AVANT GAME I pick Dance Dance Revolution. I know what you’re saying! How can the best game since 1993 be a game that no one plays any more? Fair point. But though we may not play it today, who among us cannot still close our eyes and hallucinate those falling arrows? Few games in history – perhaps Tetris – have created such a powerful visual literacy that hijacked our brains even when we weren’t playing. Remember the thrill of learning to read those arrows, and realising you no longer had to consciously ‘think’ about what your body should do next? And remember the pleasures of performing your gameplay in front of others? That was a crucial precursor to today’s highperformance game culture of competitive esports and streaming our play online for others to watch. Of course, it was also one of the first videogames to convince people that games could be ‘good for you’, because so many gamers were losing weight and improving their fitness as they mastered new songs. Ultimately, the criteria I use for an exceptional videogame is this: it teaches you to think in a new way, stretching your perception until you practically grow a new sense, giving you the chance to genuinely master a new skill and ability while having an awesome time. And no game has forced us to grow our senses or master a new kind of sensory perception better than good old DDR.