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When did 8/10 become a bad score?

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Bauul 17th February 2012, 13:21 Quote
Ok, so I did a quick analysis looking at the proportion of games that scored 90+ as a percent of all the games reviewed by Metacritic for each year.

This is obviously hugely dictated by which games Metacritic decides to include in its library, but given this article used Metacritic as a base then this caveat can be overlooked.

http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=1778&pictureid=25262

Arguably 2000-2003 can be discounted as Metacritic was unlikely to have recorded all the games being released, but from 2004 onwards one can presume the proportion of all games released captured by Metacritic has remained roughly steady.

There clearly is a rise in 2010 and 2011, but nowhere near the extreme amount as suggested in the article. I'm not arguing that 8/10 being "bad" isn't a problem, but I think it's more an issue that games which were supposed to be perfect are considered written off if they don't score 10/10, which is clearly wrong. There are just an awful lot of games being released these days.
yodasarmpit 17th February 2012, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by feathers


8 out of 10 isn't a bad score for a game.

8 out of 10 in my eyes is awesome, if I rated a movie 8 out of 10 is because I thought it was great/near brilliant.

9 and 10 out of 10 are reaching perfection.
SighMoan 17th February 2012, 13:28 Quote
The day that Edge re-introduced scores to their reviews was a dark day for games journalism.
Tattysnuc 17th February 2012, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
8 out of 10 in my eyes is awesome, if I rated a movie 8 out of 10 is because I thought it was great/near brilliant.

9 and 10 out of 10 are reaching perfection.

Absolutely. Forgive me - I'm unable to read the article at work due to BT's proxy's policies...

If you look at something like IMDB - I know it's not a games rating, but the principle remains - then almost NOTHING gets 9 out of 10. only 3 films breach 9:

Shawshank
Godfather Part I and II

Out of the the best films EVER, only 3 go over 9, so I have to concur 8 out of 10 is a pretty awesome score.
Two out of 3 of the best films EVER are gangster films, but if you don't like gangster films, then you're going to score it differently.
As with any review site, the score is only a way of summarising the details of the review - the important part has got to be the content of that review, which when you break it down is a mixture of facts and opinions based on the product. I like and value the opinion of Bit-tech, but don't take the scores in isolation - they are only an indication, and summation of the article.
Instagib 17th February 2012, 14:01 Quote
I'm going to go against the grain here and say that I do look to the score. With the amount of free cash to spend on games dwindling; I have to judge what is worth spending my hard earned on. A score is the easiest and quickest way. But as stated, with dumbing down of marking, I have to raise the bar to compensate. In the past marks of 60% would be sufficient, especially for some types of games; rpg's for example before games like oblivion made them mainstream, would often get lesser marks. Now scores of atleast 80% represent, for me atleast, the same old standard.
NethLyn 17th February 2012, 14:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by damien c
Battlefield is one that I won't be buying again regardless of what the reviews say, Call Of Duty will have to pull a rabit out of the hat and actually produce a good game for me to buy another one.

I'm ahead of you on BF but that's not because they're bad games, just because I don't fancy buying a new graphics card with every "main number" release. I'd rather just do a new build then catch up with whichever one has the most players left.

The only difference is a few years ago the same discussion was had over 7/10, which was perceived as a wishy-washy score that told you nothing, rather than being "bad" in the eyes of games publishers. I stopped reading PCG for all the times they put the boot into a game in the text but kept the score in the high 60% range but nowadays there's so many other sources of opinion that I don't bother with a magazine and wouldn't trust a publisher that plastered awards all over the box anyway.
TheDodoKiller 17th February 2012, 15:23 Quote
You wouldn't say 80% of a cheesecake is a bad thing...
Cei 17th February 2012, 15:36 Quote
I don't like scores any more, due to this very problem. My preferred method these days is that used by ArsTechinca; awarding a Buy, Try or Avoid. For detail you have to read the actual article and opinions.

This means there is no artificial fight over the exact percentage, or even ability to compare games beyond a very crude metric. It all comes down to the words.
Krikkit 17th February 2012, 15:45 Quote
I'd support a ditching of the scores on Bit-Tech/Bit-Gamer if the writers feel it could be useful. Hardware is a quantifiable thing - price/performance etc make sense to be scored, but a game? Not really to my mind.

If not for the fact that score exposure can be very useful to smaller sites I'm sure many would drop it too, but if they're quoted in publisher's blurb it's a good advert for them getting 10/10... Another factor in the high-score wars imo.
rogerrabbits 17th February 2012, 15:46 Quote
I wish people didn't pay so much attention to these comments sections on websites. Half the internet is an 11 year old moron, (yes ok, or a 26 year old moron with the mind of an 11 year old), so they really shouldn't be given so much creedance.
Hovis 17th February 2012, 16:14 Quote
I don't even know why games are scored out of ten. What's the point? When you're reviewing a game your conclusion is really only ever going to come down to one of these three opinions anyway;

Great - You should play this game.
Okay - This game is interesting if you like this kind of thing or you find it in a bargain bin.
Crud - Leave it, this sucks.

