Tetris – Video Game G.O.A.T. Will Never Happen | LRM’s Save Station
Can we name a video game G.O.A.T.? Are you ready to load up another Save Station? It is a series looking at all things related to video games. Save Station will not be a piece dealing with current video game news but could venture into that territory at times. Some articles may be heavy on nostalgia. Others may feature a different look at the past, regardless of where we embark on this journey. Gear up and join me on this adventure.
A Matter Of Opinion
If asked to name your favorite video game of all time, then you could give a reasonable answer. We all know answering this question is subjective. An explanation could use many factors. A particular game from your favorite decade or system might win out. Emotional connections to a specific character in a game might elicit a valid response. At the same time, others may choose a game due to its story. Gamers could make an exhaustive list just on factors alone, but it would still be opinionated. What you declare as the video game G.O.A.T. may very well be different from your friend’s choice. Others can argue with you, but it probably will not change your mind. Was there a way we could get to a viable answer? Where would you even begin to attempt to assemble an argument for this type of question?
How Do You Measure A G.O.A.T.?
Video game sales are intriguing. Announcements of triple-A titles make gamers debate reserving their copy. Getting to this point requires developers to put massive amounts of time into promoting their newest game. Some games are automatic where you do not hesitate to fork over money for the deposit. With other titles, you need to think a little more before deciding, so you play the waiting game for various reasons. Sales data over the lifetime of any game should help us formulate an all-time greatest video game. Right? This endeavor fell apart quicker than E.T. ‘s release on Atari 2600.
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Minecrafting An Answer
When starting this article, it made sense to use units sold to determine a workable order to this escapade. For this article’s sake, we will use single-game titles instead of looking at the whole franchise. Doing a quick search for video game units sold brought forth a lot of useful data. The top hit was a wiki page with a list of best-selling video games. A lot of the data on the wiki page is up-to-date if the information exists. More on that part later. This particular page has Minecraft at the top, with two-hundred million units sold across multiple platforms. Would this not give us the answer needed? We could stop there and say that Minecraft wins the G.O.A.T. based on units sold. It is a video game that has become a cultural phenomenon as Pac-Man did in the 80s.
Pac-Man Gobbles The Competition
Speaking of Pac-Man, truth be told, I thought this would be the video game G.O.A.T. clear winner. Examining these numbers is when things began to get tough. In an article by US Gamer, Pac-Man made $3.5 billion by 1990 on arcade machines alone. Profit of this magnitude far exceeds any video game haul to date based on units sold. Pac-Man has appeared across multiple platforms, but even those releases have slight variations in them. Is it fair to put them together to get a total number of units sold? From the release on Atari 2600 up to current versions, the player expects to play as Pac-Man eating dots and chasing ghosts, so not much has changed over the years. Since we wanted to look at units sold, then looking at the total haul of coins inserted into an arcade cabinet is not comparing apples to apples.
Tetris Builds A Case
Just like Pac-Man, Tetris is simple yet very addictive. Drop different shaped blocks known as Tetriminos to fit into a row to clear a line, then repeat. Let the lines build up without removing them, and it’s game over. Who doesn’t like the stress of different-shaped falling blocks needing reorientation to make a pattern?
This video game would be a likely winner for G.O.A.T. when you take all units sold into account across many platforms. Henk Rogers, the person who brought Tetris to the West decades ago, had an interview with Venturebeat in 2014. In the interview, Rogers states Tetris had 425 million paid mobile downloads. Logic would dictate more downloads happened after the interview. One detail to keep in mind is the original app released in 2008. In 2011 a new version was released, replacing the old one. You would have to pay again for the new Tetris. Determining units sold for Tetris might be easier to determine. Is it fair to say Tetris is the clear winner when some units sold were due to this move?
Grand Theft Skyrim
At first, the previous data threw me off, bringing frustration, then my attitude changed. Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim revealed declaring a video game G.O.A.T. would be impossible. Once settling this thought, the data became more interesting. The wiki shows GTA V and Skyrim at number two and nineteen, respectively. GTA V has the most up-to-date numbers. In 2020 Take-Two issued a statement to GamesIndustry.biz saying they were not reporting digital sales data. A follow-up in the article informs that Take-Two shares data with clients but requests it not be made public. Depending on how often this happens, the unit sold number will be skewed since data is not publicly available.
Equally skewing some data were the findings on Skyrim. Many would argue that the video game G.O.A.T. discussion would include Skyrim. The last report on units sold was from 2016, showing thirty million units sold. There is not a lot of data after that report. After this report, Skyrim was released on the Nintendo Switch and in various VR forms, with little data reported. Interestingly, there are no feasible numbers issued for subscription-based services like Game Pass on Xbox. Currently, Skyrim is available on the service with no accurate way to track units. GTA V was also on Game Pass last year. Someone has the data, but it is not fully published. Based on this example, we may not be able to track future units sold entirely. Would you even count a download of a game from subscription services as a sold unit?
Congratulations if you have read this far! What is the video game G.O.A.T.? This question started relatively simple, being the original intent of the article. After taking a chance to dive deeper into gaming, it became a personal realization on why you could not name the greatest of all time. Sales data can only go so far. We did not venture into the used game territory, which further muddies the units sold discussion. Maybe the question was too broad. Even if we narrowed it down, the issue of subjectivity comes into play.
How would you try to determine the video game G.O.A.T.? What do you believe to be the answer? Why?
Source: WikiPedia USGamer VentureBeat GamesIndustry