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Old 08-13-2009, 01:56 AM   #11
shMerker
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When you're skimming the latest issue of GameBro, sure, a summary is useful, though I'd argue that with only a dozen or so reviews you probably only need a 3 point scale to sort by. On the other hand does anybody actually do what you describe--trawling through review databases ordered by score? If I go to a site like metacritic I typically already have a game in mind that I'm curious about.

Honestly my ill will towards scores is fueled by a series of semi-related shenanigans, like the way that they can be fetishized by editors*, or how some people complain that they are being misunderstood or how every now and again I see some aspiring writer emulating the practice, which means he knows he's writing things you'll find boring and that he dreams of writing for IGN, which--while it all dovetails nicely--is just all kinds of depressing.


* They updated that scoring policy in May. It's nice how it actually saves time rather than killing it now. Although I think it's a good case in point for scales of less than ten points. Who really cares about the difference between "atrocious" and "bloody atrocious"?
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:24 PM   #12
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Wow. I like those things Adam Sessler said in that there video. I never expected that.

I mean, he obviously cares about the whole thing a lot more than I do, but whatever.
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:51 AM   #13
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The main reason I posted that rant is that he acts like it's everyone else's job to understand his numbers. Like I said before, the whole reason we use numbers for something is that they have universally quantifiable meanings and relationships. The difference between 9 and 5 is the same here as it is in China or Italy. If you are using numbers in a way that is easily misunderstood then the burden is on you to adjust that. He is wrong if he thinks his 2/5 is somehow magically different from anyone else's.

As an aside, Metacritic uses a 100 point scale to normalize otehr people's scores. Sessler uses a five point scale, but some use four or seven. If you want to be able to represent all those scores on the same scale without resorting to decimals or fractions you have to multiply the scores so that they have the same denominator. Actually that would give you a 140 point scale. I would assume they stopped at 100 because it's granular enough to get the idea across without being unwieldy. Basically it would make sense even if no one else used it.

He's right that Metacritic is a terrible way for publishers to determine what a game is worth, because games often sell or don't in spite of how well they review. The solution to that problem though has nothing to do with Metacritic and everything to do with how developers and publishers negotiate.

But it's bullshit for a reviewer to complain when someone doesn't get paid because of his negative review. The whole point of a negative review is to warn people not to buy the game. If the developer makes less money then the review worked. Whether it's through the market or metacritic his whole job is to influence the way people spend and ultimately who gets paid. To go claim that he never wanted a developer to lose out because of his reviews is just trying to eat his cake and have it.
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:59 AM   #14
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People abusing or misunderstanding a system reflects poorly on the people, not the system.
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:22 AM   #15
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Not if the system is poorly constructed and poorly explained and functions differently from all comparable systems such that it is easily misunderstood.
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:59 AM   #16
Ryuichi Naruhodo
 
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"Poorly explained" would constitute abuse of the system.
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:10 AM   #17
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You're right, I've provided a examples of where numberical scores are being poorly implemented or openly abused, but none of that says anything about the numbers themselves. You're right: you can use a number as a shorthand for a summary judgement in an honest way that improves convenience for readers. It just doesn't seem to be done very much in practice. I don't know why that is.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:09 AM   #18
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It might have something to do with the majority of game reviewers being teenagers. >_>
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:21 PM   #19
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I'd love to see a huge website/publication go with "good/bad" for their review scale. Where Good = 10 and bad = 0. That'd screw metacritic. I'm just being a jerk now, though.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:48 PM   #20
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Was thinking about this the other day. I'd be more likely to give rate a game with a score if I was judging it solely on its production values, whether or not is polished, bug-free, good spelling/grammar, solid engine, people not asking me if I've seen any Elves/complaining about experiences with crabs of a muddy variety. Would be harder for me to rate gameplay, however... some publications break up their score into catagories with "gameplay" being one of them. A 6/10, what does that say? Everyone's after something different in a game. It is kind of hard to pass judgement on something as subjective as enjoyment.

If we get rid of ratings, however, that will be one less thing to get mad about. How will we cope with that? I need to validate my platform of choice by obsessively monitoring multiplatform games on metacritic!
 
 

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