- Video Games:Why Video Game Scores are Useless(2)
Thumbs Up or Down?
Trying to rationalize the numerical system just leads to more problems. Some sites say that a 7 out of 10 game is a good game with issues, but then what makes an 8 out of 10 game? Are there still issues? Did you smile more playing one game than the other?
On the flip side: Did a 2 out of 10 game make you feel sadder than a 3 out of 10? Don't get me started on sites that try and use decimals to further inflate their range. Then you have some places that judge a game on uniqueness. You can have a game with never before seen gameplay that is horrible, just as how there are amazing refinements of existing game mechanics. Not only that, but judging a game on uniqueness is a poor judge of quality.
And then we have the big one: What is a 10 out of 10 game? The 10 out of 10 score is the most subjective element there is when it comes to game reviews.
Let's get everyone on the same page about this: There is no perfect video game. Even the best games ever made had some kind of problem with them; you don't even need to nitpick to find them. You can say that a 10 out of 10 game worked on every level, but what are those levels?
You can't tell me that the story moved you, because that's subjective. You can't say that the gameplay was compelling, because that's also subjective. Here's my question to every game reviewer reading this: How would you objectively rate a game a 10 out of 10? The answer of course is obvious: You can't.
If you can't find an objective measurement to numerically rate something, then the system is inherently flawed. Another wrench in the works are sites that have multiple game reviewers. This further confuses your system, as one person's seven is another's eight and so on.
This is the subtle genius of the classic Siskel and Ebert Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down rating system. It removes any preconceptions of objectiveness with a review and focuses on the reviewer's opinion. You can like a movie but find enough flaws not to recommend it; just as you can hate a movie, but find that there are enough good parts to it.
When I started Game-Wisdom, I knew from the start that I didn't want to open up the can of worms of numerical ratings for games. Today, I realize that numerical scoring is just pointless for any accurate measurement of a video game. There are just too many abstract and subjective elements of a video game to be able to accurately assign a numerical value on a review.
One last topic that I know someone will mention: That video game scores are used to measure bonuses for developers and studios. In my opinion, we have a case of a broken system used for a broken practice that has made things worse for everyone all around.
For people who are trying to fight against corruption in the Game Industry, that makes up a sizable part of it.
At this point you can pretty much guess that Game-Wisdom won't be appearing on Metacritic any time soon. I would urge sites to not use game reviews, but at this point, I know that's not going to happen. Some sites use it as a boost to their popularity or reputation, while others are just a part of the system. Maybe I'll try to usher in a new rating system. Henceforth, all game reviews will be in the form of an interpretative dance.