Getting obsessed with scores misses the point and serves only to stultify the entire games reviewing process. You end up with a review basically serving as an opinion piece aimed at justifying the score, rather than an appraisal of the product itself, in other words instead of a review you're getting an article, "Why Annual Shooter Franchise 3 is an 8", as opposed to a review. One of the more encouraging comments I see from time to time about a review on here is sometimes somebody will say, "You said XYZ was bad but you gave the game a nine" or "You said this was good but only gave the game a six". I like to see that, because it's shown that the author hasn't fixated on the score.

I say this, let the review be the review. Let the score be the score.
MiNiMaL_FuSS 17th February 2012, 16:21 Quote
Are games getting better?

Depends what you mean by better.

Example: Is HL2 better than HL1? It's got smoother game-play, still got an amazing story; the graphics, sound and technical wizardry is certainly better.

For me however HL1 remains the favourite, why? Hard to say, it's not rose-tinted memories of the game, it's memories of how the game made me feel. Playing HL1 was a true 'holy cack this is awesome' experience. HL2 was certainly a top-draw 10/10 game for me, but it didn't affect me in the same way as HL1.

Why? was it not quite as good? Possibly.

More likely is that I was a little more easily impressed in my youth, a little quicker to jump on the bang-wagon, and a little more easily caught up in the mass hysteria.

This for me, is what causes the crazy devotion to very mediocre games today, take the MW series, it is worshipped by droves of teens. It's a decent enough game, it's fun to play, but most importantly it;s very easy to get caught up in the surrounding hype and culture.

It's very hard to take a step back, and truly analyse a game for what it is, just as it;s hard to take criticism about one's self.

For me nothing will ever match the heights of HL1 and Deus Ex (original of course) - but I'm willing to admit there are games out there that are probably as good as them....I'm just no longer in a position to appreciate that they are as good.
sear 17th February 2012, 16:42 Quote
As a games journalist, I find there is increasing pressure to adhere to publishers' wishes regarding reviews. Fortunately the site I write for does not play by those rules and does not award numeric scores, but I'm well aware that, in order to get say, interviews, review copies, etc. you need to portray the games in a positive light.

For smaller sites who want to maintain integrity, it's harder to stay on the press list because publishers don't want to cooperate with sites that don't work as advertisers for them, and the big deals are all going to the IGNs and GameSpys anyway (i.e. the people who get paid 100x their actual hit value in ad revenue, and who get all the early and exclusive features). I mean, it makes sense - why help people who are just going to bash you? - but it also shows a contempt for the gaming public and their own customers that is very telling of the attitudes most big publishers have.

There are also, of course, inherent problems with numeric scores that are usually lost in the obsession with Metacritic. A game like STALKER might be glitchy, kind of mechanically broken and extremely unpolished... and yet it's also incredibly fun, provides tons of emergent gameplay options, a compelling world, interesting story, and so on. How do you score a game like that? 5/10 doesn't really work because it doesn't reflect the quality of the experience itself, only the technical side of it. Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto IV is the highest-rated Metacritic game ever, but many players were disappointed with its content and tone. It might look great and play okay, but that is not enough to judge a game on either.

I think if game reviewers are going to stick with numeric scores, they need to ditch the current critieria of "does it work? does it look pretty? does it have celebrity voice talent? 10/10!" and instead start thinking about questions like "what are the design goals of this product, and do they fulfill the intended experience?" Moreover, game journalists need to effectively start thinking like designers and developers - it's not enough to say "X works, Y doesn't" - reasons and analysis need to be given, as well as suggestions for how this could be improved.

Unfortunately, this will also eliminate the bargain-basement criteria necessary to become a "games journalist" these days, which means that the big magazines and sites have to stray from their greatest secret shame - that much of their content is written by students or people with no formal education, no design and development experience, and that those jobs could effectively be farmed out to any random gamer capable of stringing a few sentences together. It would also mean that they'd have to stop paying their writers more than the current sub-minimum-wage rates that are standard for games journalism. Effectively, it needs to grow up, but so long as the big sites are happy with publishing terrible content so long as it gets hits, and users are willing to go to these sites, that will not change.
sotu1 17th February 2012, 17:32 Quote
We have a tendency only to play/read games that appeals to us. So that's one thing. It's like people who watch chat shows watch the ones that they agree with.

Results in us only ever seeing 8s, 9s, 10s in the reviews.

What we need to do though is publish more reviews about **** games and show how many sub 8 games there are. Then people will be like 'OMG a 7 in a pile of 3s and 4s! I'll take it!'

