400 Reviews – A Statistical Analysis On Playing Way Too Many Video Games

On the evening of March 18th, 2011, I finished my 400th review for this website. It would go live the next day and I’m still a little surprised I managed to hit such a milestone. It’s even crazier when I realize I’ve written roughly a thousand articles in total for the site, and thus 400 reviews is kind of a drop in the bucket compared to that.

However, as I wrote the review I began to think about several things, chief of which was a curiosity about my own writing. More specifically, the scores I’ve handed out over the years to all these games. What, if any, correlations were there for genres, systems and the like? Would high scores be noticeable in my preferred genres? Would there be any surprises like an unexpected love for first person shooters even though I state that I find them boring and lame?

The purpose of this piece is threefold. The first reason is because most reviewers don’t properly convey their tastes and opinions to the public, which can be a problem. If you hate, say, shoot ’em ups, and you review a Gradius game, Gradius fans will no doubt get pissed and write nasty letters to you because you didn’t “get” the game. If however, you start off the review and say, “Hey, I generally don’t like this genre, but I’m reviewing it because it needs to be reviewed/I wanted to go outside my usually tastes because it’s how a writer and/or journalists grows,” those fans are less likely to be pissed at you, and they may even having a begrudging respect for the fact you TRIED “their” game rather than dismissed it out of hand. Case in point – my recent Ar tonelico review. I came right out and said I had never tried any of the games before and that if I miss something or even get something outright wrong storywise because I don’t know the continuity, then I apologize. I also pointed out where, just because *I* didn’t like something, I could see how someone else could. And you know what? Instead of being crucified on the internet like the RPGFAN review and the subsequent horrible debacle that occurred on that site that made it lose nearly all its credibility in the eyes of the general public, Ar tonelico fans actually PRAISED my review instead of getting upset that I gave the game a “thumbs in the middle.” From GameFAQs to Nippon Ichi’s own forums, people were saying, “This is how you write an unfavorable review.” Again, the most important thing a reviewer should be doing is an in-depth discussion of the product. The LAST thing they should be doing is trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of a game, whether it be good or bad. If you do the former, you get ahead in the industry. If you do the latter, you get a tiny fanbase of creepy immature gamers, but you never get any respect or the chance of going anywhere beyond writing about video games on the internet. Doing a massive statistical analysis on my four hundred reviews is the equivalent of posing naked for art class: after this, even if no one reads it, my tastes and any biases will be laid bare.

The second purpose of this piece is because I’m a stats junkie and I wanted to see if my perceived tastes, biases and prejudices are in line with the actual numbers and statistics of my reviews. If I were to ask the average reader, my co-workers, or my friends what they thought my favorite genres were, you’d probably get very different answers from each. If I were to ask myself, I’d probably say RPGs, 2D Fighters, Shoot ‘Em Ups and Adventure games are my favorite. However those genres may be replaced by things like cooking games, exercise games, DDR and the like depending on who you ask. However pretty much everyone would be in agreement that I HATE platformers and first person shooters. By doing a check of how each genre has scored with me over the past 400 reviews, we can see if the perceived likes and dislikes (even by myself) hold true when the numbers are crunched.

Finally, the third purpose of this is the fact that I’ve been outspoken that this console generation just isn’t as good as the previous one and noticeably so. I’ve said that the 360 is the worst system in the history of gaming in terms of reliability, talked about how Sony keeps making insane blunder after insane blunder and the Wii, while it started out wonderfully, has become a trash dump. The DS, the best selling system of all time, is possibly my least favorite handheld of all time and it’s basically been the, “Pokémon, Cookbook and Language Coach” system for me. However, just because I EMOTE that, doesn’t necessarily mean it will stand up to the numbers when everything is looked at, analyzed and averaged up.

