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Classic Games (Games) Games

Smithsonian Unveils 'Art of Games' Voting Results 183

AndrewGOO9 writes "The Smithsonian American Art Museum, in recognizing that electronic games are a part of our artistic history has now unveiled the 80 games out of a proposed pool of 240 that will be included in The Art of Video Games exhibit running from March 16, 2012 to September 30, 2012. While the winning games (PDF), as voted by gamers and art enthusiasts alike, are all stand-out titles, it goes without saying that this a huge step in the recognition of video games as artisitic masterpieces."
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Smithsonian Unveils 'Art of Games' Voting Results

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Flow and Flower but no Katamari Damacy, Day of the Tentacle or The secret of monkey island?

    • by EvanED ( 569694 )

      Money Island is in the "additional games" section at the end. I'm not sure, but I sort of get the impression that those were chosen by the Smithsonian's own judges instead of popular vote.

    • Online voters. Vox populi. That's who.
      • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

        Not just that. There were some obvious gaps in the categories put up to vote, presumably due to space reasons. (Although I personally can't understand not including a single Amiga category. Copper hacks FTW. Console sales numbers aren't everything).

    • by nomadic ( 141991 )
      More importantly, Fallout over Planescape (not even a finalist!), Doom 2 over Deus Ex or Thief 2 (hell, Doom 2 over Doom 1??), and no Ico under the Playstation section??
      • Shadow of the Colossus took the prize in the PS2 category. As I recall, SotC was far more successful than Ico, plus SotC gets brought up constantly in any "Games are art" debate. As such, I'm not surprised that Ico may've been bumped.

        I'm not sure how a Tony Hawk game made the honorable mention list, but having not played it, I'll reserve judgement.

    • I voted in this, and after reading the rules they laid out, I wasn't too happy about it.

      I can't seem to find a link to the rules as they appeared on the site when voting was still going on. But they put clear emphasis on visuals, because it's a museum exhibition.

      While I see the logic of this, it takes away from the message. If you truly believe games are art, you can't use mere visuals for the criteria of their artistic merit any more than you would for a film. Just being visually striking doesn't make a

      • >>>you can't use mere visuals for the criteria of their artistic merit any more than you would for a film.

        Except many people do exactly that. I've seen many films praised by critics or movie fans because of "great visuals" even though the storyline is boring pap. So I'm not surprised to see games being judged in a similar fashion.

  • Nice to see Brutal Legend on there. Suprised to see E.T. nominated. :) And Secret of Monkey Island is there under "Additional Games," at least.
    • by Mr Z ( 6791 )

      I guess it's there to make the Atari Pac-Man look good.

      In general, I have to say that some of these selections are quite head-scratch-inducing.

      • by spauldo ( 118058 )

        I guess they felt like they had to include Pac-Man, but since the only console from that era that had a decent Pac-Man was the Atari 5200 (which had much lower sales than the 2600), we got the crappy 2600 version.

        Granted, it was one of the better games for the 2600 (there were a _lot_ of crappy 2600 games - it was a really limited platform), but Pac-Man was famous for the arcade version, not any console.

        Sad to see no Metroid (the NES version), but there were so many games for the NES that it's natural some

        • by qubezz ( 520511 )

          Pac-man for the Atari 2600? That nomination is unbelievable, it was a bastardized unfun version of the arcade with awful gameplay and sound.

          For the 2600, a game like Warlords [] reigns for playability, it is still a fun game for four people you can take out at a party. As far as 'art' for a 2600, they should at least be games that are original to the 2600 - Demon Attack [] pulls off some cool raster color effects and fast gameplay without hugh blocky pixels, about the limit of what the 2600 can do with 4k RAM. E

          • by bipbop ( 1144919 )

            I don't know anything about "Art" with a capital A, but Pitfall 2 stands out to me as the clearest example of a good single-player game for the 2600. It's a nonlinear exploration game with checkpoints rather than lives, situational music, scrolling on the X and Y axes, and is really pretty fun! (It had an extra chip which added extra sound channels and made the graphics nicer, so it exceeded those limits you're talking about, at least a little bit.)

