It's finally ready. It's finally complete. The Top 25 Best Gaming Soundtracks: 2011 Edition is here on Beyond the Controller this coming Monday. It's bigger, badder and more elaborate. More links, more details, and a numeric rating system. Oh yeah, its going to be big. But what's changed from last years list? Aside from an upset of last years winners like the album at right?
The largest difference this time around is a numeric rating system which grades each soundtrack on a 0 to 5 scale in several categories. Some of you may dislike this system, but after last year, I felt it was for the best to establish a sort of consistent system that wasn't as loosely structured. Granted, the numbers are up to my judgment, but I stayed as consistent as possible with each rating.
The end result is that each album is rated by an average of four primary categories: Overall Enjoyment of the Album, the Stand-Alone Quality of the album or how well it sounded apart from the game itself, the Composition skill and quality of the music, and the amount of Emotional Reaction the album garnered. The numeric rating could fall anywhere on a 1/4 scale between 0 and 5, so albums could earn a 4.25 rating in a category.
Two secondary categories allowed for bonus points. Non-Gaming Approval granted a single extra point for being a soundtrack that appealed to those who were not gamers, while Nostalgic Appeal added an extra point for soundtracks that appealed to the memories of older gamers around the world. Research was done here.
Once all of these scores were tallied, they would be averaged by the number of primary categories, in this case four, thus giving a final score which determined each soundtracks place on the chart. Due to the averaging system, Nostalgia and Non-Gaming Approval are unable to heavily weigh the scale, and a soundtrack that receives both bonus points will only have its average raised by half a point.
The advantage of this system is that it will make it much easier to scale soundtracks in the coming years. I can add and drop soundtracks as new ones are reviewed. This is in no way an end-all of a list. Some soundtracks I simply couldn't review due to limited song availability. Others simply came out too late or weren't brought to my attention until after the initial soundtrack list was compiled. So if one you want to see doesn't make the cut by the end, let me know and I'll see about reviewing it.
In any case, get ready, because starting February 14th, it's a five-a-week extravaganza!