So basically, this very long statistic filled piece is going to be a summation of my reviews and if my perceived tastes actually match the scores that come out. It should also help readers decide if there are genres they should read with a grain of salt with me. Before we begin, I should point out that I will be using numbers in this even though Diehard GameFAN doesn’t believe in numerical reviews. We don’t use numerical scoring because a) most people just look for the number or grade and then don’t actually read the review which does both the writer and the game a massive disservice and b) other gaming sites have turned a numerical rating system into a pathetic mockery through power creep, bribes and the like so that the expectation is that with a scale of 1-10, 7 has somehow become “average” even though anyone with a first grade education knows that 5 should be. There are actually sites that give out 8-10s like candy on Halloween, thus making it impossible to trust any numerical score in a collective situation like Gamerankings or Metacritic. With each of the 400 reviews I’ve done however, there HAS been a numerical score I have privately assigned to a piece sticking with the “5 = average” motif that EVERY reviewer should be using (but doesn’t). Besides, up until 2008, I’d been using public numerical scores anyway and it’s easier to keep going with that, then to change five+ years of reviews to the current verbal scoring system we use. This piece is long enough as it is. Basically this is something that is only going to be of interest to really long time readers, my fellow staff here at Diehard GameFAN, myself, and statistics junkies. For everyone else, it’s going to be really dull and possibly even come off as a total wankfest towards myself (if it hasn’t already).

Year By Year Breakdown

Overall Average Score For All Reviews: 6.02/10

Now while I was hoping the average would be closer to 5/10, that’s still a very respectable average, especially compared to most reviewers and/or sites these days. However, if we do a year by year breakdown, we’ll also see that it’s those early years that skew that number. Remember, statistics need to be interpreted – you can’t just look at the number.

2002 Average Score: 7.5

Wow, that’s high. That’s like 1UP/IGN/Gamespy high. So this does ramp up my overall average a bit. However I only reviewed five games that year and all were excellent titles – Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, the first three Phantasy Stars and Robotech: The Macross Saga.

2003 Average Score: 6.83

Still pretty high. That year I reviewed eighteen games. This is skewed a bit as well because I bought all eighteen of those games. It was before I started getting review copies and so obviously I was buying games I was pretty sure I would like, if not outright love. I was also primarily a columnist at this point and I still was learning how to properly review as well as how to balance putting the game first in reviews but my opinions first in a column. Out of those eighteen games, only four got an eight or higher from me: Ikaruga, Pokémon Pinball R/S, The Haunted Mansion and Midway Arcade Treasures. This important to note because it means 22% of the games I reviewed received a score that should be reserved for only the top 20% of games. In this regard we see I was actually scoring properly. Instead of giving 8-10s out left and right, only a smatter received them. Only two games got lower than a five from me – CIMA: The Enemy and the GBA version of Space Channel 5.

2004 Average Score: 6.76

In 2004 I whipped out an amazing FORTY reviews – more than double what I did the year before. The number dropped, and it was still below the industry average. Nine out of forty games received an eight or higher. Again we see 22% of the games received a score that only the top 20% of titles should, so I was actually in line statistically with where numbers should be instead of going with power creep like other publications. After nearly two years of reviewing, this is about when I really started to take notice of what was wrong with the reviewing practices in our industry (August 2004 to be exact), I started to be more introspective with my reviews, making sure that I was part of the solution rather than the ever growing problem. I ended up taking off nearly four months from writing as I researched what was going on with the industry and how to make sure we reviewed critically and responsibly, rather than like fan boys who jazzed themselves because they got video games for free and a possible audience as well.

2005 Average Score: 6.06/10

Bit of a drop, eh? This year I reviewed 38 games. To be honest, 2005 WAS a huge drop in quality from the year before. Only four games out of thirty-eight, or 10.5% of the games I reviewed received a score of an 8 or higher.

2006 Average Score: 5.92/10

Obviously we’re seeing that as I get older and more experience, I also get more critical. This make sense as the fanboy-ism and natural biases to certain franchises and genres are all but extinct by this point and it’s very much becoming an unemotional critique of a product in a Consumer Reports fashion. I think you’ll find this to be true with most long term reviewers that actually want to improve as a writer instead of trying to put themselves over with snark and smarmy jokes. In 2006 I dropped down to 28 reviews, and only a single game received an eight or over from me (3.5%). Part of this was getting annoyed with other writers on the site (I still shudder at the Nintendogs review), part of it was I was spending a lot of time with Konami and Game Freak at this point, and part of it was 2006 rather sucked for gaming. The best games I played were compilations, Pokémon Ranger, or a few adventure games for the PC. A lot of the games like Crime Stories or Keepsake were just awful.