Kinda like if you stack loads of 3s and 4s of women in a room then a 6 comes along and your like, 'yeah I'll tap that.' Have I gone too far yet?
Bogomip 17th February 2012, 17:33 Quote
To be honest marking a game is like marking a childs work - you can write all the formative feedback you like, but at the end of the day they look at the number then find out what everybody else got. 8/10 I consider a very strong score, and nothing hacks me off more in my job as a teacher when someone questions why a student only got an A as opposed to an A*.

If bit-tech wants to take itself to the forefront of reviewing, getting people engaged with what you are writing or rather more with the nuances of the game itself - then dont give scores out of 10, give a list of pros and cons or a brief summary only.
pizan 17th February 2012, 18:14 Quote
One website like only gives 4 verdicts...Buy it, Rent it, Try it, and Skip it.
RedFlames 17th February 2012, 18:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogomip
Nothing hacks me off more in my job as a teacher when someone questions why a student only got an A as opposed to an A*.

Nothing annoyed me more than my uni lecturer asking me what i'd got on a particular piece of work...

'69%', [1% off 1st territory] I said...
Oh that's a shame, I thought it was work at least 75... was her reply...
*under breath* evidently not as you're the one that marked it...

But [back on topic] you do get the impression that a lot of the devs themselves are more interested in the score than addressing any criticisms put their way in the preceding review. A high score massages their ego and tells them they did a good job in that void between release and the first set of sales figures.
SinxarKnights 17th February 2012, 18:24 Quote
It's funny that this was posted. Just today I was looking at buying a new game - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I read the reviews and watched some gameplay videos and on one of the vids there was a huge fuss over a 9/10 score and how it scored so low because of Skyrim.

I pee'd a little reading that.
Paradigm Shifter 17th February 2012, 18:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
One website like only gives 4 verdicts...Buy it, Rent it, Try it, and Skip it.
One of the better systems, although still open to individual taste issues. ;)

I hardly ever bother with 'scores' at the end of reviews. I've been burned in the past with games that score brilliantly and I absolutely abhor, then other games that don't score well that I enjoyed.

But to answer the question posed...

8/10 became a bad score when magazines and gaming sites started biasing reviews into the "7 and up" system.
Phil Rhodes 17th February 2012, 18:53 Quote
Anyone remember The One Amiga?

They had a decent policy on this. The average game scored 50%. Even then, that was considered outrageously harsh, even though they explained their approach in a paragraph at the beginning of the reviews section every month.
rogerrabbits 17th February 2012, 19:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Anyone remember The One Amiga?

They had a decent policy on this. The average game scored 50%. Even then, that was considered outrageously harsh, even though they explained their approach in a paragraph at the beginning of the reviews section every month.

I think bit tech does that too, I think? Seems like the best approach to me. Usually if I'm reading a review of a game I'm not going to buy, I just skim read it and then check the score out. But if it's a game I'm going to spend my money on, I read more than one review thoroughly and I pay attention to what they say, not the score.

With games like Amalur for example, it seems like a great game but I know it's just not for me. It's a hack n slash, rolling around shooting lightning and blasting everything to pieces, in a kid friendly fable type world with characters that talk to you like a 10 year old. So technically it could be a great game and worthy of a 9/10, but I know that I would hate every minute of it.
gosh 17th February 2012, 19:22 Quote
http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/pc/2011/11/10/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-3-review/1

almost entirely positive feedback for you lambasting this mediocre game that most would be pushed to tell part from 2. your score = 55%

http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-3

all the big name review sites in the 90's, average score 79% critic and 21% user (ok thats just trolling, games worth at least 50%). notable is almost every top review issues caveats about how it hasn't moved on from mw2 or even 1 and the game is unsurprisingly identical to it's predicessors but justifies it's score by saying it (tellingly) has a large following so it's all good.

but yeh, the scoring thing - a sub 80 metcritic makes me think twice personally or put it on the 'wait till cheap' pile and personally i don't have much distinction between any score under 60% which i read as "fail" regardless. too close ties between reviewers and publishers inflate numbers for marketing and any site that gives more realistic reviews won't get the hits - reviews seem as much positive reinforcement for a generation unable to decide wether something is good themselves as an aid to purchace.
Xir 17th February 2012, 19:34 Quote
This is something that is, in my opinion, generally happening.
  • In (online) Shopping (Try rewarding a seller 4/5 stars on Amazon...you're likely to get bribed/hatemail/sued etc.)
  • In schooling (only the top 10-20% performers are interesting for employers/Uni's)
  • Cars (less than 5 stars in NCAP? tsktsktsk)
warejon9 17th February 2012, 19:59 Quote
Maybe it is because more games are being released/ development cycle has increased so that the same engine is rehashed allowing for more fine tuning to make it appear better and more polished?
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