Introducing the New Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

One of the most popular features on my site has been the Xbox Live Indie Game Leaderboard.  But, I have to confess that I wish I had held off on implementing it.  You see, I started the board last August, after only having my site for one month.  Although people have had fun watching it evolve over the last eleven months, there have been games that probably would have never had a shot of making it today, and other games that would have made it on if I had played them earlier.  Maybe that’s the nature of such a ranking, but still, I wish I had waited until today to put it up.

But, I didn’t.  I can’t go back and do it over again, but I can make the board what I always envisioned it would be.  I based the concept on the Leaderboard on the BBC television series Top Gear and its Power Lap Time board.  On the show, they rank every car they’ve reviewed against each-other.  Although I don’t want to put every single game I’ve reviewed on the board, my intent has always been to have more rankings.  When my first anniversary approached, Brian and I talked about my options, and we both agreed that genre-based Leaderboards made the most sense.  So I started to put them together.

Here was the problem with that idea: developers have funny views of what genres their games belong to.  Dead Pixels, a shooter that has some stat-upgrade attributes, was labeled as an RPG.  Huh.  Party game Chompy Chomp Chomp was set up as an Action-Adventure title.  Weird.  Cute Things Dying Violently was listed as a platformer.  Okay, now you guys are just fucking with me.

Check out that platforming action. Super Mario ain’t got shit on this.

I do get it.  Puzzlers don’t attract a lot of interest.  Trust me, I know.  Every time I review one my page views nose dive like Mark Zuckerberg listed them on the stock exchange.  Still, that didn’t help me too much.  Brian and I kicked around the idea of assigning genres ourselves, but fuck it.  That would require more work than we’re willing to put in, so laziness prevails, as laziness tends to do.  Instead, I would take every game that received a positive review and rank them all against each other.  Wait, now.  I demanded the lazy solution.  That sounds like a lot of work!  Sigh.

After a few weeks of sorting and debating, I ranked all 105 games that received a “positive” review from me.  There has been some controversy in the process.  People have said that this is in violation of my “no review scores” policy.  It’s not.  If I said games 1 – 10 got 11 1/2 gold stars, maybe.  What I’ve done is just say which games I would prefer to play over others.  The process was actually very simple.  Have you ever been to the eye doctor?  Do you know the part where they ask you if image A is “better or worse” than image B?  That’s what I did, with every game on the list.

The board is now up, and you can go check it out for yourselves.  I’m very, very satisfied with the rankings.  They accurately represent my views on the top games on the platform.  The list is good.  The list is absolute.  I’m going to hell for using those lines on a video game list.  But, the list will always be changing.  New games will be added weekly.  Well, assuming I play good games that belong on it.

I would also like to point that the leaderboard operates with a paid sponsorship.  I had been getting inquires for months asking if I would take advertisements on my site.  I was against the idea of trying to make profit off Indie Gamer Chick.  I feel that the minute I start treating this like a business, it stops being my hobby and starts being a job.  I don’t want that.  I don’t need that.  So I had to think of a way to make it work, without my site looking like a billboard.

There are two really wonderful charities out there that I have benefited from in my life.  One is called Autism Speaks.  They’ve made amazing contributions in the field of autism research, but directly help the lives of those in the community that are affected by it.  The other is the Epilepsy Foundation.  As you can imagine, being a gamer and being epileptic mix about as well as Seth Brundle and a house fly.  The Epilepsy Foundation is dedicated to targeted research towards discovering the causes, triggers, and ultimately the cures for people like me that live with this condition.

If you want to sponsor the Leaderboard, I don’t want your money.  But these charities are worthwhile causes that will benefit many people all over the world.  So instead of giving me your money, give it to them.  If you want to sponsor the board, contact me and we’ll discuss the terms.  Sponsors will need to provide a receipt confirming donation to one (or both) of the charities above.  If you are donating with the intention of setting up a sponsorship here, do not do so before discussing it with me first, as the current sponsorship is locked up through September of 2012 and I’m already in discussion with other potential sponsors.

Official sponsor of ranking games.

That’s pretty much it.  I want to thank the community for their support.  I want to thank my first sponsor, Mario Wunderlich, whose game Count to a Billion (appropriate, no?) will be launching soon on iPhone.  In closing, I want to put this out there to all developers: challenge me.  If your game is on the board and you think you can do better, prove to me you can.  Patch your game, and let me know it.  I never turn down playing a game a second time.  If your game missed the board the first time, fix it and try again.  The worst thing that can happen is your game stays off the board.  Well, you’re already doing that.  But maybe you can make the board.  Since starting this site, I’ve had developers on the board credit their placement on the top ten with sales spikes.  That can be you.  It should be you.  And I want it to be you.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

3 Responses to Introducing the New Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

  1. Ken Cone says:

    Just FYI, when you say, “but still, I wish I had waited until today to put it up”, don’t you mean hadn’t?

    Otherwise, this is a cool post, thanks!

    I’ve got an idea for you. What if you wrote a post defining what these types of games are? I know there are definitions out there, but one short page defining the genres that are listed on XNA would be really cool! (I’d do it myself, but I don’t really know all the genres…)

    By the time we released Andy’s Notepad [Saucers], we had changed the genre three times! (I’m still not sure we got it right.)

    -Ken

    • Well I had previously had the top 10 up, and I wish I had waited on that even.

      You guys are the dudes behind Andy’s Notepad? Fancy that, because I had downloaded your game and put it on deck to be reviewed next. God help you! (haven’t played it yet, looking forward to it, good luck)

  2. Why don’t you put up some google ads? They’re so common now that I just ignore them when I see them, but you’ll still get paid!! 🙂

    Also your mentioning of epilepsy reminded me about a scene in Indie Game: The Movie. If you watch it and get to the scene where Phil Fish takes his old computer out to show some games he made when he was a kid, CLOSE YOUR EYES!!! One of the games just flickers from black to white really quickly.

    Also #2, you should just categorize the games yourself with names like: punisher, shovelware, boobies, hello world, party game (local multiplayer)… It’s useful for your readers, and helpful for the google.

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