The Goodies 2020: Best List

by Team GGW

As #TheGoodies2020 get underway we wanted to start with pieces that brighten our days and maybe even yours.

When we think of a List Feature we often think of them as throw-away pieces meant only to drive outrage (or whatever emotion du jour) and little more. The idea that they’re clickbait-y is often bandied about–in fact, that criticism has been made of much of our list–but that discounts important elements of lists:

  • They are a type of service writing and denigrating lists is the same as denigrating other work, like guides work, that pays bills.
  • Lists are often places writers get let off the leash and can frolic with glee. Yeah, it’s a metaphor, but we’re sticking with it.
  • Lists DO drive engagement and often spark dialogue with readers that’s more positive than, say, a contentious (*gasp*) 7/10 review.

The lists nominated for this award embody some of these traits. Fanbyte‘s pair of nominations, written by Aiden Strawhun and Ty Galiz-Rowe, fall into a bit of a trope–what this character says about you–just as Jeremy Peel’s piece at PC Gamer does, but they’re all wonderful, fun pieces that we saw people chattering about with delight for days. That means something.

A “best of” list can do a lot of things and reveal a lot about a site and its writers both in what it includes and what it excludes. Morgan Shaver’s indie round-up is conventional in many ways but it surfaced indies that may have been overlooked by pairing them with veritable titans; it captures the essence of the games while serving as a breezy read. If you’re new to Good Games Writing, we consider breezy a compliment, and mean it.

Anthony McGlynn’s take on FFVII, the original, blends nostalgia with knowing winks to the remake, showcasing that content doesn’t need to be fresh to, well, be fresh. It’s the very definition of evergreen content in an easily digestible format.

Kate Willaert takes all the elements described above and blends them into this year’s champion. Yup, it’s definitely service writing, cashing in on The Game Awards. Yeah, it’s a little experimental, weaving together gifs, magazine excerpts, and expert analysis. People were talking about this–who wouldn’t be?–and we can’t wait to bust out the knowledge we learned from the list at parties…once those are allowed again.

Here’s Kate’s take on Computer Golf:

Here’s another fun thing we take for granted today: zooming in from a map overview to a close-up “action” view. Did golf games inspire the overworld maps of JRPGs? Also, I think this might be the first game to give the player character some sense of a personality? The golfer’s temper tantrums seem like a precursor to the playful idle animations of the ‘90s.

Congratulations to Kate and the Video Game History Foundation!

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