Hello! Starting today, Eurogamer is doing something it (we) should really have got around to a long time ago: lists of the best games around. Our first is a list of the best Wii U games.
Each list comprises somewhere between 10 and 20 games, is compiled and written by the Eurogamer editorial team, and will be updated over time to reflect our current thinking. We're going to start with lists of our favourite games for current gaming platforms: the home and handheld consoles and PC. We'll publish a new one of these every fortnight.
Once we're done with those, and if it's going well, we'll look at expanding the lists to cover a wider range of categories and topics, such as the best racing games, the best games for kids, the best local multiplayer games, the best games with dinosaurs in them, the best games about death and taxes, the best games to play when you're feeling sort of wistful on a Sunday afternoon, and so on. (Maybe not all of those.)
Obviously all such lists are matters of opinion and subjects of heated debate (they certainly have been in the office already), but the aim with every one of our best games lists is to provide a well-rounded selection of high-quality, original and exciting games. We think they would make a fine foundation for any game collection, and a great starting point for someone looking to explore a new platform or genre, or simply looking for inspiration for what to pick up next.
By what criteria do we select the games?
When it came to compiling our lists, we didn't make a lot of rules; the idea is to capture the combined enthusiasm and expertise of a bunch of knowledgeable and passionate gamers, not to play semantic games with structure or classification. The only hard-and-fast rules are that each list should feature no more than 20 games, to save them getting too big to digest or too undiscriminating; and that the games aren't ranked within each list. We'll order them alphabetically instead.
There are a couple of important guiding principles, however. The first is that these are the best games to play today. They are not academic compilations of the most important games in history; they're lists of games we'd recommend anyone to play now, games that are still fresh and vital experiences. So you'll notice that, for example, our PC games list will skew fairly heavily (though not exclusively) towards games from the last few years, rather than that platform's huge library of available classics.
The second guiding principle is balance and variety. It might be that most of the best games for a particular console are first-person shooters, but a list of 15 such games would be pretty boring and offer nothing to a reader who wasn't a fan of that style of game. So each list attempts to cover as broad a selection as possible in terms of genre, tone, length, style, price, solo and multiplayer play, niche and mainstream, indie and commercial. This has meant some painful exclusions of brilliant games in categories we felt were already over-represented, but so be it. (It will also still apply as and when we start doing more specific genre lists; for example, a list of the best racing games should run all the way from the arcade fun of Mario Kart to the serious simulation of iRacing.)
All the lists will be updated to reflect our current thinking. Mostly, this will happen when a new release is awarded Recommended or Essential at review; we'll chat about it internally and decide whether it deserves to be added to a relevant list or to replace another entry. But there might be other reasons to make changes than new releases, such as the decline in a multiplayer community making an older online game hard to recommend, or simply a change in the prevailing taste and opinion of the Eurogamer staff - because we're human, after all, and these are our lists that reflect what we currently love.
So what are we really up to?
These lists are just a cynical bid for search traffic, right? A click-harvesting trap for all those kids typing "best ps4 games" into Google? Well, yes and no. Yes, they are a bid for search traffic; no, they're not cynical.
Looking for advice from the internet when you're not sure what game to buy next is a pretty reasonable thing to do, after all, and we want to be the among those providing that advice. We've got the experience and knowledge of 15 years reviewing games behind us - much more than that, if you tot up man-years across the team- as well as a surfeit of passion and a unique blend of tastes and perspectives. Whether as news reporters, feature writers or reviewers, we consider ourselves curators of the best and most interesting stuff in gaming, and best games lists are some of the most important, visible and popular forms of curation out there. We want to add our voice in that field.
We also don't believe there's any reason these lists need to be dumbed-down for the perceived masses or treated as throwaway, filler content for our website. There's no reason they can't be high-quality articles that offer fine writing and interesting insight on the games in question - or be just as enjoyable to read for our regular, discerning audience as for a new reader arriving from Google. That's the hope, anyway. Even the most well-informed gamer sometimes finds themselves casting around for inspiration for something to play, and besides, part of the fun of these lists is comparing them to the ones you'd draw up yourselves.
Put simply, we're in this to share our love for the best this incredibly varied and thrilling medium has to offer with as wide an audience as possible. We hope you enjoy the lists!