When did the review scale get broken ?

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Mageman

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#1  Edited By Mageman

As you likely know already, an 7.5/10 is not a good score any more, despite that score being the definition of ''good game, you should def. check it out if you think it's your thing''. It was like that once ago, but now if a game is to be even considered decent it has to get like an 8.5 +. And games increasingly get too many 9+ grades, like what the hell. When did the review system make a jump from the old system to the new system ? And more importantly....why ?

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doobie

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#2  Edited By doobie

its simple. read the review and ignore the arbitrary number below

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Xtrememuffinman

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#3  Edited By Xtrememuffinman

When bonuses were tied to Metascores.

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Claude

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#4  Edited By Claude

There's someone sitting right beside me holding a gun to my head and telling me 7.5 sucks. There's another person with a knife to my throat telling me that the written review sucked. So, in my opinion, some opinions, don't meet my expectations.

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usgrovers

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#5  Edited By usgrovers

Publishers started believing everything less than 9 was a failure.

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BeachThunder

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#6  Edited By BeachThunder  Online

Unfortunately reviews have always been broken (and not just in relation to video games). This sort of thing happens everywhere; often being 'good' just isn't good enough.

Personally, I think the main problem is that no one really wants to see something fail (aside from schadenfreudic jerks). A low score reflects bad on the developer; has negative effects on publisher profits; hinders sales for retailers; might cause reviewers to get hate-mail/death threats/fired; and generally, consumers don't want to hear that an anticipated game is actually lousy.

Also, I can't say that I'm a huge fan of TVTropes, but this page has quite a few good examples of this issue outside of video games.

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Dany

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#7  Edited By Dany

Nothing broke. People are just acting like babies by arguing over a number.

You know, Ryan giving Revelations a 4/5 hurt, so did the other reviews of that game but you know what's there? THE TEXT!!!! Reading those paragraphs actually provides some insight.

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Akrid

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#8  Edited By Akrid

Just ignore those bottom five marks, just as the reviewer does unless he really wants to hate on a game (I.E., Big Rigs). 7.5 is essentially two and a half stars.

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BlinkyTM

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#9  Edited By BlinkyTM

I thought 7 meant good. I get games when they get 7's because I think they're good. Are YOU telling ME that this is wrong?! Now I have a game collection full of crappy games?! WHAT?! Alright, now you've gone and done it. I'm going to go punch a pillow pretending it's your face!!

This is only a joke. I repeat. This is only a joke.

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Levius

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#10  Edited By Levius

The best reasoning for score inflation I've heard was, I believe, given by GamesTM magazine a few years back where they reasoned that the scale covered all games not just those that they reviewed. Most of the games they covered are the more important ones and are generally of greater average worth than the average game; so on average the scores of the games covered would be skewed to the higher end of the scale. In such a scale a 7 would be on the lower end of the average range of scores covered if we assume that 0 to 5 covers shovelware/games with inconsolable flaws.

While a scale that is hardly ever uses parts of its range is flawed in my opinion, and a scale that rates games with more relative scores (ie 9 for a £10 game or lower budget game has a different meaning of absolute quality than a 9 for a multi-million blockbuster) it is interesting to consider a reasoning behind the current state of affairs.

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MordeaniisChaos

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#11  Edited By MordeaniisChaos

Money, money, money. Money, money, money.

Or some hip shit like that.

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alternate

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#12  Edited By alternate

I rate this thread 3.0 (poor).

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Deusx

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#13  Edited By Deusx

lol just read the review.

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SlightConfuse

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#14  Edited By SlightConfuse

because the 10 point scale is to big, especially when you have decimals in the equation

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MikkaQ

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#15  Edited By MikkaQ

Like almost a decade ago, dude. Probably started really halfway through the last gen.

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ProfessorEss

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#16  Edited By ProfessorEss
@Mageman said:

As you likely know already, an 7.5/10 is not a good score any more...

I've been reading game reviews pretty much since games started being reviewed and to be honest I don't remember 7.5 ever really being considered a good score. 
 
The whole "anything under five or six is total garbage" thing has kind of always been around.
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jakob187

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#17  Edited By jakob187

As a former reviewer (where we used a full 1-10 scale with decimals), I look back at the system we used...and specifically the scores we gave some games...and said "what made this game an 8.4 and another an 8.5?".

Numbers...are fucking...stupid.

I went back and read the actual reviews, though, and they were solid. It was usually a two page review, at least 700 words per article. Still, I look at those numbers and wish we had just fucking dropped that system completely.

I like the star system that the guys at Giant Bomb use, but even then, I loathe it. There's no reason other than to satisfy some guy in a suit somewhere who doesn't feel like making the time between "busy" business calls to actually read what people think of the game. Hell, most of the games are riding so hard on the coattails of the past that there is rarely even anything original for a reviewer to say about most games in the first place.

