It’s time to retire game rankings

The futureI doubt they realize what they’ve done. The couldn’t possibly, unless it was some kind of grand satire experiment where they themselves were trying to epitomize — using a mirror — what was wrong with their medium. A certain web site today gave Halo 3 (which I am 100% positive will be amazing for a Halo game) a perfect score. They weren’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, and that’s unfortunate.

How ironic that a vote of perfect purity actually betrays how sick the industry’s press has become.

On that note it’s time to banish, eliminate, put down or otherwise kill — or at least modify in ways that would leave them looking nothing like the do today — video game review scores.

What’s going on today isn’t really fair to gaming. It’s not. While some people out there might be dancing in the streets over the bevy of perfect 10’s a few FPS’s have received over the past year, what they’re really doing without even realizing it is breathing a huge sigh of relief. They’re content because it seems that nothing is going to change, and life will remain as it has been for the past 10 years. How boring that would be.

By a show of hands, who here thinks that the perfect 10’s we’re going to see this week (and to an extent saw with BioShock) are being accompanied by an unconscious “take that, Nintendo!” by the reviewers? Sure, in’s case (how is ZDNet doing these days, anyway?) the disdain for all things Nintendo is palatable, but for some of the less obvious venues you can’t help but notice that the most significant part of the review — the text, not the number — comes up woefully short of perfection. And yet the prize is awarded, and a blind eye is turned. Denial, they say, is not just a river in Egypt.

What’s troubling is when I see a lot of something like this being repeated over and over again at completely different sites: “It’s not perfect, oh no, but it’s perfect Halo. 10/10.” On the face of it, that’s not a bad review to get, but it only helps you make a buying decison if you’re a Mountain Dew drinking Halophile in the first place. Everyone else, which constitutes the vast majority of people, will not be enticed to try new things by these reviews. In fact, as I’ve said before, I believe that in two weeks’ time we’ll all be moving on to something else.

Meanwhile, there was yet another geezers playing Wii Sports article today. Was the reporter perhaps a little late to the party with this one? Yes. But that’s attacking the messenger, and not the message. The message? Great games that introduce paradigm-changing mechanics rule the day as they change the playing field forever. Wii Sports’ aggregate score? It’s not a 10, of that you can be sure. Hey, at least it won an award last week, right?

But Jack, you say, Halo 3 wasn’t designed for those people. You are being an obtuse and — as usual — obnoxious fanman. That’s completely true! I’d say. And great for Bungie. They know their audience and the game was marketed to that audience about as perfectly as could be expected. The marketing gets a 10/10, and 10 out of 10 Halo lovers agree that this is a good game. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, remember? Don’t get distracted! That’s how the terrorists win!

The “problem’ here is how an industry has become an echo chamber for only one type of gamer, and how the objective press, which is supposed to do its research and present facts and truthful analysis, is actually more like a fan club executive council. That’s not an environment conducive to inviting in new people to try gaming — which is today considered an obnoxious club by many parents and young adults — which in turn will beget a smaller and smaller base of consumers. With that dynamic, we all lose, regardless of individual gaming preferences.

The great thing is we consumers and readers get to vote with our wallets and our eyeballs. I haven’t visited in months, because it offers nothing different from far better “hardcore” sites I frequent (hardcore gaming sights, you pervs). I’ve also eliminated Kotaku’s RSS feed from my Google Reader. Not because I don’t like them, but because I already had Joystiq in there first, and they’ve managed to break down their coverage into far more targeted and relevant Fanboy sites. There’s no real differentiator there, so I cut the redundancy loose.

What I hope will happen, in addition to a streamlined review process that uses 5 stars (or 5 whatevers) like the movies, is that new review sites will begin to pop up to feature intelligent, eloquent reviews and commentary. The number will be the least important part of the review, and readers will make their decision thanks to exhaustive research of the genre, humor, scathing commentary, snarky headlines and context. Oh, and then there will be this tiny little box with a score off to the side. People will actually be encouraged to discuss a given game, rather than start a conversation with an arbitrary number.

This won’t happen at first. It may even take to the end of 2008. But it will happen. The ridiculous hardcore-only review sites will consolidate and fade away, with only the best of the best remaining. Filling the hole will be an intelligent system of well-read, well-played writers that will show that the industry has become mainstream and accepted by all walks of life. There will be women and young kids; fathers and a crusty old elderly man named Ned. And then there will be everyone else in between, all reviewing every type of game category with equal weight and comparing notes to see which game can actually achieve perfection and touch all categories equally. Does that kind of game sound crazy? Does it sound impossible? Does it sound too good to be true? Well, good. That’s what perfection is, and it isn’t something I want to see very often. As it stands today the game ranking press is positively polluted with perfection. It needs to be flushed.

