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Is it the shoes?

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Data Dump: GOTY 2021 Staff & Guests Breakdown

Hey, not everything in 2021 was bad. #BattleATL
Hey, not everything in 2021 was bad. #BattleATL

Ah shit, here we go again. The site went through some major changes in 2021, but Game of the Year stops for no one. This is the 14th annual proceedings, and, if you've been here for all of them, that means you're old now. Welcome to the club! For many of those years, I have been compiling stats based on the GOTY data. I like looking at numbers, and it seems like a lot of y'all do too. 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 quite some time. And with E3 potentially being dead, Game of the Year is now the only real opportunity I have to put some spreadsheets together these days.

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 tactical 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 or the best way to do it, but it's just fun to compare the cold, hard stats to what happened on the stream.


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 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.

Staff's Top 26

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Jess threw me a curveball this year by putting Devotion on the list. Technically, it's a 2019 game, but it did get an official release in 2021. So, here's what I decided to do. I gave both Devotion and Psychonauts 2 9.5 points and moved everything else down a slot. To keep her list at 55 total points, this means that she forfeits the 1 point for New Pokémon Snap at #10. If you don't agree with this assessment, that's fine. But, no one else voted for New Pokémon Snap anyway. And it doesn't affect the #1 spot, so let's move on!

The Realest Top 10

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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. Chicory: A Colorful Tale (9)
  2. Halo Infinite (4)
  3. Psychonauts 2 (1)
  4. Resident Evil Village (6)
  5. Hitman 3 (15)
  6. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (2)
  7. Monster Hunter Rise (10)
  8. Metroid Dread (5)
  9. Death's Door (16)
  10. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (10)

As you can see, eight of the eleven games in The Math List™ made it to the real list. The ones that didn't hang were Inscryption (3), Forza Horizon 5 (7), and Cruelty Squad (8). 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 Jason's Monster Hunter Rise and Bakalar's Death's Door. Then we had Jeff's Hitman 3, which garnered support from those who didn't have it on their own list.

We should also acknowledge the raw passion that secured a slot for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Jan came prepared!

Now, there's always one more question we have to ask. That's right. "WHAT ABOUT RORIE?!" I don't include him on the main chart because he wasn't on the stream, and therefore didn't have a chance to make a difference in the results there. But, let's take a look anyway.

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This year, Rorie's votes would have slightly altered the site's Top 10. If we count Rorie, Halo Infinite moves up from #4 to #2. More importantly, though, Deathloop breaks the tie at #10 and pushes Guardians and Monster Hunter off the list.

Guests' Top 46

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.

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  • 121 different games were voted for by the twenty-nine guests. That's down from 184 games last year and 210 games in 2019.
  • Five games got a 1st place vote with no votes from anyone else: Get in the Car, Loser!, Hollow Knight, No More Heroes III, Slay the Spire, and World of Horror.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker had the most first place votes with four and had no other votes at all. As I watched the lists roll in, we didn't have a duplicate #1 pick until the eighteenth list. This is a huge contrast to last year where Hades had 11 first place votes.
  • Metroid Dread had the most overall votes with sixteen. That's 55.2% of the guests.
  • Just fourteen of the twenty-nine guests actually gave a ranked list of ten. That's 48.3%, which is up from 42.2% last year. Thanks!
  • Resident Evil Village was the highest ranked game that got no first place votes.
  • 94 games out of 121 were originally released in North American in 2021. That's 77.7%, which is way up from the 57.6% last year.
  • The oldest game named was Quake (1996).
  • Despite being Letter of the Year, there are no games that start with "J".
  • No, I did not include any tabletop games, anime, books, albums, locations, or TV shows.

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll have another opportunity to share a bunch of stats in 2022. Thanks for checking this out. Now, go play Kena: Bridge of Spirits!