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Do Game Review Scores Matter?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-give-this-nutter-three-chainsaws dept.

Editorial 88

jasoncart writes "This piece on Ferrago discusses the use of review scores and the significance they play in gamers purchasing decisions. Ultimately, according to columnist Ben Parfitt, review scores are pointless." From the article: "Few things wind me up more than when what appeared to be a well-balanced and thoughtful gaming discussion descends into a successive barrage of review scores and Gamerankings ratings."

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Of course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11662551)

Of course they matter! How else could possibly any slashdotter score?

first cumshot! (1)

ircbuddy (732046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662606)

owned

Re:first cumshot! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11662658)

my god, you reminded me the "cookie" game when i was a kid... ever played it? it went like this: there was a cookie and we would masturbate and cum on the cookie. the last one had to eat it. i never lost because i am gay so looking at five boys masturbating always turned me on. incidentally, i own a mac today. i am that gay. interesting story, isn't it?

Take them with a grain of salt (4, Informative)

Tanmi-Daiow (802793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662639)

I think that what you should do is read the scores that you want to read but dont believe them to the letter. I read a couple of gaming magazines, i look at the score they give some games and take those into consideration when buying games. I dont put all my faith in those scores but i at least see if other people liked the game and how much. Sometimes they blow certain parts of a game way outta proportion and ive found those kinda features. So i read multiple reviews from different sources of the same game. If all the sources give a decent review, then that also adds to my consideration of the game. So i think you should read them, if you want to, and if you do, take them with a grain of salt and read up on the games and the reviewers both.

Re:Take them with a grain of salt (1)

DarthMAD (805372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662688)

Yeah, I agree that if you're going to use reviews as part of the decision to purchase a game, you should use several reviews from different sources. I primarlily rely on Maximum PC for advice, but also read other reviews if I seriously consider buying a game. However, frankly, I don't read the reviews seriously unless I'm already interested, which is a logical thing to do. No one actually goes out and buys a game just because it gets high review scores.

Re:Take them with a grain of salt (2, Interesting)

Tanmi-Daiow (802793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662710)

Exactly, i read reviews in PC Gamer, on ign.com, gamespy.com, gamespot.com, etc. But i also talk to friends who have the game and they help make my decisions on games to get. But i never fully rely on the scores.

Re:Take them with a grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11680082)

I don't usually pay attention to the scores myself, unless they are noticeably bad[4.0]. I just read the reviews to see the pros/cons of the game and, along with the reviewer's playing experience, use those to judge how decent a game is. Although, I mainly use them to find out what games are out now.

Reviewers are robots. (4, Insightful)

schild (713993) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662667)

When game reviewers on the big sites stop writing like robots, maybe [the scores] will stop mattering.

The best judgement of a game (because of the above), is to see anomalies in gameranking.com listings. If IGN or Gamespot or Gamespy or EGM give a review that seems to be an anomaly, ignore it. It's a bought review.

Always read the review giving a game the lowest score. Or stop reading reviews with scores altogether. The latter works well for me.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (1, Interesting)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662721)

Game review scores don't matter. I really think they are usually written by idiots who focus more on graphics and special effects than actual gameplay.

Read the reviews of the game but in the end don't read the scores they are given, because if the game doesn't require a computer faster than has ever been built to render it will not display well.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (1, Funny)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662900)

*grubmels* "meant to say if a game doesn't require a a computer faster than has ever been build it will not score well"..

Moral to this story: don't post from work!!!

Re:Reviewers are robots. (5, Interesting)

golgotha007 (62687) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662810)

If IGN or Gamespot or Gamespy or EGM give a review that seems to be an anomaly, ignore it. It's a bought review.

You can be sure that at Gamers.com [gamers.com] there are no bought reviews. In fact, in certain situations we've even received hate email by developers and publishers for not praising their game. We report what we consider to be fair and just, despite all the buzz.

Of course, not everyone should trust a single reviewer's opinion over a particular title. That's why we have a special section (Newest Games [gamers.com] ) in our forums to let new games fall under even more scrutiny by our members.

Between reading a review and following up on other gamers opinions, one should have a rough idea if the game is worth purchasing.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (2, Interesting)

MiceHead (723398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664152)

You can be sure that at Gamers.com there are no bought reviews. In fact, in certain situations we've even received hate email by developers and publishers for not praising their game. We report what we consider to be fair and just, despite all the buzz.

The upside to that is if you don't get angry when a game is poorly-received, it means that you weren't passionate enough about making it. :) Of course, yelling at your reviewers [gamedrool.com] may not work out so well in your favor, either. I'm always reluctant to contact reviewers asking them for more insight, but I do try to send a note of thanks.

From the outside, it seems that Rockstar did a good job in this respect -- the second-in-series, Grand Theft Auto II received low marks [ign.com] in various reviews, but they seem to have taken them as feedback, and produced a winner with GTA III.

Between reading a review and following up on other gamers opinions, one should have a rough idea if the game is worth purchasing.

I might twist that slightly -- given the number of games available these days, I'd say that professional and player reviews most often give me an idea as to whether it's even worthwhile to try the demo.
____________________________________________
Inago Rage - A demo worth downloading(!) [dejobaan.com]

Re:Reviewers are robots. (3, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664342)

Gamers might not get money for review scores, but you guys seem to have an uncanny ability to give scores thatseem to match the text of the reviews. For example:

Building on the success of Metroid Prime, developer Retro Studios has unleashed another masterpiece with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. While investigating a distress signal on the mysterious planet Aether, bounty hunter Samus Aran finds herself caught in a war between two warring factions, the peaceful dwellers of the light world, the Luminoth, and the evil creatures of the dark world, the Ing. The sequel features improved graphics, a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, new weapons, suits, and visors for Samus to use, as well as a host of menacing creatures to blast and puzzles to solve. There's also a tacked on multiplayer mode that, while not exactly as thrilling as other deathmatch games on the market, will still manage to suck away a few hours of your life. Beautiful, intense, and full of high production values, Metroid Prime 2 Echoes is one of 2004's greatest games.

And, right after claiming it's one of the best games of the year, the score is 3/5. The same score that "Hamtaro ham-ham games" and "The punisher", where the text of the review says "but to spend $49.99 on this game only proves that you're either a huge Punisher fan (which is fine) or that you enjoy "punishing" yourself". To me, that makes as much sense as Chewbacca living in Endor.