Like I said, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. It will be, to use a cliche, a perfect 10.

61 Responses to It’s time to retire game rankings

  1. Kale says:

    Did anyone else play Odin Sphere? The follow up is Wii-exclusive….and drop-dead gorgeous! You gotta check this out….ALL HAIL SPRITES!

    And Bungie sucks at character modeling. They always have.

  2. DrewMG says:

    Haha, great article Jack. I really appreciate the way you’re able to blend delusion with bias to create something truly unique.

  3. exolstice says:

    Halo 3 deserves a 10/10 if you’re a hardcore FPS aficionado who spends 30+ hours a week gaming. For the rest of the world, it’s more like a 7/10. Can you imagine someone buying Halo 3 as their first ever video game, based on the hype and the perfect scores? He’d be in for one hell of a shock.

  4. frstOne says:

    Everyday I’m paying less and less attention to review scores. But you know, those scores are still useful for our hardcore gamer friends. I’d ask for more mainstream reviews, though, in addition to the hardcore ones.

  5. Mune says:

    1Up manages to review every game I’m looking forward to with a poor (or lower score) than all the “hardcore” games out there. I still go there, but mainly to prove my disliking for the way they review games, and to see what new game they’ve decided to give an undeserving 10 to. BioShock looks absolutely amazing. I watched a friend play for about an hour. But I can tell you now that it did not deserve a 10. The hacking mini-game looked like it would get annoying a few hours in. Graphically, while beautiful, the faces looked too robotic for me (considering Bioshock was supposed to be the most beautiful game in existence, I was expecting more).

    As for Halo 3, the only reviewer that has taken the time to really talk about the game in detail was IGN. They gave the game a 9.5. 1Up must have spent a total of thirty minutes writing theres, ans slapping that big ol’ 10 on there.

    Meh, I really hope you’re right about intelligent reviewers because I am slowly becoming more and more dissatisfied with the websites I visit these days.

  6. deepthought says:

    lol- Jack, I was actually waiting for this article as the release approached. You wrote one for Gears and one for Bioshock. Why not Halo3 as well?

    Reviews AREN’T supposed to indicate how well a game broadens the gaming base or to reflect whether a newbie would like the game as a representation of all gaming. They’re supposed to tell us if it’s a good game. Really, whether the reviewer had fun and thinks we would too.

    The industry isn’t an echo chamber for one type of gamer. Check out the praise for Psychonaughts, Beyond Good and Evil, and Geometry Wars. It’s OK for a FPS to also get high praise, even a FPS loved by teh xxx mt dew chugging 133ts with their damn Teva sandals and Skoal Bandits and Abercrombie and Fitch long sleeved, open stitched, crew neck Henley smoking their sticky buds out of a soda can while watching their favorite downloaded Simpsons episodes every night!

  7. HylianTom says:

    Thanks Jack. A topic near & dear to my fanman heart..

    I’ve all but given-up on 1up, opting instead for Infendo, GoNintendo, etc. Listening to the editors’ podcasts, the Wii is mentioned either rarely – or with a thick layer of disdain/derision. Their website proudly proclaims itself to be “Where Gamers Call Home,” which I cannot help but laugh at. Not all gamers will find equitable coverage there. Perhaps they should be a bit more honest with their advertising?

    Good luck to Ziff Davis and the 1Up crew. Given their severe case of hardcore tunnel-vision, I’m not so sure that ignoring/alienating owners of the leading next-gen console is such a financially wise decision.. 🙂

  8. Sykil says:

    I can’t stand courtesty scores. Almost all of the reviews read as if the scores were predefined and everything about the review itself tailored to fit that score rather than to present the game as it is.

    And 1UP isn’t even worth talking about. Besides the fact that they’re biased, they’re pathetic journalists.

  9. JB Mindtrick says:

    I agree 100% with the need to change the system of evaluating games. Ask the 80 year old if they know or care that it’s a 60 FPS game, they care if it’s fun and gets them off their chairs for an hour before dinner.

    The WII has created the need to look differently. I think before you review games you have to position them for potential markets and this isn’t an absolute but a sliding scale-Hardcore, Hardcore-Casual, Casual, Family could be four different reviews. Pick Halo 3-it may be a 100% for Hardcore, 80% for Hardcore-Casual, 50% for Casual, 0% for family. From there you review the mechanics, graphics, replayability etc. But each category has a different importance level (or none at all) for each game

  10. Blake says:

    Review scores are inflated, including Zelda:Twilight Princess. If we tame one we need to tame ’em all.

