Every now and again someone puts a lot of work in to producing a list that puts “whatever” in their rightful place and gives the world some clear perspective. Top ten lists are a common sight on the front pages of Digg and when a Top 100 list comes out, it is seen somewhat as a definitive guide or authoritative list on the topic it covers. I mean, whose going to make a Top 100 list if they don’t have a pretty firm grasp of what it is they’re talking about?
That’s why the “Top 100 games of the 21st century” list caught my eye. I had hoped to see what top-quality games (if any) I might have overlooked since the turn of the millenium and although there were some dodgy choices in the games high up on the list, I shrugged it off as being typical top 100 style – keep the very best til last. Going down the list, Bob the Builder loses out to Return to Castle Wolfenstein by just two places. Strange, but maybe the author of the list has kids who really like Bob.
The wheels start to come off with Grand Theft Auto at 34, beaten by Max Payne, SpongeBob SquarePants and, wait for it, Barbie Pet Rescue! Many would have seen enough by now and written the list off as a joke, but I had to see this rare list’s top ten. As it turns out, they were decent games but the sting at the end of the tale was to see The Sims as king of the castle. A game where you take care of Lemming-stupid virtual people crowned as best game of the 21st century – I don’t think so!
Taking a look at the criteria of the list sheds some light on why the results are so deluded and also explains why your favourite sports sim has not even been mentioned. Admittedly it’s based on sales numbers and excludes all those sports series that release a new version yearly (inflating the figures), but if that’s the case then what are the Sims Expansion Packs? The bottom line is that this list could be useful and informative but was given a misleading title to begin with. As such it doesn’t deliver what’s expected and most definitely does not provide a realistic ranking for the best games in recent years.