Sunday, December 13, 2009

Editorial: Game Ranking Lists fair?

We at GamersCast recently decided to start a new editorial section for the site. It's currently being built and polished so, bare with us for the time being. Until then, here's our first one.

Alright, I decided to kick off the new editorials section with this one, especially considering what happened to me today. I'm going Christmas shopping for my family and I know my sister's Gameboy Advance broke, and she's been bitching around about not be able to play her old Gameboy Color games. So, I walk into GameStop to pick up a refurbished GameBoy Advance SP. But when I go to check out he says he'll give me an Edge card (discount card on used games) and a year's subscription to Game Informer for a year. So, naturally it seems like a good deal at the time, so I go for it.

The man gives me the 200th issue of Game Informer, and upon opening it I notice they count down their Top 200 Games of All-Time. First thing I found odd was that unlike a normal count down, they counted up and started at #1 working their way upto #200. That I was willing to let slide, but once I saw the actual selection of games they chose to put on the list I didn't know what to think.

Going in, I expected the usual Top 10 competitors to be where I usually see them. You know, Ocarina of Time, Mario 3, Resident Evil 4, etc. And granted, they were all there, but the order they were in puzzled me a bit. Here was their Top 10:

10 - Ms. Pac-Man
09 - Super Mario Bros. 3
08 - Final Fantasy III
07 - Metoid
06 - Doom
05 - Half-Life 2
04 - Grand Theft Auto III
03 - Tetris
02 - Super Mario Bros.
01 - Legend of Zelda

Now, most of these choices I had absolutely no problem with. I was actually quite content with most of them. Personally, I would have made many changes to that countdown (or countup in this case), but that's their opinion, and their entitled to it. But when you go further and further "up" the list you begin to wonder why certain games were ranked above others.

Obviously, while the original Legend of Zelda was ground breaking, most gamers will say that other, later installments to the series were far superior, such as Ocarina of Time, which ranked at #20, or A Link to the Past, which was ranked at #12. So, this would lead such people to believe that the original was given the honor simply for being the original, and therefore the most "classic".

But if you go by that simple logic, then why was Ms. Pac-Man #10, while the original Arcade version of Pac-Man was ranked all the way back at #52! Surprisingly, ranked right after Pac-Man at #51, is Super Mario Galaxy. When I saw that bit, I didn't know what to think.

So, how exactly are these lists compiled? Are you judging them by which had superior game mechanics, most classic, most ground-breaking, or what!? It makes little to no sense at all how these lists even come around at times. It forces you to compare unlike things. They say you can't compare apples to oranges, but in the end, aren't they both fruit? How can you compare an arcade game like Ms. Pac-Man (#10) to an MMORPG like World of Warcraft (#11). You simply can't.

And again, going back to how classic a game is. If you are going by the term "classic", then by the dictionary's definition it would be, "of the first or highest quality, class, or rank". Hmmm... "first or highest quality", what exactly does that even mean? You could say Legend of Zelda came first, but does that make it of the highest quality? When I think of something "classic", I think of something that has been around for a while and stood the test of time, showing its true worth and value.

But if that's so, than why on Earth is a game like Borderlands listed, when it was reviewed in the very same issue as the list itself!? Yes, it is a great game, but top 200 worthy? Especially at #134? That may not sound very high on the charts, but to give you an idea, it beat Super Mario RPG, which was listed at #148. It's no doubt Mario RPG holds a special place in many gamers hearts and no doubt a classic. Or is Borderlands "better" it is, as Game Informer calls it, "an instant classic." Super Mario RPG came out in 1996 and was considered the swan song of the Super Nintendo. We're still raving about the game 14 years later, will we be saying the same about Borderlands in 2023?

So, when lists like these are made, what standard are they compared to? Are these games compiled from the best review scores? From the popularity and lasting appeal of the game? Or from some other unknown measure? No matter what the case, it all just comes down to just a simple matter of opinion. The fact of the matter is, what game a actually the greatest of all-time, we may never know.

Note: This is the first editorial we made, and we're hoping to do more in the future. So, to help get this new section of the ground, we want feedback on what you think of the article. Either comment in Blogger below, or shoot us an e-mail over at>. Thanks and hopefully we can further expand this section in the near future.

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