February 19, 2014

Judgment Day!

Final Fantasy XII Judges - Living Myth

Though I managed to resist slapping a number on my game reviews for a while, I've also been told that having a numerical score or grade of some kind can be helpful to readers.

This is a subject I considered hesitantly, as someone who is largely dissatisfied with the opaque, simplistic scores given out by many publications in the video games media. I just don't see much value in assigning a complex, creative project like a video game a rating out of 5 or 10. What's a 3/5 score mean, anyway? Is that good? It sounds okay, but it also equates to a 6/10, or 60%, which some people might consider decent while others might consider a total condemnation.

I can see the value in such scores, in theory. While the actual text of the review should be the central focus, sometimes a particular description or choice of words might seem to inflate the importance of some aspect of a game -- and it can affect the tone of the review in a way that wasn't intended. An unambiguous number can help complement an interpretation of the review itself, removing emotions and connotations from the equation.

After some deliberation, I have recently started assigning numerical scores to my reviews. Though I've made efforts to make the process as transparent and comprehensive as possible, I can only sub-divide each category so finely before it starts to defeat the purpose of a concise report. Striking a good balance was tough, but I think I've come up with a system that highlights the basics for those who want to skim for an overview, but also provides a degree of further detail for anyone interested.

To provide some additional clarity, Living Myth's game reviews rubric will be available on its own static page -- linked to below each review score, and available on the blog's sidebar. It describes what is included in each sub-category, in greater depth.

So far, I've used the new numerical scoring system in my recent reviews for Street Fighter X Mega Man and Mega Man Unlimited, and applied it retroactively to my review of Anodyne. Check them out, if you haven't seen them!

Living Myth : Game Reviews Rubric

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