Archive for February, 2008

Top 10 oversight!

February 22, 2008

I’m sitting at SFO, after a whirlwind GDC 2008, going back over my notes and trying to remember all the good, bad and ugly stuff I saw and heard this past week. I’ll post a bunch of stuff about the show soon. But, first, there was a Really Big Thing I realized while I was out here.

Among other things, I attended a cocktail party Wednesday night, thrown by the Mouse House, where I ran into some really cool folks who got me talking about ten best lists and, in talking to them, I realized there was a horrible, horrible oversight in the top ten videogames list I posted last year.

So, no, this isn’t a post offering my list of the “top 10 oversights of all time.” It’s a post about an oversight in the list — an oversight I can’t allow to stand uncorrected.

When Electronic Arts acquired Origin, I met a guy named Rich Hilleman. If you don’t know who he is, you should — a hugely influential, if somewhat underappreciated guy, in my estimation. Anyway, Rich was my boss back then (and Richard Garriott’s and Chris Roberts’ and so on). And when I met him, he was working with Dani Bunten on a sequel to M.U.L.E., which about floored me since M.U.L.E. was (as I gushed to him then, and have gushed to him repeatedly ever since) ONE OF MY FAVORITE GAMES.

See where this is going?

As I spoke with folks at the Disney party, I started gushing to them about how M.U.L.E. was, and is, one of my favorite games. And I realized that I had completely spaced it when I put together that top 10 list a couple of months ago. So, as is my wont, I’m going to revise the list (and probably not for the last time!):


  1. Diablo
  2. Guitar Hero
  3. Half Life
  4. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
  5. M.U.L.E.
  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.)

For those of you without eidetic memories (or those of you just too lazy to check the blog archives!), the game I dropped was Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time — and not just because M.U.L.E. slots right into my alphabetical list in the same spot as Ocarina… I dropped that game because, fun as it was, Link to the Past epitomizes everything wondrous about the Zelda games and I couldn’t bring myself to drop one of the other games, all of which offer uniquely joyful gameplay experiences.

As far as M.U.L.E. itself goes, what’s not to love? It offered immensely varied gameplay; it was multiplayer before multiplayer was cool; it offered ample opportunities to screw your friends; it inspired all sorts of games after it (though none have matched it); and the music alone can bring a smile to my face. (If you’re like me, you’re humming the jaunty M.U.L.E. theme right now!)

The fact that no one’s remade M.U.L.E. is amazing and appalling to me. All it needs is a graphical update, and some online multiplayer and you’re good to go. Come on EA or Ozark Softscape or whoever owns the rights nowadays. It’d be perfect for Xbox Live Arcade or something… A whole new generation of gamers needs M.U.L.E. They may not know it, but they do. And so do I. Great, great game…