2007 Average Score: 5.63/10

2007 was my lowest output in a while, with only twenty three reviews. Again, there wasn’t a lot that really interested me this year. It was the beginning of a new console generation and those first few titles tend to be…underwhelming. It happens with every console generation. As well, I was in the process of moving from Minneapolis to Washington D.C. Again, only two games (8.6%), Pokémon Diamond/Pearl and Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 received an eight or higher from me. However, towards the end of the year I became revitalized and really remembered why I loved video games again. It was also here where I picked up the rights to the Diehard GameFAN name and trademark and pulled together a collection of my favorite writers and reviewers to see if we could make something happen. We’re still around in some form or fashion, so I guess it worked.

2008 Average Score: 5.91/10

You can see that for the first time, the average review score raised a bit. This is surprising when you realize I reviewed an insane ninety-two games that year. 92! How the flaming blue hell was that even possible? Eleven games received an eight or higher from me this year (12%), the highest since 2004. Like I said, I was really reenergized this year, but a lot of it also had to do with us getting in a flood of review copies and we all were working double time to get them reviewed.

2009 Average Score: 5.73/10

2009 was actually the lowest average score I would give besides 2007. In fact, for all the DHGF staff, we were all averaging pretty low scores. It just wasn’t a very good year for games when you look at the reviews we all did and the scores we gave out. Of course part of it was that 2008 was so incredible in terms of quality and 2009 paled a bit in comparison. It was also the fact we were all reviewing a lot more games and in theory, the more you review, the lower your average should drop. In 2009 I reviewed eighty-two games, which was still insane. No wonder I was feeling burnout at the end of the year. That’s 174 games in two years – more than I had done from 2002 to 2007! More than double the output equals more than double the exhaustion. Eight games received an eight or higher. With only 9.7% making it into the top twenty percentile, we still see that getting a huge score from me is a lot harder than with most other reviewers, but it’s still possible.

2010 Average Score: 5.89/10

This was only the second ever year where the average rose. I *only* reviewed sixty-four games that year, but I enjoyed most of them. Only four games received an eight or higher from me (6.2%), which was my lowest year for anything making it into the top twenty percentile. Basically 2010 was a year where nothing really bad came out, but nothing really mind blowing came out either.

2011 Average Score (So Far): 5.85/10

Now I’ve only reviewed ten games this year, so this is a bit unreliable as of late. Nothing has gotten the equivalent of an eight or higher from me, but Stacking and Pokémon Black and White are currently my highest rated games of 2007. I haven’t reviewed anything especially bad, but I also haven’t reviewed anything especially good either. It looks like 2011 is on tap to be another 2010.

So overall, what have we learned? We’ve seen the older I get, the lower my average score has dropped and we’ve seen that the more games in a year I review, the lower the overall average gets. This is in line with the overall theory regarding reviewing any product. However, because most gaming “journalists” only stick around briefly, they never lose that fanboy quality in the short time they are writing and so their reviews tend to be hyper inflated. This adversely affects the quality of most sites in general, which is why most readers tend to pick a select few long running reviewers across several sites and stick with them, rather than trust a single specific site.

A final interesting note on this section, although my average score across 400 reviews came down to 6.02/10, only forty-seven games out of 400 received an eight or higher. That’s 11.75% that made it into the top twenty percentile, compared to most gaming sites (using Gamerankings for the source overall average for a site) where more than a full third to HALF of all games reviewed get that score. That average is worse than my kindest year. I’ve also only given ten games a nine or higher, and two of those nines are more to the same game (Japanese and North America versions). So either I’m a very harsh grader or one of the few that remembers scores from eight to ten should be exceptionally rare and prized, instead of what is more and more becoming considered the expected score for any game from a large company and a lot of ad money to throw around.

If you’re still with me on this introspective trip, it’s time to look at genres and after that, systems in general.

Genre Breakdown

Here we’re going to go through genres alphabetically and do a quick summary of how they fare.

Action Games Reviewed: 19
Average Score: 5.81/10
4.75% of all games reviewed

For the purposes of this, action games are pretty much any third person games that aren’t simply a button masher. So the range goes from something like Batman: Arkham Asylum down to Bakugan: Defenders of the Core.

Adventure Games Reviewed: 55
Average Score: 5.35/10
13.75% of all games reviewed

Point and click adventure games are the largest percentage of games I’ve reviewed. This is mainly because I’m the only one that will willingly do them. I’m also the only mainstream reviewer that gives this genre any really attention aside from Telltale titles. Otherwise this genre is mainly covered by sites like Gameboomers, Just Adventure or Adventure Gamers, which specialize only in these games.