Nonetheless, 7.5 is not a bad score. However, if you look at what it's supposed to represent, then it does mean "good". At the same time, it's the halfway point between "mediocre" and "excellent". Is good really what we consider to ride that fine line? Is that .5 really that important. Hell, is that 1.5 really that important?

In the end, those numbers are all subjective pieces of arbitrary horseshit that some business exec is using to judge the performance of a video game on an arbitrary review aggregator. Back in the days before Metacritic existed, people just made games and put them out there for people to play. I'd love to go back to those days.

Moreover, are scores even necessary anymore? This is the internet. There is a website that is dedicated to letting users upload videos that show off the games. Hell, Giant Bomb does a Quick Look for most games. That should be enough to show what people want to know about a game. Reviews used to be the whipped cream on the sundae, but now they are the cherry. Video content is something that is vastly more important in this day and age rather than a review.

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Hosstile17

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#18  Edited By Hosstile17

Go to a site you trust. Know what a certain score from them means to you. Every reviewer and site has a different perception of how to use the review scale. That fact leads to many sources like Metacritic leading people astray. A 4 from the Giant Bomb guys is a damn good score. An 8 from some sites is a pretty blah score. Know your source. Just don't be the guy that gets mad when the game you want to be awesome doesn't get the score you want it to. That just leads to some kind of strange self-fulfilling prophecy where you go out and buy Gran Turismo 5 and convince yourself that the reviewers are biased. No one wins in that situation. Also, if you like a game and it didn't get a great score, you saw through the issues that the game had and enjoyed the experience as the developers had intended. It doesn't mean that the reviewer didn't give the game a fair shake, it just means that you were more willing to see through the bad to get to the good.

Be nice out there internet.

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LibraryDues

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#19  Edited By LibraryDues

Because a 10 or 100 point scale reminds Americans of school grades, where a 75 was not something to be proud of, and a 60 was on the edge of flunking out. A 60% says to us "Grade F," while 3 stars out of 5, while meaning the same thing mathematically, does not sound nearly so dire, and you may well still pick it up if it sounds to your taste. Like 50 Cent, for example.

This of the reason I like GB's review system.

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Video_Game_King

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#20  Edited By Video_Game_King

@LibraryDues said:

Because a 10 or 100 point scale reminds Americans of school grades, where a 75 was not something to be proud of, and a 60 was on the edge of flunking out. A 60% says to us "Grade F," while 3 stars out of 5, while meaning the same thing mathematically, does not sound nearly so dire, and you may well still pick it up if it sounds to your taste. Like 50 Cent, for example.

This of the reason I like GB's review system.

Man, the American education system sucks if half the scale means "abject failure". (Then again, the same could be said of video game scores.)

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Jerr

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#21  Edited By Jerr

Oh, this thread again.

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JonathanMoore

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#22  Edited By JonathanMoore

Personally, I think we're just at a time where so many good games are coming out month to month, we get these scores of 9 and 10's legitimately, but because we get them so often, people think that it's just overreacting to release. Uncharted 3, Skyrim, Skyward Sword, all 9's right there. It's not that the scores are too high, but it's that so many good ones are coming out, we have a choice of what we want and if a game which got a 9 is out at the same time as one that got, say, a 8.6, yeah I'd probably pick up the 9.

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Firepaw

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#23  Edited By Firepaw

@Jerr: This thread is a classic.

The review scale was never broken, the thing that is broken is peoples perception of the review scale. One of the good things about the 5 scale Giant Bomb uses is that 3-stars can still be seen as something good.

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WarlockEngineerMoreDakka

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@ProfessorEss said:

The whole "anything under five or six is total garbage" thing has kind of always been around.

Pretty much this. In fact- your statement of where it started/has always been around is pretty darned generous.

To my knowledge, the baseline of this started at 'anything under 7 is total garbage.' This seemed to be how it was through most of the 90s. This mentality just rapidly elevated itself to above 8s in the span of just a few years, if not less than that. So even if we still had those standards from the 90s, Skyward Sword would be considered as 'only .5 points above garbage' on Gamespot.

As far as I can tell, it was around the time of Jeff's Twilight Princess review where the gaming forum community as a whole REALLY started to notice the trend. :P (This is just my best guess though- many forum communities may have become aware of it far sooner)

Speaking of Zelda- the trend may have been noticed as early as Majora's Mask- which got an 8.3 on Gamespot. I remember quite a bit of rage sprouted up over that one... >_>

Whatever the case: the thing to remember here is that this 'anything under # is garbage' mentality is only really applied by:

  • The vocal minority of the internet which always seems to be the dominant force but isn't. (Fanboys usually fall into this as well)
  • Publishers who use Metacritic

Keep that in mind- and it won't matter nearly as much. ;)

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devilzrule27

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#25  Edited By devilzrule27

@LibraryDues said:

Because a 10 or 100 point scale reminds Americans of school grades, where a 75 was not something to be proud of, and a 60 was on the edge of flunking out. A 60% says to us "Grade F," while 3 stars out of 5, while meaning the same thing mathematically, does not sound nearly so dire, and you may well still pick it up if it sounds to your taste. Like 50 Cent, for example.

