Monday, August 22, 2011

Bad Internet Poll

I think everyone knows that internet polls are pretty worthless, but one of the most pervasive forms I see used to misinform people, is ones attached to a news report or article, which then asks your opinion on the issue about which you've just given information. Generally, the information has a significant bias, significantly skewing the poll even beyond the poor sampling the internet provides.

Today, I came across a really fun example of this. IGN has an article on "Why the SNES is the King of RPGs". It's a pretty one sided article. It lists some of the great SNES RPGs that were fantastic, giving a few details about them, but doesn't even give a nod to another system to allow for any sort of honest comparison.

Yet that comparison is absolutely necessary since, in some ways, if not many, other systems have blown the SNES RPGs out of the water. Case in point: The advances in sound quality have allowed for high quality music to be placed in these games that have become some of the most memorable video game themes ever. Final Fantasy 7 is known for its beautiful symphonic soundtrack. So are other Final Fantasy games which has led to the creation of the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert. While this includes symphonic adaptations of the NES and SNES scores, it is far more faithful to the actual renderings for the game produced for the later systems.

Another aspect that has improved along these lines is the possibility for voice acting that has brought characters in games like Final Fantasy 10 to life. If these characters were merely text boxes, their emotions, also portrayed by detailed facial features, would not have endured as well as they have.

It should be noted that these games aren't on the same systems. FF7 was the Playstation 1, and FF10 was the Playstation 2. There's a few other notable titles, such as the Kingdom Hearts series, but to be fair, the SNES has more titles I would consider memorable.

But is that because the SNES is truly the king of RPGs? Or is it because the SNES simply had a larger number of RPGs from which to choose from which means more will fall into the "classic" category simply because of greater numbers? Or is it possible that they're only deemed classic because the reviewers grew up playing these games (ie, is there a psychological bias here)?

None of these are addressed, leaving a heavily skewed article that merely masquerades as legitimate.

And of course, to add to its pseudo-legitimacy, they add a poll. And not surprisingly, it tells them what they just told everyone else.

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