Bigger sites coomit the same sin (just read the Halo 2 review in gamespot, and then look at the score), but if you guys want to gain the audience that gamers once had, you have to do better than this.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (2, Interesting)

SansTinfoilHat (759207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665276)

Bigger sites coomit the same sin (just read the Halo 2 review in gamespot, and then look at the score), but if you guys want to gain the audience that gamers once had, you have to do better than this.

And you have to stop halting my experience with full screen ads every page because I refuse to let you put a tracking cookie on my computer. The "Click here to skip this ad" is also barely visible in Firefox.

I know you need to feed the bandwidth family, but please come up with a less obtrusive advertising scheme. I won't be going back to gamers.com because of this (it simply takes too long to see if it is worth my time) so you won't be getting my eyeball revenue anyway.

Just my hopefully constructive criticism.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (1)

golgotha007 (62687) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665967)

Thanks for letting us know about this issue.
This type of ad is called a rich media ad. You should only see it once every 100 times you visit Gamers.com, so we didn't think it was that much of an intrusion. Personally, I've never seen the ad (and I go to the site 10 times a day).

However, the entire reason we exist is for people like yourself, so I'm going to forward this up the chain and see if we can come up with a better solution.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (1)

schild (713993) | more than 9 years ago | (#11666269)

I'd never been to your site or heard of it - despite the easily remembered title.

The rich media ad could be dumped easily by moving the advertisment below the fold on the left to the right above the fold. Stretch out the top banners, make the page your typical 3 column jobber, and boom, you've got more advertising space above the fold and it's relatively unintrusive. Of you can go the route we went at f13 and make everything modular.

On another note, if you want to convince people that your ads are worth reading - don't waste time giving games like Constantine any recognition. Bad ideas are usually just that. Bad.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11666308)

Good god, someone recognising a problem with intrusive advertising and promising to try and do something about it?

I'm so impressed, I'm going straight to your site to click through a few banners out of sheer amazement.

Re:Reviewers are robots. (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11674917)

The best judgement of a game (because of the above), is to see anomalies in gameranking.com listings. If IGN or Gamespot or Gamespy or EGM give a review that seems to be an anomaly, ignore it. It's a bought review.

You have this backwards. Anomalies are usually the independent reviews, and will more often than not give you closer to a "true" score for a game (if there is such a thing - games are pretty subjective, moreso than a lot of other "arts").

Actually, based on my five years in the game industry, first writing reviews for a living and then working on the publishing side, I've never seen an outright bought review. But game reviewers are human and they're weak; they're extremely susceptible to subtle payola and gifts, they're distracted by pretty girls, they're hardly immune to a good PR department. A publisher that's good at publishing knows how to work the reviewers and will do everything possible on all of the major mags and sites short of offering actual cash. They'll offer an all-expense paid trip out to see the game, with a room at a fancy hotel, they'll take them out for drinks (often at a "gentleman's club"), they'll usually have some sort of fun event set up. They'll pretend they're the reviewer's best friend - someone you wouldn't want to let down with a bad review, right?

This happens on every big game. On the biggest games, editorial staffs can hype each other to death. (Everybody reads everybody else's magazines and web sites.) By the end of it, game reviewers have convinced themselves of how big and good a game is, and they naturally gush excitedly about it so as not to appear behind the curve. If you owned a magazine and you didn't have Vice City on the cover back in 2002, man, you were out of it.

The thing you have to remember is how incestuous the game industry is. There is obviously competition, but these guys all know each other and are all friends. Game reviewers are one big voting bloc; they hang out together at events, they see each other multiple times per year, they often simply shuttle back and forth between publications. Publisher PR departments are comprised of either distractingly pretty girls or former reviewers that the current crop all know well. There is a tremendous amount of groupthink and peer pressure - it's like high school. If you're in a group of four guys sitting at a bar table and three of them are gushing about how great a game is, are you going to be the odd man out? I mean, this is your job - do you want to look like an idiot in front of your peers and colleagues? Or, failing that, would you, as an uber-gaming geek, want to disappoint that hot-ass chick in the PR department who's simply asking you for one little favor in writing that positive review?

It's a screwed up system, and for that reason I generally do not even bother reading game reviews anymore. And I refuse to get caught up in hype for games that almost always end up disappointing (despite their high review scores). You can still get useful info out of mainstream reviews if you learn to read between the lines, but it almost requires learning the language of the industry and the ability to find and then discount common threads among reviews (if you find repeated phrases or certain features that are heavily hyped in every review, those are most certainly either PR plants or straight-up plagiarism and should be simply ignored either way). I don't blame the general public for being unable to sift through the hyperbole and get to the relevant content underneath.

article summary (4, Insightful)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662668)


a system meant to reduce all that is to be said about a game to a single-digit number somehow leaves the smaller nuances unsaid.

stunning.

Huh? (4, Funny)

superultra (670002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664050)

What? I lost you after Score:3, Insightful.

Well, duh. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11662698)

The statements in the article seem so practically self-evident that they're almost not worth saying... since the dumb kids who get obsessed over numbers STILL won't listen no matter how many times you try to explain. :)

For game review figures I mostly only care about very rough breakdowns... THe five-stars system is good that way because it gives you a rough idea of "Terrible" "Poor" "Okay" "Good" "Great" without getting all hung up on whether game x is .15 better than game y. Then you read the review for more details.

On the other hand, numerical scores are fun for trying to find the worst games ever. :) It takes TALENT to score 15%!

Answer: NO! (2, Interesting)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662718)

Until I see a game developed by an AAA game developing company rated at a 1 or a 0, their ratings hold no power in my book. If they think all high-budget games are "excellent" to the point of having 9.x ratings out of 10, then I certainly don't trust their opinion.

Re:Answer: NO! (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663127)

"Until I see a game developed by an AAA game developing company rated at a 1 or a 0, their ratings hold no power in my book. If they think all high-budget games are "excellent" to the point of having 9.x ratings out of 10, then I certainly don't trust their opinion."

Example?

Not challenging ya really, I was just wondering if a AAA game company released a 1.0 stinker.

