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The Art of Using the Coldness of Math as a Measurement of Enjoyment

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A while ago, a certain thread in GGD had me question the logic of how I assign scores to games I've played and thus loved, enjoyed, had a pretty good time with or hated. I had a significantly large post all finished that had me talking about how I don't think a game has to be broken to receive a 4/10, how something polished can still be viewed as uninspired, souless and derivative, how a 4/10 still denotes a value of slightly below average, not terrible or broken...but then it dawned on me - how the hell can I say this when the bulk of my ratings are all crammed within a 8-10 radius?

So I've mulled it over, remembering how I was a bit disappointed that GameSpot didn't change their ratings to a simple 10 point scale - and then I just did it. I went ahead and re-rated almost all the games I ever rated on this website using a nice, sensible 10 point scale. To be perfectly honest, my ratings have never made more sense to me. I realized that I kinda hid behind the "competently-made" argument and gave inflated ratings to games I simply didn't enjoy as much to actually justify that rating. I gave BioShock an 8.5. I enjoyed it, but I was also immensely disappointed with it. I replay almost every game I own. I never had the smallest urge to replay BioShock. I never even considered getting BioShock 2. I actually sold BioShock, something I almost never do and I had the very nice metal boxed Limited Edition at that. 8.5? No, that sucker's a 6 - good, enjoyable, but disappointing and shallow. Alright for a one-time romp and nothing more. Don't even look at my Halo: Combat Evolved rating.

I kind of changed my whole perspective of looking at game ratings and brought it closer to how I used to review/rate music and movies when I wrote about them.

I suppose the biggest thing is to actually realize that it's a 1-10 scale. I mean, of course we all know it's a 1-10, but do we really grasp what it means? I had to remember how I used to rate music and movies and drive the point home so that my brain truly comprehends - out of ten. Out. Of. Ten. OUT OF ****ING TEN. A 5 or a 6 doesn't mean the game is devoid of any kind of enjoyment.

This is kind of what I have in my head:

  • 10 - Instant CIassic
  • 9 - Superb
  • 8 - Great
  • 7 - Very Good
  • 6 - Good
  • 5 - Alright
  • 4 - Subpar
  • 3 - Poor
  • 2 - Bad
  • 1 - Awful

That makes sense to me. I mean, if you go and find some of the things I said about BioShock, Gears of War or Halo: Combat Evolved and it's far from a wholly positive opinion - yet they all had very positive scores. And I mean, a 6 is still a positive(ish) score since it's in the UPPER half of the scale. It's just not overly positive for that game. I once totally trashed Yakuza in my blog. So why the hell did I give it a 5? I don't think it's ok, I don't think it's mediocre, if you will. I think it's pretty BAD.

To further illustrate my position, have a look at it in this way.

  • POSITIVE
  • MIXED
  • NEGATIVE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Tell me that doesn't make sense, tell me that I'm crazy.

So what about you? Do you look at ratings this way already? Did you change your view on this at some point? Do your run with the crowd? Have you ever even given this a thought at all? Do you care?

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