Now the odd thing is that not only is this my largest percentage of games reviewed, but it’s one of my lowest averages. Only four other genres score lower. This is because once again, I’ve spent most of my reviewing career as the only guy that will touch most of these types of games. This means in addition to the really good ones I love like The Sinking Island, Barrow Hill and Theresia, I’ve played a ton of crap like Keepsake, Crime Stories, Dream Chronicles and far too many that I want to recall.

Beat ‘Em Up Games Reviewed: 9
Average Score: 5.722/10
2.25% of all games reviewed

Pure beat ’em ups are kind of a lost art and rarely made these days – hence my lack of really reviewing any. I’m a big fan though, and so I was more than happy to review games like Double Dragon Advance, Onechanbara and Pokémon Rumble, but I also played some really stinkers like Hellboy: Science of Evil and the deplorable Advance Guardian Heroes we Treasure fans like to pretend doesn’t actually exist.

Card Games Reviewed: 2
Average Score: 5.25/10
0.5% of all games reviews

Phantom Dust and a Wii Solitaire title.

Compilations Reviewed: 10
Average Score: 6.8/10
2.5% of all games reviewed

Wow. That’s a pretty high average, huh? Well, I tend to be fairly positive on compilations. You’re getting a ton of awesome retro games for a budget price. What’s not to love there, right? It’s mainly Taito, Capcom and Sega collections too.

Cooking Games Reviewed: 7
Average Score: 6.07/10
1.75% of all games reviewed

Surprisingly even though this is a very small number, I am often asked what I think about cooking game XYZ. It’s because of these seven cooking reviews and how they’ve stuck in the minds of friends and readers. As well, because it’s known that I do a lot of cooking myself and am mortal enemies with both Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri, it helps to enhance the perception that I play a lot of these. I guess the fact I’ve reviewed seven of these games is more than 99% than other reviewers out there and since I do so willingly and with in-depth pieces, it’s only helped to enhance that perception. Interesting note – all seven games are for the Wii or DS. I do like these games by the way and would happily review more if they came out. I did boycott Iron Chef America though since I am a zealous fanatic for the original/real version.

Educational Games Reviewed: 4
Average Score: 6.5/10
1% of all games reviewed

Two language coaches, 100 Classic Books and the god awful Personal Trainer: Math. The average would be even higher if not for that last game.

Exercise Games Reviewed: 6
Average Score: 5.75/10
1.5% of all games reviews

This is another area where I’ve developed a strong reputation with developers, publishers and readers regarding my expertise. Yet, I’m only reviewed half a dozen. This is mainly because of the quality of the reviews coupled with the fact I exercise a lot in real life. I spend a lot of time working out or just running. Hey, I spend way too much time playing video games. Why would I make up for that by keeping in shape and cooking healthy (and yummy) meals?

Fighting Games Reviewed: 28
Average Score: 6.57/10
7% of all games reviewed
Fighting games have the second highest overall average score out of any genre I’ve reviewed more than a dozen games in. The first is a shocker that will come later. I love fighting games. I always have. Back when I was a casual gamer, it was Street Fighter II and Shining Force that drew me into a lifelong love affair with video games. From there came Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown and more. This is my third most reviewed genre after Adventure and RPG (Turn Based) and it’s all the more impressive I’ve done this many as for much of my “career,” fighting games were considered a dying genre.

First Person Shooters Reviewed: 7
Average Score: 5.07/10
1.75% of all games reviewed

It’s well known that I hate First Person Shooters. It’s my second least favorite genre after platformers. Yet there have been times when I’ve had to review them (Like the Doom 3 debacle) or where I’ve wanted to (Like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth). Needless to say, not much has fared well here. It has the lowest overall average of any genre and because I know I’m pretty biased against it, I’ve tried to stay away from it my whole career.

Karaoke games Reviewed: 1
Average Score: 7/10
0.25% of all games reviewed

Disney Sing Hit: Family Hits. Shut up. I loved it. I am not ashamed to admit I was belting out Hakuna Matata repeatedly.

