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Gaming When did 8/10 become a bad score?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 17 Feb 2012.

  1. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    The problem with reviewing games is that you only have a relatively short amount of time in which to play a game before you have to put pen to paper - in which time you might not discover a particular game-stopping bug. Also, if you are playing a pre-release copy of a game for review, how do you know that the version you're playing is the final gold version? How many problems are down to the developer being lazy, how many are down to the publisher forcing a release date on the developer?

    While I think it's up to the gaming press to point out and report where a game is unplayable on release (I'm thinking of games like The Witcher here), they can only report on what they find out during their relatively short playing time. It's down to the paying public to let the publishers know that forcing games out of the door before they're ready is not acceptable.

    Hats off to Joe, though - he, at least, is one reviewer who's not scared to score games badly. All hail Joe, saviour of the gamingverse!
     
  2. b1candy

    b1candy New Member

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    Issue 1: The reviewing industry is full of back scratchers. You give my game a good review, I'll white list you for our next release. You give my game a bad review, you're blacklisted. Reviewers are moving more and more freelance, where the individual rapport is more important than the company they work for, so individuals are pressured by the lure of 'more exclusivity' if they pony up the medals and top scores. This is also apparent in computer hardware, where every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to award every damn product with an award. A 'bad' product gets a 7/10 rating, even if it is deep fried turd.

    Issue 2: Reviews and advertising. You post a bad review, they pull their 5-6 figure advertising deal with you.

    Issue 3: Commenters. Man some of these do really get me down. A lot of comments taking personal digs at family life and stature, just because they disagree with one line or the other, or you haven't observed to mentioned 'X, Y or Z' which turns out to be an extreme niche that they (and very few others) deal with. Reviewing is hard people - it takes time, effort, structure and a deft hand to convey everything needed. It's not something they knock up in 5 minutes over coffee. It's not a cake walk, to play a game / test hardware - it requires a methodical strategy every time, and then persistence over 1000-5000 words of text. This is why people can't do two or three a day, more like one or two a week! Most of the time, the reviewers are freelance as well, and are underpaid for the time and effort put in.

    (On the other hand, I have seen some shocking reviews where no effort is put in, missing the simplest errors, and then the product gets an award (see back scratching). Those websites have conveniently turned off comments and are forum only.)

    One minor issue - a lot of these publications give 1/10 (or equivalent) as its lowest score. Since when did 10% become the new 0%?
     
  3. Bauul

    Bauul Sir Bongaminge

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    I'd be interested to see what proportion of games got a 90+ score. Could it be there are simply more games being released?

    It's more to do with the fact most review sites don't see the point of reviewing low scoring games. Would you rather Joe reviewed Tractor Simulator 3D, or Mass Effect 3? With limited resources, the focus has to be on the games people are most interested in reading about.

    So, you only get low scores when a game looked like it was going to be very good, and then ended up being shite, which isn't all that common.

    Most reviewers use a ten point scale. If you go from 0 to 10, that's actually an eleven point scale, which makes less sense. However, you could argue using a scale at all is attempting to quantify something that can't be quantified, so conversely it almost doesn't matter what scale you use. But then you're down to the argument of ditching scores altogether.
     
  4. alpaca

    alpaca llama eats dremel

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    I must admit I rarely pay attention to the score. I played bastion because the article was loving, not because of any score (I really don't know which score it got).
     
  5. dougal2000

    dougal2000 New Member

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    With regards to the statistics in this article do we not need to consider the number of perfect scores per year as a percentage of games released per year to more accurately reflect the change in trends?
    Also, correlating this to the number of sequels per year might reveal something interesting about changes in reviews. Perhaps each year can be broken down into two statistics, one for sequels and one for original IP?
     
  6. MjFrosty

    MjFrosty New Member

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    This was a great read and for the most part I agree with everything said. I think generally on the whole gamers these days expect more than they did 10 years ago. Personally for me an 8 indicates that a game is definitely worth playing and has good production value, anything below that falls into the category this article describes as 'not a hit' or distinctively average.

    Although this is how I (and probably many others) see it, I definitely don't agree thats how it should be.
    You've got to look at it from a typical point of view though, that there is (more so than ever) a lot of back handing going on. This doesn't really apply to Bit-Tech, which is why I go by a lot of the reviews written here.

    A more brutal example would be Jeff Gerstmann who was 'let go' from Gamespot after giving Kane and Lynch a poor review. At the time the site was absolutely plastered in advertisement for it...Need I elaborate further? Jeff was giving his opinion on a game he was given to play. This may sound really cyinical but IMO questioning any of it is a waste of time. Everything is industry driven and no matter what the reason for it is, money motivates.

