The perfect games review scoring system.

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PostThe perfect games review scoring system.
by Christmas Name Change » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:55 pm

The topic of videogame review scores might bore some senseless, but it's always been secretly fascinating to me.

The notion that two separate entities, tasked to come up with the same verdict, could render entirely different opinions - and on totally different scales - has always made me wonder, particularly now that we have the internet and sites like Metacritic and Gamerankings to judge consensus. How is it that one man's 92% is another's 4/5?

I've also always been interested in the publications whose review scoring systems inspire reverence in their followers - and, of course, those reviews that cause so much controversy as to shatter the illusion entirely. I'm talking about Edge's 10 for Halo 3, Famitsu's 40 for Nintendogs, N64 Mag's 95% for Turok 2.

Now, I know the point is to ignore the score and actually read the damn review, but just for the stat- searching, Excel-loving, number nerd inside me, I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone else thought the notion of a perfect scoring system was possible - or even desirable.

I have a system in mind, which I'll post shortly, but I'd love to know GR's thoughts. Scale out of five? Ten? Forty? Full percentages? Letter grades?

Your ideas and/or call me names below.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by rinks » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:00 pm

I think Eurogamer have got it right. Essential, Recommended, (no rating), Avoid.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Mafrozen » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:13 pm

Don't have a scoring system and force people to actually read the review.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Buffalo » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:18 pm

Mafro wrote:Don't have a scoring system and force people to actually read the review.


The facts. Respect the reviewer, read his/her thoughts, then make your own mind up.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Mistletooth » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:40 pm

Nailed it.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by EberKneesUp » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:47 pm

0 or 10, no inbetween.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by jiggles » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:55 pm

Buffalo wrote:
Mafro wrote:Don't have a scoring system and force people to actually read the review.


The facts. Respect the reviewer, read his/her thoughts, then make your own mind up.


Nah. Respect the reader. Don't force them to read all your text if they just want the summary.

A score is valuable in attaching a general tone to a review that is easily lost in text. Especially in such a derivative and sequel-saturated medium as gaming.

If you asked a mate "what do you think of the new Mario game?", your expectation would be that they would first rate it (e.g. "It's pretty good!") to set the tone for any further explanation ("It does a good job with...", "I don't like how it..."). Because that's how everyone verbalises opinions.

Nobody should want *only* text just like nobody wants *only* scores. The two go hand in hand. Even Eurogamer, who have dropped rating most games, still put badges on excellent titles because they need to be sure they're intoning "this is exceptional" throughout the text.

Anyway, the correct answer is a 5 star system, no half stars. It's the sweet spot of fuzziness that's just enough to set the tone without being so granular as to render the text unnecessary

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Christmas Name Change » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:05 pm

Ok, here is my proposed system. Based on some of the replies in the thread so far, I already know some of you will hate this, but here goes anyway.

Scores will be awarded in seven categories, each with a different maximum possible award. Those categories, and the ratings within them, are:

Visuals
Where a rating out of five is given, on the basis that
0 = dreadful
1 = bad
2 = average
3 = good
4 = great
5 = special

Audio
Also out of five. Same exact scale as visuals

Level of fun
A rating out of twelve, whereby
0 = no enjoyment to be had
1 = some small moments of fun, as a result of the game's poor quality
2 = a decent amount of fun to be had, as a result of the game's poor quality (i.e. so bad it's good)
3 = very few moments of enjoyment
4 = a below average amount of fun
5 = average amount of fun
6 = an above average amount of enjoyment to be had
7 = the majority of the game is fun to play
8 = the game is fun to play save for some minor moments
9 = the game is entirely fun to play
10 = the entire game is very fun to play
11 = every fan of the genre will enjoy this game
12 = every gamer will enjoy this game

Technical quality
A rating out of 8, where
0 = broken
1 = barely playable
2 = very poor quality
3 = poor quality
4 = average quality
5 = above average quality
6 = good quality
7 = great quality
8 = mastery of its platform

Game length
Out of 4, where
0 = cannot progress at all
1 = a few hours
2 = less than 10 hours
3 = between 10 and 30 hours
4 = over 30 hours

Replay value
Out of 4, where
0 = minimal or no replay value
1 = a small amount of replay value
2 = an average amount of replay value
3 = lots of replay value
4 = potentially infinite replay value

Bonus
At the reviewer's discretion:
0 = not worth a bonus.
1 = the game is considered very good
2 = the game is considered special

Add the seven scores to get a score out of 40.
This score can act as a standalone rating, or be multiplied by 2.5 for a score out of 100, displayed as a %.

