PAX East is underway and we're dedicated to making sure each one of you makes it to one very special panel. But first, we'll level with you: it requires some homework on your part. "Ten Games You Need to Play: The Digital Game Canon" borrows its name from the 2007 GDC session of the same name, in which an incredible group of panelists (including this writer) deigned to select ten video games that deserved to be preserved. We're revisiting that effort, and reconsidering it with a stellar group of panelists.

This year's panelists include:
  • Henry Lowood is a professor (and curator!) at Stanford University and chairman of the IGDA's preservation SIG. His academic work is focused on the preservation of video games.
  • Chris Melissinos was a longtime gaming evangelist at Sun, before founding Past Pixels, an organization dedicated to the preservation of video games. He's currently curating the Smithsonian's Art of Video Games exhibit, scheduled to open in 2012.
  • Jon Gibson has worn many hats (including games journo and screenwriter hats) but is currently busy with iam8bit, the LA-based outfit responsible for art exhibits, books, and excellent game marketing gigs (think: Capcom Fight Club).
  • David Gibson has been employed as a Processing Technician in the Library of Congress's Moving Image section since 2006. In that time, he has become a key player in the Library's initiative to collect, preserve, and provide access to America's gaming heritage.
  • Chris Grant is a writer who works from home in his pajamas.
And your homework:
  • Get a crash course in game preservation by listening to the entire hour-long "b-side" interview with Henry from Episode 2 of the excellent A Life Well Wasted podcast, which you can find here.
  • Read the excellent "Preserving Virtual Worlds" final report while waiting in PAX East lines (download it here!) and, when you finish that, move over to "Before It's Too Late: A Digital Game Preservation White Paper" (which you can download here).
  • VOTE! Head to www.artofvideogames.org and "vote for games that you think are visually spectacular or boast innovative design!" This is for the Smithsonian Institute, guys. Think about that!
And, one final bit of homework: Get in line early. The panel takes place at 2pm on Sunday, March 13, at the IGDA Dev Center (on the 2nd floor, right next to Manticore Theater).

This article was originally published on Joystiq.