Data Dump: GOTY 2020 Staff & Guests Breakdown

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Marino

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Edited By Marino  Staff
Pascal always has the best insights.
Pascal always has the best insights.

The 13th annual Giant Bomb Game of the Year Awards. Thirteen years. Damn. Thirteen years of asking "does it hang?" is a long-ass time. If you've been here since the beginning, you're old. Congrats! And, if you've been here anywhere near that long, you probably already know that I love stats. Back in the good ol' days, I used to post monthly Data Dumps, achievement tracking, and annual reviews data, but those haven't been possible for years. Alex's drumming has provided an all-year stat opportunity, so that's been fun. But, Game of the Year is still one of the few chances I have to put some spreadsheets together these days, so let's do this thing!

Rules

We'll never forget Jan trying to explain 13 Sentinels to the rest of the crew.
We'll never forget Jan trying to explain 13 Sentinels to the rest of the crew.

First off, some ground rules. Since not everyone decides to do a nice and tidy one through ten list, I had to get a little creative with how to tally everything.

  • A "regular" ranked list results in a total of 55 points available. (1 point for 10th, 10 points for 1st, etc.)
  • No list can earn more than 55 points.
  • No vote can be worth more than 10 points.
  • If a person gave 10 games but did not rank them, each game gets 5.5 points.
  • If a person gave less than 10 and did not rank them, they still only get 5.5 each.
  • If a person gave less than 10 and did rank them, they forfeited their points available for 10th, 9th, etc. (i.e. a list of 8 ranked is a total of 52 points)
  • If a person doesn't rank their list, but specifically says the last game they talk about is their GOTY, then that game gets 10 points and the rest get 5.
  • If a person (@will) is a weirdo and calls three games their GOTY, then lists seven other unranked games...I made it work.
  • If someone gave a spot a tie between two games, I split the allotted points. For example, if someone put two games in their 1st place spot (10 points), I gave each game 9.5 points. If you can't make up your mind, your choices take the hit. Sorry.

So, what are we actually doing here? Well, what if we good ol' mathematics to determine the site's GOTY rather than hours and hours of arguing? Sure, the deliberations are fun, but if we deployed a spreadsheet, how different would the final results be? As I've said before, I don't necessarily believe this is how it should be done, but it's just fun to compare the cold, hard stats to what happened on the stream.

Staff's Top 25

No Caption Provided

The Realest Top 10

Now that the deliberations are final. Let's see how the math stacks up to what happened on stream. Here is the official Top 10. The numbers in parentheses are where it placed based on the math.

  1. Hades (1)
  2. Yakuza: Like a Dragon (2)
  3. Spiritfarer (6)
  4. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (7)
  5. Astro's Playroom (4)
  6. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (3)
  7. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (14)
  8. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 (13)
  9. Kentucky Route Zero (16)
  10. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (5)

As you can see, seven of the ten games in The Math List made it to the real list. The ones that didn't hang were the bottom three (Minecraft, Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part II). This makes sense given how previous GOTY debates go. What I mean by that is that the bottom slots on the GOTY list usually end up being someone's hill to die on. A game that maybe only one person supports, but does so with enough passion that it gets on "the site's" list. This year that was 13 Sentinels from Jan, Kentucky Route Zero from Alex, and Tony Hawk from Jeff.

I hear you yelling from the back of the room. "WHAT ABOUT RORIE?!" I didn't include him on the first chart because he wasn't on the stream and therefore didn't have a chance to make a difference in the results there. But, for fun, let's add his data into the sheet and see what happens.

No Caption Provided

Okay...well. Literally nothing changed in the Top 10. Or the top fourteen for that matter. Turns out that Rorie likes a lot of stuff that the other guys don't. Weird, right?

Why are Rorie's numbers strange like 4.25 and 2.2? Well, he named 14 games on his list, so I had to get creative with the points. He still has a total of 55 points among his games like everyone else.

Guests' Top 51

Now let's take a look at those guest lists. There's way more data to wade through with these. And since guests have no rules, I have to get a little more creative with the math sometimes.

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

Hades, y'all. This is by far the biggest landslide victory we've ever seen since I've been doing these stats.

