Mr Charlie Brooker's face was doing its thing all over my television screen last night in a two hour gaming retrospective on Channel 4. A countdown of the 25 most influential games in the history of the medium. As these sort of lists go some of the greats were always going to be left out but what we got was refreshingly legit.
From Pong and Space Invaders to Grand Theft Auto 3 and Wii Sports by way of Super Mario Bros and Tetris. All the usual suspects were present and accounted for but they were joined by titles not often name-checked on Saturday night TV. Manic Miner, Elite, The Secret of Monkey Island, Parappa The Rapper and Shadow of the Colossus all making an appearance as well.
Were there a few dubious inclusions? Sure there were but at least they tried to rationalise their historical significance. Badly acted pervert-em-up Night Trap will never win any awards for, well, anything but it demonstrated that the arrival of the CD-ROM in itself was no passing fad.
In fact that might be the only title in the top 25 that I took issue with, except for what came in first but that's a different kettle of fish entirely. For number one we got Twitter itself. Symbolic of the gameification of life itself or so their argument went. Bit of a marmite choice there, deliberately provocative but not entirely without credit. Still its inclusion seemed more there to titillate the media studies student within each and every one of us. Yes there is one, I checked.
Yes Twitter, the chief representative of how gaming changed the world. Well whatever went in at number one would have been a target of someones vitriol. I was just happy to have some quality videogame TV. Presumably there are reasons why these kind of shows are confined to one-offs, the same reasons why GamesMaster doesn't exist outside of the 1990's. In any case it was a fine use of two hours and well worth checking out, a fine diversion from my weekends PS4 fest.