  11. DrewMG says:

    Addition: if you’re going to to bash video game criticism, you’d better be prepared not to post articles like this one:

    Either reviewing a video game is a valid form of journalism, or it isn’t. Let’s not be selective.

  12. rdaneel72 says:

    Here here, Blake. Twilight Princess WAS Halo. A game made expressly for the hardcore, vocal-minority who hated “Celda” from the first glance. Nintendo game them exactly what they were whining for, and TP was the absolute worst Zelda game ever. Here’s to hoping that Nintendo NEVER listens to the internet gamersphere ever again!!!

  13. Ryuukuro says:

    Oh, come on! So Hal0ez is getting a big push. Let it have that. I’m not fond of Halo, but that’s only because I stink at 3rd person shooters. That also means I’m not fond of Metroid Prime. I still haven’t finished the first one because I kept stopping for months at a time out of frustration.

    Wait until Mario Galaxy or Brawl comes out and gets perfect 10s everywhere. You’ll be singing a completely different tune–and then someone will use that ‘H’ word and you won’t be able to defend yourself.

  14. Jack says:

    First, that Metroid link is to a Blake Snow original, and he’s entitled to post whatever he likes to his blog. The post above, strangely enough, is not his. Therefore, comparing the two is either carelessly ignorant or purposefully deceptive.

    Regardless however, why bother with facts when you have a pithy piece of snark that just has to get posted to the Net ASAP, right? It got me to respond, so mission accomplished as far as I can tell.

    Second, let’s all re-read the post and see where anyone, myself included since I wrote it, said that reviews are not valid journalism. Hmm… I’m not seeing it. Little help? Anyone?

    And let’s all say it together class: Dealing in absolutes is fun! What do I mean? Well, as is a tried and true tactic in politics today, it’s far easier to corral the masses with black and white arguments than it is to argue specifics. It makes for better TV and lends itself well to short attention spans. An example:

    “Either reviewing a video game is a valid form of journalism, or it isn’t. Let’s not be selective.”

    Bwah? Really? Sounds like someone is trying to lay a little trap with that one. Conceal it better. I’ll argue this stuff all day, but you have to play in a world where 1+1=2. Otherwise no deal.

    PS — I agree: TP was no 10.

  15. NeuroMan42 says:

    I normally read multiple reviews, play the demo, and get friends thoughts on games. Overall, the review system ANYWHERE simply blows.

  16. KAP says:

    I think DrewMG’s point is simply that this post and Blake’s post are inherently contradictory, in that this post says get rid of the current rankings while Blake’s post trumpeted a current [and perfect] ranking of a Nintendo game. I understand that the posts are coming from two different authors, but since they are both posted *on Infendo*, there appears to be a confused blog voice when it’s just different author viewpoints.

    I am 100% in favor of replacing the current ratings system. Though at first I dismissed the idea of using a film-like ratings system for games, the more I think about it, the more I think that idea is on the right track. Though the five-star system certainly has its own flaws (notably that one has to be familiar with what 3 and 4 stars mean to each reviewer, since most films will fall in that range), clearly it works to some extent because film reviewers DO give films 1 star or 2 stars, whereas it is rare to see a games reviewer rate a game 7 or lower even though there are all those other numbers on the scale.

    The ten-point system is broken primarily because it is currently used as a four-point system where really good games all get 9.5-10, good games all rate in the 8s, and poor games get 7s, *maybe* a 6. If the full range was used, a rating of 10 would actually have meaning.

  17. Blake says:

    @ DrewMG, Jack, and Kap:


    It was never my intent to “trumpet” a 10/10 score of a Nintendo game; only report the first Metroid review that I saw.

    “There you have it,” is hardly revelry.

  18. Andrew G. says:

    Shame on you, Jack. Seriously.

    And I’m usually one to agree with you. Here’s my argument:

    Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3 can get perfect scores from some sites despite not being perfect games (especially the former), and you stay completely silent. Somewhere inside of you, you are saying “take that Sony/Microsoft.” But when Halo 3, which may or may not be a perfect game, gets a perfect score, you complain about the ratings system. This is too much hypocricy for me to agree with.

    And the truth of the matter is, while I enjoy many of the “casual” offerings on the Wii, none of them have turned out to be good enough for a perfect score on any scale for any player. The “gamer’s games” or “hardcore games” just happened to be made better when compared to the casual counterparts. Get over it. They’re better games.

