IGN recently posted an article on the rationale of giving perfect scores to games they review. I thought it was a well written article and covered some things that I’ve gone through here. One quote strikes me in particular.
It’s possible that there are journalists out there – pros and amateurs both – who are prepared to deliver a 10 one day, and so they’re mooning over their unused statement like it’s a dragon’s egg.
That was me, back in the day. I’ve run this site for six years now and I’ve given exactly two perfect scores out: Grand Theft Auto 4 for the Xbox 360 back in ’08 and Portal 2 for PC this year (looking back, GTA4 may have been the most overrated game I’ve done). Before giving that first 10/10 (our scoring system in 2008) I was looking for a game that I thought earned that prestigious score. GTA 4 was such a well done, well polished game that I felt I’d finally found ‘the one.’ Once I gave out my first one, it actually became easier to consider it for future reviews. Some games that have come very close to a perfect score include Oblivion (too many bugs, didn’t like the Oblivion dimension at all), Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 (just a few nagging issues holding them back), Skyrim (too many bugs, like Oblivion) and Team Fortress 2 (seemed shy on content).
Since the site revamp in February this year we’re have two scoring systems. Our first was the one you’ll through most of the site, a 5 star system. I liked it for it’s simplicity but I disliked having only 10 points (half stars) to work with. I’ve since gone to a 100% rating to give me 20 rating points (5% increments) but it could still be improved. The fact is that all rating systems are unique and in the end somewhat arbitrary. People just rank things. Everyone does. Everybody has a hierarchy of things to like or don’t like, and can probably put them in an order of some sort. The game reviewing community would do well to find a way to come to a common score that can be easily compared. Metacritic does a good job of aspiring to this, but it doesn’t include all scores, particularly from small reviewers like us here at AAGH.
In the end, game reviews are allot about finding a reviewer you trust or can relate to. If you – like many – think reviews in general are corrupt/wrong/stupid, then please, do your own. Write your own reviews. Many people think that way so there must be a market there. I try to relate to the average gamer, the one who’s a hardcore dedicated gamer but isn’t obsessed with perfection. Busy? Like games, but don’t have time for them all? Not a completionist? You’ll fit right in here. Everyone else? You’re just as welcome.