Review scores have come to Shacknews

It's been a long time coming. Shacknews has been reviewing games for years, judging games not as products, but as experiences. Instead of breaking down games as the sum of easy-to-digest parts--graphics, gameplay, story--we wanted to provide a critical look at the game as a whole.

Starting next week, we're going to start implementing numerical scores to our reviews. Behind the scenes, this has been a process that has been debated quite passionately by all of our editors. We never questioned "should we do this?" Rather, we wanted to be certain in how we would implement scores. We wanted a scale that reflected our holistic approach to reviews, one that embodies our games-as-experiences philosophy.

Here is the scale that we're going to use:

  • 10 - A milestone in gaming

  • 9 - An exemplary representation of its genre, with resounding impact

  • 8 - A leader of its genre, offering fresh interpretation of the form

  • 7 - A solid representation of its genre

  • 6 - A flawed representation of its genre, failing to execute on new ideas

  • 5 - Insipid, but mechanically sound

  • 4 - Insipid, and mechanically faulty

  • 3 - Artistically void, but mechanically sound

  • 2 - Artistically void, and mechanically faulty

  • 1 – Unplayable

We decided on a ten-point scale, as we believed anything more than that would be too granular. (That means no half points, no decimals, etc.) We also believe this is a scale that will be fully utilized. What's the point of a reviews scale if only the top half gets used?

I want to assure you that review scores will not change the approach we take to reviews. Instead of writing to a score, we want to make sure that the score is derived from the text our reviewer writes. Not only will you start seeing scores attached to every forthcoming review on Shacknews--we're going through the process of retroactively applying these scores to our legacy reviews. Eventually, we plan on offering a catalog of reviews that can be easily referenced, which should offer greater context on what a "10" means, for example.

Review scores have been an exciting debate for us here at Shacknews, and we're eager to see how you respond to them. Please offer me any questions and comments you may have in the comments below, and I'd love to hear your suggestions.