Re:Answer: NO! (1)

rcs1000 (462363) | more than 9 years ago | (#11666037)

How about...

Any of the Matrix games from Atari/Infogrames...

The latest Tomb Raider (although maybe that deservers 2/10...)

Re:Answer: NO! (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663299)

Until I see a game developed by an AAA game developing company rated at a 1 or a 0, their ratings hold no power in my book

Oh, I think I remember one [firingsquad.com] . Worst $4.99 bargain bin buy ever...

(your point still stands)

Re:Answer: NO! (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664626)

I was going to point out another deeply flawed game, Master of Orion 3, as an example of a game which was rightfully panned by critics. Then I realized IGN gave it a 93.

At least it competes for title of Worst 4.99 bargain bin buy ever.

$4.99? I can top that. (2, Interesting)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665125)

While MOO III was a botched game, you'd have to purposely try to get one worse than this.

http://www.netjak.com/review.php/537

Re:$4.99? I can top that. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665478)

What, with a developer's website this good [stellarstone.com] ?

We combine stong management ( with our Santa Monica, CA based headquarters ) with superb creative, yet non expensive development teams in Russia. This allows our clients to cut development expenses 3-5 times comparing to cost of local European or US development team or employees. At same time we provide instant feedback to our clients, thanks to our management offices in Los Angeles and London.

And, apparently, their writing is outsourced to Bangladesh. But hey, I'm not going to knock them for striving to provide best of gaming technologies to interactive entertainment industry. I will, however, point out that they don't list any of the games they have done on their "games" page, nor do they reference a single one on their website (they've only done Big Rigs), which BTW is almost straight HTML but doesn't work without I.E. And it is 6 pages long. And two of those pages are blank and one is 404.

At least this proves that my job is secure, for a little while. That is unless someone else can virtually garantee to their customers that they'll won't found term that will be more suitable for them. Or won't garantee. I'm not entirely sure which is bad for me.

Q:Do Game Review Scores Matter? (2, Insightful)

Nine Tenths of The W (829559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662825)

A:Yes, but not as much as advertising budgets.

Interesting, Mod Parent up (1)

pluke (801200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662860)

good point, especially if you include in the marketing budget money to 'entertain' the staff of less reputable magazines who are rather loose with their score system, just prior to your big game release...

Scores help to narrow which games to look at. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11662876)

Scores do have a place in reviews, I use them as a guide to which games I should look into further and which games I should not waste my time on. It is of course best to look at at least 3-4 reviews of a game you are considering buying and see if you can get a demo before you put down your hard earned dosh.

Independent reviews are better (3, Interesting)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662927)


Professional reviews are useful for a very general overview of a game, but usually it is easier to find important details at places like GameFaqs. People posting on their own without a profit motive are more likely to mention that a game is really short or overly linear, for example. Of course the noise to signal ratio is very high, but the information is there for people with a little patience.

Re:Independent reviews are better (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664993)

I still like the gamerankings.com. It gives you an overview of what 20 sites rate 1 game. Overall it's best to listen to the toughest critics. If the toughest critics say it's good, it's good.

Re:Independent reviews are better (1)

HarvardFrankenstein (635329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11666651)

I actually tend to ignore indie reviews, for the same reason people tend to ignore ratemyprofessor.com: for the most part, the only people likely to rate the game in a public domain are the ones that are passionate about their opinion in either direction. A quick tally of all the "BEST GAME EVAR OMG!!!" and "TIHS GAME IS TEH SKUC!!" reviews is testament to this.

Re:Independent reviews are better (1)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11671037)


You are right, but if the indy reviews are read properly, there can be a useful nugget of information that is absent from professional reviews. If a game is particularly buggy, there will be no question of it on the discussion boards, for example.

Re:Independent reviews are better (1)

Not So Normal (859145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11672568)

A warning about GameFAQs.com, many reviews are by fanboys. You usually see a game getting 8-10's with titles liek "AMAZING!!!" or "Best Game...Ever". If you do use GameFAQs, look at the lower numbers. They hold more truths about the game, rather than people praising it.

Do film review scores matter? (1, Interesting)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11662995)

Does anyone subjective view on anything have a place in my life?

I personally thought kill bill 1 and 2 were so pretentious, oh, but they were cool movies, and how dare I speak out against them... people seem to think you are challenging them if you do not agree with thier movie viewing habits.

Look, kill bill(s) were shit IMHO. ok, deal with it, love it. move on.

Game reviews on the other hand, or music reviews. If you look at the Lemon Jelly website they are talking about thier mixed reviews, some say it is thier best, some say it is tripe.

You gotta wonder how much there subjective reviews call for actual thinking, I mean, you can say anything is shit, and back it up with the argument, well I thought it was shit.

Except for kill bill movies, they were shit.

Plus you have the game reviews in 'official' magazines... why did I put official in quotes?

I thoguht about a system, wher eyou decide what is important to you, beforehand, and then each person gets a different game score based on thier profile.

For instance, if you really hate niggles in gameplay, then GTA:VC/SA might have scored less for you in an online mag (or a digital ink mag :-) than someone whos profile was a better match for the score profile awarded to the game (on about 10 categories)

Basically, you are asking does subjectiveness matter... and I can't be bothered to talk about that on slashdot.

Re:Do film review scores matter? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665749)

Basically, you are asking does subjectiveness matter... and I can't be bothered to talk about that on slashdot.

It sure took a lot of words for you to say nothing ;)

Meta sites and knowing the reviewers (4, Interesting)

sien (35268) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663001)

Film reviews have the same problems and the same methods can be used to get useful information.

Sites like game rankings [gamerankings.com] give you the review numbers from a number of sites. Given that you get a fairly good idea of where a game sits. For films movies [movies.com] does the same for films. Given that and active reviewers on the site gives you a fair idea of what is good.

Knowing your reviewers is the other way to get good information. If you regularly read a particular reviewer you'll get a good idea about what they like and what they don't like. This is easier with films than games, but still possible.

Reviews are definitely subjective, but are still a useful way to make your money and time go further and if a bit of thought is used are well worth looking at.