Mini Game Compilations Reviewed: 5
Average Score: 7.2/10
1.25% of all games reviewed
Three of these are the Rayman Raving Rabbids games, which I loved.

MMORPGs Reviewed: 1
Average Score: 6/10
0.25% of all games reviewed

Dungeons and Dragons Online. I’m not a MMORPG fan by any means, but this was enough to get me to try it. I enjoyed it, but I’ve yet to see a game I’m willing to pay $50-60 for and then a monthly fee to boot. It’s insane.

Pinball Games Reviewed: 1
Average Score: 9/10
0.25% of all games reviewed

Pokémon Pinball R/S. Hey, even people that HATE Pokémon love this game. It’s one of the best digital pinball games ever made and this is coming from someone who is constantly wanting to buy a copy of Addams Family Pinball for his home (but would rather pay a few thousand dollars for a trip than on a game).

Platformers Reviewed: 18
Average Score: 5.91/10
4.5% of all games reviewed.

This was the big surprise to me, and on two different levels. First, I was shocked that I had reviewed this many games in my least favorite genre. Second, I was shocked the average was this high. Well, it’s high for me anyway. Generally I’ve avoided platformers like the plague unless I knew going in I would love them. Things like A Boy and His Blob, Starfy, Psychonauts and more really helped to raise this average up far higher than I (or anyone who knows me) would have expected.

Puzzle games Reviewed: 16
Average Score: 5.93/10
4% of all games reviewed

There is a simple and short answer as to why this is higher than a lot of other genres: A lot of games featuring Bub and Bob reside here.

Quiz games reviewed: 1
Average Score: 6.5/10
0.25% of all games reviewed

Buzz! game.

Racing/Driving games Reviewed: 4
Average Score: 6.625/10
1% of all games reviewed

Racing games are my third least favorite genre, so like platformers, if I am going to touch one, I know in advance it’s going to be awesome. The games here include the original Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast and F-Zero GX.

Rail Shooters Reviewed: 8
Average Score: 6.375/10
2% of all games reviewed

A really high average, but I tend to find rail shooters to be a lot of fun and missing just about everything I hate about FPS titles. With excellent games like Dead Space: Extraction and Umbrella Chronicles in this category, along with so few games in this genre reviewed, it’s no wonder is skews high.

Rhythm Games Reviewed: 9
Average Score: 5.72/10
2.25% of all games reviewed

Pretty standard stuff here. DDR games. Pump it Up. Shit like that.

RPGs (Action Subgenre) reviewed: 43
Average Score: 5.66/10
10.75% of all games reviewed

One of only three categories that make up 10% or more of the games I’ve reviewed, action RPGs are one of my favorite type of games. I get to improve my hand-eye coordination with all the character customization and stat min/max goodness that I love. I was surprised this wasn’t higher, but looking at the list, this does include horrible games like Shining Force Neo, CIMA: The Enemy, Silver Iyar Chronicles and a lot of other stinkers. Interestingly enough, there’s a not a lot here I rated extremely highly aside from Dark Alliance 2 the Bard’s Tale remake and things like that. Most of the other games are roughly 6s. Not what I was expecting when I think of my tastes. Again, the more of a category one reviews, the closer the average should get down to five (if they’re reviewing correctly), so this does make sense somewhat.

RPGs (Dungeon Crawl Subgenre) Reviewed: 11
Average Score: 5.86/10
2.75% of all games reviewed

This is an uncommon and unpopular subgenre of RPGs in North America, but I tend to like them. Five of these are Pokémon Mystery Dungeons which explains the higher than expected average from a genre that contains stinkers like Class of Heroes and Nightmare of Druaga

RPGs (Tactical/Strategic Subgenre) Reviewed: 25
Average Score: 6.18/10
6.25% of all games reviewed

This is mostly Nippon Ichi games (Which I tend to love) and the Sakura Taisen games help to bring the average up a bit. This was the type of RPG that feels most like a tabletop game to me, so I tend to like these almost as much as Action RPGs. The high average here doesn’t surprise me.

