Points of No Return: A #Scientific ranking of all video games

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There is a certain call that the void of the unknown makes to a #scientist. A call to answer the questions that no one else will or even can. I can't refuse it. After objectively ranking every flavor of Gatorade in a 100% explicable scientific experiment, I return now, with the monumental goal of applying the entirety of my training and expertise to rank every video game ever (in my Steam library). For some context, I've been playing video games my entire life and around 2010 I went in on building my own computer specifically to further that agenda.  Now after 8 years of collecting, I've seen my Steam collection balloon to over 600 titles, most of which I've never touched or even seen. That kind of un-ordered chaos is unacceptable. #Science demands data.

Let’s lay down how the process will work. First, all games have been collected and listed out. I used Steam’s API to get every game I own in an XML document, then used a handy script made by my buddy Dray to clean up that document into individual titles. I then cleaned that list up, removing duplicates, such as ‘The Ship: Single Player’ and ‘The Ship: Tutorial’. Once cleaned up I was left with 663 titles ready for ranking. That list was then run through a randomizer.

All titles have been distributed across a bracket match up system using random seeds. This double randomization will ensure no bias is expressed in each match up, and will kick off test one: Random Comparative Quality. In short, how good a game is compared to a random other game. These bracket match ups will continue until a grand champion is selected. This means that games of higher quality may be reviewed multiple times as they warrant more in depth study. 


The brackets can be found here:

One -  Two  - Three


The second test will be an immediate quality assessment. As each game’s testing period end, it will be entered into an ordered list based on it’s recorded quality during testing, placing it above or below previously tested subjects. A game’s ranking may shift in this system as more data is acquired. Entering each title at the end of its test will ensure that its ranking is based on its performance and not on warm fuzzy memories like every other “Best” or “Top” list on the internet.

The selection of where to start in this enormous experiment will also be left to chance using a random selection website to randomly select a single game at the beginning of each round. The randomly selected game and its match up will both be played in sequence.

Some may cry foul at this system. After all, each game has a multitude of different factors to consider and may not be comparable to another. Is it truly possible to rank, say a twee indie platformer against the latest Call of Duty? Yes. You can, or at least I can. The close minded will say it’s comparing apples and oranges, but let’s not forget that it’s all fruit.

Now for the actual testing phase. The selection of where to start in this enormous experiment will also be left to chance using a random game picker website to randomly select a single game at the beginning of each round. The randomly selected game and its match up will both be played in sequence. Each game will get a one (1) hour testing period. The game will be assessed in multiple categories across this testing period. At the end, it will be placed inside both result environments. If it warrants more #scientific inquiry than its bracket competitor, it will advance to another round of study. It will also receive an immediate ranking per test 2.

Now that all of that is out of the way, below will be the constantly updated ranking. Buckle up, buttercup.

With the first spin of the wheel we land on Sweet Lily Dream from RosePortal Games, a company that I could have just made up and you would never have known. I've already realized what a mistake this whole mess is. Its bracket pair is Bully: Scholarship Edition. I don't want to spoil where this may go, but I think one of these games has a bit of an edge on the other. Well, let's get to it then. 


All posts below will be in their ordered rank, not the order in which they were examined.

Click each title for Its full write-up


Welcome to Dark Souls, how tough are ya?

Welcome to Dark Souls, how tough are ya?

#2 Rise of the tomb raider

Bracket 3. Match 33

Rising above

Rising above

#3 Lovers In A dangerous Spacetime

Bracket 3. Match 50

I love it

I love it

#4 Dishonored

Bracket 2. Match 18

No Honor

No Honor

Now he's gonna kick  MY  butt!

Now he's gonna kick MY butt!

A tall drink of X-Com

A tall drink of X-Com

#7 Stealth Inc 2

Bracket 2. Match 54

Should have stayed in the dark

Should have stayed in the dark

#8 Half-Life 2 Episode 1

Bracket 3. Match 50

Half a game more like

Half a game more like

#9 Orcs Must Die 2

Bracket 2 Match 75

Orcs Must… ah whatever

Orcs Must… ah whatever

#10 Fortified

Bracket 3 Match 55

Bore-i-fied

Bore-i-fied

#11 Dirt Showdown

Bracket 2 Match 75

More like Dirt Shut Off… This Game. Yeah. Nailed It.

More like Dirt Shut Off… This Game. Yeah. Nailed It.

#12 The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Bracket 3 Match 55

Close Encounter of the Lame Kind

Close Encounter of the Lame Kind

Mistakes were made.

Mistakes were made.

Something to Flush

Something to Flush