Re:Meta sites and knowing the reviewers (1)

grotgrot (451123) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664948)

A way better site is www.metacritic.com [metacritic.com] . They do games, music, books, films and DVD. They also excerpt portions of each review so you can quickly get an idea of what each reviewer said to substantiate their score. (Gamerankings just shows the scores with no excerpts and movies.com is a bit better than that.) Whenever I look up stuff in metacritic, I usually look at the comments for the top rated scores and the lowest rated scores and you get a very representative picture.

Why bother? (0, Offtopic)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663007)

I don't get why people who believe they have something sufficiently important to say that they make the effort to write and publish it, then preface it with some pointlessly inflammatory, entirely offtopic half-witticism that only gets in the way of their point.

Honestly, why go to that trouble and then distract or drive off a large chunk of your readership?

Wow this guy's wound up (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663205)

Personally, I think this guy is missing the point of the numerical reviews.

"Does the quality of a game and the sum of the efforts put into its creation merely boil down to nothing more than a single or double digit number?"

No. It's a measurement of somebody's reaction to it. It's not a bad one, either. If a game rates an 8.2, for example, then it means that the reviewer thought it was pretty decent, just not earth shattering. If a reviewer says the graphics are 70%, then he's saying that it's not the most mind blowing graphics he's ever seen on that system. Basically, those numbers reflect the question: "On a scale between 1 and 10..."

I don't know why this guy is expecting more of this review system. I don't even know why he's hopping mad about it. He made a comment in the article that somebody gave him some shit about recommending Animal Crossing over Wind Waker with the reasoning that WW had a higher score. Sounds to me like his real problem is with stupid fanboy'ism, not with the reviews themselves.

Re:Wow this guy's wound up (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11674979)

I don't know why this guy is expecting more of this review system. I don't even know why he's hopping mad about it. He made a comment in the article that somebody gave him some shit about recommending Animal Crossing over Wind Waker with the reasoning that WW had a higher score. Sounds to me like his real problem is with stupid fanboy'ism, not with the reviews themselves.

No, his problems are with the review scores, and I agree with him. This has also been a debate in the film industry ever since Siskel and Ebert debuted their "thumbs" ratings system and everybody else started their 1-4 or 1-5 scales. You just can't boil down every film or every book or every game onto some arbitrary numerical rating scale, in part because you are then automatically comparing games against each other (his friend didn't recommend AC over WW, the reviewer did by virtue of his scores).

Almost all of the arguments we have about game reviews - how scores can be bought and sold, how one site scores games differently than others (a 5/10 may be average on GameSpot but not on IGN), how one reviewer scores different than another on the same site, how games in different genres cannot be directly compared, how games from different eras cannot be directly compared, etc. etc. would completely disappear if the scores also completely disappeared. Doing away with scores is really the only way to restore integrity to the system.

The problem is scores exist as the Cliff's Notes version of a review for people who don't feel like bothering to actually read the review itself. Honestly, if you really read the review there is no need whatsoever to be told the score. If a review says "the gameplay is great, the graphics are ok, the structure is pretty linear but it's still fun, the voice acting is terrible"... I mean is knowing it's a 7.6 or a 6.9 or a 7.2 really going to provide you with any more useful information than the content that you've already read, upon which the score is supposedly based to begin with?

So we will probably never be able to lose the review scores because the public is too lazy to actually utilize their reading comprehension skills. But they're apparently not lazy enough to refrain from complaining about those scores on every game-related forum under the sun. It's a vicious cycle.

Do Game Review Scores Matter? (1, Insightful)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663403)

No.

I use scores as one of the elements... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663567)

I read multiple reviews for their scores, from Game Rankings [gamerankings.com] , etc. These various sources tell me if the games are good to people or not in an overall picture.

Creating a meaningful average (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11663607)

The article points out the flawed logic inherent in the system of averaging random scores assigned on a 0-10 scale. Is it possible for a game with an 8.1 average rating to be better than a 9.1 average rating? Yes. Everone is entitled to their own opinions. The author cites an example of where in his opinion a game with an 8.1 rating is more enjoyable than a game with a 9.1. Apparently the author was chastised for expressing his opinion. This is a downside to averaging: it can lead to groupthink.

But what can we do to combat groupthink? Consider the following simple ranking systems:

The binary version:
  • 1: Recommended
  • 0: Not Recommended
The tristate version:
  • 1: Highly Recommended
  • 0: Recommended
  • -1: Not Recommended
The two-bit version:
  • 2: Highly Recommended
  • 1: Recommended
  • 0: Not Recommended
  • -1: Panned

At first glance it appears that any one of these systems would work adequately if used consistenly and then averaged for at least 30 reviewers. The average scores should then in theory be meaningful, right? Well unfortunately we have to note the key words there: 'used consistently'. If the reviewers cannot agree on a format, then you have to reduce it to the lowest common denominator. Similarly, many reviewers would simply ignore the 'recommended' option in favor of the extremes. This suggests that perhaps the best option is to average the binary review score.

But wait! What if the system gets flooded with artificial reviewers? This happened in recent memory when Sony admitted inventing fictitious reviewers to gush about the movie "A Knight's Tale". What if those artificial reviewers get included in the average? That is a serious problem, but it's easily addressed with moderation! Examine each reviewer's track record before adding them to the mix. And then pull any reviewer that is consistently out of touch with reality.

Recommendation: Find a bunch of games you like and a bunch of games you dislike. To be thorough, you want to find at least 30 in each category. Search out critics that agree with your tastes for at least 2/3 of the titles. Average the opinions of these critics when a new release comes out. If the result comes out at least 2/3 (0.67), then you'll probably like the game.

Addendum: For better results, you can assign weights to certain critics and then perform a weighted average. For example, you might observe that critic A agrees with you 90% of the time, while critic B only agrees 80% and critic C agrees 70%. In this example,if only C dislikes the game, then your result will be greater than 2/3 (favorable); however, if A dislikes it, then the result will be less than 2/3 (unfavorable). Keep in mind that to be statistically meaningful, you need to have at least 30 reviewers, and also remember that if you get burned by a critic, you can always mod him down. In fact, you could in theory set up a dynamic system that continuously adjusts the weights of reviewers based upon how well they match your opinions.

