Jimquisition: Review Scores Are Not Evil

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Scars Unseen:
Presentation: 7
Graphics: 8
Audio: i
Jim: 6.0221415 x 1023

Final Score(not an average): frog

You reminded me of Conan O'Brien's scale of meaningless, WHY?

I honestly think review scores are great from a "I'm thinking of impulsively buying a game I know nothing about and want to know if it's worth buying for $X"-standpoint. If you're disregarding titles you've been looking forward to based on the opinions of someone who you don't know, may not share your taste in games, and who may not even have the experience as a gamer to make these sorts of assessments (I'm looking at you, random Wall Street Journal game reviewers), you're probably doing it wrong. Honestly, scores are great if you want to determine what the overall opinion is, but you've got to have actual reasons for the scores in order to determine if it's something that's worth your time and money.

I'd give this episode a 7.5

Draconalis:

LazyGlader:
If you are directing this question towards Jim, then I'll have to ask you if you even watched the video. He claimed he likes review scores.

Yes...I watched the video. I was being fictitious...

Don't you mean facet...oh...Hehe!

Consistency is the main problem with score. Keep up with sites like gametrailers.com and ign.com and you end up seeing the lack of consistency in them. Some games will get a much higher score that they deserve simply because they are a long runing franchise, that advertises on their site, like RE6.

PS.: thus episode was a 3 out of 5.

Oh, hi to you too, Jim!

Generally speaking I'll look at the average score a game has received to gauge the overall reception it's garnered, and then look up gameplay of whatever game is in question to see if it looks fun to me. If I like what I see, I'll try it out.

There are cases where this doesn't work out so well, particularly with RPGs, in which case I'll usually go by word-of-mouth or read up some of the reviews done by people that I feel have similar tastes as I do, which more often than not leads me to none other than Jim Sterling on Destructoid. Oh, what a small internet it is.

Well, there is a basic problem with "scores" of any kind you didn't mention: They imply an objective comparability of something (art) influenced by subjective perception, which is simply not true. You can't really compare a modern, to a medieval, to an ancient cavern painting, you can't even compare modern art with other modern art, at least not in an objective manner, otherwise it would look like this: "Painting a uses a slightly broader color palette than b, while b's color intensity and accumulation is slightly higher than a's". Transported to games that would mean: "a has x times more polygons than b, while b has yadidadida [...]". Looking on games as an interactive medium it gets even harder, considering the player has a direct impact on the experience, "if you find the game pacing to slow, maybe you just played it to slow". Though, this already goes into the general problem of reviewing, if we would act consistent on this, every reviewer would have to say "if you want to know how it is, just play the damn game yourself". However, we all know, that it won't work that way either.
Personally, i don't mind game related scores, i barely even care. In a way, you are right, Jim, they won't actually hurt anyone, except maybe a game gets "bad" scores for whatever reasons, while missing the point of the game, it would then probably sell lower than it could and not get the attention it probably might have deserved, while other games get unreasonable high scores and so on and so forth.
Some around mentioned what sites like metacritic or game ratings contributed to that. Well, maybe I don't know exactly what you mean by that, but in the end, those sites are nothing more and nothing less than the extend of statistical expression to its end. To have one without the other would be at least totally inconsistent. Here again Jim says it just right, "don't blame the knife for the stabbing, blame the stabber", whoever that may be.
But then again, that's not even the tip of the iceberg of problems the game industry has to face.
In the end, keep your game scores, or throw them away, i don't mind really... but i friggin hate the construct of school grades, i think they hinder the potential of our society at the base, where the subjects to its wrongs can't even properly fight against it and i blame those who cling to this concept, just because it appears easier... though, that's another topic.

Also, beware the gloves, i suspect they have evil powers!

The only thing I don't agree in this video is drinking from a recently turd sprayed... water thingy... damn, I need to add a new word to mi English dictionary...