            Of course, it's a matter of taste, but if I were going to

            • >>>added extra sound channels and made the graphics nicer

              Actually the extra chip didn't add anything to the graphics, nor did it add new audio channels. It just crunches music data, and uses the Atari's existing noise generator to play it. i.e. It uses the Atari's stock hardware.

              Also Pitfall 2 isn't really nonlinear. Like Metroid or Super Metroid, there's only one path to solve the puzzle. First you have to fall to the bottom of the cave. Then ride a balloon high into the air... then move lef

      • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

        A lot of the head-scratch-inducing is due to the totally arbitrary category placements and inconsistencies. For example:

        Baldur's Gate is Action, but Diablo II is Target
        DOOM II and Deus Ex are considered as part of the same era
        Metal Gear Solid is Action, but Metal Gear Solid 2 is Combat/Strategy (what the hell? They're identical in terms of concept and gameplay)
        DOOM II is Action, Goldeneye is Target
        Ikaruga being a 360 game, but Rez is Dreamcast

        Really, the biggest issue is how abstract the genres are. Pick

    • Suprised to see E.T. nominated.

      I guess even satanists get to vote.

  • Where are the Amiga games. They were game changers, brought the arcade quality video and audio to the home....

    Seems odd.

    • by McNihil ( 612243 )

      With a list that doesn't have Elite nor Stellar 7 is not a entirely correct list. I still remember playing Arctic Fox on my Amiga... though it was not totally finished. Where are all the games from Psygnosis? Some from Epyx... granted the list would be enormous if one really had to take into consideration of everything.

      • by McNihil ( 612243 )

        And where the heck is Dragon's Lair?

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          In the dust bins of history where it belongs.

          • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

            Actually, it was remastered in high definition video for the iPad...

          • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

            I couldn't stand DL, but you have to admit it did define the genre of laserdisc games (and was probably more art than game anyway).

          • >>>In the dust bins of history where it belongs.

            What?!?!? Dragon's Lair was one of my favorite games on my Commodore Amiga (1985). A full-motion playable cartoon. Wow.

            Then I bought Space Ace (88?) and loved it even more. Don Bluth and his animators had a quirky sense of humor that is still fun to enjoy. To say these games deserve to be "forgotten" is as stupid as saying Bluth Studios other works (american tail, secret of NIMH) deserve to be forgotten. It shows a lack of artistic appreciation

            • by Hatta ( 162192 )

              To say these games deserve to be "forgotten" is as stupid as saying Bluth Studios other works (american tail, secret of NIMH) deserve to be forgotten.

              That's a fair point. The animation is nicely done, and we are talking about art. It should be featured as an example of how gameplay suffers when art (or showing off new technology) is the focus.

      • Psygnosis... yes! Where is Shadow of the Beast.. any game where i die just to hear the music ... is ART!
      • by MrHanky ( 141717 )

        What makes you think it was supposed to be "correct"? It's not an awards ceremony, just a selection of iconic computer games. It's a matter of course that it will miss some important ones.

        • by McNihil ( 612243 )

          It's about history more than anything else and I do understand that all notable games may not be able to be in the final list BUT I do have to disagree with the general voting of this subject matter. Games evolved and there is quite a lineage between thoughts in some games that were expanded upon and so forth. Just because a game may have been successful doesn't mean that it should be on the list. Same goes with their Movie/Film list... I was under the impression that they would have some form of criteria w

    • by Co0Ps ( 1539395 )
      Totally second this... Also, I think first defining the "genres" are stupid. If you have (for one era) 3 great games in one genre and 3 mediocre games in one genre you are forced to pick 1 great game and 1 mediocre game instead of 2 great games... Having to choose between "Portal" and "Half-Life 2" is insane.
      • HL2 was excellent, but HL1 was the really pioneering game that had the film-like scripting really integrated. HL2 was like a cool, modernised HL1. But which should be in there? My vote would go for 1 since it was so unusual and outstanding at the time.

  • Looks like it includes Diablo II, Goldeneye and Space Invaders among others.

