Friday, January 13, 2012

Game (MAME) popularity and the Games of the Day

How does anyone know how popular or widely known any arcade/MAME game is?  Clearly, we can rattle off the Top X that everyone knows:  The Pac-Mans, Donkey Kongs and Tempests of the world, but if I want to find games that are lesser known as candidates for Game of the Day, how to I gauge their popularity?

Old school games are better known by geezers like me, while newer games - not so much.  I largely quit going to the arcades before Clinton was President.  So the games I know are based on my arcade history, console games I've played, games my friends told me about, even the geographical region I grew up in.  It's an easy trap to think that the games I know are the ones everyone is familiar with and also the opposite - if I didn't know a game, I figured most didn't.  But that's a little self-important, and so I wanted to find a better measurement of how well a game is known.  So, here a a few of the better tools I look at to find out.

1.  KLOV - the KLOV database has (almost) every arcade/MAME listed.  What I look at is the info it provides info about two things: census ownership and census "wants".  Part of the site allows user to list the games they have (ownership) and are looking for (wants).  For instance, Total Carnage scores 18 out of a possible 100 on ownership (comparatively speaking) and 9 out of 100 on their census of "wanted".  Obviouly, comparatively speaking, Total Carnage is not the most widely owned or desired game in the world, but that's just one source from one group of users.

2.  Arcade Game Popularity Charts - On (a great site) there is a tally of all of the times each arcade game is mentioned on three large usenet video game discussion groups.  (, and  Again, this is an inexact science, but a great tool to see how much a game is in the consciousness of the gaming world as it is simply a tally of often each game appears.  For instance, Ms. Pac-Man is first with 22,092 mentions and Total Carnage is 287th with 1,068.

3.  Rom Download counts at several sites - Mostly, I check Emuparadise (not all download sites give counts of downloads by rom).  So, by checking how many times a MAME rom has been downloaded, it gives another way to compare how popular games are.  For instance, Total Carnage isn't even in the Top 850 roms for downloads on the EP site.

So, if I love a game, I check all these sites.  If there are hundreds (sometimes there are thousands) of games that are more well-known or popular than the game I'm checking on, then it can be a Game of the Day.

1 comment:

  1. Well done. You remind me of myself. Another way I use to determine if a game is unpopular/obscure is if the game's artwork cannot be found to be viewed on the internet. If you search KLOV, Arcade-Flyers, Google Images, and other related video game websites and you can't find what the particular arcade game's cabinet, flyer, etc. looks like.