So it’s nearly the end of the year and I’m sure some of you have seen a good handful of best and worst games of 2015 by this point.
This article is also available in a more concise video format here -
Things like these do of course have an audience, it’s practically human nature to want to hear other people’s opinions. But what sparked up this article was a recent poll on GameFAQs titled “Best. Game. Ever.” The poll consisted of 8 divisions of 16 games each (128 games total) and people who visited the site could vote over a period of 4 days to determine the best game ever and some of the outcomes to this poll were actually rather unexpected.
What place do you think The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion came in? Elder Scrolls veterans would call it better than Skyrim so maybe top 50? Top 20? No. In fact it was beaten in the first vote by Super Mario RPG.
What about Batman: Arkham City. The most critically acclaimed Batman game it must of done good. No. Beaten in the first round by Megaman X.
What about Minecraft? It’s sold 70 million copies over so many platforms. Even if not the best game it would have got a ton of votes anyway? And again, no. Beaten in round 1 by the original Halo.
And I could go on. Sonic 2 beat Portal 2, Suikoden II beat Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and most surprisingly, Goldeneye 007 beat Diablo II.
It’s weird isn’t it? You would think a more recent game would get a larger vote wouldn’t you. Of course there are some impossible to beat classics like Ocarina of Time beating Hearthstone and Final Fantasy VII beating Smash Bros Wii U (but losing to Melee later on).
(Edit: Just to let you know, a lot of games were made absent from the list because of limited places so games like Super Meat Boy, Fez, Prof Layton, Spyro or Crash Bandicoot weren’t to be seen)
In fact of the 8 highest voted game, 7 of them were released over a decade ago. The winner of the poll was a more recent game. In fact if I told you it was released this year I’m sure you can guess it.
It was Undertale.
While yes Undertale is a great game is it fair to be put on a best game ever list. People love it’s soundtrack and characters but people have mixed feeling about the combat and I personally cannot stand it when games have multiple endings forcing me to play the whole game again for the sake of a different final boss. Undertale was only released 4 months ago and is being talked about on the internet so frequently that it’s inside everyone’s mind. It defiantly deserves recognition but I wonder how to voting would go if the poll was done two years from now.
Films have a similar tactic with the Oscars. Movies released at the end of the year have a higher likely hood of winning because it’s in the minds of people more. I have no doubt Star Wars VII will win a lot of awards solely for the amount of hype surrounding it. (Google “The Recency Effect” for more insight).
But since I’ve covered the best games, what about the perfect games. Games you here talked about by people who love discussing game design. 2 Games that design nerds like to talk about that were on this GameFAQs list included Shovel Knight and Super Mario Galaxy 2. The smarter of you will be able to tell that these games didn’t make it into the top 8 because they were released in the last 10 years but where do you think they came on the list?
Well as much as I love to fake you out (to the point where you really saw it coming), both Shovel Knight and Super Mario Galaxy 2 lost in the first vote to GTA San Andreas and the original Mass Effect respectively.
But how to that possible? Shovel Knight and Galaxy 2 are flawless games, why would they be beat by something like Mass Effect when statistically speaking, Mario Galaxy 2 is better. And I think there are 2 key words in that last sentence. “Flawless” and “statistically”.
The Top 8 games of GameFAQs vote included Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. All of those games have committed the crime of being some of the worst aged games out there but they still have huge fan bases.
We don’t love Mario 64 because it has wonky controls. We love it because it allows non-linear exploration and the discovery of secrets rarely seen in a game of this style.
We don’t love Ocarina of Time because it has camera issues. We love it because there’s an emotional sub-tone and brilliant soundtrack.
We don’t love Final Fantasy VII because we have to grind levels for better magic. We love it because it has a brilliantly crafted story that tugs at our heart strings every time we play it.
In fact, all our favourite game, and I’m sure you’ll agree with this, all play with our emotions. Games being released a decade ago being our favourite games ever, that’s the power of one of the strongest emotions, nostalgia. Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy VII (who won the GameFAQs best game ever previous years) like I said before have emotional stories that stick with us. Who here starts to well up when you see Saria’s welcoming face in Zelda, or Aires last goodbye in Final Fantasy.
My personal favourite game ever is Kid Icarus Uprising because it has memorable characters with comedic dialogue, the whole game is set among Greek Myths which are by far my favourite legends and a large portion of the game play is spent as a rail gun shooter reminding me of the time when I was 3 years old and playing house of the dead in arcades with my dad. Is the game perfect, no, the story is padded to all hell and it’s kinda awkward to control but it’s from that love we see passed the faults.
It’s not in human nature to be perfect, things that are perfect aren’t interesting. It’s kinda hard to have a good discussion with someone where objectively speaking, you have to agree with them. Shovel Knight and Galaxy 2 are fun at the time but you get tired of them eventually because there’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. Maybe by this reasoning, Undertale does deserve to be the greatest game of all time. It’s has plenty of good points but the kooky characters make you laugh and cry from time to time. Not to mention the games faults and the things it does differently make it so great to talk about which is why the internet discusses it so much. And by these factors maybe it will be voted best game ever two years from now. Think about something like Sonic Adventure 2. Is it good? No. But do I enjoy it?
Because enjoyment is not something that can be measured. It is not a factor in something that can be considered perfect. But it is a factor in what make your favorite.
GameFAQ Poll - http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/bge20_vote
The Best Game Vs. The Perfect Game
The end of the year has come about and everyone's giving their two cents on the best games of the year but this is a deeper discussion about the...
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