Frequently Asked Questions
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Why aren't any non-Nintendo games on the list?
Good question. We used to run that poll... We don't anymore. First off, there's millions of games. Between a bunch of Sega systems, Panasonic 3DO, a few Turbo Graphix16 systems, a mess of Ataris, a couple Playstations, Microsoft XBox, obviously PC, and plenty more, it just gets too numerous. The list would have to be 800 games long to encompass the same range. Beyond that, when we did run the "all games" poll, nearly 60 of those 100 slots were taken by Nintendo titles anyway- so we made it limited to Nintendo- which in the old poll had the top 8 and 17 of the top 20.
What non-Nintendo games used to get votes?
That's a tall order... I'm not going to list every game that's ever been voted on, but off the top of my head, the Ultima series always did well. There was a lot by Sierra, particularly the King's Quest and Hero's Quest (Quest for Glory) titles. Sega had a bunch, with Sonic, Sega's version of Shinobi, classics like that. Microprose had a couple PC games on there if I remember right, thinking Master of Magic was one of them, but don't quote me on that. Then there was the Bonk's Adventure Turbo Graphix title, remembering that one because it scored extremely high while the NES version probably still has yet to receive a vote. Then of course there's the greats, Tennis for Two (1958- regarded as the first video game), Spacewar (1961- probably the earliest actually popular video game), Pong (1972- Atari's first huge success), Computer Othello (1978- yes it's Nintendo, but it's an arcade, cut from the list because of it), and the ever-popular Pac-Man (1980- the original arcade version, the NES and Game Boy versions are still available for votes). Hope that gives you a vague idea of what it used to be like.
Do any non-Nintendo games still get votes?
Not really. There's just been a few exceptions, and the two main ones were Final Fantasy VII and Dragon Warrior VII. As every previous title in each series was released on Nintendo, people seemed to think that these PSX games would be eligible here. But alas, they weren't, and since then, non-Nintendo games are a rare vote.
I don't think this game should be way up at that number!
Okay, that's not a question. Let's stick with questions. "Ask" the editor is the name of the column. But in any case, I don't know what you want me to do about that anyway. I voted for Little Nemo the Dream Master, you don't see that at number 1 do you? You can go ahead and vote if you want.
Why isn't this game on the list?
I haven't the slightest idea. Apparently it didn't get any votes, huh? Why don't you vote for it right now, and then it will have one.
How come every game on the list is so old?
That's actually a good question. Here's the deal, this poll was designed more than 5 years ago and we don't start the poll over every time a new game comes out. So most of the games on the list have been being voted on for years- and so when a game comes out on Thursday, it's not going to obtain 5 years of voting by the weekend.
Isn't that a little unfair to the new games?
No. No it's not.
How is that not unfair?
(this is generally a follow-up question to the previous by people
who don't know the Konami code)
The older games are way better. But even if they weren't... Look at it this way. Upgraded sound and graphics to an overdone genre of games isn't quite the same thing as the original that created the entire genre is it? Sure, the new technological spectacle is cool, but all they did was steal someone else's design and upgrade it. Who deserves more respect, the innovation or the hack? Besides that, these games were designed when technology sucked, and so they had to ride on innovation and make their own technology. The new games waited decades for the technology to advance, and then made replicas of what already existed. Those copies shouldn't be judged as if they were released in 1985. To be truly fair, the poll should have actually started in 1985, so that every game would have it's fair chance, lining up the chronological vs. technological advantages.
Can you cast more than one vote?
Every six months I restart the voter email lists because it just gets too long. So yes you can, everyone can cast his or her vote twice per year.
What happens if I try to vote more than that?
It wastes my time. I have to check each new vote that the email address doesn't match up with the previous. So although it only takes a minute, if it matches up, that's a hugely wasted minute on my part of even acknowledging the e-mail's existence.
What happens if I make like 200 different email addresses and vote from each one of those?
It wastes your time. And it may work, but if I'm recording the 50th strait voting ballot with identical results, generally it's pretty recognizable. Beyond that, the majority of the time I respond to the votes, and if it's a questionable ballot, I'll ask for a return reply. If someone's created 50 accounts, they probably aren't going to be checking their email frequently in each of them.
Why do old games suddenly get huge bursts of votes when they've been out for 20 years?
That's a good observation, and there is a reason that accounts for this. And that reason is called sequels. When a new Mario game comes out, it re-popularizes the old classics, when a new Zelda comes out, the original sails up in votes again. And possibly the best examples of this were Dragon Warrior VII and Final Fantasy VII. As a couple of the highest selling Playstation games of all time, the massive popularity was not eligible to be voted on. So people voted for the others in their place.
I don't think that the point system Nintendo Headquarters uses for the top 100 is realistic.
Okay, I'm going to mention this again. If it doesn't have a question mark at the end, it doesn't qualify as a question. In any case, yes it is. I paid thirty grand per year for a degree from Willamette University, learning statistics from the head of the department. And I'm just the editor. The person who designed it knows more than I do. So yes, yes it is the most accurate portrayal of the greatest game of all time, and I'm sorry that your favorite game isn't on there. You can vote for it now if you'd like.
Who did all those write-ups for all the games in the top 100?
Quick, everyone give all the credit to me before John reads this FAQ! (just kidding John) No, it was a combo effort. John Yuki (the owner for those of you who don't know) initially wrote them all, but I didn't approve of his sloppy work (again, just kidding Johnny), but seriously though they were super sloppy, so I rewrote most of them...
Why doesn't Nintendo Headquarters use PHP or something for the voting system?
We don't get this question as much as some on here, but it is a valid one, so that justifies its place on the FAQ sheet. For those who remember, we have tried this before... and I hated it. It was the biggest mess any Internet site had ever seen. NHQ has always tried to encompass the true greatest games of all time, judging by what it should be judged on: innovation, design, originality, etc. Within this, we try to have the highest external validity possible, and that just creates way too many variables to have something like PHP work at all.
Why aren't you guys December Games anymore?
True, in the good old days we were known as December Games. Those were good times... We got bought out after something like seven years. John had been running the shop for a while and the offer was lofty enough. But no worries, the heart of the shop will never change. The poll is forever ours.
Who bought out December Games?
For some reason we always get this questions and we're not really supposed to say... I figured it would just be good advertising for them, but it turned out to be an issue when I went around telling every human I knew. Hope that answers your question. Of course I can tell you that it was by a real estate agency who wanted our location as opposed to another gaming store. We wouldn't have ever sold if we were to be replaced by another gaming store (we've all got too much pride for that).
Can I ask you guys a question and have it appear in the 'frequently asked questions' section?
Okay... Why not. We just got this question for the second time. Our first response was this: "It depends. If the question that follows your previous is frequent, yes." Our second response was "yes." And so here it is. Second time's the charm. Don't ask again.
Please send all questions to:
Aaron at Nintendo Headquarters via email at: