Diversity in the Game of the Year 2010

Last year Uncharted 2 stormed pretty much every GOTY list, procuring over 100 of the highest plaudits for the year. Before that, LittleBigPlanet and GTAIV dominated the previous award charts. This year however, the diversity amongst different institutions that are selecting a GOTY award seems to be incredibly high and there is a stark difference between any two given ‘top games of 2010’ list.

I decided to perform a meta-analysis of a few of these ‘top 2010 games’ lists to observe not only the overall data, but also to see just how varied the games within them were. I selected a number of media publications, from high-end industry print magazines like CVG and Edge to standard gaming websites like IGN and Gamasutra and from newspapers such as The Guardian and Metro all the way to US publications like TIME magazine and E!.

I produced my own system to allocate weight to number of mentions and position within each of the lists, though it is generally a very simple one. For the purposes of this meta-evaluation, I only included the top five of each list, so as to balance the data.

1. Read Dead Redemption
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. Mass Effect 2
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
5. Bayonetta
6. Halo: Reach
7. Angry Birds
8. Heavy Rain
9. God of War III
10. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
11. Street Fighter IV
12. Gran Turismo 5
13. Alan Wake
14. Super Meat Boy
15. Rock Band 3
16. Limbo
17. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
18. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
19. Fallout: New Vegas
20. WOW: Cataclysm
21. Pacman: Championship Edition DX
22. Dance Central
23. Bioshock 2
24. Minecraft
25. Sin & Punishment

It is interesting to note that despite Mass Effect 2 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 both sharing the honours over 1st and 2nd places over at Metacritic and at GamesRankings, Red Dead Redemption still wins the overall game of the year. Perhaps the time that has passed since the release of RDR has allowed writers to reflect upon the experience and subsequently think more highly of it. Or maybe it is because Mass Effect 2 was released earlier in the year and has been forgotten somewhat. Whatever the case, Rockstar’s Western epic is the darling of 2010, regardless of the original review scores.

It is also worthy to mention that Angry Birds is nestled at a respectable 7th place, a game that is largely derided by gamers in general, although it has enjoyed over 50 million downloads. Most of the mentions for this title were from those outside the games industry, though it does undeniably stand for something, representative of a theme, rather than being a particularly good game.

It’s great to see Minecraft and Super Meat Boy make the cut, and I believe the broad range of titles, as well as the huge discrepancy between different publications’ game rankings is not a blemish on the validity of critics’ opinions; it is testament to the high quality of the modern gaming landscape. 2011, what've you got?

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