List of lists, oh my

I’m usually not a huge fan of lists and rankings.  When I try to rank games myself, I always go back and change the scores up later – like back when I thought WA:ACF was the awesomest thing ever, or when I thought the first Suikoden was better than Suikoden III.  Of course, I could always use the “I was young and stupid” approach, but this was within the past year or so.

However, this post at GAF caught my eye: a top 100 list as voted by readers of Japan’s biggest videogame magazine Famitsu.

Granted, it’s not a great list; I could name a half-dozen games offhand that I think belong on there, but then I’m not Tanaka Six-pack.  I actually doubt such a list voted by, say, readers of Electronic Gaming Monthly would be better.

So instead, I thought it was more interesting to look at what was on there that I didn’t expect.

First up: number 5, Machi.  I hadn’t heard of this game.  Ever.  The Mobygames entry indicates it’s part town-sim, part role-play.  This game sounds really cool, actually.  If I knew Japanese better I’d probably give it a try, but alas, most of my skills are lying in a ditch off some county road.

Second: Far East of Eden 2.  Sounds bland RPG-ish with a feudal Japan setting.  I did find it interesting that it was translated to be a reference to a Steinbeck novel.  I can’t accurately translate the original name, but it refers to being in an evil land outside of heaven.  So, I guess it’s accurate enough.

Third: The Sakura Taisen (or Sakura Wars) games, the first at 13, second at 36 and third at 18.  I’d heard things here or there, but never tried them.  Apparently they are half dating sim, half strategy.  No wonder they’re so popular…

Finally: I guess I’m not completely crazy.  Some other people must really like it too, because Final Fantasy Legend II (aka SaGa II) managed to make it onto the list, at 94th.

Only a couple other things I’m surprised about:

  • No (main) Final Fantasy is not on the list (except 12, but the list is too old for it).
  • No Wild Arms or Suikoden, ROTK or Nobunaga’s Ambition.  I’d been led to believe all these series were decently popular over there.  Maybe that was just “more popular than in the States”.

On to the next list!

In another (completely unrelated) topic at GAF, a member mentioned Mario Galaxy is now overall rated the Best Game Ever – i.e. taking an average of all reviews for Galaxy, it has the highest ranking at 97.6% as of this writing.  It’s a good game, but I find there is no accounting for taste in reviews.  As the perfect scapegoat, I pick this review (LYS forum post, ’cause I’m lazy) from GamePro back in the day, in which Suikoden 2 is roughly a 65%, with “Control” being the best thing about the game.  It’s painfully obvious that the reviewer had a preview build of the game (as characters’ names are different in the review) and only got 3 hours in before stopping.  What’s more, it complains about “nearly no voiceovers”, when nearly every console game with voiceovers from the PSX era is painful to play.

However, I thought this was kinda neat.  I was under the impression most reviewers would be so jaded about new games that they wouldn’t give any game a perfect score without being bribed.  But it would be pretty hard to bribe the entire internet.  Is Mario fandom coming into play here?  Probably at some level, but it really is a pretty good game.

So… in less ranty stuff, I am stopping RotTK XI for now.  The game is fun, but moves far too slowly.  I’ve gotten back into Skies of Arcadia while playing Mario Galaxy; still more recently, I have installed the RTS classic Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns and am playing through it.  Moves much faster than Koei sim games.

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