    • by DeKO ( 671377 )

      Apparently, games where you launch deadly projectiles at enemies. I'm surprised they didn't have a "Jump" or "Save the world" genre to match that. Read it as "random genre because we don't actually play games so we have no clue".

    • by cosm ( 1072588 )
      I am guessing 'Target' is the politically correct term some pencil-pusher chose because they didn't want to use the word shooter because of its 'perceived' negative connotations.
  • I'm a bit sad not to see System Shock on that list. I still see it as one of the keystone games that took the action genre to the next level, from the "shoot everything" story-light (*cough*Doom*cough*) to something with more depth and character development.
  • what's the point of making up arbitrary categories and pick one title out of each? do they do the same with all other media? are there "action paintings"? they have Link to the past, Earthboud and Chrono Trigger in the same category, they all deserve recognition.

    • Seriously. It's not like they give different awards to "Movies that were on DVD" vs "Movies that were on Blu Ray." Why are there separate categories for separate platforms? Why are these games "art"?

      I'm sorry, but while I loved many games on that list, only a few of them transcend the "Entertainment" category and become whatever "art" is.

      • It's not like they give different awards to "Movies that were on DVD" vs "Movies that were on Blu Ray." Why are there separate categories for separate platforms?

        It might have something to do with 2D vs. 3D, or painting vs. sculpture, or something like that.

      • and become whatever "art" is.

        "Art" is whatever you say it is. Not everything that is "art" to other people will be even remotely interesting to you.

    • I feel Chrono Trigger should have edged out Link to the Past, although they are both spectacular.
      While the Zelda game had great and linear engaging puzzles and control and balance, I felt Chrono had the much more craftily interwoven storyline and aesthetic visual presentation you would associate with the intent to recognize video games this way.

    • what's the point of making up arbitrary categories and pick one title out of each?

      I agree - this list has had the life organised out of it. The categories look like the output of a committee trying to compromise on technical vs. artistic vs. historical classifications.

      They should either have experts and critics select a list of games (possibly obscure) that supports the story they want to tell (and then defend their choices) or let the public freely nominate and vote on games that they like. Don't try and do both together (and then use the "public vote" argument to defend the result).

      • by DavidTC ( 10147 )

        What they should have done is had a 'milestone' list and a voted list.

        Actually, if I was making a exhibit at a museum, I don't think I'd have any public input at all. Letting the public vote throws in all sorts of games that art not that impressive, artistically, but that everyone grew up with.

        Like all the Zelda games. Yeah, we all like Zelda, we all have fond memories of Zelda, they are very good. They each have good graphics for their time, and they have reasonable stories for a non-linear action-advent

  • Minecraft?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by malakai ( 136531 )

    Really? Really?

    • Re:Minecraft?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheSambassador ( 1134253 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:36PM (#36052584)

      Art != "Visually Appealing" (though I happen to think that Minecraft is very beautiful in its own way).

      Minecraft offers an experience that's pretty different from almost every other game, including the ones that has influenced it. It's not even complete, yet it's consumed the time of so many people and has sold over TWO MILLION copies despite a complete lack of promotion and advertising (other than word of mouth, obviously). It's a game with an extremely simple interface and complete freedom. Regardless of whether or not you think it's "boring" or that the graphics are "bad," it does deserve recognition as a unique experience. You can farm, explore caves, and even create basic computers WITHIN Minecraft! Minecraft really is what you make it... something that not many games, even the sandbox ones, can claim.

      Of course, I'm not really sure if this is even worth responding to, as your argument is "Minecraft? Really?" Which really isn't an argument at all.

      • Re:Minecraft?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:06PM (#36052894)
        And i will expand on what you said to point out that there are some really beautiful things in Minecraft []. Also some incredibly bizarre things and some horrifying things as well of course.

        Some of the generated landscapes can be impressive, and of course what people then do with it is often even more impressive. Yes everything is blocky, but a lot of stuff is built to such a large scale that it ends up looking like pixel-art.

