As it becomes more and more the case that video games are becoming commonplace in academia, I got to thinking. Literary and film academia are both notorious for having particular fixations with specific works, so its no stretch, nor a surprise, that games would end up with the same fate. We can already see patterns within the discourse of games criticism arising, particularly in Western, English-speaking games criticism. What do you think will make up this “canon” in the future?
I want to be clear about this: This is not what games you think should be in of the canon of games. That’s a question that is complex in its own right, and is for another day. Rather, this is about what games you think will be in that canon. Think about the kinds of literature, film, and music fits into the general academic consciousness, and what you think would be their counterparts in game studies. These works might be overrated to you, they might be regressive, or they might be truly excellent works of art, but they all occupy a similar space in the discourse.
So, like, yeah, Dark Souls will be on that list. There’s no question. Ocarina of Time and Super Metroid continue to be revered to this day. I also have noticed that Far Cry 2 has a big following in games criticism. There would also be a hearty dose of immersive sims, likely Deus Ex and System Shock 2. Spelunky and FTL, also, have a kind of reverence. I also think Bayonetta fits in as a kind of wildcard. This is my opinion, at least.
This is only the beginning of such a list, of course. What games do you think are going to be taught and discussed in the future of game studies?
EDIT: There was some discussion about the word “canon” down below, and I think the term is somewhat inaccurate in hindsight. Here is what I said down below, that I think clarifies:
What I am trying to direct the conversation towards is works within the field of games that develop a reverence within academia and provoke discussion about its influence on the artform, as well as perhaps being talked about a wee bit too much… I used the word canon because I think it conveys the kind of critique and analysis I am referring to in a succinct manner.