    If you like gaming and like writing about gaming then go ahead and do it, and give as honest an opinion as you can give. Just because one person has shot your favourite franchise down in flames doesn't stop you from going out and buying it and giving your own opinion. That's the beauty of the internet.
     
  7. Bauul

    Bauul Sir Bongaminge

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    Ok, so I did a quick analysis looking at the proportion of games that scored 90+ as a percent of all the games reviewed by Metacritic for each year.

    This is obviously hugely dictated by which games Metacritic decides to include in its library, but given this article used Metacritic as a base then this caveat can be overlooked.

    [​IMG]

    Arguably 2000-2003 can be discounted as Metacritic was unlikely to have recorded all the games being released, but from 2004 onwards one can presume the proportion of all games released captured by Metacritic has remained roughly steady.

    There clearly is a rise in 2010 and 2011, but nowhere near the extreme amount as suggested in the article. I'm not arguing that 8/10 being "bad" isn't a problem, but I think it's more an issue that games which were supposed to be perfect are considered written off if they don't score 10/10, which is clearly wrong. There are just an awful lot of games being released these days.
     
  8. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit No longer the other Brett.

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    8 out of 10 in my eyes is awesome, if I rated a movie 8 out of 10 is because I thought it was great/near brilliant.

    9 and 10 out of 10 are reaching perfection.
     
  9. SighMoan

    SighMoan Member

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    The day that Edge re-introduced scores to their reviews was a dark day for games journalism.
     
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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  11. Tattysnuc

    Tattysnuc Thinking about which mod to do 1st.

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    Absolutely. Forgive me - I'm unable to read the article at work due to BT's proxy's policies...

    If you look at something like IMDB - I know it's not a games rating, but the principle remains - then almost NOTHING gets 9 out of 10. only 3 films breach 9:

    Shawshank
    Godfather Part I and II

    Out of the the best films EVER, only 3 go over 9, so I have to concur 8 out of 10 is a pretty awesome score.
    Two out of 3 of the best films EVER are gangster films, but if you don't like gangster films, then you're going to score it differently.
    As with any review site, the score is only a way of summarising the details of the review - the important part has got to be the content of that review, which when you break it down is a mixture of facts and opinions based on the product. I like and value the opinion of Bit-tech, but don't take the scores in isolation - they are only an indication, and summation of the article.
     
  12. Instagib

    Instagib Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to go against the grain here and say that I do look to the score. With the amount of free cash to spend on games dwindling; I have to judge what is worth spending my hard earned on. A score is the easiest and quickest way. But as stated, with dumbing down of marking, I have to raise the bar to compensate. In the past marks of 60% would be sufficient, especially for some types of games; rpg's for example before games like oblivion made them mainstream, would often get lesser marks. Now scores of atleast 80% represent, for me atleast, the same old standard.
     
  13. NethLyn

    NethLyn Member

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    I'm ahead of you on BF but that's not because they're bad games, just because I don't fancy buying a new graphics card with every "main number" release. I'd rather just do a new build then catch up with whichever one has the most players left.

    The only difference is a few years ago the same discussion was had over 7/10, which was perceived as a wishy-washy score that told you nothing, rather than being "bad" in the eyes of games publishers. I stopped reading PCG for all the times they put the boot into a game in the text but kept the score in the high 60% range but nowadays there's so many other sources of opinion that I don't bother with a magazine and wouldn't trust a publisher that plastered awards all over the box anyway.
     
  14. TheDodoKiller

    TheDodoKiller Active Member

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    You wouldn't say 80% of a cheesecake is a bad thing...
     
  15. Cei

    Cei pew pew pew

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    I don't like scores any more, due to this very problem. My preferred method these days is that used by ArsTechinca; awarding a Buy, Try or Avoid. For detail you have to read the actual article and opinions.

    This means there is no artificial fight over the exact percentage, or even ability to compare games beyond a very crude metric. It all comes down to the words.
     
  16. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    I'd support a ditching of the scores on Bit-Tech/Bit-Gamer if the writers feel it could be useful. Hardware is a quantifiable thing - price/performance etc make sense to be scored, but a game? Not really to my mind.

    If not for the fact that score exposure can be very useful to smaller sites I'm sure many would drop it too, but if they're quoted in publisher's blurb it's a good advert for them getting 10/10... Another factor in the high-score wars imo.
     
  17. rogerrabbits

    rogerrabbits New Member

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    I wish people didn't pay so much attention to these comments sections on websites. Half the internet is an 11 year old moron, (yes ok, or a 26 year old moron with the mind of an 11 year old), so they really shouldn't be given so much creedance.
     
