get asked about our rating system a lot. So, we've decided to
provide a handy guide for the reader.
The scores are broken
down into 6 categories: Graphics, Sound & Music, Control,
Replay Value, Fun Factor, and Overall. We'll take a look at each
Graphics - These
are obviously the visuals in a video game.
Sound & Music
- These are obviously the sounds in a video game.
Control - This
concerns the act of controlling the game. Are the controls
logical? Does the layout make sense? Does the player have
to worry about controlling the game rather than playing it? We
take all of this into account with this rating.
Replay Value - This
rating tries to estimate the likelihood that you'll want to pick this
game up and play it again. Certain game genres, like RPGs,
generally have a lower replay value than others, such as arcade type
games. This is one of the reasons we don't average scores
together to make up an overall score.
Fun Factor - Another
reason we don't average scores together. A game can look and
sound like the proverbial fecal matter and still be fun to play.
This rating coveys how fun a game is to play.
Overall - Once
again, this rating isn't an average of the first five. It's more
a gut feeling. A game can be very pretty, sound great and be fun
to play, but leave you feeling empty. That type of thing would
be reflected in this rating.
The scale goes from
10 being the best to 1 being the worst. A 5 does not mean a
failing grade. 5 is average. A game that gets a 10 doesn't
mean it's perfect. There is no perfect in anything, so why start
now? 10 means that it's among the best in that category.
What's the difference between a 9.5 and a 10? It's a judgment
call, but usually that will be addressed in the actual text of the
Also, we provide a
color-coding scheme to provide further assistance to those people who
absolutely don't feel like reading the review. It works like a
0-4 = Below average -
Stop! Do not buy.
5-7 = Average - (YELLOW) = Buy with caution.
8-10 = Above Average - (GREEN) - Go ahead and buy.
Also, keep in mind
that an older game's ratings aren't necessarily going to stay
relevant. For example, WWF Smackdown, for the
PlayStation, received an 8.5, while WWF Warzone received a 9.0
two years ago. I don't know about you, but I'd rather play Smackdown!
any day of the week. Warzone was fresh for its time and
received a very good rating. Since then, it's been overshadowed
by new games, such as Smackdown! Why then does Smackdown!
get a lower score? Times change. Expectations
change. Does Smackdown! differ from previous wrestling
games enough to be considered revolutionary? Not really. Warzone
did, albeit two years ago, hence the higher score.
Another question is
the "Why are your reviews generally favorable?" or "Why
all do all of your reviews get such high marks?" Usually
that's because our games are, for the most part, purchased by the
individual reviewers. They usually purchase games that they want
to play or are interested in. Being a relatively small site, we
don't have an expense account that allows us to buy games for the
reviewers. We do occasionally receive games from game companies,
but that's very rare. Because the reviewers will tend to buy
games they want to play or feel they're going to like, it's reflected
in an abundance of high scores. That doesn't prevent us from
being objective, it just means that, like you, our reviewers don't
want to waste their money. We never give high scores for any
reason other than a game being a good game. We're never pressured
or feel obligated to give a
game a high score. We score 'em as we see 'em. Simple as
Below are example
ratings from the review of Crazy Taxi for the Dreamcast. Read
them and compare with the descriptions above. Pretty handy, huh?