So, you like writing Top 10 lists...
Well, then you and your top 10 lists should get a room. Seriously.
And not just the top 10 lists either, but Top 5, Top 7 or whatever number of points you have on your lists. Here's a list of the top 5 reasons to why you should stop writing lists and posting them on your gaming website. Then a little notice on why you might want to write a list after all (see? Turns out I have a heart of gold)
So here we go: Top 5 reasons to stop writing lists:
Reason 1: No one REALLY cares...
You know it. You don't really think your "Top 5 video game villains" will add anything new to the table, you just feel like writing it. Well, the problem is that even if no one has made the super-creative shocking and deep twist of choosing Sephiroth as the best villain of all time before, it won't really change anything. You're just some person (unless you're a celebrity) and not some expert on videogame villains (unless you're an expert on videogame villains), and while people may be inclined to have an opinion on your list, your list isn't likely to have any impact of any kind other than that of a forum post... which brings us to the next point.
Reason 2: You list is a damn forum post!
Yes it is. Look at your "Top 10 videogame soundtracks" list. Is there really anything in here that adds any gravity to your post? Have you talked to a lot of people? Done research? Counted votes? No. You're just writing your personal favourites. Or MAYBE you and your two friends are, which is all the same to me. Case and point: Your list is very light on information and very heavy on your own opinion. Off to ZetaBoards you go.
Reason 3: Your list is old
Yeah, it's been written before. FFVI is the best Final Fantasy game, you say? Marvelous. Take it to a forum, and expect someone to say "I remember reading this somewhere..."
Reason 4: Your list doesn't say anything
Here's the recipe for your average list:
-TOP 5 PS3 Games-
3. Red Dead Redemption
4. Mushroom Wars
5. Uncharted 2
The problem is that even if you give some information about the games, and give a very reasonable explanation to why these picks made your list - the list has no real message. I don't mean to brag, but at least I have some sort of theme or moral in this list. Which basically is "Don't write lists". I'm trying to prove a point. If you're going to take lists above forum/blog material standards you either need heavy research - or to use your list to further some sort of statement. But like 98% of the lists that are written every day, you don't.
Reason 5: Lists are VERY light reading.
Even if you, unlike yours truly, have great writing abilities and some really interesting points to make, people are very likely to just skim through your list. The problem is that people are also drawn to lists because of this. They feel they've read the entire thing when they've skimmed through all the points, and that's how you're more likely to get people to at least view your list. Unfortunately, they really just care about the games you picked. And then they're going to be angry about why you didn't pick their favourite game. You have a disclaimer saying "This is just my opinion" you say? Too bad they're not reading it.
In a nutshell; writing lists is really just the laziest way to express yourself on the Internet. There's no need for creative writing, or really any information at all. But there are websites out there who put a great deal of effort into their lists. Gamesradar comes to mind. Unfortunately the really terrible lists are given as much attention as the good ones. When I wrote this there was a top 5 list among the hottest articles here on N4G. It's god awful. You won't learn anything new, it's ill-informed and you really get the feeling that the writer just made it up as he or she went along. Who knows how many lists have been writte since I wrote this.
Lists can work very well, mind. So if you really do feel like writing one, why not put some effort into it? If not then do like me and post it as a blog or forum post. This list does have a point, but is it IGN worthy? Hardly. I haven't even read through it, and that is why I should never be allowed near the "hottest articles" section. So please stop exploiting people's need for light reading. Either do some research or keep your lists where it belongs: in the dark alleys of the Internet.