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.

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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.

Filed Under

From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 26, 2013 1:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Review scores are coming 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.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 1:33 PM

      What's the point of a reviews scale if only the top half gets used?

      Does this mean going out of your way to review games that would get 1-4s?

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        July 26, 2013 1:34 PM

        I don't think we'll have to go out of our way. While we've yet to back-score our reviews, there are already a number of games that will get scores in that range.

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          July 26, 2013 1:40 PM

          That's cool! I only ask because it's rare to see a game actually make it to gaming sites that ranks in that area and doesn't end up in something like a "how did this get made?" sort of feature.

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            July 26, 2013 1:44 PM

            I know that we are a bit concerned that our scores might result in a lot of phone calls and potentially burned bridges. But if we're going to do scores, we're not going to do them simply to conform to what's "normal."

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              July 26, 2013 2:10 PM

              Yoon, quick, give me numbers on the following: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Super Metroid, and Super Mario Kart.

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                July 26, 2013 2:14 PM

                Fuck, this is totally a trap. And I'm totally going to fall for it.

                In my opinion: 9, 9, 9, 10

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          July 26, 2013 1:48 PM

          if the shack actually sticks to this, i'll be very impressed. +1

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            July 26, 2013 1:52 PM

            seriously. If you guys actually implement this and stick with it, I'll be extremely impressed.

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        July 26, 2013 1:38 PM

        Because Metacritic demands you have a scale that can map to their scale, and that means something with ten increments.

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        July 26, 2013 8:20 PM

        It makes no sense that everybody doesn't just use a 1-5 scale. If you need 10 increments, do half points. 1-5 is a nice scale everybody understands and that allows you to use the entire range. 1-10 just carries extra baggage where people expect "average" to be 3/4 up the scale instead of in the middle of it.

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      July 26, 2013 1:35 PM

      Ugh, no. Just no.

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      July 26, 2013 1:36 PM

      No, stop it.

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      July 26, 2013 1:37 PM

      I say don't bother. Scores and scales are the bane of reviews.

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        July 26, 2013 1:41 PM

        I'm usually on this boat, but we're not writing to aim for a particular score. We're keeping written reviews as they are. The only major change is that the staff will get together and collectively assess the review to determine where it falls on our scale. No one's changing their review approach.

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          July 26, 2013 1:46 PM

          the staff will get together and collectively assess the review to determine where it falls on our scale

          This sounds HORRIBLE. So now the reviewers can get overridden because a publisher is putting pressure on Garnett Lee or whoever to give out a high score when the review is less than stellar. I know this is not the intent but we've seen similar things happen before on other websites. I know you guys have the best of intentions at heart but this just opens the door to the possibility.

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            July 26, 2013 1:50 PM

            I totally understand your concern. One of the reasons I decided to introduce the reviews scale now (instead of coinciding with a review) was so that we can be transparent about what we think these numbers mean. And, if there's any suspicion of foul play, you guys can call us on that bullshit. Point to this scale and say "hey, your review reads more like X." I want this scale to be transparent to everyone. Ultimately, reviews serve readers NOT publishers.

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              July 26, 2013 1:54 PM

              If you guys actually intend to dish out a few 5's and 6's and maybe even some 2's and 3's here and there when they're deserved, I'll keep an open mind.

              I don't think there's anything wrong with the current format though, and I can see the scores becoming a point of contention amongst the more vocal and abrasive front pagers.

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            July 26, 2013 5:54 PM

            Does Alice attend these meetings as well? I imagine there's a lot of "bugger that" if she does.

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          July 26, 2013 5:04 PM

          Putting scores on the reviews dampens their honesty and longevity with some arbitrary scale. Why even bother with the homogenization of a great experience? I actually like reading shack reviews, they're informative and honest. Other reviews are just irritating to read.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 1:40 PM

      2

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      July 26, 2013 1:40 PM

      While not neccessary for me, I support this move. Especially with that kind of thought you seem to have put into it. I really like the individual meanings for the scores and I believe it's good to give a very clear "score" for a game, in particular for somewhat indifferent reviews.

