At PAX East last weekend, Mike Selinker had a talk called The 100 Games You Absolutely, Positively Must Know How to Play. The description of the talk reads, “Mike describes the 100 games you need to know if you want to be game-literate.” Obviously, the description should be taken completely literally.
But I know what you’re thinking. A hundred games? Really? I absolutely, positively need to know one hundred specific games to achieve a minimum threshold of literacy? That’s ridiculous!
I couldn’t agree more. One hundred is not nearly enough!
To help more people achieve minimal competence in the field of gaming, I’ve added 43 more essential tasks to the list of games that Selinker has created. You can safely disregard the opinion of anyone who has never performed these tasks. So, without further ado, the list:
To be game-literate, you absolutely, positively must do the following:
- Play the Glass-Bead game.
- Never play Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
- Own a webpage that has not been updated since 1998 or earlier. Said webpage must include a lengthy discussion of the rules of Calvinball.
- Beat the Devil in a game of dice and/or poker. As long as it’s a game that you can imagine a blues singer or cowboy playing, it counts.
- Play Pictionary, using only your own blood as your writing implement.
- Hand-sculpt your own dice, using the bones of a dead god.
- Slay every beast that dwells within Jumanji, including the most dangerous beast of all: man.
- Win the Game of Thrones decisively enough that George R. R. Martin decides that the series is over.
- Win a tarot reading.
- Play Scrabble. Win using the a word that incorporates the letters Ƿ, Þ, Ð, or Æ.
- Do not play a Twine game; they are not real and if you play them you will be sucked into the machinations of the Children of Harumaph, who see the cosmos as a blight upon the perfection of nonexistence and you will accidentally destroy the world.
- Seriously, don’t do it.
- Roll up a million roses in We ♥ Katamari. Feel nothing.
- Murder someone during (or in the immediate aftermath of) a game of Diplomacy. You don’t know who you are as a gamer until you’ve killed a man.
- Save Aeris. You could have saved her. Why didn’t you save her?
- Build an anarchist utopia on the Moon in any Civilization game.
- Fetishize hegemonic masculinity, capitalism, imperialism, and violence.
- If you want your game to appear in MoMA, do (17) above, but claim it is self-aware or ironic.
- Determine that Mister Body committed an elaborate suicide.
- Make fun of Candy Crush.
- Whiz on the electric fence.
- Beat Earthbound using a copied cartridge.
- Refer to at least one game as “not a real game.”
- Refer to at least one person as “not a real gamer.” (If they happen to be a woman or ethnic minority, it’s just a coincidence. Ever stopped to think that maybe you’re the real racist?)
- Find the essence of True Game Literacy. It is hidden inside of a needle, inside of a duck, which is inside of a hare, which is inside of a chest, which is buried under an oak tree on the sacred island where the Wind Gods live.
- Have an orgy with Sten, Wynne, and Aveline.
- Write a 5,000 word essay comparing the relative merits of Mornington Crescent and Numberwang.
- Survive a game of Russian Roulette while using a semiautomatic pistol.
- Kill your GM in a duel. When asked why, say nothing, but cry a single tear.
- Roll a d30. If you don’t have a d30, then I’m sorry, but you’re not game-literate.
- Create your own Cones of Dunshire set. Argue with no one in particular that it is the best version of Cones of Dunshire.
- Play Train. Experience the appropriate reaction.
- If you are an academic: get sneered at by a scholar of a more traditional medium.
- If you are not an academic: get sneered at by an academic.
- Beat Lady GaGa at the Love Game.
- (Men only:) Blandly assert that there should be more women in gaming. Do nothing to actually support women in gaming. Receive massive praise for your progressive attitude.
- (Whites only:) Blandly assert that there should be more non-whites in gaming. Do nothing to support actually support non-white people in gaming. Receive massive praise for your progressive attitude.
- Punch anyone who announces that they or anyone else has lost The Game.
- Play Werewolf. During the nighttime phase of the game, actually bite the other players, afflicting them with the curse of lycanthropy. Lead your new pack on a rampage through the countryside. Spare no one. Not even the children.
- Claim to have read Infinite Jest.
- “Gamify” every social interaction.
- Become a “Gamification Expert” by giving yourself the title on every social network.
- Monetize and commodify all of your remaining friendships and social ties, assuming that anyone is still willing to speak with you.