 2, and it was a really good game, and you weren’t heading it at UBISOFT.
    I look forward to your new game even if it’s Pinocchio and that island of bad children with the cigars which could be cool.

  38. mark3000 Says:

    Sorry if my post sounded too negative. Diablo isn’t too bad but still it kinda killed the RPG scene for a while. Actually I think Wolfenstein/Doom is responsible for that. I guess you are more in favor of Action/RPG. I still think you try to make true RPGs or simulations that are not combat centric only.

    Also I never got totally into Ultima but am playing Ultima 6 now and I really like it so far. It might go near the top of my list. I seem to like it better then 4, as I only played a little of 4, because it has more dialog and bigger more real towns.

  39. proscryptus Says:

    Lists… boy do we love ’em or what?

    BOARD GAMES
    I remember when Rock was young, me and Lucy had so much fun, and we phisically roll a solid resin 6 sized dice to conquer the oponent´s territory or hotel. Some of these 6 sized dice, found mostly in dig sites, is a valuable evidence that proves an archeological theory that boarding games co-existed with Atari 2600 lying right beside it. That was before the dark times, before the Empire…

    War (In US is called “Risk”)
    Investiment
    Monopoly
    Scotland Yard
    Clue
    Game of Life
    Ludo

    I know. that´s a top 7 and not top 10. I didn´t pay much atention to board games. I´d rather play my Atari 2600.

    MOVIES
    Call me purist, but for me movies aren´t good if books haven´t been written about it first. Face it people; books existed before they were rectangular shaped. There are books since guys and girls used to wear the same kind of long skirts. Homo sapiens has a genetic heritage of writing, reading and express his feelings to paper (or goat skin).
    Don´t get me wrong, I am as capable to turn off my cortex and enjoy watching “Universal Soldier” munching my Doritos, as the next Cro-Magnon, but seeing movies as an art form, is necessary tell finger-painting made by an autist child from Renascence masterpieces. And for me, the top 10 list of movies since George Méliès until today goes as follows:

    Gone With The Wind
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Blade Runner
    LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
    Silence of the Lambs
    État de Siège
    Ben-Hur
    Lúcio Flavio, O Passageiro da Agonia
    Solaris (1972)
    Farenheit 451

    GAMES
    I listed the games in chronological order, that made an impression on my life by inflicting me at least one of the following effects:

    1) I played to the brink of obsession.
    2) Felt really bad about having social life affecting my gaming schedule.
    3) Cried or stared voidly at the monitor when my charecter died.
    4) Noticed an orifice in my skull that I haven´t noticed before.

    And those are:

    Pittfal (Atari 2600)
    Hero (Atari 2600)
    Magical Tree (MSX)
    The Goonies (MSX)
    Elevator Action (Arcade)
    Castlevania IV (Snes)
    Doom 2 (PC
    Ripper (PC)
    Quake (PC)
    Deus Ex (PC)
    DX2: Invisible War (PC)
    Disciples II (PC)

    Reminding you this list is chronologic. But the fun factor, the fulfilling haze that a game is capable to bring to my brain cells is in no way compared to the one that was provided by Deux Ex.
    By the way, is it me or Deux Ex was in just almost everybody´s list? And I wonder; is Deus Ex the “Citizen Kane” of the game industry? If Orson Welles had a blog today, we would be talking about “Kane” now, wouldn´t we? Sure, we would mention “Touch of Evil” and so, or talk about other movies, but always in reference to “Kane”.
    Deux Ex is no longer only a game anymore. It became a reference like a gaming indicator, like Dow Jones. Could it be that the PC gaming industry has less than 2 decades and it already reached it´s pinnacle?

    keep on gaming
    Proscryptus

  40. proscryptus Says:

    Lists… boy do we love ’em or what?

  41. proscryptus Says:

    Sure we do, so here I go…
    I have to cut my posts in 3 parts: Board, Video/PC Games and Movies. So Don´t mind the breaks.
    BOARD GAMES
    I remember when Rock was young, me and Lucy had so much fun, and we phisically roll a solid resin 6 sized dice to conquer the oponent´s territory or hotel. Some of these 6 sized dice, found mostly in dig sites, is a valuable evidence that proves an archeological theory that boarding games co-existed with Atari 2600 lying right beside it. That was before the dark times, before the Empire…

    War (In US is called “Risk”)
    Investiment
    Monopoly
    Scotland Yard
    Clue
    Game of Life
    Ludo

    I know. that´s a top 7 and not top 10. I didn´t pay much atention to board games. I´d rather play my Atari 2600.