      You're gonna make it easier for your readers and I understand you probably have to go with the flow as well, since almost everyone is using a system like this.

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        July 26, 2013 1:42 PM

        In addition I wanna take the chance to compliment your reviews. Good stuff, keep it up.

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        July 26, 2013 1:44 PM

        Thanks! I appreciate seeing something positive. I'm still waiting to take a whipping from the community...

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      July 26, 2013 1:44 PM

      it's a sign of the times. it's the TLDR era. post stars/numbers, then make TOP 10 ____ lists, then make infographs of total uselessness.

      if you can't beat em, join em. :(

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        July 26, 2013 1:47 PM

        But you're totally going to love our "top 10 ankles of video games" piece coming up. Who knew ankles could be SO SEXY???

        In seriousness, I know the proof is going to be in the pudding, so I hope to have our retroactive scores appear ASAP to give a clear understanding of where we want to take this system.

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      July 26, 2013 1:45 PM

      I assume this is a pretty good business move. Right now I have to guess that Shacknews isn't being included in any aggregate scoring site. Thats free publicity being missed.

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        July 26, 2013 3:30 PM

        Yep. Shack's reviews are higher quality than most on metacritic, so it's good they will be included now. And they'll get some of that internet money.

        I actually use metacritic, not for the average, but because it has all the reviews I like to read linked on one page. I always click Giant Bomb, Kotaku, Destructoid, EGM, Eurogamer, AV Club, Polygon and, for games released before spring 2013, 1-UP. Now Shacknews will be conveniently located on the page and I won't have to search for it separately.

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      July 26, 2013 1:47 PM

      FREE KEEFER!!!

      But seriously, this can only mean good things for this site. Review score = metacritic visibility = FRESH MEAT.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 1:48 PM

      Finally Remo's Reign of Terror has come to an end! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD5ZXuL0HyE

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      July 26, 2013 1:48 PM

      This isnt what shacknews deserves, but its what it needs right now.

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      July 26, 2013 1:48 PM

      Ug. And we lost Keef as well. Worse and worse.

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      July 26, 2013 1:49 PM

      I'm really digging this holistic approach especially seeing that 7's still constitute a good game. It'll take a bit of time for the general populous but I really hope more people adopt this type of point scale.

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        July 26, 2013 1:52 PM

        7s are good games. I would even argue that 5s are "good" on our scale, but likely have a smaller appeal.

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      July 26, 2013 1:50 PM

      Metacritic here we come!

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      July 26, 2013 1:50 PM

      Gross.

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      July 26, 2013 1:51 PM

      Avatars, next?

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        July 26, 2013 2:25 PM

        Let's hope so.

        -----------------------------------
        CPU: Pentium 4 2.5 GHz @ 3.2 GHz
        HSF: Scythe Ninja Copper
        MB: DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D
        RAM: OCZ DDR2 PC2-6400 GOLD GX XTC
        HDD: 2x IBM Deskstar 75GXP in Raid 0
        GPU: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
        Case: Antec P180
        Fan Grills: Punisher
        OS: Windows XP SP2

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      July 26, 2013 1:52 PM

      I guess this was inevitable, and I know it drives traffic and shit, but it's just bad for good quality reviews. Even Roger Ebert was notoriously critical of the Star system used for movies and his own Thumbs system, because ultimately the numbers or good/bad evaluation become completely arbitrary and tell you nothing about the subtlety of differences between two games/movies/whatever.

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        July 26, 2013 1:54 PM

        I hope that our years of reviewing games without scores has established our credibility. Ultimately, our goal is to continue writing reviews the way we always have. There will just be a number at the bottom of the text.

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          July 26, 2013 1:56 PM

          And yet Ebert gave reviews on a 4 star scale, and I'm sure he appreciated being listed on all the film review sites.