    I dont even like Halo, but I haven’t got any choice but to defend it here. I understand your right to post whatever you choose on the blog you are a part of, but this is just sickening.

  19. cdondanville says:

    I always use meta reviews. The problem with game reviews is that they are Editorioal, Critical Appraisals. Reviews, right? Not everyone will have the same appraisal and more importantly, and probably what Jack is getting at here is not everyone will appriase the same things. Graphics? Gameplay? Onlline Component? Length of Play? Monthly Fees? All of the components of games have been used as pluses and minuses on reviews of the same games! With no standard set of criteria to appriase and such a variety of topics and styles, it is a wonder that reviews are as close as they are.

    Movie reviews come to mind as a comparison, but are they any better? They vary wildly from one reviewer to the next. Just how WERE the graphics?

  20. DrewMG says:

    “Not everyone will have the same appraisal and more importantly, and probably what Jack is getting at here is not everyone will appriase the same things.”

    Exactly. That’s the way it’s always been, and nothing Nintendo’s genius marketing can do will change that. People aren’t going to stop writing reviews of the new Halo game just because a bunch of seniors really like Wii Bowling. The two have nothing to do with each other.

  21. Jack says:

    Andrew g, I hope you feel better.

    Did Metroid 3 get a lot of perfect scores? No, so I don’t see how my being silent about it means anything. However, if you have any posts were I say “more Metroid Prime 3 10’s plz” then you have my attention. See the distinction?

    Metroid Prime 3 has a pretty perfect control scheme, in my opinion, but it’s not a perfect game.

    EDIT: Of course, Halo 3 was never *really* the point of this post in the first place, and neither was an comparisons between Wii and Xbox 360 games. It seems I’ve been distracted from my original point. The terrorists win.

  22. InvisibleMan says:

    Jack, you might take heart in that Bungie raised the bar so high this time for traditional first-person shooters, that Halo 3 might very well be the last good game of its kind that we will ever see outside Wii. Why do I say “outside Wii”? Because the only way you can get more innovation into that genre is by using the type of interface Metroid Prime 3 is using!

    To Kale: YES, I bought Odin Sphere, the most amazing-looking 2D game I’ve ever seen. I bought a PS2 just to play that game, as a matter of fact! The preview of that new Wii game by the same developer, VanillaWare, looks simply AMAZING! Even better than Odin Sphere!! I’ve been asking for a while, “why couldn’t they bring a game like that to Wii??” Well, my pleas have been answered!

    Jack, if you want to see art in gaming, or the future of gaming for that matter, check out the link Kale sent!

  23. InvisibleMan says:

    Oh, and my comment probably has very little to do with the article…

    My comment to Jack’s article is: I’ve been thinking about rankings recently too… For gamers that have never played a game before (that’s not a typo!), or for the ones that haven’t played a video game in ten years, modern scores can’t be trusted. A game that makes an improvement on an old genre that might have gotten a perfect ten three years ago, will only get an 8 at the most if it is perfect. Which is the real problem with review scores: A perfected game is seen as “derivative” or that it “lacks originality”, so it gets points off for that, but for a new gamer, that might be a better choice than the original game that got a perfect “10” one or two years ago!

  24. Clonester says:

    As someone who has been a gamer all their life and has been a part of the video game media for a handful of years (between Gamecube Heaven and Infendo), I completely agree that reviews need to change.

    As a Gamer: The only purpose for review scores in my books is 1) To find out in 10 seconds whether a game is worth my time or not, and 2) Fanboy fodder. But as #1 can be accomplished by other means (like a 5 star system), it really only serves #2. If I actually want to buy a game, I READ the opinion of a trusted reviewer and also user reviews. I actually find a pros & cons list to be very helpful because I can see whether *I* will be interested in a particular game and enjoy it without being blinded by a review score.

    As a Reviewer: There were a few things I tried. One was if I really liked a game, I didn’t spend half of the review nit-picking. If I thought a game was worth (since we used a scoring system) a 9/10 I would spend 90% of the review discussing the good and 10% the bad. Another thing is I myself used a pros & cons list.

    But the biggest thing I tried also brought me the most heat. I decided to start giving game scores based on how much I enjoyed the game. We all know of games that are really fun (Chibi-Robo comes to mind) that get an 80% but are far more fun than the score would lead on. And vice-versa. I gave Baten Kaitos a 9.6 (higher than most/all media outlets) because of how interactive the game was, the battle system was a lot of fun, the ending was amazing, the art was gorgeous, and there were a lot of great plot twists. Many reviews gave it more like an 88% because of the sub-par voice acting and first half wasn’t as good as the second (and I fully agree). But these didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the game.