  • 184 different games were voted for by the forty-five guests. 210 games were named last year.
  • Four games got a 1st place vote with no votes from anyone else: Judgment, Sludge Life, Valorant, and Star Ocean: The Second Story.
  • Hades ran away with the points by getting eleven first place votes. No other game had more than two (Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Half-Life: Alyx, Kentucky Route Zero, and Microsoft Flight Simulator).
  • Hades had the most overall votes with twenty-nine. That's 64.4% of the guests.
  • Just nineteen of the forty-five guests actually gave a ranked list of ten. That's 42.2%.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (3rd place) was the highest ranked game that got no first place votes.
  • No games starting with the letter "Z" were named. Every other letter in the alphabet is represented.
  • Only 106 games out of 184 were originally released in North American in 2020. That's 57.6%.
  • The oldest game named was Uncle Poo (1983).
  • Yes, I included all of @drewbert's arcade games. I considered them as his #6-10 games.
  • No, I did not include any tabletop games, anime, books, albums, or TV shows.

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll have another opportunity to share a bunch of stats in 2021.

<>

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jeremyf

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Can't argue with the stats.

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Justin258

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#2  Edited By Justin258

Doom Eternal is barely mentioned on any of these.

I... kinda can't believe that. OK, I'm not mad or anything crazy like that, and I understand that the game's reception ranged from "hate" to "best shooter in a long time", but the discussion boards here and elsewhere seemed to indicate that quite a few people actually really did enjoy that game. I don't recall Doom 2016 missing from a lot of lists so I figured Eternal would make at least a few of them. It has shown up from time to time, but nowhere near as often as I figured it would.

Oh well.

Congratulations, Supergiant, on making a game that seemingly a whole lot of people enjoyed!

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BisonHero

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#3  Edited By BisonHero

@justin258: I think a lot of sequels suffer on these year-end lists, and it's nobody's fault. Critics and games industry people see a lot of games, and I think there's a certain preference for games that either do something new/unique, or if it's not so new it has to be truly excellent. So sequels that didn't really make it this year:

  • Doom Eternal: yep, plays good just like Doom 2016, though the focus on platforming wasn't for everybody, so it ranks lower compared to the debut of the series (which I'll count as Doom 2016 here).
  • The Last of Us Part II: yep, plays good just like Part I, though the focus on revenge and human misery wasn't for everybody, so it ranks lower compared to the debut of the series.
  • Spelunky 2: yep, plays good just like the first one, though the focus on even more mean bullshit at every turn made me angry just watching that game on stream sometimes, so it ranks lower compared to the debut of the series (literally made it on no staff list, and only a few guest lists).

There's a bunch of other sequels that defy this reason I'm laying out, but I guess I would say those sequels have more going for them.

  • The West is just kinda getting wise to the Yakuza series thanks to Yakuza 0 really getting people's attention so I think the zaniness and melodrama of Yakuza 0 and Like a Dragon is really bringing Western games industry people on board for the first time. It lets the series feel new, since I would describe Yakuza 1-6 as largely ignored by Western audiences, even though there were incremental improvements over time.
  • Miles Morales is one of those expansion packs where most people think it has a better campaign than the main game, but also the main game played incredibly well to begin with so that helps.
  • Ori 2 seems like it is just a legitimately dramatic improvement compared to the first game in every capacity.

But hey man, it's all personal taste, not everybody likes the same games and that's fine. The rules are made up and the points don't matter.

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mellotronrules

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#4  Edited By mellotronrules

@bisonhero said:

But hey man, it's all personal taste, not everybody likes the same games and that's fine. The rules are made up and the points don't matter.

oh man, looking at the data for sure drives this home. sometimes i'm guilty of suspecting that some of the decisions that GB arrive at during their deliberations are more industry-consensus-driven than personal...but then you look at this breakdown and realize just how different some games land for staff as a social circle. for example- it feels like The Last of Us Part II really didn't land with GB (understandable), and as such isn't really receiving as much GB placement/discussion as i thought it might. and yet things like Spiritfarer and Ori and the Will of the Wisps- two games that feel like they dominated discussion on Day 4 (and likely will on this final day) show up much lower on the guest aggregate (if at all), and TLOU2 is in the guest top 10. so perceptions be damned- personal arguments still have a very large impact on the proceedings it seems (as they should, in my frank opinion). no duh, you'll likely say- but it is interesting to see the numbers bear that out.

thanks as always @marino- interesting food for thought!