In any case, I don't hate numbers, but I think most people use them just 'cause. The only benefit I see in them numbers, is that I can skip reading a god awful rant about the game and see the bottom line number to get an idea of what the reviewer thinks.

muffinatorXII:
i don't really have a problem with scores it's just that they make no sense. first of all i don't believe a complex opinion can be quantified numerically and if it could you would have to decide on a universal scale to use it on, which also makes no sense because different people value things differently.

and there is this weird thing right now where 7/10 is average

5/10 is funtional mechanically, which is not average, despite being the number between zero and ten, because consumers hold the industry to a certain standard. This is mostly thanks to the internet giving consumers the tools to have the developers by their dangly gubbins, and a game that does nothing more than function mechanically (like that X-Men game) won't turn a profit (it didn't). So 7/10 is 'average' in that it meets our standards, as in, it's entertainment that's entertaining, meaning it does more than function, which is what we expect, and have every right to at sixty dollars a pop.

5/10 is a car that runs, 7/10 is a car that runs well, and has air conditioning and a radio. It may not park itself, it may not be a hybrid, it may not have heated seats and a damn GPS, but it's what people consider 'average' in spite of cars not needing A/C or a radio to function.

It's not that complicated.

Cool episode. 8/10
Perfect evil laugh at the end :) 10/10

Any arbitrary grade system works.
A scale from 1 to 11.3 where a 9 is just passable? It still works fine, just aslong as the reviewer is consistent in his grading. Know it and translate to your own scale.

The problem is never the scoring system itself. It's just bad reviews or bad readers.

I agree that scores are fine.

The system breaks down over scrutiny but I'd argue that most of us genuinely know this.
We know that a game getting a 9 today doesn't make it superior to every 8.5 game in history regardless of genre.
We know that a 9.5 FPS game isn't necessarily better than a 9.0 FPS on another console, or on a prior console.
We know that one reviewers interpretation of a 7/10 game could vastly differ from anothers.

Numbers provide a quick glance as to whether the article is worth your time. If you've grown familiar with the reviewer, you can better appreciate what the numbers actually mean in terms of game strength.

Review scores by themselves can be helpful, if I just want a quick overview of whether or not a game is good however the scores should give some for of scale with them. For example let us know what qualifies a mediocre and what is considered good this can lead to a lot less fanboy complaints.

Wait, what? This is an issue? People who complain about review scores, get 3/10.
I'm giving them a point for being able to string a coherent sentence together, or at least enough of one that we can understand what they're complaining about. They also receive a further two points for having the gall to express themselves on the internet.

I think they have become a bit meaningless and a crutch for bad review sites but that's just due to their misuse not their existence. Sometimes you can read a review and tell that an 8/10 has just been slapped on there as a compromise (**cough** IGN **cough**) and that is a real shame but let us not pretend that reviews in the past have not been subject to this kind of manipulation. Personally I don't like how they are used much of the time (especially when it comes to score creep) but scores themselves are completely necessary.

AJey:
So you missed the most obvious point? How about the fact that scores provide zero information! None! Nothing!

They tell you how much the reviewer liked the game. It doesn't tell you why, but that's what the text is there for.

I kinda get how 7/10 became average if you think about it like a school grading system. A "C" is meant to be the average grade. By the same idea, 7/10 means you'll get you'll most likely get your money's worth from the game, but no more. The big issue that's brought up about scores, that they're subjective, is a problem inheiret with reviews themselves, and removing scores won't mitigate this problem.

True, Review Scores in and of themselves aren't bad. But there is a fundamental problem with rating a piece of entertainment like a consumer product. While a consumer product is usually meant to be replaced, entertainment is different. If you rated a movie when it came out in theaters, should you give it a second score when it released on Blu-Ray? No, because the quality of the piece doesn't change, just its value. Quality and value aren't the same thing, and the industry at large really needs to acknowledge that, IMO.

If the industry wants scores to mean something, they need to change two things.

