How To: Game Review Scores

It has been a problem for media organisations for a long time, what is the best way to rank or score a piece of media? Does a score out of 100 work? Should it be in starts? Do half marks count?

For OK Games we have tried many different options. My first reviews were all scoreless, this was because I felt that scores were not often a good way for people to judge the quality of a game. It encouraged people to compare different titles which could, on the whole, be entirely incomparable. It would do neither title justice to compare Train Simulator to Skyrim. From this perspective I thought it was fair to remove the scores and instead talk to phrases.

This was not a common thing though. We have also used a 100 point scale at other stages of the sites existence; something we were quick to move away from as it was entirely meaningless. Why do I say this? There is a simple test to do to determine the value of a scale; can you explain the difference between two adjacent scores? What is the difference between 67 and 68? 34 and 33? If you cannot, then the point scale has too many points of reference.

Reconsidering this we decided to move back to a small scale. I am a large fan of a 3 point scale. Either it is good, it is average or it is mediocre. However, for some a minimum 5 was wanted, for others again, a 10 point scale was preferred. This natural conflict led to a fantastic internal discussion talking to the merits of each system. We were quick to dismiss half marks as they could as easily be represented by doubling the numbers, (a 3.5/5 is the same as a 7/10.) This being the case we should just use the higher number. After a vote we settled on 10.

Now that we have the numbers, the challenge is to create consistency between those who review titles. We need to make sure that is one of our writers were to give a 4/10 that the understanding of what that actually means is well documented. So, in order to ensure consistency between different reviewers we would like to announce our ten point scale and its definitions. You can check it out here:

How We Score Our Reviews

In it you will be able to find exactly what we mean when we say 6/10. Have a look over it and tell us what you think! Do you like our new and updated descriptions? Do they help you understand where a game stands? Will they help you make your choices?

Julian has been involved in the games industry for more than a couple of years now, from working in retail to developing board games to judging Magic: the Gathering tournaments Australia wide. Now as a writer for OK Games he likes to explore niche titles that try to approach gaming from a different perspective. Now all he needs to do is start finishing all those games in his Steam Library...