Turn Based RPGs Reviewed: 44
Average Score: 6.73/10
11% of all games reviewed

Now this shocks me more than anything else. I tend to dislike turn-based RPGs and so to see that it is the second largest category that I have reviewed and the highest average I have for a cluster of titles was something I didn’t expect. After all, I tend to get bored easily with turn based games. The picking attacks from menus, the random battles, the grinding. It’s my least favorite form of RPG and they rarely require skill. But as I look at the list of what I reviewed, it’s no wonder this is so high. A lot of Pokémon games, Digital Devil Saga, the Shadow Hearts trilogy, all the Phantasy Star games, Trinity Universe and more are all in here. Looking at the actual titles that I’ve reviewed, it’s no wonder this is skewed so high (for me). I guess maybe I don’t dislike turn based games as much as I thought I did after all. Huh.

Real Time Strategy Reviewed: 2
Average Score: 3.5/10
0.5% of all games reviewed.

Grim Grimoire and Growlanser V. Two awful games. Next

Shoot ’em Ups Reviewed: 23
Average Score: 6.39/10
5.75% of all games reviewed

I love shooters – even to the point where I still pick up all the ones that come out for the Dreamcast. Yes, they still make Dreamcast games people. Fast Striker just came out and Sturmwind is on its way. I know for a while Mark used to joke that I had to have played every shoot ’em up ever, and sometimes it does feel that way!

Considering I’ve reviewed games like Ikaruga, Gradius V, R-Type Final, Dux, Cannon Spike and Metal Slug 7, it’s no wonder this is one of the higher averaged genres for me. I’ll still never understand how this type of game fell out of favor with the rank and file gamers out there.

Simulations Reviewed: 8
Average Score: 6.56/10
2% of all games reviewed

Not much to say here. This includes things I’ve loved like Endless Ocean, Afrika, and the infamous Pokémon Channel. Not a genre I tend to touch much, but when I do it’s usually a game I love.

Sports Games Reviewed: 17
Average Score: 5.26/10
4.25% of all games reviewed

One of the lower scoring genres here – mainly due to horrible wrestling game after horrible wrestling game. I do love some Ribbit King and Power Pros though.

Storage games Reviewed: 2
Average Score: 5.75

Pokémon Ranch and Pokémon Box. These are Pokémon storage add ons.

Survival Horror Games Reviewed: 11
Average Score: 6.45/10
2.75% of all games reviewed

I love survival horror when the focus is on fear instead of an action game where you are killing zombies instead of ninjas or communists, so I’m not surprised this average is as high as it is…but I AM surprised I’ve barely reviewed any games in this genre. I even did a “Top 30” countdown for this genre. Oddly enough the lowest scoring game in this category is Echo Night Beyond, which I’ve grown to love as the years have gone by.

Turn Based Strategy Games Reviewed: 3
Average Score: 7.16/10
0.75% of all games reviewed

Valkyria Chronicles is all you need to know in regards to why this average is so high. Well, Bakugan and Knights in the Nightmare are the other games as well, so that helps to explain it even more.

So there we go. Adventure, Turn Based RPGs, Action RPGs, Fighters and SRPGs are the five most common genres I’ve reviewed. I suppose those are genres people tend to think of when they think of what I review. Alas the cooking and exercise game will probably never get up there as those fads have died out as quickly as they appeared.

Still with me? WHY? This is really only of interest to me…and possibly Widro since he does stats for fun as well. Well, now it’s time for a look at consoles as a whole. This will cover the past two console generations. The only system not on here is the Xbox 360. There’re lots of reasons for that. I refused to buy one due to the insanely high percentage of systems that received the RROD. Then I finally bought the RE5 pretty red one because I like pretty coloured systems (I have a pink Dreamcast for crying out loud!) but because I lived in a place with only wireless internet…I couldn’t ever really use it. Now it just sits collecting dust since the only real exclusives for the system are in genres I tend not to like (Sorry FPS fans) and most of my friends do their online gaming via PSN except for Mark. The few games I own for the system tend to be called by other staffers and I’m fine with that because it means I can then cover some obscure thing for the PC or the Wii that I know no one else will touch (or even knows about). If it’s a multi console game I tend to pick it up for the PS3 since it’s probably something Mark will want to review on the 360 anyway and that way we get double coverage. So it’s not a hate for Microsoft – it’s just business sense coupled with it took me forever to ever consider buying one because how how shit-tastic the hardware is. As you’ll see below, I’m a big fan of the original giant heavy box of death.