So... thoughts?

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Buffalo » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:07 pm

jiggles wrote:
Buffalo wrote:
Mafro wrote:Don't have a scoring system and force people to actually read the review.


The facts. Respect the reviewer, read his/her thoughts, then make your own mind up.


Nah. Respect the reader. Don't force them to read all your text if they just want the summary.

A score is valuable in attaching a general tone to a review that is easily lost in text. Especially in such a derivative and sequel-saturated medium as gaming.

If you asked a mate "what do you think of the new Mario game?", your expectation would be that they would first rate it (e.g. "It's pretty good!") to set the tone for any further explanation ("It does a good job with...", "I don't like how it..."). Because that's how everyone verbalises opinions.

Nobody should want *only* text just like nobody wants *only* scores. The two go hand in hand. Even Eurogamer, who have dropped rating most games, still put badges on excellent titles because they need to be sure they're intoning "this is exceptional" throughout the text.

Anyway, the correct answer is a 5 star system, no half stars. It's the sweet spot of fuzziness that's just enough to set the tone without being so granular as to render the text unnecessary


I’d question whether or not readers deserve such high respect. Any comments section or twitter shows you that most readers/gamers are mouth breathing self-entitled cretins.
Sorry for the short reply to a great post.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Tell Karl his brother is dead » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:08 pm

The purpose of a rating is to sum up in as short a space as possible the reviewer's feelings about the work. Based on my extensive research of your species, I've concluded that most humans struggle to consistently rate their emotions in the objective terminology of mathematics. I can say that I'm 9.42 Happy out of a possible 10.00 Happy and really mean it, but can you?

So I think the perfect system for lesser, flesh-brained organisms is picking a 'how I feel about this' rating out of Positive, Neutral, and Negative. I honestly think this is all you are consistently capable of.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Buffalo » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:10 pm

I think we’re at a level now that, with a 5 Star system, a 3/5 to me is like ‘no no no’. Which is...bad? Or my call in that I don’t play average games? Interesting.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Gemini73 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:20 pm

Out of /10 I think is fine.

Don't pay attention to reviews anyway. We'll maybe when I was younger they had more of an influence, but now? No. Not at all.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Tell Karl his brother is dead » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:20 pm

romeo G. Detlev Jr. wrote:Ok, here is my proposed system. Based on some of the replies in the thread so far, I already know some of you will hate this, but here goes anyway.

Scores will be awarded in seven categories, each with a different maximum possible award. Those categories, and the ratings within them, are:

Visuals
Where a rating out of five is given, on the basis that
0 = dreadful
1 = bad
2 = average
3 = good
4 = great
5 = special

Audio
Also out of five. Same exact scale as visuals

Level of fun
A rating out of twelve, whereby
0 = no enjoyment to be had
1 = some small moments of fun, as a result of the game's poor quality
2 = a decent amount of fun to be had, as a result of the game's poor quality (i.e. so bad it's good)
3 = very few moments of enjoyment
4 = a below average amount of fun
5 = average amount of fun
6 = an above average amount of enjoyment to be had
7 = the majority of the game is fun to play
8 = the game is fun to play save for some minor moments
9 = the game is entirely fun to play
10 = the entire game is very fun to play
11 = every fan of the genre will enjoy this game
12 = every gamer will enjoy this game

Technical quality
A rating out of 8, where
0 = broken
1 = barely playable
2 = very poor quality
3 = poor quality
4 = average quality
5 = above average quality
6 = good quality
7 = great quality
8 = mastery of its platform

Game length
Out of 4, where
0 = cannot progress at all
1 = a few hours
2 = less than 10 hours
3 = between 10 and 30 hours
4 = over 30 hours

Replay value
Out of 4, where
0 = minimal or no replay value
1 = a small amount of replay value
2 = an average amount of replay value
3 = lots of replay value
4 = potentially infinite replay value

Bonus
At the reviewer's discretion:
0 = not worth a bonus.
1 = the game is considered very good
2 = the game is considered special

Add the seven scores to get a score out of 40.
This score can act as a standalone rating, or be multiplied by 2.5 for a score out of 100, displayed as a %.