This of the reason I like GB's review system.

70 was a failing grade at my school. It sucked.

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clstirens

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#26  Edited By clstirens

@Xtrememuffinman said:

When bonuses were tied to Metascores.
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TaliciaDragonsong

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When? When people started caring too much.

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pw2566ch

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#28  Edited By pw2566ch

Ever since publishers held early copies hostage and paying out bonuses depending on the score. The only person that does it right is Jim Sterling.

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SSully

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#29  Edited By SSully

@Video_Game_King said:

@LibraryDues said:

Because a 10 or 100 point scale reminds Americans of school grades, where a 75 was not something to be proud of, and a 60 was on the edge of flunking out. A 60% says to us "Grade F," while 3 stars out of 5, while meaning the same thing mathematically, does not sound nearly so dire, and you may well still pick it up if it sounds to your taste. Like 50 Cent, for example.

This of the reason I like GB's review system.

Man, the American education system sucks if half the scale means "abject failure". (Then again, the same could be said of video game scores.)

I think it makes more sense when it comes to education because mathematically it makes sense while grading. If you get a little over half the material right on a exam(6/10) you obviously missed out on a big portion of the material. Or if you look on a bigger scale a kids overall grade is a 60% in the class. Technically speaking that should reflect his knowledge of the subject, which shows he doesn't know 40$ of what he learned. That is still knowing a lot of information, but doesn't show someone who has mastered the material, and they should have to retake the class. No one is going to want someone who can only comprehend 60% of a certain topic, that just isn't acceptable.

Scoring games on the other hand isn't this logical, which is why I hate numerical ratings. Games should be reviewed on scale of quality, be it Great, good, average, below average, and poor. I think Giantbomb has a good system, it shows you what is a game worth buying and what isn't. While number scores on the other hand are trying to grade games based on multiple categories and overall it just ends up not making sense. You can't give an accurate number rating to someething so subjective as the quality of the game, especially when you include sub categories like visuals, gameplay, sound, etc.

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CheapPoison

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#30  Edited By CheapPoison

Even better.

Just watch the quicklook (or let play and other random names for it) and decide then.

It's not always true but if you kno yourself you know what you might like if you just see it. so.

then again this does not justify the broken scoring system.

I guess it can't be helped.

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Video_Game_King

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#31  Edited By Video_Game_King

@SSully:

Urgh, you have bested me this time! Curse you and your logic!

I'd say that the best rating system is actually 3 points: 1, 0, and -1. Nothing in between each (ignoring the fact that 0 is between 1 and -1). 1 is "good", 0 is "average", and -1 is "bad". The terminology could be cleaned up, but there's something to be had with that scale, at least from a mathematical perspective.

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LiquidSwords

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#32  Edited By LiquidSwords

Boo Fucking Hoo

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Insectecutor

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#33  Edited By Insectecutor

The 1-10 scale is too wide. With half points it's even wider. What is the difference between a 7.5 and an 8.0? One twentieth. It seems deceptively accurate, as if there's a science behind it, yet it's really just plucked out of the air. It draws attention away from the text and invites readers to rank a month's games by score. Much better is the five point scale used by GB and for movies that everyone can understand to the point where you can describe each possible score with a single word: bad, poor, average, good, excellent. If you want specifics, read the review or even just the deck.

The 7-9 scale is a reflection of this. From 7 to 9 there are five steps including half points, it's almost as if the five point scale is so natural people just map it onto the 7-9 range without thinking about it. Of course nobody would buy a game rated less than 7 anyway, and few games are considered perfect enough to receive a 10/10.

@Village_Guy said:

@Jerr: This thread is a classic.

The review scale was never broken, the thing that is broken is peoples perception of the review scale. One of the good things about the 5 scale Giant Bomb uses is that 3-stars can still be seen as something good.

The scale is broken if people can't read it properly. Once it's generally accepted that people are reading the scale wrong it gets skewed to how reviewers think people will interpret it, which is why we end up with this 7 - 9 bullshit.

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deactivated-590b7522e5236

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It was broken the second they let more than 1 person use the same scale.

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Grumbel

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#35  Edited By Grumbel
@Mageman said: 

As you likely know already, an 7.5/10 is not a good score any more, despite that score being the definition of ''good game, you should def. check it out if you think it's your thing''.

