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After a year's trial of not putting a score to games, I'm going back to using a game score. Games are now be scored on a 5 point scale. There's just no need for the level of granularity of a 10 point scale (or more ... what's the difference between a 5.5 and a 5.7?).
When the Computer Games World folks removed scores, they received a huge outcry. Their experience was one of frustration: so many people just want their review score, their words may just as well not have been there. They went back to using review scores to maintain readership.
With Slashdot reviews, I experienced the opposite: no one said a thing. Occasionally review scores would result in a comment thread; their lack prompted no response whatsoever. I'm going to go back to using review score in an effort to promote conversation.
1: This game is unfinished or unplayable. It is not worth playing, purchasing, or renting.
2: This game has serious flaws, but may contain enough fun to be worth renting for a weekend.
3: This game is flawed, but will appeal to genre fans. Any gamer might enjoy renting it, but this won't ever be a classic.
4: This game is above average, and excels in the genre it supports. A classic for the genre, likely to be a part of a genre fan's collection, and well worth a look for every gamer.
5: This game is a classic title. It transcends genre, and is worth playing by almost any gamer. Certain to be a part of many serious gamers' collections, and definitely worth purchasing.
More Pen and Paper?
The games section is primarily intended to be about videogames, but I enjoy the hell out of pen and paper gaming. I consider it a rare treat to be able to cover something truly momentous in that genre, because while good products come out all the time 'news' in the industry is rarely a "Palladium-closing" level of import. 'Steve Jackson Games moves to new office space' is noteworthy, but not all that interesting outside of the sphere of dedicated gamer. Just the same, there were a lot of cries for more PnP gaming coverage in the comments to yesterday's book review.
I'll try to keep my eyes peeled more often for really interesting news, but there just really isn't that much to report on. People's comments about other companies is well seen ... I probably should have included Mutants and Masterminds 2.0 in this review, but I just plumb forgot. As for another games editor, I don't think that's in the cards. :)
If you're interested in gaming news, the best source on the web is GamingReport.com. They keep up with all the tabletop companies, and send folks to the big conventions. Great folks, though they don't always have the most well thought-out coverage.
In any case, I'll do this more often than every six months. Like I need an excuse to buy more RPG books ...
Features for 12/26/05 - 12/30/05
Pushing the Wild World review back to Wednesday for the Holiday.
12/28/05 - Animal Crossing: Wild World
12/30/05 - 2005 Year In Review
Game Features for 12/16/05 - 12/23/05
I'm going to attempt to keep this updated with plans for the upcoming week. A 'what's coming', so to speak.
Feel free to speak up if there's anything in specific about an upcoming feature you think I should talk about.
12/16 - Review: Dragon Quest VIII
12/19 - Review: Prince of Persia - The Two Thrones
12/21 - Impressions from a Second Shipment 360 Owner
12/23 - Review: Animal Crossing - Wild World
I've noticed some folks wondering what my standards are, so I decided to post a short piece on what I do and take into account when I review a game.
When I review a game, I first obtain it. For console games, I've switched entirely to GameFly, with a few notable exceptions. Titles like Katamari and Burnout are going to get play even after their reviews are done, so I went out and bought those. PC Games, unfortunately, have to be purchased out of my own pocket in order for me to review them. While I do have contacts with some development houses, for the most part Slashdot is far enough off of their radar so as to not be worth giving us many hookups.
I play a game for a minimum of five hours before I feel comfortable reviewing it. Some games, like MMORPG and RPGs, take longer to get to the meat of the matter and end up getting reviewed later than I would like as a result. Almost all games I've played so far, I've had the chance to play for more than five hours. That time-span is usually spread out over two or three days, giving me the chance to ponder what I like and don't like about the game in between.
The score I assign to a game, from 1 to 10, is based primarily on how much I feel this game appeals to three groups.
1.) Target audience - Is the genre fan going to like this?
2.) Hardcore Gamer - The the general gaming enthusiast (me) going to like this?
3.) Casual Gamer - Is the average person off the street going to like this? (Does it appeal to my wife?)
I also consider the following elements:
Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, Design, Fun
I haven't given out many 1-5 scores as of yet, but 1-5 indicates that I'm very dissapointed in the game. The lower the score, the suckier it is.
6 is the bare minimum of acceptability. It's a game that runs with a minimum of crashing, but it's not very fun.
7 is "average". It does the things it does and probably is going to please the genre fan.
8 is "okay". It's got a little more personality to it and is likely to appeal to the hardcore.
9 is "good". Not only will it appeal to the hardcore, but it's lots of fun, or innovative, or pretty, or something.
10 is "exceptional". It's not only fun, pretty, and innovative, but it will appeal to the casual gamer as well.
I hope that clears things up a little. Feel free to email me if you have any comments or questions.
Ala Simon Carless, I'm going to attempt to use my journal as a sideline commentary on the games.slashdot.org site, starting....now.
Today I'd like to talk a little bit about what exactly I'm trying to do on the site. When I was hired lo these seven months ago or so, part of taking up the banner of Slashdot games was the thought that original content would be a nice addition to the site.
To that end, I've been working on reviews, editorials, and this past week coverage of the Game Developer's Conference 2005.
I've definitely enjoyed the work, but it seems as thought the reactions have been mixed. For the near future, at least, I have no plans to stop working on these features. At the same time, I'd like to hear what people have to say on the topic.
In your opinion, is there a place for original content on Slashdot Games? Would you like to see more commentary on gaming and game industry trends? Do the images add to the stories? Is there anything in particular that you would like to see discussed?
Quality vs. Quantity.