Dreamcast Games Reviewed: 15
Average Score: 6/10
3.75% of all games reviewed

Again, if you haven’t paid attention to all the Dreamcast games that have come out over the past few years, this number probably surprises you. I’ve basically been the Dreamcast point man for reviews. I also did several retro reviews for our Dreamcast feature in 2009.

DS Games Reviewed: 72
Average Score: 5.93/10
18% of all games reviewed

I was shocked that the number of games I have reviewed for this system was so high, if only because the DS is possibly my least favorite handheld ever and all I ever really do with it is use it as a digital cookbook or to play Pokémon with. I’ve barely kept any of the games I’ve played for that system. It’s kind of sad that out of 70+ games, nearly all of them were so unmemorable or worth keeping. Still, the rating is pretty good for the sheer volume of games I’ve reviewed for this system, but only two systems have a lower average so this does correlate with my indifference towards Nintendo’s current (but not for long) handheld.

GBA Games Reviewed: 28
Average Score: 6.67/10
7% of all games reviewed.

I’ve always said the GBA was a better system than the DS in terms of quality, and the stats seem to correlate my personal opinion. A .74 higher average. Now, would it remain so if I had reviewed as many GBA games as I have DS games? We’ll never know as I came in towards the tail end of the GBA’s life but I’ve been reviewing DS games since the system came out.

Game Cube Games Reviewed: 15
Average Score: 6.93/10
3.75% of all games reviewed

I’m kind of shocked at how high that average is. I never touched games like Lost Kingdoms or Eternal Darkness. However, what I reviewed was mostly pretty good. Ribbit King, Pokémon Coliseum, Pokémon XD, Midway Arcade Treasures and more. Sure I reviewed some bad games like WWE Day of Reckoning 2 and the GCN version of Beyond Good and Evil (Yes, everyone that has ever written for this site has seemed to universally hate BG&E. Sorry.), but I was pretty damn positive about most of the games I reviewed for this system. Go figure.

PC Games Reviewed: 43
Average Score: 5.25/10
10.75% of all games reviewed

I was shocked at how high this was. I tend not to think of myself as a PC gamer these days, but there the number in black and white. Now nearly all of them are point and click adventure games, so this number makes sense when I realized that (You don’t see much of that genre outside of the PC these days) and since the adventure game average was on the lower side of things, it makes sense that the PC has that affliction as well.

PS2 Games Reviewed:47
Average Score: 6.15/10
11.75% of all games reviewed

I haven’t reviewed a PS2 game since November 2008, but I can’t deny it was a damn good system. Yet much like how I won’t buy a game for the 360 unless I don’t have a choice, I did the same thing with the PS2 last generation. The 360 had a built in hard drive and the PS2 didn’t, so I went with the 360 for multi console games. I didn’t like that the PS2’s lifespan would shorten dramatically if you stood it vertically (which is what Sony pushed for you to do with it) so I would only buy a game for the PS2 if it wasn’t for the GCN or Xbox. Yet, as you can see, I reviewed more games for the PS2 than any of its contemporaries so obviously Sony still won in the end. Overall, I was fairly positive about the PS2 games I had to review save for in 2007 where I only seemed to play crap for the system

PS3 Games Reviewed: 50
Average Score: 5.95/10
12.5% of all games reviewed

I’m kind of shocked I’ve reviewed FIFTY PS3 games. After all, I’ve only had the system since early 2008. I even when to look at my trophy collection as this number seemed high, but then I realized a lot of the games I’ve reviewed…didn’t have trophies. Many of them were outside of SCEA’s mandatory trophies edict. Games like the Japanese Cross Edge, the Asian Afrika called Hakuna Matata, Turok, LOST, and more are trophy-less. No wonder I’m only at level 13 on PSN.

Also, notice the PS2 has a higher average than the PS3, just like the GBA had a higher one than the DS. This correlates my theory at the beginning of this very long piece that I preferred last generation to this new achievement and trophy filled one.

PSP games Reviewed: 29
Average Score: 5.31/10
7.25% of all games reviewed.

Not a surprise that the PSP is the second lowest averaging system. Sony’s treated the system like crap over the past few years and I’ve been underwhelmed by a lot of the games I’ve had to play for the system. Hekyz Force? Yuck. Iyar? Yuck. Thexder Neo? Yuck. I have reviewed a LOT of bad games for the PSP and many of the ones I’ve liked were reviewed by someone else on my staff. The PSP had a LOT of potential, but Sony kept screwing the pooch on it.