First, the length of a game shouldn't affect the review score by itself. Sure, $60 for a 5-hour game probably isn't worth it, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the game. If something like Portal, for instance, were released as a stand-alone $60 game, should it be considered a lesser game than if it was sold for $10? Letting price factor into a review of entertainment also damages the score by dating it; in a year, a game can drop to half its price. Should it be considered a better game if it does? If people really want to address price, they should do it, but not as part of a score. Set a price limit, or a recommended format, but don't consider it in your score unless the length, or lack thereof, affects the quality of the game itself, not its value.

And second, the review scales should not use other games as their base. This might sound stupid, so let me give an example. New Super Mario Bros released more than 3 years ago, and got scores in the high 80's. New Super Mario Bros 2 released this year, with scores in the high 70's. Most (but not all) reviews I've seen credit the lower score to the game being too much like its predecessor. What does that have to do with the game's quality? Nothing. It has everything to do with the game's value. I see the same thing when games are compared to one another. A game's quality shouldn't be dependent on what its competitors are doing, but on its own merits. This also dates the review further, because its dependent on games that were out at the time of the review. Its value should be what's affected, not its quality.

Now I'm not saying that other games shouldn't affect scores at all; in fact, by defining a critic's quality spectrum, they already are. But the level of engagement should be what's scored, not how much the game is worth. If they want to include that, they should score the game's value separately.

Siege_TF:

muffinatorXII:
i don't really have a problem with scores it's just that they make no sense. first of all i don't believe a complex opinion can be quantified numerically and if it could you would have to decide on a universal scale to use it on, which also makes no sense because different people value things differently.

and there is this weird thing right now where 7/10 is average

5/10 is funtional mechanically, which is not average, despite being the number between zero and ten, because consumers hold the industry to a certain standard. This is mostly thanks to the internet giving consumers the tools to have the developers by their dangly gubbins, and a game that does nothing more than function mechanically (like that X-Men game) won't turn a profit (it didn't). So 7/10 is 'average' in that it meets our standards, as in, it's entertainment that's entertaining, meaning it does more than function, which is what we expect, and have every right to at sixty dollars a pop.

5/10 is a car that runs, 7/10 is a car that runs well, and has air conditioning and a radio. It may not park itself, it may not be a hybrid, it may not have heated seats and a damn GPS, but it's what people consider 'average' in spite of cars not needing A/C or a radio to function.

It's not that complicated.

i disagree, 5/10 should be a game that isn't bad but isn't great, a game that you wouldn't mind playing but you wouldn't actively seek to play it. a 7/10 should be a good game, one that you would seek to play if you can (maybe buy it on sale because it looks cool) but probably wouldn't get in line for a day for it.

but anyway my main point still stands, review scores make no sense

I don't care when games get underrated.
It bothers me when they're overrated, which is usually the case.
It's the reason I rent: after everyone said No More Heroes was amazing and I wasted money on that piece of tedious crap. Sure some reviews are just plain entertaining but I don't know if I'm going to like a game until I've tried it.

Kuth:
Scores, no problem with them. Now Metacritic can die in the pits of 8th level hell for the damage that has done.

For some reason, people are mixing the hate of Metacritic with scores. That is a very bad idea to muddle up on your stance. Many of us know that Metacritic have costed people jobs, not intentionally, but companies have relied on using it and thus have seen it as a way to see how well their product will or will not do.

Scores of an individual and the text for why that score exist, is fine. Throwing several different scores formats, and trying to find an average, along with customer scores is idiotic. It makes little to no sense and it's hard for people figure out or analyze why one game got mostly 8/7 score and some twat gave it a 2/5 stars.

Metacritic didn't cost people jobs. Publishers with terrible policies and stupid expectations have cost people jobs. Gabe Newall's talked about it as a stupid way to motivate workers - it causes people to latch on to winning properties (i.e. more of the same) rather than actually attempt new things, thus creating new properties. All metacritic is is an aggregation service. Hating on it is like hating on Google Reader.

