Famitsu Reviews its Reviews
Which system scores highest with the magazine's reviewers?
Weekly Famitsu has been reviewing games every week since 1986. You might think that twenty-three years would mean a whole lot of reviews. You would be correct, as the magazine has reviewed a total of 14,278 titles over the period.
The magazine provided some review stats in issue 1,100, its last issue of 2009. The data covers June 20, 1986 to December 24, 2009.
Famitsu doesn't re-review budget re-releases or ports. It does list multiplatform titles independently, but most of those 14,278 titles should be original.
So there have clearly been lots of games over the past couple of decades. But how many of them are any good? The scientific answer is 1,515. This is the number of games that have managed a score of 32 or above when adding up the scores given by each of the magazine's four reviewers.
The magazine shared system-by-system stats for the number of games receiving a 32 or above. In the below list, the number in parenthesis is the total number of games reviewed for the system.
- Family Computer: 34 (955)
- Sega Master System: 0 (12)
- PC Engine: 22 (628)
- Mega Drive: 16 (534)
- Game Boy/Game Boy Color: 15 (1,071)
- Atari Lynx: 0 (12)
- Super Grafx: 0 (22)
- Game Gear: 0 (190)
- Super Famicom: 55 (1,407)
- NeoGeo CD: 2 (32)
- PC-FX: 0 (24)
- Super 32X: 0 (11)
- Sega Saturn: 52 (930)
- PlayStation: 131 (2,635)
- Virtual Boy: 0 (18)
- Nintendo 64: 38 (183)
- NeoGeo Pocket: 0 (56)
- Dreamcast: 62 (407)
- Wonderswan: 1 (179)
- Nintendo 64DD: 0 (3)
- PlayStation 2: 395 (1997)
- Pokemon Mini: 0 (6)
- Game Boy Advance: 91 (618)
- Nintendo GameCube: 87 (240)
- Xbox: 41 (185)
- Nintendo DS: 151 (883)
- PlayStation Portable: 90 (383)
- Xbox 360: 105 (239)
- PlayStation 3: 77 (172)
- Wii: 50 (257)
The list is in order of the system's release year. The lesser systems get in the way a bit, but you should be able to see the quality rising over the years from a 3% for Famicom to a 44% for Xbox 360.
(You might notice that the number of reviews in the above list totals 14,289 rather than the 14,278 figure given by Famitsu. I have suspicions that they might have ignored the 32X, which has exactly 11 titles. That would be an acceptable omission.)
In addition to the system specific data, the magazine provided a bit of analysis of its review staff. A total of 86 editors have contributed reviews over the 23 years.
The hardest working reviewer is -- or was, rather -- Enterbrain CEO Hirokazu Hamamura, who has 3,858 reviews to his name. He did reviews from 1990 through 2003.
The most generous reviewer amongst those with at least 200 reviews to their name is Reona Ebihara (his caricature depicts him holding a cat). His average score across 596 titles is 7.37.
The harshest reviewer has more reviews to his name. TACO X (his caricature depicts him in a bath robe) has reviewed 2,312 titles. His average score is a harsh 5.12.
This data is just a preview of the kind of stats that can be found in a new book titled (roughly translated) Famitsu's Historical Quality Software 1,500. Set for release this month at ¥680, this book will include the full box reviews for the games that scored 32 or above. If you can't get enough of Famitsu's reviews, this could be a good buy.