A note on resolution: If you're able to get tristate or better "resolution" in your reviewers, more power to you! In fact, I encourage this. However, on a practical note I think it will be difficult to find enough reviewers with a high enough common denominator. Of course, this does not prevent you from assigning special weights to the differing rating systems used by various reviewers. Be creative! Invent your own system. :)

Pipe dream: It's my personal pipedream to have a website where everybody can register their opinions on various topics. Each person could then seek out (or be matched to) other individuals with similar tastes. People with less time to devote to reviewing things would defer their opinions to others. Eventually this would trickle up to a small set of individuals making recommendations for everybody, much like the current system where we listen to paid reviewers. However, this set of reviewers would not be static. A few misguided reviews by a highly-regarded reviewer could result in a refactoring of the entire system, effectively silencing that reviewer. Oh yes, and this system would also account for the fact that nobody is average. Individuals on opposite ends of an opinion wouldn't be forced to groupthink their way to a mutually-unfavorable consensus.

One thing that I have found useful... (1)

LazyEmc2 (844702) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663727)

I think this problem stems from the same Spike TV issues. Gamers are stereotyped into A.D.D. MTV junkies. Therefore, we need a concise way of telling them what to buy. Nobody has time to READ anymore...sheesh.. reading...how antiquated... Another idea that the current media does not agree with is people making up their own mind. Heaven forbid that we provide them details, and them having to say hmmm...maybe I'll check this out. No that stops right at the A+, or, 4*'s, or three-out-of-four Pac-Men. I primarily use two sources when reading reviews, IGN and PLAY magazine. PLAY has been dealing with these same sentiments, and are trying various ways of "scoring" games. Their editors seem to be fed up with "the way of the business today." Their new system employs a star system. But in the same box they give succinct Pros & Cons that they saw. They also give a bio of the reviewer, basically telling what kind of games they enjoy so you can understand where any bias comes from. I think it is a step in the right direction, but until there is nothing but an article it will be imperfect. One last thing, IGN has now added "Industry Average" to their sidebar of a game review. This joins their own and the readers' review. It is nice to be able to see that all in one place.

Reviews matter? Sometimes. (3, Informative)

T-Bear (31340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663913)

It's all about who's reviewing it and how much you trust them.

I have a few sources that I trust pretty well. But even *those* it's not what score they give it. It's what they say.

The author is guilty of what he's writing about (4, Interesting)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11663997)

Here is a quote from the article.

Games should always be considered on their individual merits, on the qualities that they offer and the accomplishments they boast. This can never be distilled into a percentage or ranking out of ten. Hold games up to examination and this evidently becomes the case. For instance, when I reviewed San Andreas I gave it a 90%+ review score. I would not on the other hand award as high a score to something like Castle of Shikigami 2 on the Gamecube though personally I feel it is the better game. It would score lower because it is less technically accomplished, far smaller in scope and offers far less variety. I still prefer it however because what it does it does extremely well and when push comes to shove I would rather play it than San Andreas. That's not to say I think it's more accomplished - I simply prefer it.

I'd ask the writer of the article this: why the hell did you rate GTA: San Andreas better? This IS the problem with these scores. GTA gets a better score simply because the conventional wisdom says it is a more accomplished game, and NOT because the reviewer actually likes it better. He admits it in the article for all to see. Hype = high scores, and even someone who is writing an article about how the scores don't work is swayed by it.

This is how a game like Katamari Damacy gets lost in the Half-Life 2s and Halo 2s of the world. Conventional wisdom says that a strange Japanese game with no real storyline, blocky graphics, and simple gameplay is not as "accomplished" as a sci-fi FPS. The $20 price tag alone almost screams "inferior game." But an expensive price, polished graphics, long development cycle, sweeping advertising campaign, and a big booth at E3 are not what makes a good game.

Re:The author is guilty of what he's writing about (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665079)

Saying that Katamari Damarcy got lost is nuts. Katamari Damarcy is the most hyped up 'sleeper' of the year. You can read about it everywhere.

Not saying it isn't a good game, but it sure as heck isn't 'lost.'

Re:The author is guilty of what he's writing about (2, Informative)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665751)

One thing to keep in mind is that most of us here aren't "average" gamers. Hell, I develop games for a living so I'm automatically disqualified. Now, Katamari Damacy is well-known to the hardcore gamer crowd, but it doesn't really have mindshare with the more mainstream audience. However, a game like Half-Life 2 or Doom 3 are going to be covered in mainstream magazines. (One could argue this has more to do with the "realistic graphics" being more interesting to the average person than trippy Japanese games about rolling stuff into a ball.)

On the larger topic, I think that review scores are garbage for the most part. It's hard to find people that are unbiased and independent. It's well known that publishers brow-beat magazine editors [gamedrool.com] , holding the threat of losing advertising revenue over their heads. (Okay, okay, 3DO is a bad example due to the fairly reliable lack of quality there, but rest assured other large publishers have paid money [directly or indirectly through "press junkets"] to have good reviews done of games that are real turkeys.) It's hard to find an unbiased source.

One site I really like that breaks the trend is GamersInfo.net [gamersinfo.net] . (Full disclosure, I've written a few reviews for the site, but that's mostly because I really enjoy and appreciate what they're doing.) The games don't have number scores, and every reviewer has a profile you can look at. You can find reviewers that like the same types of games you do and follow their reviews. Or, you can figure that the FPS review by the hard-core RPG fan might not be exactly the same as an FPS fan's view of the game.

I highly recommend checking the site out if you want good reviews.

Have fun,

Re:The author is guilty of what he's writing about (1)

Quintin Stone (87952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11671626)

It's possible he rates GTA:SA higher because even though he prefers playing GS2 *now*, he knows that with GTA:SA's larger "scope" and greater "variety", it has a much better staying power in terms of keeping him entertained. So GS2 might burn out quickly, while GTA:SA could be considered the better value overall.

Just a possibility, I haven't played either game.

Re:The author is guilty of what he's writing about (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11672023)

What I am saying is that there are concepts of "scope" and "variety" that do not necessarily make a great game. I think we can all agree that Asteroids is far superior to Daikatana although Daikatana has far more "scope" and "variety."

I actually haven't played GTA:SA or GS2, but I can say that the review should be based on what the reviewer prefers. He said that he prefers GS2, so it should have gotten a higher score from him. Rewiews are too much about what the rewiewer thinks we will feel about a game. I want reviews that reflect what the reviewer feels about the game.