The statement above is still completely true. A 7.5/10 game that actually covers something that interest you is still much more enjoyable then a 9.5/10 game you don't care about, heck even a 5/10 game can be.  The review scale hasn't really changed much over the years, the thing that has changes are the games, even the "bad" game these days are completely playable and well developed, they might not break new ground and that's why they get a 7.5, but that doesn't make them bad by any stretch of the imagination.
 
The only thing I would like to see fixed on the review scale is more value for things like story, character, etc. In times when most games are mechanically sound, I don't care much to know that the game is mechanically sound, I already know that, I'd care much more that the story is good, the character well developed, etc. (i.e. CoD:MW2 story is a mess, characters barely distinguishable -> 94%). And yeah, separate ratings for multiplayer and singleplayer would be fine.
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trylks

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#36  Edited By trylks

I usually watch some video with a description of the game and play a demo.

A game being good doesn't imply I will like it, I'll never like a sports game, for instance, or those realistic war FPS. I have some in my wish list because I'll play some demos at some point to check what's all the fuss about (so I don't forget).

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breadfan

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#37  Edited By breadfan

@doobie said:

its simple. read the review and ignore the arbitrary number below

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iam3green

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#38  Edited By iam3green

when poeple started caring about numbers. people should read the review instead of just carring about the numbers.

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BionicRadd

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#39  Edited By BionicRadd

Assigning an arbitrary value to what is essentially a piece of subjective expression is pointless. Music can not be scientifically analyzed for quality. Films can't be weighed and measured. Video games can not be objectively graded. The best ratings system I've ever heard of is at Rotten Tomatoes. Like It / Don't Like It is the only opinion that matters, at the end of the day. Even then, overtly stating that you did or did not like something in your review kind of negates the need for writing the review in the first place. A review should tell us of the highest highs and the lowest lows in the subject of the review and then we, as discerning consumers, should use that information to determine if it sounds like something we want.

On the other hand, you could also just play a demo and decide for yourself instead of worrying about what some dude on the internet or in a magazine thinks. I've read a dozen reviews that do nothing but shit on Grabbed By The Ghoulies and none of them change the fact that I thought that game was pretty fun and charming when I played it. There are probably that read Jeff's review of Catherine and decided that they were even going to try that game, just because it didn't click for Jeff. I don't disagree with Jeff's complaints about that game, but I also do not personally see them as things that hampered my enjoyment of it. What I am saying, I guess, is the only critic that matters is you.

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MidgardDragon

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#40  Edited By MidgardDragon

@pw2566ch said:

Ever since publishers held early copies hostage and paying out bonuses depending on the score. The only person that does it right is Jim Sterling.

If you consider trolling doing it right then you are a sick individual.

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JasonR86

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#41  Edited By JasonR86

Scores are ridiculous for a number of reasons. But, the most important reason is that this score, which is largely arbitrary in the grand scheme of the review, dictates things like bonuses for developers. It sucks for everyone involved.

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Aus_azn

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#42  Edited By Aus_azn

When Metacritic and GameRankings became important.

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august

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#43  Edited By august

Last Tuesday.

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ShadowSkill11

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#44  Edited By ShadowSkill11

I don't understand why the TC is making a 10 scale topic on a 5 star site... anyways. Thank metacritic and bonuses. If a score doesn't pull a near perfect on metacritic the developers lose out on a ton in bonuses.

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Commisar123

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#45  Edited By Commisar123

I think it is because we are constantly comparing scores, and when you have games like Duke Nukem getting a 6 at IGN, people will question the value of a 7. That being said I try to consider games on their own merits.

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bybeach

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#46  Edited By bybeach

@Mageman: It's a valid question. All I can tell you is that it was conditioning..I learned years ago that anything below 7.5 was code for nope. It was respectful nope to 7.0. and then below that it should just jump off a cliff. 7.5, and especially 7.9 was code for youmight like it. 8.0 mean't safe for most and 8.5 was the real cutting line..But I bought games around 7.9 and loved them..Quake 2 expansion packs and such. Reviewers were sneaky and snuck games they favored like Chaser 8.5's, only for you to discover that was for only part of the game. The levels of Chaser (except for one) on Earth rocked,..but not much to see of Mars when you were running around in what looked like it's endless basement.

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pw2566ch

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#47  Edited By pw2566ch

@MidgardDragon said:

@pw2566ch said:

Ever since publishers held early copies hostage and paying out bonuses depending on the score. The only person that does it right is Jim Sterling.

If you consider trolling doing it right then you are a sick individual.

Because he gives the score appropriately with his review? I'm not seeing where you're going with this.

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dystonym

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Karl_Boss

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#49  Edited By Karl_Boss

Yeah video game scales are weird which is why Metacritic accommodates for the higher than average scores (compared to other media)

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jayjonesjunior

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#50  Edited By jayjonesjunior

yo momma is so fat, she stepped on the video game review scale and

Oh nvm...