Wait! It’s not another review, don’t run away! Girl Scout’s Promise (™).
What’s jolly annoying is that if you want to know where (or if) a particular game entered the olde worlde, pre-internet charts you have to delve through dozens of magazines published approximately around the time of its release. This is a real chore because not all magazines printed these league tables, and the ones that did, didn’t always do so. Some started including them as a regular feature amidst their news or reviews sections several years into their run, and stopped well before they bit the dust.
In any case, this is a totally unreliable method because often games would make an unexpected resurgence many months or years after their initial release as a result of the development of a sequel, or a new marketing push such as bundling several related games together and selling them at a knockdown price. How would you go about capturing that phenomenon? Re-read every magazine every published?
My solution is a database… isn’t it always? I’ve got quite a collection now. What I’ve done is enter chart data from one of a selection of magazines for every month the Amiga was an active/viable platform between June 1987 and July 1996.
Some of this information was originally compiled by Gallup, some by HMV or MicroByte et al. Some pollsters maintained top 40 lists, others top 30, 20 or 10, whilst others spanned their sales data across the various Amiga platforms or price bands; standard Amiga, A1200 or CD32, premium range or budget.
<span style="font-size: 10pt">An extract from Amiga Format’s April 1995 issue.</span>
I tapped whatever Miggy pulp I could lay my hands on so the jigsaw is comprised of a complete hodgepodge of source material. I could have included every chart from every magazine so we’d be able to cross reference using the overlapping data, but then I only have so many decades left on planet earth and there’s only one of me. 😉 That said, if anyone knows where I can find data prior to June 1987, I’m all ears.
Having ploughed through over two and a half thousand entries, a few interesting trends become apparent:-
- Sports games will always sell no matter what, often for months on end. It doesn’t matter in the least if they are almost identical to last year’s edition.
- It’s not unusual for highly acclaimed games to sell poorly, and leave the charts early.
- Games with a recognised license attached will usually sell no matter how awful the result.
- The majority of critics panning a game won’t necessarily sound its death knell. Some games rose above the mockery carried by the hype-train alone. Not everyone subscribed to gaming magazines, and many people bought games for others with no prior knowledge of their quality.
True, more of a curious reminder than a startling revelation, interesting nonetheless I think. If anyone agrees I’ll put the database online once I’ve finished getting everything in place. Otherwise it will be kept as an internal EA research tool for our own amusement. I have no idea if anyone cares about this or not so speak now or forever hold your peace.
Okey doke, decision made… here’s the Zoho report.
You count the days, but does it all add up to you?