    WILL BE CONTINUED…

  42. proscryptus Says:

    Continuing my 2nd of 3-part post:

    MOVIES
    Call me purist, but for me movies aren´t good if books haven´t been written about it first. Face it people; books existed before they were rectangular shaped. There are books since guys and girls used to wear the same kind of long skirts. Homo sapiens has a genetic heritage of writing, reading and express his feelings to paper (or goat skin).
    Don´t get me wrong, I am as capable to turn off my cortex and enjoy watching “Universal Soldier” munching my Doritos, as the next Cro-Magnon, but seeing movies as an art form, is necessary tell finger-painting made by an autist child from Renascence masterpieces. And for me, the top 10 list of movies since George Méliès until today goes as follows:

    Gone With The Wind
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Blade Runner
    LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
    Silence of the Lambs
    État de Siège
    Ben-Hur
    Lúcio Flavio, O Passageiro da Agonia
    Solaris (1972)
    Farenheit 451

    WILL BE CONCLUDED…

  43. proscryptus Says:

    Last part of my 3-part post…

    GAMES
    I listed the games in chronological order, that made an impression on my life by inflicting me at least one of the following effects:

    1) I played to the brink of obsession.
    2) Felt really bad about having social life affecting my gaming schedule.
    3) Cried or stared voidly at the monitor when my charecter died.
    4) Noticed an orifice in my skull that I haven´t noticed before.

    And those are:

    Pittfal (Atari 2600)
    Hero (Atari 2600)
    Magical Tree (MSX)
    The Goonies (MSX)
    Elevator Action (Arcade)
    Castlevania IV (Snes)
    Doom 2 (PC
    Ripper (PC)
    Quake (PC)
    Deus Ex (PC)
    DX2: Invisible War (PC)
    Disciples II (PC)

    Reminding you this list is chronologic. But the fun factor, the fulfilling haze that a game is capable to bring to my brain cells is in no way compared to the one that was provided by Deux Ex.
    By the way, is it me or Deux Ex was in just almost everybody´s list? And I wonder; is Deus Ex the “Citizen Kane” of the game industry? If Orson Welles had a blog today, we would be talking about “Kane” now, wouldn´t we? Sure, we would mention “Touch of Evil” and so, or talk about other movies, but always in reference to “Kane”.
    Deux Ex is no longer only a game anymore. It became a reference like a gaming indicator, like Dow Jones. Could it be that the PC gaming industry has less than 2 decades and it already reached it´s pinnacle?

    keep on gaming
    Proscryptus

  44. Eat Our Brains » Blog Archive Says:

    […] Yeah, yeah, I know, I missed my post for last week and I’m late this week.  And I’m so freaking lazy that I’m stealing my blog idea for this week from The Dude. […]

  45. leveller99 Says:

    I can never get these lists to stay the same two days running so in no order…….but showing my age…..

    Adventure (or one of many other names – the reason I am in the business)
    Elite (only ever made it to ‘deadly’)
    Exile (best game you probably never heard of)
    Dungeon Master (a week’s vacation went down the toilet)
    Another World/Out of this World (narrative through gameplay anyone?)
    Half Life
    KOTOR
    Monkey Island 2
    Imogen (second best game you probably never heard of)
    Stalker (I spent more time playing ‘with’ it than playing it)

    Quite surprised about the number of older games – I think too much time spent downloading remakes recently.

  46. unatcoagent Says:

    I’ve found the blog from the Mastermind behin Deus Ex. What an honor. Yay and all that stuff. Now is my list, not always lister in preference order:

    Boardgames:

    Monopoly
    Dracula (the game from the movie, the ambient tape was pretty nice)
    Layrinth Master
    Trivial Pursuit

    Videogames:
    Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess – Zelda Ocarina of Time – A Link to the Past (ex aequo)
    Metal Gear Solid 1, 2 & 3 – Deux Ex (ex aequo)
    Doom (the PSX version with great music is my fav)
    Half Life Serie
    Ecco the Dolphin
    Uplink & Defcon
    Silent Hill 2
    American McGee’s Alice
    Legacy of Kain Serie
    Vampire the Masquerade Redemption/ Bloodlines
    Painkiller
    And several others…but too much to list them here. I’d say also I love games from the 90’s. Much more spirit for much less polygons.

    Movies:
    Escape from New York – The Thing (I love John Carpenter’s movies, I’ll just notice these two ones for now)
    Children of Men
    Shindler’s List
    Blade Runner
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    Star Wars (First Trilogy)
    Alien Saga
    Seven
    Dawn of the Dead
    Dellamorte Dellamore
    Le Dernier Combat (from Luc Besson)
    And others one of course…

  47. unatcoagent Says:

    I forgot Deus Ex in my VG List…Kill me…

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  49. Jack Arnolds Hub Says:

    Dayton 500 Online

    cool article, thanks so much. Good writing, going to read more…

  50. wspector Says:

    I posted this elsewhere already, but just in case you missed it, I stumbled across a nifty website that’s mighty list-o-rific:

    http://www.listology.com/index.cfm

    Check it out.

    Warren

  51. games Says:

    games…

    these games require sill…

  52. “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists « Warren Spector's blog « Core Players Says:

    […] the original post: “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists « Warren Spector's blog Tagged as: first-true, gaming, highest, list, not-much, online games, some-movies, steps-started, […]

  53. Lelo Alia Says:

    Lelo Alia…

    […]“Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists « Warren Spector’s blog[…]…

  54. 2013 a las 5:27 Says:

    2013 a las 5:27…

    “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists | Warren Spector’s blog…

  55. 2013 at 15:12 Says:

    2013 at 15:12…

    “Hobby Games: The 100 Best” or I Love Lists | Warren Spector’s blog…

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