An Update to Our Scores and Awards Policies

January 4, 2016 | 13:24

Tags: #awards #bit-gamer-awards #bit-gamer-scores #bit-tech-awards #bit-tech-scores #scores

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The New bit-gamer Awards

Section by Rick Lane and Jake Tucker

When it comes to the task of reviewing and criticising games, we believe that numerical scores are no longer capable of encompassing the vast range of issues and topics that affect our overall judgement of a game, and have not been for a long time. Modern games are often huge, enormously complicated creations multifarious in both their merits and flaws. Many also evolve and occasionally change completely over time, making the notion of assigning a hard number to a verdict even more outmoded.

A score might provide some vague indication of whether a game is good or not, but it doesn't tell you why the reviewer believes that, how they arrived at that opinion. This information is utterly crucial for the reader to draw their own conclusions. It's only there, in the carefully considered text that comes before that final number, where a reader can discover whether the critic's thoughts and opinions align with their own general feelings towards different kinds of games, and thus decide whether the game in question is "for them".

An Update to Our Scores and Awards Policies The New bit-gamer Awards

Scores cannot do this, and in fact, can even distract from that goal of informing. At their worst, scores can be outright misleading, distilling a nuanced argument about a game's quality into a number that, rather than complementing the reviewer's opinion, becomes the focus of an entirely separate debate. This is unhelpful both to the art of criticism and to the reader's desire to know whether to make a purchase.

This is why we have decided to move away from the idea of scoring games numerically, and instead provide a series of awards to act as an accompaniment to our reviews rather than a summary of them. We want you to go into a game with the best understanding of it possible, and we believe this new approach to be a better way of facilitating that.

Games reviewed on bit-gamer will now be eligible to receive one of four new awards designed to mark out the very best and the very worst games, with some room in between for games that don't quite deserve either confirmation or condemnation.

The four new bit-gamer awards are as follows:

An Update to Our Scores and Awards Policies The New bit-gamer Awards
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Outstanding – An award that we reserve for the absolute cream of the games industry's produce. Outstanding games are games that redefine their genre, or make us reassess what games are capable of. Recent examples would include The Witcher 3 and Grow Home.

An Update to Our Scores and Awards Policies The New bit-gamer Awards
Click to enlarge

Excellent – Excellent games are precisely that. Smart, innovative, meticulously designed and exhibiting very few flaws. These games are prime examples of their genre that you'd happily recommend to anybody. Recent examples of Excellent games would include Pillars of Eternity, Invsible Inc, The Magic Circle and Project CARS.

An Update to Our Scores and Awards Policies The New bit-gamer Awards
Click to enlarge

Recommended – The Recommended award is for games that, basically, you'd personally feel comfortable paying money for. These games achieve what they set out to do successfully, but don't quite reach the heights of those Excellent games that reach just that little bit further. Recent examples include Rocket League, Batman: Arkham Knight and Dying Light.

An Update to Our Scores and Awards Policies The New bit-gamer Awards
Click to enlarge

Bin – An "award" that we hope we won't need to use very often. Bin is for games that, quite simply, belong in the bin. These games are either fundamentally broken, poorly designed at every turn, or simply no fun to play. If someone asked you, "should I buy X", your immediate response would be, "God no.” Examples of games that belong in the bin are Sacred 3, X-Rebirth and DARK

Any game in between Recommended and Bin would be one that is too flawed to be worthy of an award, but still has some merit. Again, if someone asked you, "should I buy X?”, your answer would always have caveats: "Maybe if you like X", "yes, but be warned that Y” or “Probably not, but it does have Z." Examples of these games include F1 2015, RONIN, and Evolve.

We think this system will be very clear for our readers while also avoiding giving awards to games that don't stand out one way or another (be it a good or bad way). It lets them know what they MUST play, what they should play, what's worth buying if they can afford it, and what they should stay away from at all costs.

With that all said, we'll now get back to reviewing stuff, hoovering up the leftover festive booze and chocolate supplies and failing to meet our new year's resolutions. We hope you'll join us for the ride, and welcome any feedback in the comments section. Happy New Year!
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