Scoring systems are certainly controversial, and there’s not a video game section out there that seems appropriate without one. As such, all gaming reviews on Blogcritics will use a simple scoring system. The scores break down as:
1. Why are you introducing a scoring system?
There are multiple reasons, including benefits for the site. Additionally, this also benefits readers who may want to skim a review quickly and still have a general idea of what the writer was trying to convey. The text is always the single most important aspect of any piece, but the scoring system is there for those low on time.
2. Why are there not separate scores for different categories (i.e., graphics, sound, etc)?
There are multiple reasons. The first is that heading into another generation of game consoles, graphics and sound are so advanced, there is no need to look at them individually. There are of course instances where they can factor into the game play (bad frame rates, annoying voice actors), but in the end, it all comes down to the game play itself.
Second is to offer freedom to our writers. If we’re scoring separate categories, then the reviewer must follow a format to ensure that each section is discussed, and most of the time in thick detail. Now, they can write as they wish with no restrictions and touch on the parts that matter.
Much like the overall scoring system itself, it also helps readers in that each review has a different feel. Most gaming magazines and websites are dull because they follow a pattern (usually beginning with game play, to graphics, to audio, and so on). Each review on Blogcritics will feel like the writer’s own, not just a forced template with text.
3. Why no half stars?
This is an area of understandable debate, but one without merit. When it comes down to it, would you really purchase a game (or any other item for that matter) if it were scored a 3.5 instead of a 3? That half star has no bearing on the outcome. A 3.5 would be just as average as a 3 when score is handed down. The same can be said for other scoring systems that attempt to show range with oddball scores like 8.7 and the like. In the end, the entire system is watered down and convoluted. Five stars keep the rating easy to understand, plus does not overshadow the review itself.
4. So, a five means it’s perfect then, right?
Nope. Here’s another great benefit to a five star scale. When you see a 10, or 100%, or whatever score may be used, it’s a supposedly a sign of perfection. Simply put, there’s no such thing. On the other hand, a five star score means it’s simply something superb. There’s little hesitancy when handing out five stars, which means the entire scale is used. Most gaming sites (in general) will hand out all of three “perfect” scores a year. That’s not using what’s available, and it’s because of the designation the 10 has earned over the years. Not so when you’re dealing on a simpler scale.
5. The 10-point scale is better.
There are a myriad of issues here, and you’ll see why it’s terrible in a moment. One of the things that has entered into the mindset of gamers over the years is that a 7 is average. If a gaming site lists their definitions that way, they’re not using the scale properly. That means there are only four scores for something above average (7, 8, 9, 10) and six for below average. Add in the rare use of a 10, and the scale loses even more leverage. Even if a site lists a 7 properly it is recognized as average. This is simply not the case.
The balance there is obviously off. One of the more interesting details about the 10-point system is how it ends up over time. If you average the scores over a period of time the score that’s given most often is a 7.
What that indicates is that the majority of games reviewed are above average. That does not mean a 7 is the indicator of an average game, and that’s wrong in the end. If you perform the same test on a five star scale, it ends up with a rating of three stars being average. This is exactly where it should be if you want a true designation of the term “middle of the road.” In other words, that’s the place most games fall into, and that should always be the average.