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            July 26, 2013 2:00 PM

            er sorry, my reply was meant to be directly to action wombmate.

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            July 26, 2013 2:09 PM

            He did star reviews because the industry he operated in expected/demanded it. He's publicly written many times that the star reviews are essentially worthless unless you also read the accompanying review, and even then he would have preferred to do away with the stars/thumbs/whatever altogether.

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          July 26, 2013 2:08 PM

          Oh I get that, it's just that for many people, the number supersedes the text. They'll see that Call of Duty 25: Still Callin' gets a 9/10, and that Stunning Ambitious Indie Game gets 8/10, and immediately assume that it means that Call of Duty is better than Indie Game, when in reality it probably means that Call of Duty is 90% successful at being a fun and interesting action game, and that Indie Game is 80% successful at being a different type of game - each on their own respective terms. Then you'll get the ad nauseum deluge of "WTF Shacknewbs!? Call of Crap is nowhere near the brilliance of Stunning Ambitious Indie Game!" and so forth. But, good luck in implementing it. I understand why.

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            July 26, 2013 2:13 PM

            I'm really glad you brought up this example. One of the reasons why "graphics" and other metrics aren't included in our rubric is precisely to avoid this. In fact, as you can see, innovation and artistic intent is built into our scale. A blockbuster game that plays it safe is less likely to score high than a genuinely interesting indie game.

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              July 26, 2013 2:28 PM

              I think your scale is pretty well-designed. How much people remember/care about that in a year's time when looking at your scores on Metacritic is going to be debatable, even if you publish the rubric along with each review. I'm sorry to sound so cynical about this and I laud your approach, I just disagree with scored reviews on a fundamental level.

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                July 26, 2013 2:44 PM

                well said. 8/10

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                  July 26, 2013 3:25 PM

                  You are obviously grading on grammar and not artistic brillance. He is just playing it safe relating back to the article instead of adding artistic pacing, highs, and lows. At best he gets a 7/10.

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                July 26, 2013 2:46 PM

                Totally agree with you. But truth be told, we're not beholden to Metacritic for our scores. Ultimately, we designed this scale for OUR readers, not THEM.

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                  July 27, 2013 9:25 AM

                  What if the number was tagged like a spoiler? Then, people who wanted to read the review "the old way" just wouldn't have to click, and you would still have a published score to put on metacritic.

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        July 26, 2013 2:31 PM

        To be fair, even in the Chatty, there are plenty of people who rush out to post the review scores from other sites when a new game comes out and they want to confirm if it was a good purchase. Every major game release gets a thread flooded with "EuroGamer only gave it a 5, but Polygon gave it an 8.3333!". So, even the audience that exists on the site today would likely be interested in reading more review scores.

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          July 26, 2013 2:59 PM

          Oh I know, I see those posts all the time. It's something that people react to. Numbers give people a tangible measurement to use as a basis for staking out a position or making arguments. I get it. They're just not for me.

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      July 26, 2013 1:53 PM

      No no no, WRONG DIRECTION

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 1:53 PM

      ...Why?

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:17 PM

        I believe there are two reasons:

        1. Traffic from game rankings and metacritic
        2. Listing the review score on the gamefly page for a game.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 1:54 PM

      Have to admit, I skip to the last paragraph on most reviews anyway. I don't want to read spoilers and more importantly I'm lazy.

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      July 26, 2013 1:55 PM

      For better or worse, you won't get linked from gamerankings or metacritic without a score, so I understand this move. I just hope that means the reviews won't diminish in quality since I think you have to give more detail in a review without a score since it can't be easily summed up as "8/10".

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        July 26, 2013 1:56 PM

        No worries. Our approach to reviews will not change.

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      July 26, 2013 1:56 PM

      I'm going to attempt to be constructive here, but I would much rather see a Crustar/Kotaku-like approach to review metrics. (yeah yeah I know)

      I particularly like it broken down to a simple "Is this game worth your attention/0wn?" Y/N + 6-10 bullet points why. This makes it easy for me to parse what games I should even bother reading about from that USA-Today like infographic.

