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My first review, and how I use the Gamespot rating system.

So I got my first review up - Jill of the Jungle. It's probably a little long for such an older, simpler game, but I tried to keep the writing from sounding long-winded, and I think I did well enough.

Well, technically it's not my first GS review ever. I used to have reviews for Red Faction, NOLF, and Jedi Knight up, but I decided a long time ago that I wasn't satisfied with them anymore, so I deleted them.

Anyway, I'd had a review for JotJ written up in Word for a while. I was wanting to write reviews for some more games, preferably four others so I could submit five at once. That's basically what I wanted to do review-wise for GS, play five games in a space of like a month, write up five reviews, and have a blog post about them after I posted them all up. But I had a striking realization about this: I'm too lazy for that (though that may sound like a pretty non-sensical statement by the end of this). So, I'm just going to mostly do one review at a time instead. I also am going to be doing a lot of older games for a while; lots of 2D platformers that most of you don't care about, but not enough people review them, so I figure I ought to give my opinion on them since I have a desire to.

So when I decided on just doing one, I figured this would be a good time to explain how I rate using GS's scoring, and put up a review in the process. I already had Jill's review handy, so I went into Word and... found I didn't like the writing anymore (and it was supposed to be the third and final draft). So I re-wrote it. Again. And now I think I've got it. I managed to make a fairly long review that doesn't make me bored to read it. Sorry if that's not the case for any of you, but I like it. ;)


Now, as for how I rate games. I've been wanting to explain for a while now, and since Fireandcloud seems to have had some trouble (based on his Gears of War blog) deciding how to use it himself, I thought this would be a good time to give my opinion on a good way.

Basically, I've given each .5 incremental a word it acts as an acronym for, just as GS has a word for every 1 point increment (I re-use some of theirs, and put in my own in other spots). Like, woah, right? That's 19 descriptive words. So, here it is, this is how I rate. This is long, so either get comfortable or prepare your bookmark so you can read half today and half tomorrow. :lol:

10 - Prime - I think GS has got the right idea by now saying this is what a 10 should represent, since perfection as we generally term it is inherently an impossibility, by definition only capable of being a placeholder. Looking at a dictionary definition of the word prime, it basically means "the highest form something can take." To me, I apply that to a game as meaning it has nothing that really needs to be improved. There's always something you can add to any game that might create something else of interest, but in the most rare of instances, there is nothing that needs to be added or changed. Riven is the only game I have played thus far that I have given a ten because at no point did I come across something that made me go "This needs to be such and such a way, it'd make the game better." So basically, if I give a game a ten, BE AMAZED, because I'm damn good at finding flaws. Damn good. A 10 means I was utterly floored and mind-boggled at the game's proximity to that impossible point of perfection.

9.5 - Phenomenal - Every now and then, I come across those phenomenons in gaming, those games where I'm like "My God, I LOVE this game." They fall into this category. They have a share of minor flaws that keep me from justifying a score of 10, but as a 10 is extremely difficult to get from me, these games are still what I consider among THE BEST of all time. You need to play them.

9.0 - Superb - As in, generally superb to most games out there. This isn't quite the phenomenon to see that a 9.5 is, but make no mistake, these games are still some of the best you'll find. They have noticeable flaws, but not much that's especially damning, and these games bring enough to the table to make the flaws matter only a little. Extremely recommended.

8.5 - Excellent - They excel beyond many in the arena, though they're by no means the champs. These games do have some flaws worth complaining about, and there are some things I'd like to be better. But the good greatly outweighs the bad, and there is plenty of enjoyable gameplay to be had. The outcome of the efforts put into this game are very commendable. It is highly recommended and a very worthy addition to a gamer's collection.

8.0 - Great - The experience these games offer is overall a great one, no way around it. Not quite excelling well past the average good game, they are nonetheless still on a higher tier, of a particularly satisfying quality that deserves some props. The flaws are apparent, some maybe even pretty significant, but nothing ruinous, and the game respectably brushes its flaws from the fore much of the time. Any game of this is score is readily recommended.

7.5 - Really Good - As in, not "This is a really good game, man," but "Yeah, it's pretty good; a pretty fun game." This is just a tiny notch above your averagely good game. Not that that's something to sneer at. First of all, the bottom line to these games is that they're mostly entertaining and well worth playing. While they lack any real "fine-dining" aspect to them, they have their share of pretty fun moments. The flaws are there, make no mistake. These games usually have a fair number of ways they could have been improved, and it can be a little disappointing that they're not better. But the fun is there, too, and that's good enough. These games are recommended.