Get rid of score inflation (4, Interesting)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664041)

As a teacher, I frequently deal with student complaints about why a particular paper was a "C" or "B" paper. "Because," I'll answer them, "your paper was merely average. It fulfilled the requirements of the assignment, but did nothing more."

Similarly, game scores seem to evoke this feeling among fans of particular games. Anything below an 8/10 is perceived as "crap."

In reality, I own games that I would rate as a 6/10 which are still enjoyable. These games may be merely average, but if certain aspects are present, they can still be anjoyable. "Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds" would fall into that category. The game received in the 6.5/10 range all over, and it's a score I would agree with. The camera is lousy, and the controls are inferior to the original in almost all respects. Despite this, the story is entertaining, the voice acting is pretty good (with the exception of the knock-off Willow), and the subject matter is entertaining to me. It is a 6.5 game, and I don't believe anything to the contrary, but it's still entertaining.

Dead or Alive 3 is another great example. It's probably a 7/10 game. The graphics are beautiful, yes, but the game wasn't really substantial change from DOA2. Weakening the counters improved the battle system, but the new characters were universally dull (except for Hitomi), and the game was otherwise nothing more than the second. It doesn't really deserve anything spectacular as far as scores are concerned, but it's a favorite with my friends and I when we get together at my place.

EGM was one of the few magazines I discovered that was willing to make this stand. a 5/10 game was AVERAGE. You might enjoy it if it had a particular point that really appealed to you. If you were a huge RPG fan, a 6/10 RPG would be worth buying if you'd already finished the last three 8/10 games. The 6/10 was not crap. Games at 3/10 and below were crap. And a game had to be spectacular to get into the 9 range. Unfortunately, people don't seem to be willing to accept that scale; everything needs to be between a 6 and 10. The problem is that it just dilutes the actually worthwhile games. Gamepro was notorious for this. They gave straight 4.5/5 and 5/5 to Starfox64. The game was good, but it was not worthy of that level of score. When compared to something that truly was, it served to make the worthy game's scores "lesser."

Do scores matter? In EGM's case, I'd certainly agree. Back when I still kept up with that sort of thing for professional reasons (I was an assistant manager at a game store), they were generally pretty trustworthy. In a case like Gamepro's, which unfortunately seems to be more the standard than the exception, it makes the scores completely inconsequential. At that point, I learn to just ignore the score and read betweeen the lines of the reviewer's euphamisms.

Re:Get rid of score inflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11664727)

As a teacher ... These games may be merely average, but if certain aspects are present, they can still be anjoyable.

...but it's a favorite with my friends and I...

The problem is that it just dilutes the actually worthwhile games.

Not an English teacher, I hope.

Re:Get rid of score inflation (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664880)

I am an English teacher. This is a perfect example, though, of why I rarely jump on anyone about grammar or spelling when it comes to /. If I feel something is a truly important piece of writing, I'll take the time to go through it repeatedly for errors. This is not a truly important piece of writing.

The first sentence is a case of an unnecessary comma; it ended up there because I occasionally decide to reword a sentence without correcting the punctuation that was previously there.

The second example is the only one I feel bad about. That is carelessness on my part.

The third example has nothing wrong with it as far as I can see. Care to enlighten me on that one?

Re:Get rid of score inflation (1)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11668778)

The third example has nothing with it as far as I can see. Care to enlighten me on that one?

I'm not the AC who criticized, but my best guess is that there's no antecedent of "it". Not something that I feel is worth griping about in this case.

In the first sentence, I don't feel that the comma is a problem. But the spelling is, and the antecedent of "they" is uncertain.

Obviously, I don't hold people to perfect grammar in /. posts-- myself included, as you can see.

Re:Get rid of score inflation (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665792)

I guess your post examplifies everything wrong with rating systems.

You say a game should score 6/10 if it is really fun but has lousy graphics, controls or whatever extraneous detail. I only read the word "fun" and would give it 10/10 if it really is that enjoyable even if the graphics and such sucked. Why? Because you'll enjoy it anyway!

I sure hope you score your students' papers on content rather than the font they use.

Re:Get rid of score inflation (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11673495)

Err, yeah, you'll enjoy it anyway. Unfortunately, it's not perfect, or even worthy of being at the top of a stack.

A game with little replay value is still capable of being fun while you play it. Is it worthy of a perfect score?

A game with frustrating controls is still capable of being fun. Is it worthy of a perfect score?

My point there was that I'm still capable of enjoying a flawed game, just like I'm still capable of enjoying a flawed movie, book, or even a website that routinely posts duplicate news stories.

What about a game that is both fun AND has good control or an excellent replay factor? What would it score in this world where simply being "fun" is grounds for a perfect score? On top of all of that, how do I quantify "Fun" into a 5 or 10 point scale? Is it replayability? Is it pleasant, non-irritating controls? Is it creativity and innovation? Hey, those are the sorts of things reviewers already figure into their scale.

Despite what you probably think, I agree with you in almost every respect; I just voiced it differently. A game can be flawed and still be fun, but people see anything below 7.5/10 and are immediately turned off, which means that reviewers are pressured to "shorten" the scale. I've got some definite 10/10 games in my rack, but I also spend plenty of time with my 6/10 games.

It depends on the source (1)

Alpha27 (211269) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664499)

For example, I use Gamespot as my first source for a game review. I feel they are pretty much on point with my own opinions with gaming reviews. I also defer to G4 Tech TV's "X Play" and the two guys from "Judgment Day" I find it's a good mix of opinions, and especially with Tommy Telarico's views, he's like a Simon Cowell of gaming.

The scores aallow me to gauge whether something is worth reading up on more or not. If a game is 80% or higher, then I like to see if it's a good fit for me. The scores provide a general basis of comparison to other games at the time of the review.

If a game as a low score in graphics, I count that less towards the game because graphics, to me at least, are the 2nd thing to consider in the game, but if I find the game experience and play is high, I'd be interested.

Overall, I think it's important to have, in additional to the worded review of the game.

Re:It depends on the source (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11675364)

You just made me think of something here. The reason that games tend to get inflated review scores (i.e. 70% for a mediocre game) may very well be that, as consumers, we consider ourselves too good for everything but, say, the top 20% of games. This makes perfect sense, given that we have a scant amount of money to spend on gaming every month. Since most games are in the same stratospheric price range already, we'd rather get the most bang for our buck.