  18. Hovis

    Hovis New Member

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    I don't even know why games are scored out of ten. What's the point? When you're reviewing a game your conclusion is really only ever going to come down to one of these three opinions anyway;

    Great - You should play this game.
    Okay - This game is interesting if you like this kind of thing or you find it in a bargain bin.
    Crud - Leave it, this sucks.

    Getting obsessed with scores misses the point and serves only to stultify the entire games reviewing process. You end up with a review basically serving as an opinion piece aimed at justifying the score, rather than an appraisal of the product itself, in other words instead of a review you're getting an article, "Why Annual Shooter Franchise 3 is an 8", as opposed to a review. One of the more encouraging comments I see from time to time about a review on here is sometimes somebody will say, "You said XYZ was bad but you gave the game a nine" or "You said this was good but only gave the game a six". I like to see that, because it's shown that the author hasn't fixated on the score.

    I say this, let the review be the review. Let the score be the score.
     
  19. MiNiMaL_FuSS

    MiNiMaL_FuSS ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.

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    Are games getting better?

    Depends what you mean by better.

    Example: Is HL2 better than HL1? It's got smoother game-play, still got an amazing story; the graphics, sound and technical wizardry is certainly better.

    For me however HL1 remains the favourite, why? Hard to say, it's not rose-tinted memories of the game, it's memories of how the game made me feel. Playing HL1 was a true 'holy cack this is awesome' experience. HL2 was certainly a top-draw 10/10 game for me, but it didn't affect me in the same way as HL1.

    Why? was it not quite as good? Possibly.

    More likely is that I was a little more easily impressed in my youth, a little quicker to jump on the bang-wagon, and a little more easily caught up in the mass hysteria.

    This for me, is what causes the crazy devotion to very mediocre games today, take the MW series, it is worshipped by droves of teens. It's a decent enough game, it's fun to play, but most importantly it;s very easy to get caught up in the surrounding hype and culture.

    It's very hard to take a step back, and truly analyse a game for what it is, just as it;s hard to take criticism about one's self.

    For me nothing will ever match the heights of HL1 and Deus Ex (original of course) - but I'm willing to admit there are games out there that are probably as good as them....I'm just no longer in a position to appreciate that they are as good.
     
  20. sear

    sear New Member

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    As a games journalist, I find there is increasing pressure to adhere to publishers' wishes regarding reviews. Fortunately the site I write for does not play by those rules and does not award numeric scores, but I'm well aware that, in order to get say, interviews, review copies, etc. you need to portray the games in a positive light.

    For smaller sites who want to maintain integrity, it's harder to stay on the press list because publishers don't want to cooperate with sites that don't work as advertisers for them, and the big deals are all going to the IGNs and GameSpys anyway (i.e. the people who get paid 100x their actual hit value in ad revenue, and who get all the early and exclusive features). I mean, it makes sense - why help people who are just going to bash you? - but it also shows a contempt for the gaming public and their own customers that is very telling of the attitudes most big publishers have.

    There are also, of course, inherent problems with numeric scores that are usually lost in the obsession with Metacritic. A game like STALKER might be glitchy, kind of mechanically broken and extremely unpolished... and yet it's also incredibly fun, provides tons of emergent gameplay options, a compelling world, interesting story, and so on. How do you score a game like that? 5/10 doesn't really work because it doesn't reflect the quality of the experience itself, only the technical side of it. Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto IV is the highest-rated Metacritic game ever, but many players were disappointed with its content and tone. It might look great and play okay, but that is not enough to judge a game on either.

    I think if game reviewers are going to stick with numeric scores, they need to ditch the current critieria of "does it work? does it look pretty? does it have celebrity voice talent? 10/10!" and instead start thinking about questions like "what are the design goals of this product, and do they fulfill the intended experience?" Moreover, game journalists need to effectively start thinking like designers and developers - it's not enough to say "X works, Y doesn't" - reasons and analysis need to be given, as well as suggestions for how this could be improved.

    Unfortunately, this will also eliminate the bargain-basement criteria necessary to become a "games journalist" these days, which means that the big magazines and sites have to stray from their greatest secret shame - that much of their content is written by students or people with no formal education, no design and development experience, and that those jobs could effectively be farmed out to any random gamer capable of stringing a few sentences together. It would also mean that they'd have to stop paying their writers more than the current sub-minimum-wage rates that are standard for games journalism. Effectively, it needs to grow up, but so long as the big sites are happy with publishing terrible content so long as it gets hits, and users are willing to go to these sites, that will not change.
     
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