Xbox One

The Impossibility of Video Game Comparison

One of the quirks of modern life is that just about everything can be quantified. For instance, it’s entirely possible to reduce cars, computers, or mobile phones to just a few numbers, whether that’s their price, model, speed, or their longevity in years. The outcome of this trend – the growth of the comparison site – was perhaps inevitable, as industry experts seek to reduce all our favourite things to a few comparable traits.

“Lazily Loyal” 

Surprisingly, despite the existence of something called customer inertia, in which customers stick with a product simply because they can’t be bothered to look around for a new one, a large part of the country’s shoppers do actually re-assess their subscriptions every so often. Figures cited by the Utilita website claim that 40% of UK consumers use comparison websites to hunt down new deals for insurance, electricity, and financial products.

Of course, the net benefit to consumers is that they can often find a good price on popular products and services. Unfortunately, video gaming and many other parts of entertainment seem almost immune to straightforward comparisons, ensuring that the task of finding similar titles even from the same genre is a difficult one. Is DOOM like Call of Duty, for instance? Sure, they’re both first-person shooters but the difference in tone and gameplay is vast.

Let’s look at an example. A quick Google search for “games like Fallout” reveals a list that includes The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Wasteland 2, and Frostpunk. The first title, Skyrim, is similar to Fallout in that it uses the same engine and has almost identical gameplay. Thematically, it’s a world away. In contrast, Wasteland 2 and Frostpunk are nothing like modern Fallout games. They just share the same post-apocalyptic setting. 


Of course, you could argue that Wasteland 2, a turn-based strategy, shares its mechanics with the original Fallout games released in 1997 and 1998 but that just makes Skyrim look out of place. So, why are games so incomparable? In reality, they aren’t. It’s entirely possible to compare games and platforms by price or their basic offering just like any other product, something that has taken off in another part of the industry – casino gaming.

The Italian Bonus Finder website lists casinos by their welcome offer, license, and overall rating, among other things. It currently has more than thirty sites arranged like this. You can find the new ones here. When it comes to content though, casino sites have the same issue as video games – much of it is subjective. Skyrim is simultaneously similar and nothing like Fallout, depending on what angle you’re approaching it from. 

Aspects like aesthetics, setting, character development, and combat are all difficult things to put into numbers, something that’s regularly debated in the art world. Franchises are also dynamic, as hinted at by Fallout earlier – and, of course, the trend for developers to add features from other games into their projects means that genre lines are increasingly blurred. 

Overall, comparison tends to be a mechanical thing based on rigid criteria. Games, as subjective experiences, easily resist being stuffed into boxes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *