Why ‘Best Of’ lists deserve better

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It’s that time of the year again, when thoughts turn to Mince Pies, a sherry, and Best Of lists for the year gone by. Best sportsperson, best film, best TV show, best plastic surgery disaster, you name it, there will be a best of list for it – and a host of people screaming that their choice isn’t represented.

And, of course, it’s no different in the world of gaming. Everyone’s doing it. We might even get in on the action, and announce what we at XboxOneUK.com feel is our Game of 2015 (but we have some mince pies to get through, first.)

And every list is designed to provoke a conversation, a spirited discussion, about the subject. All too often though – particularly for our hobby, which we so desperately want to be seen as a mature and adult pastime – such conversations devolve into vitriol and name calling. As someone once said, “Well, that escalated quickly.”

Take this weekend’s episode of Videogame Nation – the GinxTV produced / Challenge TV broadcast Saturday morning show devoted to videogames of every format. The regular cast of the show shared their list with their audience – making it clear how the list was decided upon. It, like all such lists, is entirely subjective – it’s not claiming to be some definitive, set in stone, unarguable truth. It’s simply a set of individuals who have come up with the list of games from this year they have enjoyed the most. Whether you agree with their choices or not – and the Internet gives ample opportunity to engage in reasoned discourse – there’s no need to resort to name calling:

To his credit, @MrPointyHead handled the conversation with aplomb.

It’s this level of discourse, this recourse to crass insults and hurled abuse (and, God forbid, the list is by a woman, a transgender person, or indeed the representative of any perceived minority) isn’t necessary. Whilst those of us who inhabit ‘games’ space have become somewhat inured to this behaviour, to the outsider it does nothing more than reinforce the stereotype of the gamer as the socially inept shut-in loner.

(And if you think this is an isolated incident, Google “Anita Sarkeesian” some time.)

We can do better, people. We must do better.

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3 thoughts on “Why ‘Best Of’ lists deserve better”

  1. LeL says:

    Bull’s eye, imho. Saw the Videogame Nation Top 20 on Ginx Tv and it was plain and fair a discussion over the crew’s favourite (I thought Aoife’s picks were the best), and a rather adult and composed one at that. Could have bet that it would be messed with – it’s not like video games are for grown-up, eh?

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