        So it's a game that allows its users to create incredibly impressive stuff. Stuff that a lot of people like looking at and find beautiful/awe-inspiring/disgusting or in some other way emotionally moving. How is that not as close to what "real" art is supposed to do as we can reasonably define?

        And before anyone decides to argue that most of that is user created content and not part of the game itself as originally shipped, how can you contemplate whether video games are art without considering the interactive part of "interactive entertainment []"?
      • by blair1q ( 305137 )

        But giving it this recognition is kind of like calling a box of paints "art".

      • Art != "Visually Appealing" (though I happen to think that Minecraft is very beautiful in its own way).

        More to the point, Minecraft is all about building/exploring a landscape made entirely from 1m3 blocks. Slapping photo-realistic textures on those blocks and populating the world with beautifully-rendered creatures would look absurd. IMHO the "retro" look is exactly the right artistic choice.

        The only alternative that made visual sense would be to render everything to look like a well-known range of construction toys and, subsequently, get sued into a hole in the ground by a well-known Danish toy manufactur

  • Elite (Score:4, Interesting)

    by God Of Atheism ( 1003892 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:21PM (#36052476)

    Without this game among the nominees, this list is worthless.

    • at least the fourth installment?

      Being old school I would want to see Starflight in there :P

  • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:29PM (#36052538)
    So they decided that for all videogames throughout time, there are four and only four genres. They are Action, Adventure, "Target*", and Combat/Strategy...
    And for each of these we shall choose one per console system. (Oh, and I guess one for old PCs and one for new PCs).

    OK, wtf is the "target" genre? Is that like the proto shoot-em-up? One in which you destroy targets?
    And why is Portal competing with the gamecube?
    And while it's pretty cool that Minecraft made the list, Combat/Strategy? Huh?

    Clearly this was put together by someone who simply isn't a gamer. Which is kinda surprising. I mean, this has been mainstream for a while now. You'd think that someone like the Smithsonian would be able to organize this a little better. Or are they too enshrined to be affected by new cultural trends? Are they really just now noticing that game development is bigger then Hollywood?
    • Clearly this was put together by someone who simply isn't a gamer.

      Actually, to me it sounded like it was put together by a committee of people, only a minority of which are gamers. "What? Shooter? That sounds silly and violent. What do you do in those games, shoot at targets? Let's call it Target."

  • Chu-Chu Rocket makes it in but not a single entry in the Civilization series?

    I don't understand.


    • Then you haven't played Chu-Chu Rocket. Though I do admit that at least one Civilization entry should be there somewhere...

    • Chu-Chu Rocket makes it in but not a single entry in the Civilization series?

      I don't understand.


      And even worse, there is no sign of Joust anywhere on the list. Someone is going to smoke a turd in hell for that omission.

  • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:42PM (#36052658)
  • Sure, there's a few computer games on this list, but not many. Overall it seems heavily biased toward console games, leaving out a hefty chunk of arcade and handheld games.

    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

      Roughly speaking, it's categorised by platform and the platforms chosen are those which sold the most.

  • Have some issues with the list but I still love this kind of stuff. Can anyone recommend something similar or better, perhaps on the East Coast?
  • I for one am appalled that Shaq-fu did not make the list at any point.
  • The Art of Video Games exhibition will explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium (but not Braid), with a focus on striking visual effects (but not Braid), the creative use of new technologies (but not Braid), and the most influential artists and designers (but not Braid).
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      I'm not opening the PDF just to check, but did anyone see any Wii games?

      Little Big Planet is what I'm thinking of, here.

      There's also a lack of Katamari Damacy in the mix.

  • It's tokenary. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:57PM (#36052786) Homepage Journal

    Everyone's saying "where's this, where's that" and I've agreed with every one of them. My personal bone to pick is the total absence of Uru [], one of the sequels to Myst. Go look it up. You'll understand.

    The problem with this list is multi-faceted. Remember, first, that the list was selected by the public. This is not something that art institutes generally do (have you ever heard of popular vote picking any other art display? What about one meant to introduce a new topic?) and while we could suggest that it's because they felt they were unequipped to do so, it's not like experts in the field don't exist. They could have asked game reviewers, for example. Or even game designers—artists tend to make good art critics, after all.

