The Undeniable Draw to Tier Lists and Other Rankings

In order for our brains to make sense of the world, humans naturally place things in categories or lists. It has helped form the science of taxonomy–because of this, people know how to classify animals. It’s so ingrained in our DNA that we can’t help but apply this to more fun things as well, like comparing teams in organized sports or a movie against its sequel. Of course, those items are based off subjective criteria compared to the objective nature of science! This doesn’t stop people from ranking the best and worst movies, books, or video games, and because everyone is unique, the variance between lists are endless.

Video game fans enjoy rating games they’ve played and often compare them against others. It’s no different that any other consumable media. Why do we do it? Sure, it’s fun, and it’s entertaining to sit back with popcorn when two individuals argue over ranking results, but it’s also a means for us to “make sense” of the sea of titles available. There are hundreds, no, thousands, or video games available to play in various genres and game-play styles. How does one go about selecting the next game to play? Most people, especially adult gamers, have finite funds and time, so many turn to Metacritic scores or anything else that hints at the worthiness of a game. Websites or podcasts often offer a list or ranking that could persuade a potential buyer.

If there’s anything gamers love to do aside from playing video games, it’s to make lists of their best or worst titles. Top ten, definitive, tier ranking–you name it. Ranking video games adds an element of fun and excitement, while generating lots of conversation and debate amongst friends and others who share the same passion.

One popular ranking system in the gaming world is the tier list, where someone attaches a letter grade to titles or characters. The tier list generally consists of a S-tier, A-tier, B-tier, C-tier, D-tier, and possibly, F-tier. This is commonly used when ranking characters in fighting games such as Super Smash Brothers; however, I’ve seen tier lists for every topic.

Top ten (or whatever number) lists are another a wonderful go-to. In fact, some of my favorite podcast topics are when there’s a top-ten list, such as “Top Ten Zelda Dungeons” or “Top Ten Creepiest Things in The Legend of Zelda franchise”. The discourse that ensues can be quite fun, although it can draw a lot of negativity online as well. This Boss Rush article is one example where PlayStation 4 exclusives were ranked.

Fans of video games can’t help but create tier lists and rank games. The drive not only comes from our innate desire to organize and classify things, but it’s a fun activity that draws the community together. The act of creating your own ranking helps make the individual feel important. When people share their point-of-view with others, it can also broaden minds and expand perspective. Ultimately, sharing our thoughts generates growth. At the end of a ranking podcast, for example, everyone walks away with a little more than they did in the beginning. Open conversations creates better gamers, and hopefully, better video games down the pipeline.

Speaking of rankings, we’ve got news for you! Each Friday from July 2nd through September 3rd, we will be featuring the Boss Rush Bucket List–a curated list of 50 games you must try before you kick the bucket. Inspired by the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, we’ve decided to give it a Boss Rush spin and pick up where it left off. The writing team hand-picked the best games from 2014 to 2021 and provided a unique bite-sized list for you to consume. Each week features a genre while listing one title in the top ten! I highly recommend you check this out.

Until then, let us know if you have a favorite ranking system, or if you even like to rank games on the Boss Rush Discord.

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