The WTF World of Wikipedia

In the future, when Captain Kirk is battling tribbles and Data is learning how to love, this lopsided comparison will make complete sense. Why wouldn't the entries for the glorious Starship Enterprise dwarf that for a dusty museum piece like the automobile? We expect the pages for hoverboards, robot maids, personal time machines and giant laser death rays to do the same.

For the present, though, why does a make-believe space ship deserve more words than the planet's principal mode of transportation? Also, why does that make-believe space ship deserve no less than nine separate pages, including unique entries for six different models of the NCC-1701? Seriously?!

Also less important than the Starship Enterprise!

• Planes = 5,132
• Trains = 2,850
• Boats = 1,884
• Bicycles = 5,112
• Motorcycles = 5,446
• Shoes = 3,241
• Lunar rovers = 1,844
• Space shuttles = 6,217
• Space stations = 1,830
• Outer space = 3,000

You think Hideo Kojima's cut scenes are long? Try reading Leo Tolstoy's epic tome. War and Peace was published in four books over five years, covers nearly a decade of history and includes more than 1,400 pages, more than 560,000 words and more than 3 million characters. It's generally considered one of the longest novels - hell, one of the longest things - of all time.

Somehow, though, the writers on Wikipedia managed to summarize the whole plot in 1,922 words. Well done! Now we'd be really impressed if you guys could squeeze the plot of a single damn videogame - even the rambling old man that is Metal Gear Solid 4 - into less than 2,548 words.

The top numbers (in orange) are for the entire entries. The numbers in the preceding paragraph, as well as the list below, are for the subsections entitled "plot," "story," or "synopsis."

Also less important than Metal Gear Solid 4!
(by plot, story or synopsis)

• Romeo and Juliet = 770
• Hamlet = 780
• Moby Dick = 845
• Of Mice and Men = 288
• A Tale of Two Cities = 1,341
• Atlas Shrugged = 673
• The Hobbit = 465
• Citizen Kane = 430
• Casablanca = 834
• Chinatown = 854

We won't get jealous and play the competition card here. EGM is important, a veritable titan of the industry with a massive and devoted following. Many of us here at GamesRadar include ourselves in that camp.

But come on... do the latest screenshots of Chun-Li's thighs really carry more weight than the 2008 election? Do you really need to know the review score for Turok more than you need to know the reasons for the recession? Is the dropping price of the PS3 more critical than the rising price of gasoline?

Yes, Electronic Gaming Monthly - and any videogame publication - is totally worthy of 4,429 words. We just wish that Time and other vital news sources received the same attention.

Also less important than EGM!

• Newsweek = 1,393
• USA Today = 2,685
• National Geographic = 1,949
• The New Yorker = 3,874
• The Washington Post = 2,449
• CNN = 4,281
• Fox News = 3,758
• "Magazines" = 842
• "Newspapers" = 3,537
• GamesRadar = 201

We love, love, love the soundtracks to Final Fantasy... but someone put way, way, way too much effort into this Wikipedia page. The intro alone is nearly 700 words, lengthier than the entries for many singers, bands and genres. Rock and roll, the biggest genre of them all, doesn't stand a chance.

Of course, the vastness of the web was made to hold such exceedingly niche minutiae, but even the fan who owns all of these compilation albums probably agrees that they could have fit onto the page for general Final Fantasy music. Unless that fan is the one who wrote this obsessive love letter to begin with...

Also less important than obscure Final Fantasy music!

• Beethoven = 6,268
• Mozart = 6,331
• Frank Sinatra = 5,743
• Kelly Clarkson = 5,849
• Amy Winehouse = 7,269
• Rihanna = 2,977
• Kanye West = 4,713
• Jay-Z = 6,658
• Nirvana = 4,157
• Radiohead = 6,495


  • INFINITYGAUNTLET - July 28, 2010 7:19 p.m.

    Metal Gear is obviously more integral to the universe than War & Peace. Also, Jesus has a mean corner kick.
  • Plaim - July 26, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    Oh god, not Trask Ulgo. WHY COULDN'T I SAVE HIM?!
  • dbleja - July 23, 2010 6:44 a.m.

    Hilarious article - I laughed a lot while reading it. But I wonder if one of the reasons these nerdy/obscure topics have higher word counts is because there are fewer people actively cleaning up and 'policing' the page. I imagine that on a page like "God", there are many theologians, historians and professors who regularly summarise, reorganise and consolidate the content that people have written, as well as delete blocks of text they deem biased or otherwise unprofessional. This probably happens less on the "Knuckles" page, so gushing fans have more freedom to go overboard.
  • VaneTrago - July 22, 2010 7:05 a.m.

    Amy Winehouse coming in second on that list of rock artists should in and of itself show the sad state of affairs that is Wikipedia.
  • waffledragon33 - July 21, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    go knuckles
  • EPICish8 - July 21, 2010 9:53 p.m.

    Anyone notest that they said EGM had more words then them by alot
  • Kefsquall - September 11, 2008 2:46 a.m.

    Great feature GamesRadar, thumbs up. Nobuo Uematsu beating all of those rock legends is a such a cool thing...
  • Da-Ku - September 1, 2008 8:32 a.m.

    Go Final Fantasy Music!
  • Mattgue - May 29, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    This is the best article ever but really how did Kirby beat hte dog and how in this world did final fantasy albums beat ROCK AND ROLL
  • killemall - February 19, 2009 9:06 p.m.

    I think that was the best article i've read to date... But its true, scholars and experts don't have the time to go through wikipedia and edit articles that should be taught in school anyway, and find a list of sources that some geek isn't going to just contest anyway. It's mostly good information but sometimes their mods are dickholes even to the experts... i want wikipedia to work as a concept... but its waaay too much work even for me(i'm an admin asst. and therefore have more free time at work) so hey, why not? i've been looking at knuckles page all day i haven't even thought about the god page...
  • Marasmusine1 - January 8, 2009 5:18 p.m.

    You combined the word count of all the CoD articles, and compared them with the single, introductory article on WWII? Didn't you look at the articles, or just hit "word count"? The WWII topic is covered by hundreds and hundreds of Wikipedia articles... The WWII word count must dwarf that of CoD. D- must try harder.

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