(This is not a post about religion)
Awhile ago Game Informer had a list of the greatest games of all time. The list was shit. I wasn't sure if anything other than the number 1 spot was supposed to be in a particular order but that's not the point of the post. While many of you probably know what had the number 1 spot, for those of you who don't I shall ask a quick query: What is the best Legend of Zelda game? A timeless question argued by many. So what would most people say? Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, hell, even Wind Waker. None of these took the number one spot on their list. You know what did? The original Legend of Zelda. I'm not saying it's a bad game, but their reasoning was simply that the game was the first in the epic series.
Look at the list and you will see it wasn't just the Zelda series that got this treatment--the other one that almost made me rip the magazine in two was Metroid. Sure, the first one is a great game. But I don't know many people who can't agree with the statement that Super Metroid is the absolute best in the series. Again--it was the best, simply because it was the original.
One more example before I start making some kind of point: The battle between Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time is endless. Anybody who knows me or who has looked at my profile knows which one I prefer (MM), but what is an argument I see come up a lot in favor of Ocarina of Time. At this point you should be able to guess. "It was the first 3D Zelda game". Ah, but of course.
So apparently if you're a game developer, just come up with some groundbreaking concept, even if the game is shitty, and throw it out there. As long as it's the first in the series, or the first to do something different than other games, it is good. Let's take Scribblenauts. Taken out of all context, this game is complete shit. You can barely move your character and for a game based totally on coming up with newer, creative solutions, there are really only a handful of omnipotent words that will get you through. Most people I talk to just mess around on the title screen. Well then it's not a game you're playing, that's pretty much using Google Images on your DS except you only get one result. Yet (and I hate to play this card) the game has a 79 on Metacritic? Why? Because it's fresh, it's new, it's original
. Original is truly a word that no longer has meaning. You know that's true when people have been able to define every plot that can ever happen
Think before the next time you argue "this is the game that started it all". By that logic, wouldn't that also make you a fan of games such as Bible Adventures which was the first Bible game for the NES (damn, I said I'd avoid religion), or Custer's Revenge for being the first high-selling porn game? Or if I were to take it a step further, isn't EVERYTHING great? Pocket Ninjas is a horrible, horrible movie. But, if I were to use the "original" argument, then it's good because it is the first movie named Pocket Ninjas to be worked on by each individual that put the movie together and shot in that specific way. If I made a movie and everybody loved it and then years later, re-released the same movie but with subtle changes in dialogue and different camera angles... would people say the one released beforehand was better?
I know my case went a little far there, but it's at least plausible. Just think the next time before you say "this is the first game to..." and stop yourself. The only time you should be using those words is when you're saying "this is the first game to (blank) effectively".
...........I bet Game Informer can't get enough of Pong.