    I reviewed accordingly and came under a lot of heat. I soon realized that review scores are all about POLITICS. Fanboy and business politics.

  25. gojiguy says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. According to game review sites, games are only good if they ar super epic shooter-types.

  26. kuddles says:

    Jesus Christ, I’m done with this site until Jack leaves or there’s an option to block his articles from my mind. He’s always been a nutjob, but this has gone far beyond fanboyism and is just so pathetically ridiculous. Halo 3 getting good scores is proof that game rankings have past their prime?

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in Jack’s world, where he envisions a conglomerate of game media journalists getting together and creating an evil conspiracy where Nintendo isn’t given enough respect, because they’re shifting the paradigm and that just isn’t acceptable, man.

    Give me a f***ing break.

  27. Clonester says:

    Funny, a good handful of people disagree with the article. But no one has made a counter-argument as to why media outlets should keep review scores.

    What’s the matter, are people here childish enough to attack Jack without actually formulating original thoughts of your own? Lame.

  28. DrewMG says:

    Publications should continue to publish review scores as long as people are willing to read and/or pay for them. Jack thinks that people will soon stop being interested in video game criticism. I disagree. There’s not that much to it.

  29. Clonester says:

    While I’m at it, I hate how politically correct the Internet perusing video game players have gotten over the past four or five years. You can’t favor one console. Otherwise you have a label. And any media writer who is a Nintendo fan cannot show favoritism. Heaven forbid THAT should happen.

    I DARE anyone to explain how video game reviews are not political.

  30. Clonester says:

    “Publications should continue to publish review scores as long as people are willing to read and/or pay for them. Jack thinks that people will soon stop being interested in video game criticism. I disagree. There’s not that much to it.”

    That’s a reasonable argument. The way I see it, review scores are meant for the Mario Galaxy’s and Halo’s and Final Fantasy’s. Who doesn’t want to buy a great game (which will score high)? But I used Chibi-Robo as an example earlier. It got decent review scores, but the fun factor was far higher than the score. But hype/reputation plays a big part too. For a game like Halo or Zelda, the hardcore players expect it to receive a certain score. If IGN had given Halo 3 an 85% instead, you would be absolutely shocked at how much hate mail they would get.

    The review score isn’t necessarily useless, but it is flawed. It can be improved upon, but no one wants do it. That’s the problem, and I think that’s what Jack is trying to say.

  31. Hunter says:

    The scale is broken not because of the high rating of Halo, but simply because to a certain everything in between 1 and 10 is subjective. Some people consider a 7 unworthy of their attention which results in a top heavy scale. A better scale would be to give actual advice to the reader like avoid it/rent it/buy it. You could even throw in an extreme BUY IT NOW! for the Bioshock type cases.

    Now on to the one problem I have with the 1up guys, it is that they
    are first and foremost critics. That is ok they are paid to give their opinion on things even previews. My problem with the way they report on Wii is that when a dev makes a low end effort they blame the hardware immediately. A prime example is Nights they talk about the crappy graphics and they say oh well thats the Wii for you and make their smarmy comment. We are finding out this is not completely fair and while it will never produce HD visuals like the other guys machines Metroid and Mario have shown that it is not the Wii’s fault that Nights looks as bad as it does. They are even coming around making comments that ring true like the fact that the gulf between the good looking and bad looking Wii games is wider than on any other system.

    So this shows that they should be putting the blame for crap visuals back on the devs not the machine. If they are doing the most they can with the hardware you give them credit if not you give them hell. I am not saying that the games will measure up against the 360, but use better looking Wii games in your comparison and you will see the devs coming up short not the hardware as much. Comparing the Wii’s visuals to other systems is fine, but if you are doing that you compare the best of Wii against the best of 360, the Wii will loose, but the divide will not be as dramatic.

    I almost feel like when devs heard that Nintendo told the world the Wii would not be as powerful they said ok team don’t put any effort into visuals we got a free pass there lets crank out some crap and make some money. They need to be brought to task for this.

  32. Kat says:

    ZDNet no longer owns 1up. ZDNet got bought by CNet and is not a part of Ziff-Davis anymore.

