Deus Ex developer Warren Spector spills his soul on his views of list-making and game-ranking.

Warren Spector, the brain behind Deus Ex, Thief and Junction Point Studios, wrote a new blog entry outlining his favorite movies, games and boardgames. He discusses with his readers how he has gone about his life evaluating entertainment pieces and collecting “Top 10” 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.

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.

Spector’s top 12 games are:

  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

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