What is pwnRank?

pwnRank provides the most comprehensive "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" that you'll find anywhere. How do we accomplish this? By compiling and interpreting data from 85+ relevant "top game" lists (from a variety of sources around the web) and outputting the data as a ranked list of games; 1-500.

What makes pwnRank different from all the other lists?

Greatest. Best. Most Amazing. All-Time Favorite. Highest Rated. Most Important. Most Influential. Best-Selling...

These are all worthy monikers for describing greatness in gaming, and many of these titles have been attached to lists created by leaders in the gaming industry - you've probably seen a few yourself. But how do you make sense of it all? Whose list is the best?

That's where pwnRank steps in. We collect the relevant data that's out there, distill it, and present the most comprehensive and unbiased list of top games ever made. You can think of it as the "Hall of Fame" for video games. As gamers ourselves, we love this stuff. We're genuinely interested in seeing the results and sharing them with you.

Check out the lists that currently factor in to the pwnRank scoring system.

Note: pwnRank.com does not directly influence any of the rankings, other than running pre-existing lists from credible sources around the world through the pwnRank scoring system. In 2014, a pwnRank Staff list was created, and added to the database, but being that we are still a relatively small operation, the list's core value does not have much effect on the overall rankings.

How does the ranking system work?

We've developed a sensible scoring system, which we apply to the data that we've collected. This produces an overall "pwnScore" for each game, and then the games are ranked. The more relevant the data source, the more the data is worth. Newer lists are worth more than older lists. A "Top 100" list is worth more than a "Top 20" list. Based on these guidelines, along with some others, we've found that this scoring system delivers extremely balanced results.

All of those honorary titles that were mentioned earlier come into play. It's not just a team of editors' favorites. It's not just one community's voting results. It's not just the best-selling games. It's not just great new games; or great classics. It's all of that, and much more, mixed together into a balanced and as-unbiased-as-possible ranking system.

Much of the data that we draw from is not static. For example, a list made up of community voting is ever-changing. We account for this during the list update process. As new rankings and results are released, they are added or updated.

More FAQs

Where did the idea for pwnRank come from?
The idea for pwnRank came from simply wanting to determine what the best games in history were (because we're nerds). It started with compiling the data from a few major lists. Once we got started, we couldn't stop. We thought it'd be cool to share with the rest of the gaming community, so here we are.

How does your scoring system work?
This is probably the question most-asked of us; and rightfully so. How do you know we aren't full of crap? While we aren't going to provide our exact algorithm, we can shed some light on the philosophy behind it. Here are the guidelines that contribute to the scoring system:

  • Each list that we use is given a "core value" - from 1-5 (5 being the most). Core values are assigned based on relevancy. Relevancy is determined based on industry and social media influence (for website/editor ranked lists) and number of community members, number of votes and/or number of voters (for voted/dynamic lists).
  • Gaming-specific sources are weighted heavier than non-gaming-specific sources. For example, IGN has a higher core value than Rolling Stone.
  • The older a list becomes, the less it is worth, based on a core value percentage reduction. This helps to show which games have staying power, and also penalizes older lists, as they do not/cannot include games that were released after the list was created. We do not use lists older than 8 years.
  • The number of games on a list equals the most points a game can receive (up to 100), multiplied by the adjusted core value.
  • Scores from each ranking on each list are compiled, and each game is assigned a "pwnScore" (denoted by "p" following the score total).
Our goal is comprehensive accuracy, and we believe we've come up with a good way to represent it.

What is your criteria for the lists that you use?
To provide balanced and accurate results, we adhere to specific criteria when selecting our lists. There are many great and entertaining lists out there that we aren't using, for one reason or another. Here is a look at our list selection guidelines:

  • We are inclusive of console, PC and mobile games (if they are ranked, of course).
  • Generally speaking, the list must be inclusive of all platforms and genres, at the time of its release. For example, we wouldn't use a list that ranks the best NES games of all time, or the best RPGs of all time.
  • Due to the heavy influence that console gaming has in the world of video game ranking, we recently decided to include top-tier PC gaming lists as well. This has proven to balance things out a bit. There is also quite a bit of overlap, as many PC games are also available on consoles.
  • The list must be no older than 8 years.
  • We use no more than 100 ranks on any given list, even if the list includes more than 100 ranks.
  • The list must be of significant relevance, as described in the previous section. For the most part, we do not use single community member lists.
Think we missed a list? Feel free to make a suggestion!

How do you handle games that are available on multiple platforms?
We don't differentiate between platforms, per game. This is also how the majority of the lists that we pull from operate. It should be assumed that the game is ranked based on its best form.

How often are you planning to update the rankings?
Several of the lists that we draw from are dynamic; meaning they change on a routine basis. Our goal is to update these results on a somewhat routine basis. We'll also perform on-the-spot updates as new lists are introduced. When we update with a new list(s), we'll also account for changes to the dynamic lists. This should lead to somewhat regular updates. You can see the last time the rankings were updated on the homepage, near the top of the Top 100.

How can I stay up to date on list updates?
Follow us on Twitter to get the latest on future list updates.

Are there more plans for pwnRank.com?
We have several plans in the hopper, and awesome hopes and dreams beyond that. Follow us on Twitter, and stay up to date on what's new! If you're interested in getting involved with development, or data analysis, let us know!

Have a question we can answer? Follow us on Twitter to get in touch with us!