  33. rokerovakero says:

    THE INDUSTRY IS ON THE VERGE OF IMPLODING. Nintendo isn’t really helping gaming, the are just saving their asses as a business company. the TGS had just half the people last year attending, and that was the GAMER’S hardcore show. every kid cried when they announced E3 was done. The fans and magazines wanted it to keep going but the guys with the money decided it was overkill. the rather rent a bunch of rooms and just show the stuff, but do they even care anymore? it’s just an excuse for these guys to get out, as organization was very poorly done and some companies weren’t even showing things. As long as Nintendo keeps making stuff I will be there no matter how they call it or who it is focused for.

    I’m happy the game is getting top reviews, So I guess this game is worthy to be next to Final Fantasy 6 , Super Mario Bros 3, LoZ Ocarina of Time and Psychonauts as the greatest games ever….

  34. kuddles says:

    Clonester, I’m pissed off with his reasoning, not his base argument. I also think ratings are pointless and arbitrary, but they are there because the general public demand them. New sites like The Onion A.V. Club started reviewing games and they get so many requests for scores that they felt obligated to add them. Meanwhile, Computer Gaming World (now GFW magazine) tried getting rid of scores about a year and a half ago, and they received more hate mail than ever.

    But our crazy friend Jack here, with his explanation that we should get rid of scores because games on the Wii are so original and different that they can’t be fit into the “old school of journalism”, is ludicrous. And god forbid people like Halo 3. I never heard anything from a Nintendo fan about how scores were stupid when titles like Twilight Princess and Nintendogs were getting “10” scores. My problem is Jack always goes on nonsense tangents where everything Nintendo does is brilliant and how game journalism as a whole feels threatened by this new age. It’s gotten too annoying to ignore.

  35. Indefual says:

    Fanboy Fodder? That’s what we need. A game review site called Fanboy Fodder… “Where every game gets 10/10!”

    To paraphrase Jack: “Halo 3 is a great game. Ask the Halo lovers”.

    “10 out of 10 Wii Sports enthusiasts agree: Wii Sports Rocks!”

    “Our objective analysis of 10 Final Fantasy fanboys indicated that the new Final Fantasy game is the Game to End All Games.”

    And so on.

  36. DrewMG says:


    Sorry, but it’s not.

  37. ResidentialEvil says:

    “lol- Jack, I was actually waiting for this article as the release approached. You wrote one for Gears and one for Bioshock. Why not Halo3 as well? ”

    Deepthought pretty much summed up my feelings on this article. I find the bitching about reviews around here are about as tiring at the reviews themselves. It reminds me of guys who were picked on in high school who 10-15 years later are still obsessed over it even though they’ve moved on to very successful lives.

    Quite simply, you need to get over it. If you don’t like game reviews, then simply ignore them. You throwing a fit over them every time some non-Nintendo system game comes out is only giving them more attention. Can’t wait for the article when GTA IV and MGS 4 comes out. Maybe some day you’ll get your goal of a review site that has a 10 year old girl, a 45 year old accountant, and an 80 year old grandmother and they’ll give Mario Party 10 a perfect score.

  38. DrewMG says:

    I hear that one will have minigames!

  39. Negrin says:

    All I could think of when I saw this article was, “God, not again.” Jack, please tell us all, what on God’s green Earth will finally make you lay off the topic? How many times can you treat Infendo readers to the same rant? How many times before you realize most of us just don’t care? Have a look at the comments. Doesn’t it bother you that with every rant of yours there is more and more readers who express their dissatisfaction? What? Is it that suddenly Sony and Microsoft fanboys have taken over the Infendo comments section? Na-ah. Look at the names; these are mostly regulars. So take a guess: who do you think they are? I’ll tell you: they are people who love Nintendo, who find the things Nintendo does fun and interesting. That’s who. They aren’t people who hate all things non-Nintendo and who come to a Nintendo-themed blog to read tiresome agry rants. They don’t care. I know I’ve said it before–the last time I commented on this topic–but sadly I need to say it again. What makes me feel better about _my_ rant is that apparently there are much more readers as fed up as I am.

    And this is not about the ranking system. At all. Sorry to say, but it’s about a “mainstream game” (to avoid the “hardcore” label) getting a 10/10. Admit it. For the record, I don’t care about Halo 3. I don’t own a 360. I’m probably not going to in the near future. But that’s not the point. And before I go on to make my point, please allow me to refer to a fantastic webcomic that is xkcd:

    You know what? I want Infendo to be like the Nintendo line in that strip. And it no longer is, at least as far as Jack’s contributions are concerned. Just stop for a moment and think about it. What I appreciate about Nintendo and about Nintendo fans is that they are their own people. Sony and Microsoft fans may battle it out because their favorite platforms provide a similar experience. Nintendo fans don’t need to do that. Furthermore, just think of why Sony and Microsoft fanboys lash out at Wii games? The answer is: because the kind of games Wii is associated with is not the kind of games they enjoy. They find flaws and they point and laugh because it’s not their cup of tea. They go, “No way Wii Sports deserves that much recognition! Look at the crappy graphics. Look at how simple it is. Look at this, look at that.”

