In the perpetual war for viewership, Youtube channels related to gaming (and various other topics) have to regularly produce new content. One of the most common types of videos you’ll find Youtube gaming channels is the Top 10 List (or Top 5, or Top 20, or whatever). The content creators of the channel pick a particular theme, and then rank the top 10 things related to that theme. While I personally think that most Top 10 Lists on Youtube gaming channels are a waste of time to watch, the fact that they are so common and get so many views demonstrates that they are a proven method of getting clicks online. There are many reasons why this is so, and in this post I though I’d list four of them that stand out in my mind. In fact, I’m going to turn this into my own Top 4 List. Here, in no particular order, are my Top 4 Reasons Why Top 10 Lists Are So Common And So Successful On Youtube.
First, Top 10 Lists can be comparatively easy to generate. Unlike other pieces of gaming media, such as investigative journalism or game reviews, a random Top 10 List can potentially be slapped together fairly quickly. Especially topics with a small number of potential entries, such as ranking the mainline Uncharted games, (there are only four, unless you count Golden Abyss, in which case there are five) the list itself can be organized quickly, and then you just need some B-roll game footage and a short voiceover recording. There are tons of easy gaming-related topics to choose from, and though it is true that as time goes on you’ll having to dig deeper to come up with new Top 10 Lists, for awhile they can be cranked out with abandon.
Second, these lists offer us the opportunity to feel vindicated in our own preferences with regards to whatever is being ranked. There’s a certain mental satisfaction in seeing your own picks for a particular subject appearing at or near the top of other persons’ lists. It feels good to see that someone else agrees with you on what the most underrated PS2 games are, or the best entries in the Final Fantasy series. Other people agree with us, therefore in our own minds we are cultured, knowledgeable, and wise, if not superior.
Third, and closely related to the previous reason, Top 10 Lists give us another opportunity to argue with each other over ultimately meaningless things. When our own picks are towards the bottom of the list, or not on the list at all, we somehow feel justified in bringing out the worst of our inner demons to show just how wrong the list is. The creators of the list are obviously uneducated idiots, or worse, and it’s up to us to let the world know via the Youtube comments section.
Fourth, they can just be fun to make. Back in late 2013 through early 2014, I did my own list related to my top 20 favorite games of the PS3/Xbox 360/Nintendo Wii console generation. Doing so gave me a chance to reminisce on games that I loved playing from that console era and bring back some great memories in the process. While it was a little agonizing to cut a number of great games from the final list, the trip down memory lane was undeniably a good experience. I’m actually planning on doing a new list later this year with some of my favorite games so far from the PS4/Xbox One generation, and I think that will be a fun list too.