One of the appeals of traditional games such as Chess, Go, Backgammon, or Poker is the depth that they have acquired over the years; long-standing communities and traditions, wide range of players from different backgrounds, depth of strategic analysis that has occurred over the years, and wide range of skill levels with very strong top players that comes about from years of study and training.
Many newer games are mere flashes in the pan; fun for a while, but ultimately replaced after a few years with something newer and shinier. Many of them have the potential to gain such depth, but they are crowded in a field of other games, and do not really develop their own independent communities nor a significant pool of people to put in the time and dedication to create a strong competitive system.
What recent games (defined as having been invented within the past century or so) have managed to achieve this sort of durability; their own cultures and communities, high-level tournament play, strong strategic analysis and a broad range of player skill? What games have not yet had time to (past 10 years or so), but do you feel have the seeds of such depth?
Here are some criteria that can help determine if a game has reached this level. Not all criteria need apply, or may not apply exactly, but the more the better.
- Significant tournaments with professional or semi-pro players; or large amateur tournaments at a national or international level.
- Official rating or ranking system (or more than one) with hundreds of players and a wide range of abilities represented.
- Significant coverage in mainstream media, not just passing references or coverage in game-specific media.
- Multiple independent publications discussing the game specifically (not as one of many, but dedicated to the game in question). Books, magazines, professional level blogs or e-zines, etc.
- Professional on-line or software implementations dedicated to this game, or many independent computer implementations in systems which cover multiple games with hundreds of active players.
- Popularity in groups of people outside of of traditional gamer groups; cultural relevance of the game outside of the gaming community.
- Multiple clubs (regional, city, or university) dedicated to this game in particular, not gaming or a particular genre of gaming in general.