(This is opposed to the silly idea that a rating below 7/10 is to be taken as "crap." There's a difference between "crap" and "probably not worth the money.") No wonder everyone is shooting to get their game rated at least an 8.5 these days.

Just for the record, in my opinion Tycho and Gabe [penny-arcade.com] are the only media people whose opinions on games are worth heeding.

Okay, mainly just Tycho.

my magazine (1)

spir0 (319821) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664510)

I'm just about to publish the first issue of a pop culture mag here in New Zealand.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been scratching my head at the score system I've been using and asking others to use. Invariably, nothing is ultimately compatible. And everyone is biased.

So the right answer here is that I'm actually going to remove scores from all the game and comic reviews.

That will actually force readers to REAd the mag. What a novel concept.

Re:my magazine (1)

nifboy (659817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664645)

> That will actually force readers to REAd the mag. Or not read it at all.

Re:my magazine (1)

spir0 (319821) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664720)

Or not read it at all.

If they want a magazine to just look at the pictures, then they should be buying a porno. I've made sure that mine is less outright review and more article.

we'll see what happens. If people decide that they want scores, they'll tell me. Or not buy it. Hmm..

Don't bother to RTFA (1)

jebiester (589234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664564)

It only has a rating of 65%.

;-)

Oh the irony (1)

Xxanmorph (654953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664679)

From the article: "Article score: 65% - whiney"

If I'd looked ahead I could have skipped it instead of wishing I had 3 minutes back.

He says it himself (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664744)

Game review scores are meaningless, according to the author, because games of different genres cannot be compared in such a numerical way. Of course, what the author doesn't recognise is that the review does indicate a raw level of quality within the genre.

FPS is a particularly good example - games like DooM3 and HL2, both excellent FPS games with their own strengths, reviewed very highly compared with games like Sniper and The Thing (full of bugs). As a result, if I go to gametab or another aggregation site, I can get a good idea of how well any particular game would compare with others in the same genre. Admittedly I sometimes disagree with the exact numbers (in terms of design and artwork, DooM3 was superior to HL2, in terms of gameplay only, HL2 was superior to DooM3, studying the engine makes this quite obvious). Nonetheless I find reviews are reasonable accurate when used for the purpose of comparing games within the same genre. Having said that, you can never trust a single source because many reviewers are essentially bribed or bought into giving certain review scores - Enter the Matrix is a particularly good example of an awful game with an inexplicable high score - at least until the independant review sites savaged it, pushing the aggregate down on the tabulation sites.

Re:He says it himself (1)

dvsin (743491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665352)

To me, it appears numerical ratings are being interpreted as a measure of the quality of a game. I think this is largely doomed to failure, as a number doesn't indicate anything about gameplay, graphics, sound, and the countless other characteristics that constitute a game.

However, I do believe that numerical ratings have their place as a measure of how strongly the reviewer recommends the product. An earlier post [slashdot.org] ) was on the right track in terms of using ratings as a measure of recommending the game, though it wasn't explicit.

So in this 'system', if a game gets a low rating, it merely means the reviewer/s didn't feel impressed enough with the game to recommend it. But, to see why they feel that way, you need to read the article.

I think (1)

u-238 (515248) | more than 9 years ago | (#11664784)

the 9/10 reviews across the board for DOOM 3 suggests the answer proposed.

Re:I think (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676977)

Short of the hardware requirements I've found nothing wrong with the game.

It depends on the magazine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11665437)

With some magazines the points give a sense of what to expect from the game. With grade from 0-99:

anything below 70 - not worth your time or your money.
70-79 - Only worth if you really like the genre. Even some great games can fall into this category if they are released buggy (>80 point game six months and n+1 patches later, see Vampire Masquerade: Bloodlines)
80-89 - Basically a good game with some bugs, stupid AI or a general lack of originality despite a good gameplay
90-99 - A game you will enjoy despite not liking the genre that much. And if the game happens to belong to a genre you especially enjoy, 9/10 times you'll end up using too much of your free time with the game.

Of course this unfortunetly does not apply with the biggest gaming magazines that are just whores of the industry and trying to sell with creating hype. How to identify such magazines? Check out the distribution of points. If most of the games get >85 scores, dump the magazine and find one that still has some integrity left.

Re:It depends on the magazine (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11666204)

So, why would you need a scale of 70 different points to tell a game is not worth it but only 20 for good games (and an extra 10 that seems to be not good unless you are a fanatic). Isn't there a problem with such a system? You might as well just cut of the lower 50 points since they are really not used anyway.

Really, take one year of a magazine having such a system and look at all their reviews and see were most of them are. I can tell you it is not in the under 70.

In addition, the absolute main focus, in both pages and otherwise is probably on the ones scoring 95+. WHY? really, they are supposed to be so good you should just go out and buy it, why is there need for page after page of info on them? If anything, most of the pages and info should be on the games in the 70-90 range (or if we skip the lower 50 and have a 0-50 scale, the mid range of 20-40). THAT is games I want to know more about to see if they are worth getting, not reading another 5 pages on the smash hit 99 scorer I get anyway.

Try it yourself (1)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665593)

If a game review has screenshots, i can see myself if the graphics look good or bad. For the rest, i don't really care what a professional game reviewer thinks of a game. I much rather play the demo myself and see how i like it. Now i know demo's aren't always available so i look for comments in forums about the game.

I get much better reviews from regular users than from 'the professionals' (i.e. 'This game sucks, the controls are terrible', 'I played this game in 2 hours, it's too short!', 'This is the best game all year, if you loved x game, you're going to love y game.')

Re:Try it yourself (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11675414)

I think that game companies have finally figured out how to tap into the fact that most of us take the recommendations of friends far more seriously than those of professional reviewers. Halo 2 in particular had it's fans so worked up about the game, the only question people could ask me after the preview event (at the end of a certain ARG) was whether it was, and I quote, "totally awesome."

You're lookin at it all wrong, schee (1)

ShawnMcCool42 (557138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665690)

You're supposed to get to know your reviewers and that way when they tell you things you know where it's coming from. What does that reviewer say in his other reviews of games that you've liked, etc? These are just people. You have to treat them as individuals.

