Game canon is a list of video games to be considered for preservation by the Library of Congress. The creation of this list is "an assertion that digital games have a cultural significance and a historical significance." Game canon is modeled on the efforts of the National Film Preservation Board, which produces an annual list of films that are subsequently added to the National Film Registry, which is managed by the Library of Congress. The game canon committee comprises Henry Lowood, game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky, Matteo Bittanti, and Joystiq journalist Christopher Grant.
Game canon is a project started by Henry Lowood, curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University. He started to preserve video games and video-game artifacts in 1998, and in the years following, he has noted that video games are something worthy of preserving. Henry Lowood submitted the proposal to the Library of Congress in September 2006, and during the 2007 Game Developers Conference, he announced the game canon.
In September 2012 the Library of Congress had already 3,000 games from many platforms and also around 1,500 strategy guides.
List of games considered
The initial list consists of 10 video games that are each considered to represent the beginning of a genre that is still vital in the video game industry.
- Star Raiders
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Civilization I/II
- Warcraft series
- Sensible World of Soccer
Lowood's Canon has been criticized by video game theorists and academics who consider his list limited and unrepresentative. In 2010, a featured article on Gamasutra criticized in details many aspects of the Game Canon. The list had no explanations supporting the video games selected. The review stated that in limiting the list of historically and culturally significant video games to ten, many other innovative video games had unfairly been excluded. The article also mentioned that a Canon should include all innovative video games but also all innovations in video gaming. The author, Gareth Mensah, proposed an alternative in the form of an aggregator organizing all innovative video games and innovations in video gaming through the use of a tagging system.
- Chaplin, Heather (2007-03-12). "Is That Just Some Game? No, It’s a Cultural Artifact". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Owens, Trevor (2012-09-26). "Yes, The Library of Congress Has Video Games: An Interview with David Gibson". blogs.loc.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- Ransom-Wiley, James. "10 most important video games of all time, as judged by 2 designers, 2 academics, and 1 lowly blogger". Joystiq.
- Mensah, Gareth (2010-11-12). "The Canon 2.0". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-11-26.