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bWo

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Doing the heavy lifting as always - thanks, @marino !

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patbaer

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I can't believe no one else picked Eizouken. Who are these jokers?

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Y2Ken

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#7  Edited By Y2Ken

Thanks for always putting these lists together, Marino - super fun to read!

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dannyglover

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Cool stats. Hades definitely is the top game of the year, even if its not number 1, its cool to see it on 64% of the guests lists.

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The_T

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Any chance you'd release the full width version of the Guest lists? I just want to see how the numbers are divided up. It's neat.

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Black_Turtle

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Blows my mind that FF7R was universally well regarded, and pretty high on both Ben and Jan's list, and it didn't even make it in the top 10. FF7R was EASILY the best overall game that came out in 2020, and it isn't even close.

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Marino

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#12 Marino  Staff

Blows my mind that FF7R was universally well regarded, and pretty high on both Ben and Jan's list, and it didn't even make it in the top 10. FF7R was EASILY the best overall game that came out in 2020, and it isn't even close.

fwiw, I explained why this happened in the analysis. It was #9 on The Math List, which is low obviously for a Top 10. And it got bumped by people who were passionate about their personal #1 GOTY.

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Marino

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#13 Marino  Staff

@the_t said:

Any chance you'd release the full width version of the Guest lists? I just want to see how the numbers are divided up. It's neat.

I can't get it all in one screenshot, but maybe this will do. Hope you can read the text.

No Caption Provided

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Tom_omb

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#14  Edited By Tom_omb
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TheRealTurk

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Boy howdy. Looking at that list, does anyone else think this was a *really* weak year? With the caveat that I haven't played Hades, I just didn't feel particularly strongly about any of the releases this year. There were plenty of games that I "liked," but I wouldn't say I "loved" any game that came out. I feel like almost all of them have one or more critical flaws that stop them from being great and I don't think there's a single game on that list I see myself ever coming back to.

In fact, on the list I put together for another thread, I left the top spot on my list blank because I didn't feel there was any release strong enough to justify it being a GOTY.

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xymox

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Thanks! I still haven't adjusted to this weird "We won't make GOTY Articles on the site" future and I probably never will. So this is my go to GOTY content at this point. Just give me the math!

I'm surprised to see Ori was so well received. I remember everyone except Brad hating the original but maybe I'm misremembering.

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Marino

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#17 Marino  Staff

@xymox said:

Thanks! I still haven't adjusted to this weird "We won't make GOTY Articles on the site" future and I probably never will. So this is my go to GOTY content at this point. Just give me the math!

I'm surprised to see Ori was so well received. I remember everyone except Brad hating the original but maybe I'm misremembering.

I'm not sure why they didn't do a "Here's What Won" article.

And, yeah. I was surprised at where Ori landed. Not a complaint at all in terms of the game though. Just didn't look right with the math is all. As they were rounding out the list, I expected it to be 6. Or 5 at most.

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#18  Edited By KamasamaK

It should be noted that for the Staff Top 25, there were other games tied with 4/1 -- PSO2, Fae Tactics, and Granblue Fantasy: Versus. I'm not sure what the criteria was that gave Satisfactory the edge.

Also, it would be interesting to see stats on how representative the final list is of each staff member. Here are some simple counts I put together, but it would be more interesting to have some more thought out calculation. I arbitrarily broke out Top 5 since I think those would have a stronger case and be more representative of a member than their #8.

Staff MemberTop 5Top 10
Jeff44
Brad45
Vinny13
Alex58
Jason45
Ben34
Jan33

It's interesting to see that the final list ended up being most representative of Alex and least representative of Vinny this year.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Mm, that's that good science.

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theuprightman

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Cool breakdown, I am surprised that Watchdogs Legion didn't make it onto anybody's list, it wasn't great but I thought more people would have liked the Ubisoft openworldness of it.

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BisonHero

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#21  Edited By BisonHero

@therealturk said:

Boy howdy. Looking at that list, does anyone else think this was a *really* weak year? With the caveat that I haven't played Hades, I just didn't feel particularly strongly about any of the releases this year. There were plenty of games that I "liked," but I wouldn't say I "loved" any game that came out. I feel like almost all of them have one or more critical flaws that stop them from being great and I don't think there's a single game on that list I see myself ever coming back to.