    Now then, why oh why does Infendo’s Jack have a problem with the way “mainstream games” are reviewed? No surprise here: because they are not his cup of tea. He goes, “No way Bioshock and Halo 3 deserver that much recognition and those perfect scores! Look at how non-revolutionary they are. Look at how we’ve all seen that before. Look at how they lack depth. Look at how they cater to the Mt Dew-drinking whoever. Look at this, look at that.” Where’s the love then? Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the “being your own man”? Forget what just doesn’t do the trick for you. Forget other platforms; this is Infendo.

    And the ratings? Please. Whoever doesn’t realize that you need to take all ratings, just as all reviews–video game or otherwise–with a pinch of salt should do their homework first. Reviews are subjective. Ratings are subjective. Always have, always will. What is the problem with that? Whatever the ratings scale–be it a 10-point scale, a 5-star scale, verbal label or whatever else–it will all boil down to the reviewer’s personal taste. And a potential buyer needs to know that. Do you instantly believe a movie is a masterpiece when you see one 5-star review? Or do you need to see a bunch of similar-minded reviews to sort of (mind you, sort of) convince you? Do you read a local newspaper or some movie online site and you know which reviewers to trust more and which reviewers totally don’t share your outlook on what consitutes good cinema? Well?

    Why should video game reviews be any different then? What’s the big deal with Halo 3 getting a 10/10 score? What does the term “perfect score” even mean? A “perfect” game? There are _no_ perfect games. Ever. What would that be supposed to mean? That _everybody_ will fall in love with the game? _Everybody_ will list it among the best they’ve ever played? Oh come on. A 10/10 score only means that under the circumstances, the reviewer considers it “right on the mark”. He considers it all he expected it to be and a bit more. It just means he really really liked it–for a game of it’s genre, for this day and age, for his tastes. Period. It is JUST. AN. OPINION. Does it instantly make people rush out and buy the game? If they trust the reviewer and are interested in whatever genre the game represents–yes. If they don’t–no. They will read more reviews. They will count their money. _Maybe_ in the end they will buy it. Or maybe not. No harm done.

    So, I ask again, what is the big deal? And what is so important in all this that Infendo readers need to see the same rant every time a new big seller comes to one of the other platforms?

  40. DrewMG says:

    Yep. That’s the reason I hold off on writing lengthy rants in these comment sections – people like Negrin above are way way better at it.

    Ditto a thousand times over, man.

  41. Negrin says:

    For the record, I never intended to be a lengthy rant. It’s just that I tend to be… uhm… wordy 😉

  42. Negrin says:

    Oh and one more thing I forgot. I do not for a second undermine that Infendo editors can post whatever they like on the blog that they run. I’m not an idiot and neither am I a guy who tells others what to do. Sure, Infendo is your blog, guys, and that’s a given. What I did in my rant—and what I’m sure other commenters here did in theirs—is expressed a reader’s opinion. We’re entitled to those too, right? 🙂

  43. DrewMG says:

    The writers have every right to post as they choose. The readers will respond to what is written. That’s how the internet works. If Jack wants to continue to post these types of articles then I will keep posting dissenting comments until the day comes when I tire of yelling at a brick wall, so to speak.

  44. HylianTom says:

    If I want pro-PS360 coverage that comes with a healthy serving of snark towards the Wii philosophy, I can click on any number of major gaming websites to find it. Actually, it can be quite overwhelmingly one-sided sometimes. But if one wants the inverse every once in a while – to see the tables turned, with an articulate Nintendo advocate dishing the snark right back – where should one go? IGN? 1Up? GameSpot? Not likely.

    Heaven forbid we find such a thing on a Nintendo blog. Right?

  45. Jack says:

    An astute observation, Tom, and to add to that, this post was never really about Halo 3, or whether it deserved a 10 or not — it was about reviews and overhauling the process. But once again things have become distracted and clouded as people attempt to say I’m biased against anyone but Nintendo. Such is life on the Net these days, unfortunately.

    PS — There have been no games thus far that deserve a 10 on the Wii console, in my opinion.

  46. DrewMG says:

    How about we strive to avoid bias across the board, Tom?

