Tuesday, December 4, 2012

G4tv's Video Game Deathmatch - My Take

G4TV.com's 2012 Video Game Deathmatch is something I've been following for a few weeks now.  Basically they put up the best selling titles of the year against each other in a playoff-bracket format and let anyone vote on them.  It's a cool idea - in theory.  I won't get into how meaningless anonymous voting is, or perhaps I will - but in another article.

I'm going to spend a few moments talking about the 2011 Deathmatch, which I've got a few mixed thoughts about. 

The most obvious thought, thanks to it being at the top of the page, is "Uh... Skyward Sword won?"

This is surprising to me for a few reasons.  The first is that it's a console game from the Wii (by far the weakest showing in terms of gamer popularity).  The second is that most console gamers don't really care about websites like G4TV - I'm a bit shocked they turned up in force to vote the game through.

Honestly, Skyrim should've won that contest hands down.  No other game is a better value, time/cost wise.  The story in Skyrim is immense and largely dictated by the player, whereas the stories in Zelda are 100% on tracks, you're always headed in the same direction.  This hurts replay value as well.  Hell, the Skyrim material I wrote over a year ago is responsible for over 65% of the traffic to my site.  That's pretty insane.

On top of that, you can't Mod Zelda games and they are never hit up with additional content via expansions.  If a fan of both genre's sat down and tried to tell me they spent more time with, and enjoyed Skyward Sword more than Skyrim, I'm going to call them a liar.

Also, Fi is one of the worst characters ever created.  As a species we should  come together and hold her creators accountable.

You might ask me if I feel that games like Skyrim should always win 'best game' awards.  To which I'd respond, "Pretty much."  There's a few very rare exceptions, but honestly - if you're a fan of the genre and aren't opposed to the game as a whole, you aren't going to get more value out of another type of game (except for an MMORPG, and even then, those require $ more often than not to fully enjoy.).

The only other thing I want to say is that the 2011  contest as a whole went off pretty much as expected - EXCEPT for whoever decided it was a good idea to match Uncharted 3 against Skyward Sword in the first round.  Those were both games that should've made it into the final 4.

Moving on - in the 2012 Deathmatch has a lot more surprises.  I'm going to just go off bullet-points here for brevity sake.  At the time of this writing, we're mid-way through round 4.

*Note that this contest states G4TV chose the challengers.  Not game sales (unlike the previous year)

-Who the hell decided to put Kingdom Hearts 3D on here?  It's a handheld game.  It might be the best handheld game ever made, but there's very few people using those devices these days.  Hence no votes and its inevitable trouncing by Diablo 3 - a game most Diablo players hate.  Thankfully, we didn't have to deal with D3 long, as it was subsequently crushed by the Witcher 2 in the 2nd round.

- Mass Effect 3 somehow made it past the first round, and almost the second.  I still can't quite put into words how disappointed I am with that game, and Bioware (don't even mention SWTOR).  To me, Mass Effect ended when I decided to blow up the collector base at the end of Mass Effect 2.

- World of Warcraft gets laughed out of the first round, amassing only 27% of the votes and falling to a game that probably wouldn't have made it very far if people weren't dying to slam WoW and its now-tired, done-to-death gameplay.  The only reason The Walking Dead made it to the third round was because it was put up against a sports game in the second, and those are played by a very small fraction of gamers.

-UFC Underground, the only title to put up a single digit (9% in the first round).  Reinforcing my thoughts that nobody plays sports games (comparatively speaking). 

- Halo 4 somehow got beaten by Dishonored in the third round.  I had to ask around and read some reviews, but by all accounts Dishonored is a good game and deserves to be there.  My shock comes mainly from the fact that Halo is a decade-old franchise and Halo 4 is a very strong installment.  I think what happened here is more of a case of votes against Halo by the haters that can't figure out how to use a Battle Rifle then it is of Dishonored being a better game.  That's probably the case in its current match up against Guild Wars 2 - which is also a good game, but as with all MMORPG's, has a good amount of faults and garners a lot of strong feelings.

- When I scroll through the list of games, there aren't too many surprises.  But where is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2?  It was released just after Halo 4, and last I checked, it wasn't 2013 yet. It's sold more games then anyone else this year (nobody else is even close).  Gamers talk with their wallets, and much like my argument for best movie every year, you need to take a moment to remember that video games are a business.  Businesses succeed on how well they achieve their goal; in this case, to entertain.  The nifty chart below shows that COD is the most successful franchise this year, along with the other top-10 sellers:

Global Yearly Chart


Pos Game Weeks Yearly Total
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (X360)
Activision, Shooter
2 7,449,821 7,449,821
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PS3)
Activision, Shooter
2 5,794,449 5,794,449
Pokemon Black / White Version 2
Pokemon Black / White Version 2 (DS)
Nintendo, Role-Playing
23 5,220,715 5,220,715
Halo 4
Halo 4 (X360)
Microsoft Game Studios, Shooter
3 5,158,526 5,158,526
FIFA 13 (PS3)
Electronic Arts, Sports
9 4,704,392 4,704,392
New Super Mario Bros. 2
New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
Nintendo, Platform
18 3,513,560 3,513,560
FIFA 13 (X360)
Electronic Arts, Sports
9 3,398,064 3,398,064
Diablo III
Diablo III (PC)
Activision, Role-Playing
28 2,876,537 2,876,537
Kinect Adventures!
Kinect Adventures! (X360)
Microsoft Game Studios, Misc
108 2,851,355 17,929,022
Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed III (PS3)
Ubisoft, Action
4 2,840,396 2,840,396
Source: VGChartz

Final thought:  It's pretty obvious that Borderlands 2 will continue its rampage of the competition and come out on top.  While I don't totally agree with this, not only because it posted dismal sales numbers compared to its competition - it says something that a game impassioned its audience so much that it brought them out in droves to vote for their favorite game.  An early congratulations to Borderlands 2 - it's a hell of a game, and I had a blast playing it.


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