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Game Trailers, Spike TV announce Top 100 Games

Spike TV execs talk to us about launching a countdown of the top 100 video games of all time

The top 100 video games will be selected and showcased by GameTrailers.com and Spike TV in a multi-platform event that begins this summer and culminates at this year's Video Game Awards pre-show on Spike TV this December. "It's an initiative that's been a long time in the works," said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President of Multi-platform Programming and Events for Spike TV. "This is something that fans have wanted, and we've wanted to do for a long time - to count down the top 100 videogames of all time."

The "Top 100 Games of All Time" will be showcased in short video segments through various platforms including GameTrailers.com and its Side Mission blog, Spike's on-air shows 'GT.TV with Geoff Keighley' and 'All Access Weekly,' Spike.com, GameTrailer's upcoming iOS app and their social media. 2012 marks the 10-year anniversary of both GameTrailers and Spike's Video Game Awards show, which is another reason for embarking on the project.

"We've been at this now 10 years, and we have huge libraries of content we can dip into," noted Slusser. "So we can reach into that 10 years of passion and really dive into what makes these games the best games of all time. We'll announce each one of these 100 games in a different place every single week." There will also be a way for fans to participate, noted Brad Winters, General Manager of GameTrailers.com. "Obviously the fans are a huge part of this, and there's a list that they'll be asked to vote on," said Winters.

"The guys in here are really disappointed they're going to have to go back and play all those games again."

Jon Slusser

It's a massive undertaking, because it requires coordination with all of the various web sites and television shows, and making the content work for each platform. "Normally we create a television show and figure out later how to put that on other platforms," noted Slusser. "What I'm excited about is creating something that was specifically made for multiple platforms from the very beginning of the concept. We're not only celebrating 10 years of GameTrailers and 10 years of the VGAs, we're doing it using all of our gaming assets in a way that really harnesses the power of each one like never before. It's probably the biggest initiative we've ever done. It's a bit daunting and very exciting."

Producing content for multiple platforms at once might mean compromises. Does that imply you have to create for the lowest common denominator, like the length of the pieces? "That's a good question," said Slusser. "It's important to think about how you create something that's good on all these different platforms. These will be short-form segments so they can live on every one of these platforms. When you're summarizing one of the greatest games of all time, with all the video footage, we don't want it to be 10 minutes long; we want it to be 2-3 minutes long."

While the countdown will take place over many weeks and segments will debut in various places, the complete list will be on GameTrailers.com. "If you want to see where all the stuff debuts, it will be on a specific platform," said Slusser. "But you'll be able to go to GameTrailers to get the complete list after they debut, after a certain amount of time so you can always catch up with what you've missed."

Dredging through over 40 years of videogames isn't easy, considering many of the oldest systems are hard to find in working order outside of museums. Slusser agreed it wasn't going to be easy. "There's gonna be a lot of detective work, so we've already started meeting about this. Everything from Pong to Tetris to Pac-Man is fair game." It's going to be hard on the staffers, too. "The guys in here are really disappointed they're going to have to go back and play all those games again," said Slusser, tongue firmly in cheek.

The final list will be, in effect, a documentary of videogame history showing the best and most popular games. Using video will allow people to see the games in action, not just as a single screen shot. Deciding to present this project over multiple platforms, including television, will bring it to a wider audience, and points out some directions for future efforts by GameTrailers.com and Spike TV. Winters and Slusser are eager for the challenge ahead. "The cool part is we truly get to leverage all our brands and platforms. At the end of the day I really feel this is how content will be created in the future," Slusser said. "You don't just think about how to create a show for one medium. How does it live on television, on a mobile phone, on social media? How does it engage the fans? That's going to be more critical moving forward. It takes a while to move a big ship, and it starts here with this initiative."

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Steve Peterson

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Steve Peterson has been in the game business for 30 years now as a designer (co-designer of the Champions RPG among others), a marketer (for various software companies) and a lecturer. Follow him on Twitter @20thLevel.