Computer Games Magazine (2, Informative)

kafka47 (801886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665750)

As an avid reader of all things gaming, I'll definitely prop up my favourite rag : Computer Games Magazine. Their reviews are "spot-on" (at least for the games that I've personally played).

Woeful name for a publication, however, I perceive their reviews as being extremely honest and balanced. They won't hesitate to pan a game, and I definitely don't get the feeling that they are giving a bia$ed apprai$al. Their coverage is detailed and offers a refreshing maturity compared with most of the magazines that I've read out there.

Check it out :

Computer Games Online [cgonline.com]

Cheers,
Kafka

Xenon 2 (1, Troll)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11665966)

Anyone else remember Xenon 2 by the Bitmap Brothers?

When it came out in the UK one gaming magazine (I think it was CVG) gave it 100%.

I wonder if that reviewer is still playing it today, as it was obviously the best game ever. It must have been impossible to get tired of the game if he scored it 100%, right?

RM

Re:Xenon 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11666440)

I'm still playing it on a DOS emulator!

I love that game, and the music by Bomb The Bass... love it.

Re:Xenon 2 (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11676949)

How on earth is this a troll??!??!?!

Just look at all the reviews from last Xmas... (0, Flamebait)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11666432)

... loads of undeserving games got high scores: Halo 2 (not finished), Doom3 (dull), HL2 (it was OK, nothing amazing), GTA:SA (slideshow, poor controls), NFS:Underground 2 (dull), MGS3 (rubbish camera).

Anyone who reads a game review to make a buying decision needs their head examining IMHO. The reviewers give the scores they're paid to by the big publishers.

These days I decide on a game by either playing a demo or looking at screenshots and movies and seeing if it looks interesting.

Re:Just look at all the reviews from last Xmas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11670098)

Looks like a Halo 2 or HL2 fanboy modded ya as flamebait even though you're entitled to an opinion. Bad luck!

The score should be irrelevant (1)

terrisus (108956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11666648)

In my mind, if a review is good, all the "scores" should be obvious from reading the review itself.

If one reads a review and the reviewer is making the game sound great, and then there's a score of a 4/10 stuck on the end (or whatever), that's because the reviewer didn't do a good job of explaining themselves.

Too often with reviews, though, people don't even bother reading the review, and just go by the score. In my mind, reviews in general would be much better if scores were completely omitted. That way, people would be forced to actually read the review, and the reviewer would be forced to make sure their opinions come through with what they're writing.

Scores are just a value assigned to how a particular reviewer felt everything came together. I could sit here and write a review about (say) a puzzle game, describe everything about it, and give it a 10/10 at the end. However, if the person reading the review doesn't like puzzle games, of course they're not going to think the game is a 10/10. Hopefully from reading the review itself however, they've found out it's a puzzle game, realized it's not something they're going to like, and made their decision based on that, not what score it was given at the end.

On the other hand, I suppose that's a rather idealistic view, actually expecting everyone to read through and process what was written. Most people seem happy enough to say "That game got a 9.4, so it must be better than that other game which got a 9.1!" without taking anything else into consideration.

So, while I feel scores should be irrelevant, they're probably here to stay, because that's all most people really care about.
Oh well.

They totally matter! (1)

segal_loves_pandas (849758) | more than 9 years ago | (#11667626)

They totally matter! Points rulez! Later today I'm going to an art gallery with my friend steve but he's such a jerk I told him that Leonardo's Divinci's Last supper was a 9.3 hands down but he said it was only a 9.1! I hate him so much he doesn't know anything and then he said the work of Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments is only a 7 cos he totally copied Nam June Paik when they bothh lived in Düsseldorf in the 60's.

Slashdot gaming poll? (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11667976)

Simply put a few games up for opinion that came out each month and see which ones get voted up. It'd be not a single people's opinion, but a democracy of opinions.

Re:Slashdot gaming poll? (1)

SammyJ (590557) | more than 9 years ago | (#11668295)

Something like this already exists [gamerankings.com] It'd be maked up of a democracy people's opinion's.

Scores still matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11668517)

Cuz how else can you very quickly get a list of "top games"? For example I go to Gamespot and the game reviews index, and I sort by score. There you go, quick list of the latest top scoring games. I base SOME of my purchases on this, since I don't have time to research everything that comes out.

Game Reviews are No Worse than Film/Music Reviews (1)

DanAckerman (805238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11670247)

I find this to be an interesting discussion, especially because it's a topic that gets revisited every so often without ever being resolved.

If we pull back and look at the big picture, we can see that a lot of the same issues are raised, or example, against film reviewers (biased, paid-for reviews, etc.). But film criticism is still held in higher regard than game reviews - largely because film critics are most often journalists first, while game writers are gamers first, journalists second (often a distant second).

I've written reviews of everything from films and music to beer and wine, and I do some of game reviews/previews, which on their face are not really all that different.

Obviously different publications will treat material differently. This isn't "bias," it's the editorial focus of the publication. The New York Times and the Village Voice have different focuses and editorial directions, so its no wonder they have different things to say about the same film (although, much as in game reviews, there is an overall trend towards positive/negative reviews most of the time).

If you've ever seen an ad for a turkey of a movie with one or two positive quotes from reviewers you've never heard of (often a UPN affiliate in nowheresville), that's the equivalent of some website giving a great review to, say Driv3r (Driver 3) as a favor. It happens, but it's usually pretty easy to spot.

Bottom line? Game reviews are no more or less corrupt than mainstream film/music/etc. reviews, but game reviewers should strive to up their journalism skills so they can be taken as seriously as say, Roger Ebert, Janet Maslin or Elvis Mitchell (not a personal endorsement of these cats, so don't flame me if you hate them).

[Personal disclosure: I've had game reviews/previews in (partial list) Sync, USA Today, UGO.com, Happy Puppy and I edit a lot of material for girl gamer site http://www.gamegal.com/ [gamegal.com] .]

My 1-2-3 method of finding good games (1)

apparently (756613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11674064)

1) Go to: Gamefaqs [gamefaqs.com]
2) Click on my gaming system of choice.
3) See what the current Top 10 FAQ Pages consists of

More often than not, if a majority of people are looking for a guide for a given game, they're looking for it because they're enjoying it.
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