Am I the only person who thought of Raif Feinnes during Schindler's list in the last few minutes? That was about dirt under the fingernails, so it didn't work QUITE as well.

there isnt a point to review scores anymore as you only have a choice of 3 numbers 8/10 (worst game in decades), 9/10 (average), 10/10 (decent)

Haven't watched the video yet, but let me defend that having average of 7 instead of 5 is understandable.
Why? Because the really shitty games people rarely play, those ones are the games that deserve bellow 5.

Also I'd like to add that not everyone should review any game professionally. Someone who never liked motion controls cannot review Zelda Skyward Sword. It's the same if I reviewed any RPG, since I don't like them even if they're regarded as masterpieces. it wouldn't be fair if I was a reviewer giving a 3 to Skyrim lowering the average on Gamerankings and Metacritic scores.
User reviews are another story, but that's why they are not professionals.

Awe, there was a nut in that turd, wasn't there? :\

I have absolutely no idea where this ire for scores of 8 and below came from, or what kind of twit gets mad about a score. I've seen it happen, I've seen people try to drum up outrage because a game got a score of less than 9/10, but I never made sense of why it mattered to them or anyone else. I don't get the personal offense here.

All of this aside however, there was a nut in that turd...

You call that a "Wrong!", Jim?!

At the end, I could feel Jim's raging dictator boner through the screen.....

I tend to agree. Scores reflect an opinion and can be quite fun.

What needs to be stopped is Metacritic and other sites that publishers put so much weight on. Yeah, it would be best if they just didn't, but as long as it exists, they will.

There's nothing wrong with a review score. There is something wrong with how review scores are often abused, and it's not just readers misunderstanding the context of the review score. It's also reviewers that have, over time, whether deliberated or accidentally, distorted the meaning of the score such that only a small span of the entire range are given meaning. The Hate out of Ten problem comes partially at the fault of reviewers who have, over the years, created the distortion that scores in the range of 7.0-8.0 are only average or mediocre, as opposed to the 4.5-5.5 range having that meaning. Back in the day, if a game was truly shitty, it got a 3/10, at best. Today, that same level of shittiness garners a 6.5-7.0, a range of scores that was once considered slightly above average in quality. Even further, a game having such a score would still often appeal to fans of the game's genre; I'm not sure if the same holds true today.

That segues into another basic problem that I perceive regarding the review score; it lacks context of personal preference. Just about every review score seems to be given an absolute context when the reality is that a game that is considered shitty or mediocre by one individual may be considered exceptional or superior by another individual. The difference is personal taste and preference. Review scores often don't take into account the skews in perception of quality that depend on the preferences of the target audience. Fans of a particular genre or series are more likely to have a more elevated opinion of a game in their preferred genre or series, whereas those who dislike a particular genre or series will have a much low opinion of the game. Those who are ambivalent are likely to be somewhere in the middle. No singular review score is going to properly capture this nuance.

It is for this reason that I think review score should really be done in triplet, one score for fans, one score for haters, and one score for the general ambivalent populous. Of course, this means you have to have 3 different reviewers for any given game and they must have the particular dispositions toward the game as required by the particular type of score they are trying to yield. The primary problem I see with this solution is that it is expensive (for the reviewing publication) and cumbersome (it's hard finding that mix of fan, hater, and "don't care" attitudes), meaning the review process slows significantly and can cost publications looking for rapid turn-around. However, in my opinion, this would allow a lot more context to be applied to the game and give a more complete view of the game's quality.

Mythmaker:

First, the length of a game shouldn't affect the review score by itself. Sure, $60 for a 5-hour game probably isn't worth it, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the game. If something like Portal, for instance, were released as a stand-alone $60 game, should it be considered a lesser game than if it was sold for $10? Letting price factor into a review of entertainment also damages the score by dating it; in a year, a game can drop to half its price. Should it be considered a better game if it does? If people really want to address price, they should do it, but not as part of a score. Set a price limit, or a recommended format, but don't consider it in your score unless the length, or lack thereof, affects the quality of the game itself, not its value.

This is a very good point. Prices drop all the time, especially on PC and length is only value for money (if the game is any good at all).
Game length should be mentioned somewhere, but it doesn't make an experience more fun. Some of us don't even want to waste much time.