    But instead they jumped on the populist bandwagon, and did an online poll, because that's what's hip and trendy and gets the kids involved. That's all gaming is to them: something for kids; a passing fad. Actually, it's not even really for current kids, it was for people who were kids during the eighties, and had either an Atari VCS, a Colecovision, an Intellivision, a C64, a NES, or a Master System. The sixteen-bit era is squashed up against the late nineties as if there were no difference, and many important platforms like the Amiga, BBC Micro, and MSX were just left out. Not even the Macintosh gets a mention. And furthermore, the games have to fit into one of a few genres—doesn't that go against the fundamental point of modern art?

    The organizers of this presentation aren't looking at games based on the intention, expression and skill of the artists, which is what art critique is supposed to be about. When Ebert said games couldn't be art, it was because he was ignoring the design of game mechanics as an artistic focus, and accused their storytelling and composition of being immature. This presentation gives the impression that he's right due to its lack of care.

    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      Everyone's saying "where's this, where's that" and I've agreed with every one of them. My personal bone to pick is the total absence of Uru [], one of the sequels to Myst. Go look it up. You'll understand.


      Ya, we understand that the game sucks and you were one of the few who never realized it, and are the only person who thinks it should be given credit/award.

      dude, the game sucked badly. It's genre, sucked badly.

      And when i say sucked badly, I mean, it uses it's teeth in a very painful way. (and didn't swallow, in fact, it spit it on your shoes.)

      • You may not like the play style, but the amount of work that went into constructing the fictional environment and art assets of the later Myst games was significant. We must not make the mistake that artistic games have mass appeal, or are even fun to play. Art isn't always accessible, after all. I'm not trying to say that everyone should play point-and-click adventures, merely that some of them were very beautiful.
    • Re:It's tokenary. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mantrid42 ( 972953 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @09:37PM (#36053846)

      The problem with this list is multi-faceted. Remember, first, that the list was selected by the public. This is not something that art institutes generally do (have you ever heard of popular vote picking any other art display? What about one meant to introduce a new topic?)

      You're right about popular vote being an entirely wrong approach. That's the only explanation for Halo 2 beating Psychonauts. Psychonauts is one of the funniest, innovative, and visually interesting games, whereas Halo 2 is the middle of a trilogy (and not the strongest of the three), where you play another Space Marine shooting aliens.

    • URU's real time rendered graphics look like monkey poo next to the artist-drawn Myst perspectives.

  • These lists never really bring gamers into the shared adoration the authors think they might. Thank god there are regular flamewars to participate in, or I'd never need a new keyboard. Having said that, I enjoyed Brutal Legend... But it's inclusion? Not sure about that.
  • I didnt see [] which is one of the few games that really stunned me growing up (on amiga). I still remember the alien voices, animations and ambiance were fantastic.
    Gameplay was pretty harsh.
    I dont think anything came close until half life, atleast considering overall art direction.

  • 5 games (independent of winning entries) were chosen to be playable for a few minutes during the exhibit. The first two: Pac-Man and Super mario Bros are fine, but:
    #3 - The secret of Monkey Island - You can hardly understand this game in only a few minutes
    #4 - Myst - Same with this
    #5 - World of Warcraft - A few minutes... WTF, how much did Blizzard bribe for this to get setup.
  • by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @09:47PM (#36053908)
    Kinda bummed that Shenmue beat out Skies of Arcadia in their category, but I have a bias there. The real question is, why the hell was Jet Grind Radio, an arcade-style graffiti-em-up, in the same category as a traditional JRPG and an adventure game set in 80s Japan?
  • by yuna49 ( 905461 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @10:35PM (#36054130)

    I was pleasantly surprised to see Okami take the award in the PS2 "Adventure" category. It's certainly one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen, and one that places art and artistry at the center of its game play.

    My major disappointment was not seeing Chrono Cross as at least a runner up to FFVII. While I don't think the artwork in FFVII deserves it's first-place designation, its overall popularity assured it top honors in a poll like this. But to ignore the gorgeous watercolor designs in Chrono Cross does a disservice to one of the best, and certainly one of the most artistic, RPGs for the PS1.

