The debate on what scoring structure to use in valuating video games has been around for seemingly ever. As with most things with which we attempt to attribute a set value to, the question of which valuation system to use — what with there being so damn many — almost always crops up.
I mean, think about it. We have the five star system the 10-point system, the 100-point system and the oft-underutilized letter grading system. Not to mention practically anything and everything in between…
The question of which specific review system to use, though, has been a constant quandary for us here at OWNT over the past few months. You may have noticed that we’ve recently switched over from our original 10-point scoring system to (what we thought would be at the time) a more refined and easily identifiable five star format. Ironically enough, it’s highly likely to change yet again in the coming days — to what system specifically, we’re not yet sure. Hence the purpose of this piece, actually.
Realistically, it’s safe to assume that there’s no definitive right or wrong system to rate games with. Opinions have, are and always will be varied on the subject. Personally, I think that it has more to do with the reviewer in question’s overall philosophy and personal approach as to how they want to convey a given games value.
Despite all this, though, perhaps it’s prudent to — at the very least — wonder if the nearly-unanimous agreement that all game reviews should ALWAYS be given some kind of concrete score or value is truly necessary. Or even logical.
After all, how many of you merely take a look at the review score of a game you’re considering buying and don’t even bother to read the actual review? This naturally introduces the argument that such summarized scores are but a compliment to said review. That, instead of offering an all-seeing window into a particular games overall core value, it simply attempts to attribute some kind of convenient, numerical or symbolic score to help summarize the review itself.
But do we really need such a thing? And aren’t there better ways of accomplishing this?
True, some people out there would prefer to simply look at a large sample size of review scores for a particular game in in lieu of actually taking the time to read about what makes the game tick. But these people are the exception, not the rule. Those that actually take the time to read reviews usually do so in order to become better informed and, thus, make smarter gaming purchases. And while a games score no doubt factors into this decision, it’s highly likely that the in-depth information and unbiased appraisal within the actual review itself contributes to such a decision even more-so. Or at the very least helps to make it easier.
Currently, we’re leaning more towards a review system here on OWNT which nixes an actual scoring system altogether in favor of relying instead on our informative, in-depth reviews. Reviews that are helpful for those ultimately trying to decide upon whether they should spend their hard-earned money on a particular game or not. Or maybe even if they’d like it if it’s a certain genre they’re not used to playing or something.
In the place of an actual score, though, it may very well be just as useful to provide a summarized breakdown of the pros and cons of a given game. Accompanied by what type of gamers will likely enjoy it the most and/or whether it’s a must buy for everyone regardless of their preferred niche(s). Essentially, yes, a review score but without the review score. With more streamlined, easily digested nuggets of the highest importance for the particular game in question.
We’re putting this out there in order to broach the subject for this kind of discussion just as much as we’re using it as a sort-of therapeutic brainstorm in order to figure out just what the heck we want to do with this heading forward. Again, as with most arguments of this nature, there is no right or wrong opinion. Opinions and beliefs on the topic vary according to personal preference — as they should.
As such, this isn’t really even an effort to try and find the illusive and technically non-existent “answer” to the game review score debate. As with everything else that we do here at OWNT, it’s instead much more focused on how to provide you with the best. In this case, the best possible scoring system that will prove to be the most informative and helpful to you all. At least in regards to what we believe many of you come on here to read our reviews for in the first place.
In closing, we would greatly appreciate any and all feedback and discussion on this topic in the comments. And since you’ll technically be increasing your odds of winning our OWNT $200 Gamestop Gift Card Giveaway Contest, well… it’s a win-win for everyone all around. So let’s make it happen, yes?