And second, the review scales should not use other games as their base. This might sound stupid, so let me give an example. New Super Mario Bros released more than 3 years ago, and got scores in the high 80's. New Super Mario Bros 2 released this year, with scores in the high 70's. Most (but not all) reviews I've seen credit the lower score to the game being too much like its predecessor. What does that have to do with the game's quality? Nothing. It has everything to do with the game's value. I see the same thing when games are compared to one another. A game's quality shouldn't be dependent on what its competitors are doing, but on its own merits. This also dates the review further, because its dependent on games that were out at the time of the review. Its value should be what's affected, not its quality.

Now I'm not saying that other games shouldn't affect scores at all; in fact, by defining a critic's quality spectrum, they already are. But the level of engagement should be what's scored, not how much the game is worth. If they want to include that, they should score the game's value separately.

Trickier. A reviewer may want to reward originality somehow, but at the same time to a newcomer who isn't jaded yet, copy-pasta sequel X may still be worth their time.
Worse, a fresh experience may genuinely make the critic like the experience more. If this rule is to be taken to it's logical destination, then a critic would have to go something like: 'wow I loved this game! Hmm, maybe it's because it's something not done before, so I'd better substract a full point just to be fair to all the copycats that will soon follow'.

Well done Jim. xD The end of the show killed me! HA!

I don't see how people blame review scores or Metacritic for the choices of the people who run a company they aren't a part of. Even if review scores and metacritic left, or weren't ever there to begain with the people at the top of these companies would just make up some other bullcrap reason to fire people.

Also, those gloves do look better.

I, for one, welcome our new Sterling overlord.

In reference to the removal of scores, it's as old an argument as any. It just has a different title. Generally, the idea of "Take away their [tool] and then they can't do [deed that is deemed awful by it's author]" has little to no sense. If someone wants to do it, they'll find another means to do so. Plain as that.

Jimothy Sterling:
Review Scores Are Not Evil

When Jim Sterling isn't busy being the voice of a generation, he's a videogame reviewer -- one that's constantly told to abolish review scores. This is a silly request, hinging on the belief that review scores are an evil we simply endure.

Watch Video

So I work at a game publisher, the videos on the escapist are technically work related [plenty of folks here have a routine of game industry shows we watch, others use their free time in the day to smoke, different strokes].

Now with that in mind, so glad the only penis in this weeks video was a guy in a cock suit.

The CEO of our company walked by and got super interested in the game scenes and was curious what your show was. I like that watching this show at work is a bit of a mine field :P.

wolfyrik:
Wait, what? This is an issue? People who complain about review scores, get 3/10.
I'm giving them a point for being able to string a coherent sentence together, or at least enough of one that we can understand what they're complaining about. They also receive a further two points for having the gall to express themselves on the internet.

Yes, because it takes a lot of guts to say something terrible on the internet. That's why it almost never happens.
>_>
<_<

On a more serious note: The reason people hate review scores/metacritic isn't really because of the scores themselves, but because some companies have said they will fire anyone who works on a game that doesn't get a high enough score.

But they should get mad at the companies who say that, not the scores, or Metacritic.

I miss the red gloves Jim, you looked like a facist magician.

Also, I thought you had already done this topic but I guess not... weird... anyways, what did Koonami actually say? It sounds freaking hilarious.

I don't mind review scores. I read reviews in a similar manner to Jim: score first, and then the full text, to see how the result was arrived at. If it's a game I don't really care about, and I don't, for whatever reason, have the time to read a full review, I'll look at the scores on a couple of different sites to see if they match up.

I also don't have a problem with using numbers. Most sites have a pretty well laid-out system for scoring games, so even when the numbers don't match up, the thoughts on quality usually do.

The only reason why I'd want to see review scores abolished is because then the HUGE FANBOYS who only pay attention to scores would no longer be able to look at a number, and then bitch and complain for months on end that the reviewer in question was paid to give it the score it got. Christ, that pisses me off to no end.

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