PSX Games Reviewed: 1
Average Score: 6.5/10

Vanguard Bandits retro review

Wii Games Reviewed: 65
Average Score: 6.15/10
16.25% of all games reviewed

Holy shit, really? I’ve reviewed THAT MANY Wii games? Can you even name 65 games for the Wii? Can I without looking back at my Excel spreadsheet? I’m also surprised that the average is that high considering the sheer number of games I’ve reviewed and the sheet lack of Wii games I actually have in my house. I haven’t touched my Wii since NBA Jam and PokePark and there are only two Wii games I can think of that I MIGHT be reviewing this year (Kore Gang and Get Fit With Mel B.). So although my days with the Wii are all but at an end, I do seem to have enjoyed my time with the system and there have been a lot of fun games for it (contrary to popular belief), even if there haven’t been a lot of keepers.

I will point out that once again, last generation wins over this generation as the Game Cube has a much higher average review score than the Wii.

Xbox Games Reviewed: 35
Average Score: 6.57/10
8.75% of all games reviewed.

Well, we can definitely see I’m not a pro-Sony or Nintendo gamer and I’m certainly not anti-Microsoft. I’m just anti systems that break if you so much as look at them funny. I loved my original Xbox. Design-wise it was my favorite of the systems. Built-in hard drive? Check. Online gaming that didn’t suck? Check. Dreamcast style controller? Check. NAOMI board design so fighting games and shoot ’em ups were awesome on it? Check. But with this generation came an over emphasis on either genres I didn’t like or games by developers I preferred to play on the PC (Bioware, Bethesda). But the original Xbox? Look how much I loved that thing. It’s been four and a half years since I’ve reviewed a game for it and yet it nearly has as many reviews as the PS2, which just died in 2010. It has an extremely high average score (for me) and looking back it’s not hard to see why. Arx Fatalis, Dark Alliance 2, Bard’s Tale, The Suffering, Psychonauts and many other games. Oddly enough though, as I try and look through the list of games I’ve played for console exclusives, I’m not seeing too many and those that are there are pretty damn obscure. Xyanide, Phantom Dust, Ninja Gaiden, and Chicago Enforcer are it for exclusives. So the Xbox seems to have the same problem as its offspring – no console exclusives that are of any interest to me. However, as a system to stick it to Sony…it was awesome.

Basically we see that I really did prefer last generation’s games to this one. However how much of that is because my review scores were a point or so higher back then than they are now is the real point of discussion. Was it because the games were better or because I was fresh faced and doe eyed as a writer for this industry? Perhaps it’s a little of both.


There we go. Nearly 7,000 words and sixteen pages of statistical analysis of the past eight and a quarter years of reviews by your Sub-Cultural Icon. It’s still hard to believe I’ve written 400 reviews over that time frame and Cthulhu knows I WON’T be making it to five hundred. If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you on making it through this wall of text and introspective statistics blather. I’m not sure how interesting this was, but at least it was a pretty in-depth stats crunch at the past eight plus years I’ve been doing this.



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7 responses to “400 Reviews – A Statistical Analysis On Playing Way Too Many Video Games”

  1. blatherbeard Avatar

    “If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you on making it through this wall of text and introspective statistics blather”

    Hey, how did you know id read the whole thing? You’re welcome ;)

  2. Thomas R Avatar
    Thomas R

    I can only agree that the last console generation is lackluster. RE5, Valkyria Chonricles and Mass Effect 2 are probably the highlights so far for me but there are way too few action RPG’s or good RPG’s at all really. Same with fighting games (I’ll stick with King of Fighters 2002) and especially horror games which I have yet to see a release of outside Japan. Alan Wake was borderline but repetitive, droning gameplay and a rather dumb script didn’t help.

  3. Mathan Avatar

    I enjoyed the breakdown. I’m a fan of a good number-crunch.

    Good job.

  4. Cordana Avatar

    You obviously think a lot of yourself…

  5. Nigel Chaos Avatar
    Nigel Chaos

    Get over yourself, Cordana. No one forced you to read the article.

  6. Bebito Jackson Avatar
    Bebito Jackson

    “I WON’T be making it to 500 reviews.”

    Pffft. Sure Alex. Suuuuure. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

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