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The Famitsu 40/40 List: A Review

Editorial

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker CoverOver the last 24 years, popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has awarded 14 perfect scores.  For Famitsu magazine, a game review's final score is actually two to four total scores assigned by a collection of reviewers.  Technically, there's no such thing as a 40/40 score, but four 10/10's.  But gamers love numbers, and we love comparing one game's numbers to another game's numbers, so the 40/40 perfect score list is a great way for fanboys to scoff or gyrate in anticipation.

Outside of the country, Famitsu is the ultimate barometer of what Japan thinks of a particular game.  Famitsu scores are thrown about in headlines and rattled around in forum discussions, but you almost never hear why a score was awarded one number instead of the next.  This is undoubtedly because of the language barrier between Japan and the rest of the world, but also because numbers are easy for everyone to understand and the fact that Famitsu editors give their reviewers about 100 characters to explain what they thought about a game.

While I'm not personally a big fan of a game review's score (I'd much rather read the why and how), the Famitsu perfect score list is an intriguing specimen.  The eighth game in two years just garnered the spotlight: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but let's start at the beginning.

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