A Completely Scientific GOTY: Using Review Scores
Throughout this week, we’ll be examining how to take make choosing a Game of the Year a simple task, using SCIENCE! Well, let’s put that another way: we’ll be taking a completely sarcastic look at choosing a GOTY, using methods that are generally nonsensical and farthest from efficient.
It’s that time of year again: Game of the Year selection.
Every publication under the moon publishes their lists of the top games of the year, with one ultimate winner. Will it be Red Dead Redemption? Super Mario Galaxy 2? Mass Effect 2? Most likely, it will be all of them. Each website, magazine, and community has a different method of choosing their favorite game of the calendar year, with the realization that with so many GOTYs handed out they ultimately become slightly irrelevant. It’s not IF a game wins a GOTY, but HOW MANY it takes home.
But can a real Game of the Year be chosen by scientific methods? Can bias be taken out of the equation? Over the next week, we’ll do our best to scour the world (read: the Internet during our lunch breaks) to find out what is the real REAL best game of 2010.
Up first, we take a look at the highest-rated game. Surely, the highest-rated game of the year would represent the cumulative critical thought of hundreds of qualified professionals, right? Metacritic does that job for us. By taking all of a game’s qualifying review scores to create an average, a critical Top Ten list can be created. If gaming publications relied on their reviews to represent their true thoughts, then the following would be their Top Ten list.
10. Halo: Reach (91) – Xbox 360
09. Super Street Fighter IV (91) – PS3, Xbox 360
08. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (92) – DS
07. God of War III (92) – PS3
06. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (93) – PC
05. Rock Band 3 (93) – PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
04. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (95) – PS3, Xbox 360
03. Red Dead Redemption (95) – PS3, Xbox 360
02. Mass Effect 2 (96) – Xbox 360
And the GOTY is…
01. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (97) – Wii
With the highest rating of the year, Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes home the first true* Scientific GOTY. It’s science, it’s a mathematical average of opinion, so it must be true.
*We should note that at the time of the GOTY selection, Metacritic didn’t keep ratings for mobile games (iOS, Android, etc). Also, expansions and DLC packs were listed in Metacritic’s top list, so not being full games they were excluded from our list. Also to note about this method is that some publications did not review certain games, or were platform specific, skewing the scores in respect. Final note: We looked at GameRankings‘ list of the top reviewed games of 2010, and though the GOTY was the same, the bottom 3 were completely different.
[Update: Also to note: this series is meant to be a satirical piece, as in all fairness there really isn’t a good way to choose a Game of the Year that satisfies everyone.]