7.0 - Good - This is your run-of-the-mill, good-but-nothing-really-special game. It's a pretty average experience as games go, worth playing, but pretty flawed. I like these games, I enjoy these games, but I wish these games were better than they are. Their flaws really drag them down from being something at all remarkable, and if I've got better games to play lined up, I'm not very psyched to play these first. However, they're good enough to want to get to them later. They're good, and that's that. These games are lightly recommended.

6.5 - Decent - A game with this rating could have been a lot better, that's for sure. It's not on par with the average game even, so from a "glass-half-empty" point of view, it's not quite a success. But that doesn't mean there's nothing of worth to be found in the game. There is some enjoyment to be had here, and it's probably worth at least trying to play through if you don't have much else to do or you just feel like playing a random, okay game. Just keep your expectations relatively low. Very lightly recommended.

6.0 - Passable - As in, it just does pass on the positive side of the scale. There's a bit of good to be found here, and I get a very mild sense of enjoyment out of at least some parts of the game, but the flaws are just shouting from the rooftops sometimes, and it makes for not the most satisfactory experience. It could be much, much better, but on the flipside, it could be much, much worse. Kind of, sort of, I think maybe recommended in a way. If you're bored.

5.5 - Lacking - Now it's hard to have positive thinking. Let's get the good out of the way. There's like an inkling of goodness. With a game like this, I enjoy myself just a teensy bit on few occasions in the gameplay. Mostly, though, it's just a package of disappointment and disastisfaction at the lack of good work put into it. Not really recommended. If you can find it for like two dollars and you're bored out of your freakin' skull, maybe then, but, nyeeehhhh...

5.0 - Mediocre - Contrary to many rating systems, mediocre does not mean "average" here. The average thing is, in my experience, good to some degree. It generally refers to the average experience, which is in most things "good," not the median of the rating scale (whether that scale be number-based or not). Mediocre, on the other hand, does. It means there's nothing significant to say positively or negatively. It's a boring score in that it refers to no dips into the extreme on either the positive or negative side of the scale. So a game of this score has nothing impressive on the positive side, nothing extreme on the negative. So it's not horrible... but if it also doesn't have any one aspect you can say more than "It's ah'ight" about, it's simply not worth your time. So does it really matter that it's not horrible? There's nothing at all good enough to put up with the low points here, so ultimately, even if it's a light thumbs down, it's still a thumbs down. Not recommended.

4.5 - Subpar - Slightly further into the negative scale. What few okay aspects this game has are outnumbered by its negatives, and it's noticeably inadequate. Still not horrible, but there's really no reason to play this game. Not recommended.

4.0 - Poor - Deeper still we go. There's very, very little that can even be called marginally okay in this game; most of it is just unenjoyable and unpleasant. Definitely not recommended.

From this point on, it's no longer a matter of subtracting points, but adding them. Where before I always looked for the flaws to see how they hurt the experience, now I have to look for the not-so-bad points to see how far away the game is from the worst game it could ever be.

3.5 - Bad - And just like that, there's nothing positive left. It's just a bad game, plain and simple, with the highest points of the game being mediocre and still not commendable in the slightest. Don't play this game.

3.0 - Pitiful - First it's bad, then it's sad. Pity this game, for every aspect of it is on the negative side of the scale to some degree. Stay away from anything to do with this game.

2.5 - Terrible - First bad, then pitifully bad, then frightfully bad (terrible actually means "scary, feared," and has come to mean really bad in that it implies something is "so bad it's scary"). This game is, quite simply, so bad it's scary and appalling. Run, foolish mortals, run from this game and its wicked wrath! No, seriously, if you see this on the shelf, don't even touch the box it sits in. Everything about it is bad or worse.

2.0 - Horrendous - Terrible on a higher level. Scary and revolting in a deeper way. Well, I don't know, most thesauri will show them as synonyms, but it sounds heavier and more evocative than terrible, so I think of it as terrible+1. Everything about this game is awful at best. Forget touching the box, don't even look at it. Such things are not for our tender eyes to see.

1.5 - Abysmal - A game of this score is like wading through a cesspool of puke, mamed entrails, nuclear waste, dead plague rats, anthrax, and flesh-eating bacteria, then stopping and going "Hey, I found some cow crap, guys! I found some! Isn't that great?" Even uttering this game's name may bring a thousand curses upon your head.

1.0 - Ultimate Suckage - Don't play games- I mean, torture simulators like this. You'll die. I know, I played one once.


Okay. So, there you have it. My rating system.