It depends what you regularly play, but I think that overall it was a kinda weak year for AAA game publishing. I guess it's the end of a hardware cycle, and a lot of publishers placed some pretty safe bets that weren't very surprising or original. Some Playstation exclusives (Astro's Playroom, Ghost of Tsushima, Miles Morales, TLOU Part II, FF7R), and Animal Crossing caught the staff's attention, but it wasn't a standout year for much else that came from the AAA space. That's probably also part of the reason so many expectations were riding on Cyberpunk 2077 for the average AAA gamer out there.

I was thinking the other day how this is probably the most skippable year from Ubisoft in a long time. Trackmania, Hyper Scape, Watch Dogs Legion, AC: Valhalla, Immortals: Fenyx Rising, all kind of OK but none of them really seemed like a must-play attention-grabber.

This year in particular, I feel like indie games and "AA indie" games like Hades and Ori really filled in that vacuum.

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thesquarepear

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#22  Edited By thesquarepear

Thanks for this. My "missing" game might be Wasteland 3 that I know was buggy but might have sneaked into someone's top 10.

Compared to how weak 2020 was for movies I would say games did pretty alright all things considering.

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monoespacial

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Who put Ghost of Tsushima as their No1?

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Marino

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#24 Marino  Staff

Who put Ghost of Tsushima as their No1?

MegaRan and Austin Creed

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wtravis

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Boy howdy. Looking at that list, does anyone else think this was a *really* weak year?

Especially after listening to the Hotspot episode where they rank every year's GOTY list, I can't help but feel like this year might be at the very bottom, if not close to it. Lots of good and completely understandable reasons why (and no disrespect intended to Hades or Ori), but I think it's made even worse by the fact that most of the year's biggest, most hyped AAA releases didn't make the cut, for one reason or another:

  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Marvel’s Avengers
  • Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
  • Last of Us Part II
  • Final Fantasy 7
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Half-Life: Alyx

Personally, I'm sad that Crusader Kings III was so panned by Giant Bomb staff and friends. It's a fantastic game that might have made more of an impact if given half a chance, but it seems it just wasn't on anybody's radar in time for GOTY - which is really too bad, because it's not like Paradox is some small-team, indie developer. I was glad it got some recognition on Waypoint from Gita Jackson and others, at the very least.

Also, it blows my mind that they made a new Half-Life game in 2020 and it didn't make the list!

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monkeyking1969

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Saw the "The Realest Top 10" results from those stats and was not shcoked at all...it is a solid Top 10 list for sure. And the "Guest 51" list fell in a spot I could respect too.

Its was a loousey year, but a pretty damn fine year for some nice games to play. I just wasn't in the mood to play games this year for lots of reasons; maybe, I'll get my groove mach in 2021.

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I do love some raw numbers....

Thanks @marino for the cool work. And congratulations to Hades for the biggest (and well deserved) landslide in recent memory.

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@black_turtle: sorry dude. Love ff7 remake bit it's not even the best jrpg of 2020. It's in my personal top 10 but Ben and Jan had it at like number 3. There was more passion for other games like AC and sentinels.

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Marino

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#29  Edited By Marino  Staff

@wtravis:

1. Crusader Kings is a very niche franchise. Even out of 45 guest lists only 2 people mentioned it.

2. A Half-Life game that the vast majority of people don't have a means to play. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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rkk667

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Alwys look forward to and appreciate these stats. Thank you :)

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HadesTimes

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Big data wins again. Lol

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demithet

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#32  Edited By demithet

@marino Any chance you could share a copy of the raw data in a Google Sheet or something? Would love to rerun this with different weightings on the positions

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Marino

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#33 Marino  Staff

@demithet said:

@marino Any chance you could share a copy of the raw data in a Google Sheet or something? Would love to rerun this with different weightings on the positions

Here's a copy.

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demithet

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#34  Edited By demithet

@marino Thanks so much! :) I've flattened the data so it can be pivoted, in case that's useful to anyone else that finds this post: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WdIz7oHx4lvn1_wdj12A_Ai2kJi0nZbzVx_tYgaKN_w/edit?usp=sharing