My best rating system ever

January 1, 2013

It’s the first day of a new year, so I don’t know why you’re looking so surprised. Of course I’m going to radically alter my rating system. Why? Because the old one was seriously flawed, that’s why.

First of all, why the hell did I include “Sound” and give it as much influence over the final rating as “Fun” or “Content”? Who knows? It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. As for the final ratings, they were generally way too high and way too inconsistent. Arcadelife’s average review score is somewhere around 80%. Great news for most of the games I reviewed but suggestive of a very lenient and probably less than informative scoring system. Either that, or almost every game I reviewed was very good. Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

So … Here’s what you’re getting in 2013. It’s going to be a much better rating system, at least until 2014 when I decide it was rubbish. Probably.

The Sound category is OUT. I don’t care about Sound. Actually I do, but I am creating a replacement category called Presentation. The Presentation category will cover a lot of things, including sound, but will also focus on stuff like the menu system, tutorial (is there one? is it any good? is it needed?), slickness and overall polish. Damn, yeah, ok, I mentioned the word polish. The other categories are staying, because they make sense, although “Visuals” will now specifically mean the in-game graphics and not how pretty the menus are.

Numbers, don’t you just love them? I wanted to ditch the final rating score altogether and just use one of ten words or phrases, which we’ll come to soon, but then I realised this would screw up how the Arcadelife reviews appear on the iPhone Quality Index. They need a score in numeric form and I don’t want to burden them with the jolly task of deciphering a number from my rating words so I’ll use this principle:

The final rating (number) will appear but will be directly derived from the word I use to rate the game. Now, I know what you’re thinking – what the bloody hell is he rambling on about? It’s fairly straightforward really and I think most people will understand it, although they won’t necessarily like it. The solution, if you don’t like it, would obviously be to set up your own review site and go through this nightmare yourself, or just wait until I eventually create the ultimate best ever rating system and use that.

The final ratings and their numbers are as follows:

  • Best Game Ever – 10
  • Excellent – 9
  • Very Good – 8
  • Good – 7
  • Quite Good – 6
  • Mediocre – 5
  • Disappointing – 4
  • Poor – 3
  • Pathetic – 2
  • Atrocious – 1

“Best Game Ever” is a bit of an in-joke that evolved from discussions and text messages between me and my friend Ben, where we manage to find at least one BGE every week, if not every day. It doesn’t mean the game is the best game ever, obviously, just that it qualifies as one for at least the short period of time that we played it. The way I see it, developers and publishers are going to enjoy putting that in their app store description if it is ever awarded to a game, even if it’s not exactly a unique accolade.

I’ve also changed the scoring from a percentage to a score out of 10, mostly because there’s a universal fear of awarding a game 100% because “no game is perfect” and blah blah blah. People seem perfectly happy seeing a game get 10/10, so I’ll follow that trend, just don’t expect to see many games getting 10!

Now I just need to review a game to see how this works out…

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