  47. HylianTom says:

    It’s an admirable aspiration, but I don’t see bias as being an inherently negative thing. I’m more than content to get my gaming news from various sources with various flavors of favoritism.

    You mileage may vary, obviously.

  48. Dark-Magik says:

    Do you guys honestly think overhauling the current review system to a 5-point, 5-star, thumbs up, all text etc. etc. is going to change anything? The review system is, and always will be flawed since at its heart, it’s an opinion from a person.

    The review system can change all it wants and we’ll be back here with Jack bitching about a 360/PS3 game getting whatever rating instead of the current 10/10.

    People also need to stop throwing out the bias label every time they disagree with a review or an opinion. EVERYBODY IS BIASED. For goodness sake we’re on a blog that is biased toward Nintendo.

    Even though this post was intended to about ‘overhauling’ the review system, it still was a snipe against Halo fans and it’s not the first time it has happened and probably will not be the last.

  49. Rocksteady says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Jack. I hate seeing numbers period on a review. The only thing the overall score is there for is to allow lazy readers the ability to skip the entire review.

    I recently read a review about Resident Evil: Extinction that was reviewed by a girl. Not to be sexist or anything, but let’s face it: girl’s are a minority in the gaming world. Plus the fact that it was a mainstream newspaper.

    It just felt wrong. Anyone who might have been interested in that movie would have been better served hearing a RE fan review the movie and point out why they should see it. Or maybe why people who were excited for it should be prepared for suckage.

    Its a big problem when the person reviewing the material doesn’t understand the medium or the genre in the first place.

  50. Rocksteady says:

    Also, Dark-Magik,

    This wasn’t a bash against Halo 3, if you think that not rating Halo 3 a 10/10 is a problem, and that a score of 7/10 is a “snipe” against Halo fans, you’re part of the problem.

  51. deepthought says:

    first, OMG- Rocksteady, there is so much wrong with your complaint about a girl reviewing RE, i don’t even know where to start. but hey, it was a mainstream newspaper, she’s mainstream- ket the niche crowds go to their niche sources if they want to hear a specific view. let the mainstream people get a mainstream reaction. besides, we all know that movie’s crap anyways. no review needed to tell me that.

    and honestly, i’ve given this article WAY too many page views. write something controversial, drive traffic. of course, ads don’t run all the way down this page, so this will be pretty poor quality traffic. but whatever. if pageviews are bragging rights at infendo, this article is the equivalent of the 8.8 Halo3 score. Maybe it’s a legit view. But the smart money says it’s a cry for attention.

  52. Magik says:

    Whether or not the game got 10/10, 5/10, 1/10 doesn’t matter. Jack has always took any opportunity to take shots at Halo and tried to look down upon people who liked the series. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

    I would agree that we should move towards not using scores and focus on the actual text itself, but let’s face reality, majority, and I mean MAJORITY of people only read the score and skip the text completely. Evident by the fact that people jump straight to Meta Critic and look at the average score. You can also see this when forums EXPLODE when a particular game, regardless of what platform it’s on gets a lower than expected score.

    The major sites are not going to move towards a scoreless review system cause they know full well people aren’t going to care unless there is a visible score associated with it.

  53. KAP says:

    @ Rocksteady:

    >I recently read a review about Resident Evil: Extinction that was >reviewed by a girl. Not to be sexist or anything,

    Too late.

  54. Nayef says:

    Honestly, I only own metroid, warioware, wii sports and RE4 and till now, I don’t really see a hardcore gamer’s game on Wii. I’d love to see some sort of God of war type of game on Wii, but it’s not gonna happen, reason it with the remote use or controls. I can’t stand looking at the Wii shelves and seeing all these stacked movie/cartoon-tied games (I mean those PG rated games) and uttering to myself ”Where are the real games?”. Dozens of japanese releases but we don’t see a thing yet, hardly a game each month or two. I’m not majorly a first person shoot player (never was, never will) but then, We should focus on that Wii is missing what we, typical gamers, are also missing to join the rest of the casual and newly transformed Wii players.

  55. I think perfect scores 10/10, 100% or whatever are good. They are meant to be taken in context. What they say is that for a given genre on a given platform at a given point in time this is the best game.

    I also like scores per se. They are a well proven and much used journalistic ploy across a wide range of entertainment. Film, music, books, TV programmes etc. Why should games be any different?

  56. Chris Kruger says:

    I think they’re useful. I often use it as a quick guide if I don’t have that much interest in the product. Almost like to confirm or deny my pre-conception.

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