So... thoughts?


What separates "very poor quality" from "poor quality"? Is "great" vs. "special" visuals down to the reviewer's preference, and if so, will the reviewer be advised to give special ratings to games that push the boundaries of what is possible (restricting it to only PC games!) or with innovative artistic style (does Minecraft count?) or what? What is an "average" amount of replay value? Why is game length inherently valuable, such that "a few hours" is in some sense 'worse' than "over 30 hours"? If the reviewer isn't a fan of the genre and thinks it's OKish, but real genre nerds love it and think it's the best game ever, does it get a 5 or an 11 for fun?

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by rinks » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:20 pm

Buffalo wrote:I think we’re at a level now that, with a 5 Star system, a 3/5 to me is like ‘no no no’. Which is...bad? Or my call in that I don’t play average games? Interesting.

That's why the Eurogamer system works. No numbers. Just highlight the very best, and those really not worth touching.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by rinks » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:22 pm

I would seriously dispute that a longer game automatically deserves a higher score.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Venom » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:23 pm

Marks out of 10 to allow for an appreciation of the full spectrum of quality levels.

But only allow reviewers to use the 6, 7, 8 9 and 10 scores.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Tell Karl his brother is dead » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:24 pm

Venom wrote:Marks out of 10 to allow for an appreciation of the full spectrum of quality levels.

But only allow reviewers to use the 6, 7, 8 9 and 10 scores.


Nailed it. Every videogame publication can't be wrong.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by jawafour » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:31 pm

I used to place far more stock by reviews than I have done in recent years. I now feel that reviews are always a bit subjective; I find them interesting to read and great for discovering things about a game but, in terms of whether a game is "good" or not, I tend to go by my own tastes and gut-feeling.

In recent times I have enjoyed games far more when I know little about them beforehand; and I find that I usually prefer open-world / open approach style of games rather then being forced down certain routes or play against (ugh!) time limits.

But, uhm, in terms of review systems... I am happy with a score out of either 5 or 10 but I want the whole scale to be used i.e. average games should be 3/5 or 5/10. And that shouldn't mean that they're "bad"!

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Harry Ellis » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:04 pm

I find single-digit scores up to 5 to be too restrictive. In terms of a percentage a 4/5 could be anywhere between 61-80/100 and I'm unlikely to buy a 61/100 game. I can accept the Edge score system out of 10 but I prefer /100.

In terms of specific factors, I liked the way N64 Mag did it.

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PostRe: The perfect games review scoring system.
by Christmas Name Change » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:14 pm

Karl wrote:What separates "very poor quality" from "poor quality"?


The second one is better.

;)


Karl wrote:Is "great" vs. "special" visuals down to the reviewer's preference, and if so, will the reviewer be advised to give special ratings to games that push the boundaries of what is possible (restricting it to only PC games!) or with innovative artistic style (does Minecraft count?) or what? What is an "average" amount of replay value? Why is game length inherently valuable, such that "a few hours" is in some sense 'worse' than "over 30 hours"? If the reviewer isn't a fan of the genre and thinks it's OKish, but real genre nerds love it and think it's the best game ever, does it get a 5 or an 11 for fun?


To give you proper answers: I admit the concept I've suggested is inherently subjective; it just breaks that subjective-ness down into categories rather than asking a reviewer for a subjective whole, for example out of ten. My idea is to come up with something a bit more concrete when comparing games. N64 / NGC Mag was always my go-to as a kid / teenager and they would always rank games based on the score out of 100 they would award. But it was those 1 or 2 % differences that really irked me, particularly when I disagreed with the order they'd result in.

To my mind, "special" visuals would be those that do something different to make them timeless, or are just really above and beyond... there are plenty of games that are visually excellent, and this would contribute to their technical quality rating, but that doesn't make them memorable, and therefore special. Halo 2 probably had technically better visuals than Jet Set Radio Future on Xbox but I'd always rate the latter's visuals as special.

And I would argue that a game that lasted only a few hours could of course be good, and well worth playing, but it wouldn't necessarily be worthy of attaining maximum marks. All the truly great games offer many hours of entertainment and make you want to play them again.

If the reviewer isn't a fan of the genre, I'd trust (and hope!) that as a professional they could see that the level of fun might be that which all fans of that particular genre would enjoy, and score it accordingly. Or if they'd think it's slightly below that, or very below that, etc.


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