[When I wrote this little piece some years ago, the games and companies below would have been familiar to almost any gamer. At that time, Origin, Sierra, Maxis, etc. were still putting out product in the series mentioned, and the humor was obvious. These days, I’m not so sure. But here it is anyway, for those who remember.]

My Non-List of 15 Top Games


Why I Don’t Do These Things

“Hey Scorp, we’re coming up on the magazine’s 15th anniversary”

“Yeah? That’s nice”

“So we’re asking everyone to do a list of their 15 top games”


“The best 15 games you’ve played in the last 15 years”

“Dunno about that. I’ll have to think this over”

“Surely, there must have been at least 15 games you really liked”

“Probably. Thing is, I don’t do lists”

“Oh. Why not?” (you would have to ask, but since you did….)

Why not? Hey, you think I’m crazy? I know gamers. That’s all I have to do, publish a list of “my top 15 games”, and I’ll never hear the end of it.

“How could you put Game X on the list? It was the worst I ever played!”

“Why do you have Game A there, but not Game B?”

“How could you rate Game J higher than Game D?”

“I think your list is stupid!! You don’t have one video game on it!!!”

It would go on like that for weeks, months, maybe even years. Gamers tend to be a passionate bunch, and have strong opinions on these matters. They aren’t shy about voicing those opinions, either. Given the amount of mail I already receive these days (especially through the Internet gateways), I don’t really need any more, especially that kind.

Even if I gave several cogent reasons why I thought “The Bard’s Ultimate Magic Pool of Wizardry” was the best thing since the microchip, there are people who would happily point out (at length) why I am wrong to think so, or would take severe umbrage (at length) that I’d even consider BUMPOW worthy of notice, much less a “best” list.

Aside from all that, I just don’t think very much of “best” lists in any case, although sometimes they can be amusing. They’re simply someone’s opinions. While it may be true that mine perhaps mean a little more than most, I know well enough that other gamers’ opinions can be equally valid, though I may not agree with them (or they with mine, for that matter).

But hey, everyone’s doing a list, and I don’t want to be completely left out, so I’ll do one, albeit a shorter one. Yes! Here it is, Scorpia’s All-Time, Top Five Favorite Vaporware Games You’ll Never See (be grateful!):

1. Ultima XXXVI: Blessings of Retirement. In the concluding chapter of the 12th trilogy, the Avatar races across the length and breadth of Britannia, in a desperate search for the Decrepit Adventurers Old Age Home, hoping to find it before Lord British produces another Ultima. In a startling departure from the norm, this is the first game ever where, if you die before the game ends, you win! Number 1, for that concept alone!

2. SimAmoeba – Having exhausted the possibilities of the macroscopic, Maxis boldly goes in the opposite direction, giving us a microscopic take over the world strategy game. Start off as a lowly, single-celled critter, then subdivide infinitely until you can engulf SimAnts, SimFarms, SimCities, and finally even SimEarth itself! With fifteen difficulty levels, each requiring more complex strategy than the last, this one should keep you busy for a long time. Watch out for the deadly parameciums!

3. King’s Quest LXXII: Mission Impossible. In this latest outing of the Graham family, the great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren of King Graham go on a wondrous journey through fabulous lands, trying to accomplish a hopeless task: find a Sierra adventure without “quest” in the title. 10 gig hard drive space required for the “small install”; a 20-CD disk changer is a must for this one.

4. Where In The Universe Is Carmen SanDiego? Yes, yet another “Stop Carmen” extravaganza. What sets this game apart is the excruciatingly exact, perfectly detailed, model of the universe. Relative positions of stars, galaxies, black holes, etc., are all correct, right down to periods of rotation. Realistic space travel gives players plenty of time to bone up on cosmic concepts while they go from one area of space to another. Estimated playing time at near-light speeds: forty years. The perfect game to hand down as an heirloom through the generations.

5. Gross! – This one is the absolute pinnacle (some might say nadir) of gory shoot-em-ups. Released amid great controversy and reports that three beta-testers and one designer died of heart failure during development, Gross! can best be described as “Doom Meets Jack The Ripper in Phantasmagoria”. Available by mail-only directly from the publishers; you must include a copy of your birth certificate and a notarized statement that you are over 21 and under 60 (subject matter is considered too much for youngsters, and too likely to cause heart attacks in elders).

And with that taken care of, I think I’ll go do a little Liszt of a different kind.miniscorp

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