  • by kitsunewarlock ( 971818 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:12AM (#36054446) Journal
    If they really wanted to treat video games like an art they shouldn't have done an online poll. Aside from the most obvious problems (fanboys and people voting more than once), it makes it "the most popular video games of this list" instead of "the most interesting/innovative/artistic".
    That being said: I'm very pleased with this list. There is some obvious blizzard fandom. Starcraft didn't really add much to the RTS genre other than revitalizing it with brilliant marketing and lots of nice bells and whistles. Diablo feels like Gauntlet, which wasn't on the list. I think TIE fighter should have beaten out Diablo given how it honestly added almost nothing to the gaming world (it was successful and good; just not precident-setting). Same with Goldeneye; if they wanted a precedent setting FPS they should have looked towards Half-Life or Quake for its mods--not that they aren't "Doom Clones".
    Separating the categories by console with 4 games in each was just silly. There's plenty of more worthy games on the "PC" than the PS3--not surprising given there's hundreds of thousands of more games. Especially if they leave out consoles like Gameboy.
    Seeing world of warcraft on a list without Ashnod's Call or Everquest is kinda weird. No dwarven fortress either.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Saturday May 07, 2011 @02:04AM (#36054796)

    Good list. Most of it I agree with or see why that particular title was chosen. Happy that MGS showed up twice.

    However, I really wish they consulted some sort of gaming history expert. Or even a big name enthusiast. The lack of Street Fighter 2 or beatmania on that list makes me sad somehow.

  • by grikdog ( 697841 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @03:15AM (#36054990) Homepage

    These choices seem understandable, but for the most part awfully old hat, so I'm not really sure what "art" means in this context. Art, as in "nice to look at"? Or art, as in "story-telling in amazing, tiny, full-immersion worlds"? Or art, as in "state of the..."?

    Portal (2007) seems to hit all the marks. Ocarina of Time (especially the music, especially "Gerudo's Theme") and Windwaker are still great, but they have faded technically. But Final Fantasy X? Really, Ten??? And FF XIII can be marked down sharply for failure to provide a non-linear game experience (and for disappointing monster concepts). I would have nominated FF XII except for the decompression levels after beating the game -- some of those ideas are painfully second string vignettes by Square Enix benchwarmers.

    Should have included Star Ocean (N64, PS1 and PS2, but not PS3), plus Umezawa Yukari's Yasashii Igo, i.e., "Easy Go" (PSP or NDS) for pleasant visuals, nicely competent tutoring and a cool Go engine sanctioned by Nihon Kiin. Can't expect everything, I guess.

  • Overall, I think it's a pretty good list. But where's the sports category? Beginning with simulators like the ancient "NFL Challenge" by XOR Software to the life-like playability of Madden Football, video sports games have been some of the prime drivers in advancing the state of gaming platforms. Some of the early commercials for the Xbox and Dreamcast put a heavy emphasis on their NFL franchise games to demonstrate the new realism available. Without these, who knows how "Splinter Cell" and the like would'
  • Read "1943" and immediately the first stage music fired up in my head. Objective target Tone. May you fight bravely!

  • Why Halo 2 but not Halo?

    Halo was a deeply innovative game that pushed the boundaries of visuals and introduced (or possibly just codified) the regenerating life gameplay mechanic that has taken over shooters.

    Halo 2 was the sequel to Halo. Yes it shows advancement and changes over Halo, but nothing nearly so ground breaking.

    The whole list seems to have little respect for innovation and the progress of video games in general. No Half Life which reshaped the FPS genre and (via counterstrike) was a key contri

  • Good lord. If there's one game out there that's art, it's Planescape: Torment. And it's not there. The pure depth and richness of this game, and the questions it asks about human nature and evil make it every bit the game equivalent of any literary work.

    Hm. Neither is Continiuum, (Alpha Waves) which is both historically significant and the equivalent of a tone poem. [] (Alpha Waves)

  • by koan ( 80826 )

    NO Quake they fail.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.