MarioWiki:Reception and sales

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While detailing the fictional minutiae of the Mario franchise is great, illustrating its real-world impact and popularity is just as important. Creating sections detailing the critical and commercial reception of individual games is one way to do it.

Reception

The reception section consist of a summary followed by a review listing. The summary section should illustrate the consensus on a given game (such as what aspects were commonly praised, criticized or had a mixed reception) as well as the evolution of the game's perception over time. Listing reviews is to be left to the review listing (see below), although specific reviews can be cited in order to illustrate a point.

Review aggregators such as Metacritic or GameRankings are useful tools for writing reception sections, as they give a collection of reviews that can be used as a starting point. However, they rarely, if ever, feature reviews of games from before 2000, which means finding historic reviews for anything that came out before that time may require more extensive research.

Of course, reviews are not the only things that can be used for reception sections. Ranked lists, post-mortem articles and the like can also illustrate a given game's legacy. User scores on larger publications and Nintendo's own built-in systems (such as on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS or Wii U) can also be used, especially if there's a noticeable discrepancy between critic and player reception. However, it's generally unadvisable to make qualitative statements such as "The game was well-received on Miiverse", as these statements are prone to weasel-wording and can hardly be "proven" one way or another.

A review listing template has been created to more efficiently present the information and prevent the summary from being a succession of "so and so said X, while so and so said Y". Here's the code and an explanation of the parameters:

{| class="wikitable review_template" style="float:left;border:2px solid black;width:100%;font-size:100%;text-align:center;margin:5px;" cellpadding="4"
!colspan="4" style="font-size:120%;text-align:center;background-color:silver"|Reviews
|-style="background-color:#E6E6E6"
|Release
|Reviewer, Publication
|Score
|Comment
|-
|LaserActive
|Mr. Hands, Mediocre Gamer
|21/20
|''"[[Super Mario Bros.]] may lack the cinematic quality of modern games, but its kinetic high-energy charm is visceral enough."''
|-
!colspan="4" style="background-color:silver;font-size:120%;text-align:center;"|Aggregators
|-style="background-color:#E6E6E6"
|colspan=2|Compiler
|colspan=2|{{nowrap|Platform / Score}}
|-
|colspan=2|Metacritic
|colspan=2|3DO ([www.placeholder.com 98%]), LaserActive ([www.placeholder.com 99%])
|}
Syntax
Release The platform the game was reviewed for. Note that until Nintendo creates a unified account system, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console re-releases all count as separate releases.
Reviewer, Publication The writer of the review and the publisher. Web reviews should include a direct link to the review page whenever possible while magazines should have the month, year and issue number.
Score The verdict given to the game, including "joke" scores and "Buy it/Rent It/Skip It"-style grades. The score should be presented as is, with no attempt to translate it to a standardized score.
Comment A representative excerpt from the review. Non-english reviews can be included, with preferably both a translation and a quote in the original language.
Compiler The name of the review aggregator. In practice, Metacritic and GameRankings are the only one that are likely to be ever used.
Platform / Score The platforms the aggregator has compiled, along with the aggregate score and a link to the game's page in parentheses.

Sales data

Finding reliable sales figure can be problematic, thanks to the video game industry's notorious secrecy toward financial data. Here's some pointers to what you should and should not use.

Several independent firms such as the NPD Group (North America), Chart Track (United Kingdoms) and Media Create (Japan) track game sales at retail chains. While these organizations do not have access to all of any given region's sales data, they're one of the very few authoritative source of hard data, and are often used by video game companies. Though most of the data is not available to non-subscribers, the trackers frequently publish monthly reports, which are then typically reported on by news outlets.

Press releases from Nintendo and other corporate sources are also accurate, and occasionally include digital sales numbers, which the aforementioned trackers do not factor in. However, said press releases frequently give the numbers of copies shipped to retailers rather than actual retail sales, so users should examine the wording before citing them.

VGChartz

Due to its popularity and being the most immediately visible source when researching sales data, it's hard not to address VGChartz.

Much[1][2] has been written about the reliability of VGChartz. As explained on the site's methodology page, it has access to data from an undefined sampling of "retail partners", filling in the rest by guessing based on various trends (while the aforementioned trackers do not have access to every retail chain and do some number of "filling in the blanks", they are proven to track a substantial amount of retailers, unlike VGChartz). The fact that VGChartz numbers have frequently been contradicted by more official channels and other anomalies (In one instance, the site reported the game Arc Rise Fantasia as a best-seller for June 2010 despite the game not being released until the end of July[3]) have led to several sites banning it as a source. As far as the wiki is concerned, VGChartz is not reliable and should not be used as a reference for sales data.

References

  1. ^ Carless, Simon. (June 23, 2009). Analysis: What VGChartz Does (And Doesn't) Do For The Game Biz. Gamasutra. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  2. ^ Kohler, Chris. (June 23, 2008). Why We Don't Reference VGChartz. Wired. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  3. ^ zeldofreako. (July 4, 2010). How did this game sell 22,000 units in it's first week. It's not even out!?!. GameFAQs. Retrieved November 7, 2013.