      Arbitrary numbers by people I don't know doesn't really help me much, but probably helps your clickthroughs, I understand.

      For example http://kotaku.com/shin-megami-tensei-iv-the-kotaku-review-788093899

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        July 26, 2013 2:02 PM

        I love Kotaku's review approach. Ultimately, we decided to be slightly more granular than a "yes" or "no." I do think that our current scale sort of reflects that mentality, though. I would say 5-10 is a "yes" while 1-4 is a "no." Hopefully, our text can explain in further detail.

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          July 26, 2013 2:27 PM

          The problem is, no one will pay attention to your text now that you have scores. :(

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 1:56 PM

      This is the complete opposite of what should be happening.

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      July 26, 2013 1:59 PM

      OMG I BET THE SHACK IS DOOMED AGAIN LIKE ALL THOSE OTHER TIMES THE SHACK WAS DOOMED!!!!

      More traffic, means new people, which means lols and nukes. My finger is itchy to pull that trigger!

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      July 26, 2013 2:00 PM

      To me, it seems like there's too much overlap on your scale. What's the difference between "insipid" and "artistically void"? Why is a game that's "inspid and mechanically faulty" rated higher than a game that's "artistically void and mechanically sound"? If someone just likes the mechanics of a game, does the two-point difference between these adjectives matter? Can a game still be a "solid representation of the genre", even if it has no new ideas?

      Furthermore, in the process of going back and re-reviewing older games, how do you avoid falling into the trap of judging these games based on their initial presentation versus how they would be seen now in comparison to modern games?

      I still maintain that a 5-point rating, like the one Giant Bomb uses, is plenty to give a weighty recommendation for or against a game. It might not be what publishers want, because a game that can't get earn higher than a 4/5 isn't nearly as good for them as a 90/100, but I think it's a scoring system that's more likely to be accurate and fair to what the review is trying to convey.

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        July 26, 2013 2:07 PM

        This is a great question.

        I chose "insipid" because it connotes blandness, a kind of "sameness" that plagues many modern games. "Artistically void" I think takes that to yet another step--avoiding not only making something that "feels the same," but actually is regressive in its approach.

        The reason why there's some clear overlap and repetition in this scale is that it originates from a five-star scale we were working with. However, once you add half points to a 5 point scale, it becomes a 10 point scale like ours. Instead of simply saying "halves" are just in-between two numbers, we wanted to have a clear definition of what each number meant. Ultimately, we decided that our primary focus is the artistic intent, followed up by the execution. Essentially, a 7 really is a 3.5/5--but we wanted to define that score as more than "between 3 and 4."

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          July 26, 2013 2:23 PM

          That answer kind of cements my feeling that the lower half of the scale is pretty redundant. All of those descriptions just sound like varying degrees of what number six is, a game that fails to bring anything worth-while to the genre and which may or may not have decent mechanics. It shows that you had a 5 point scale and felt like it needed to be filled out to make those half-points actually represent something. I say keep the 5-point scale, but drop the half points. Just be okay with saying that a really good game that many people will like might still only be 3/5 stars.

          And while I personally value artistic intent over execution a lot of the time, I don't know how I feel about that being a standard in the scale, since it assumes that every player has those same preferences. A game like ARMA has no artistic influence to speak of - other than graphics which will never hold a candle to AAA titles - since it's intended to be a realistic simulation, but as a completely mechanics-driven shooter, it may be exactly what many people want to play.

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            July 26, 2013 2:26 PM

            I agree. I think rating systems that colligate a WHOLE bunch of information into a single track are really horrible. :(

            Rating systems like this just can't capture the nuances and proclivities that make aspects of games special, even if they aren't well executed from the reviewer's point of view.

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              July 26, 2013 2:32 PM

              "Rating systems like this just can't capture the nuances and proclivities that make aspects of games special".

              Um wouldn't that be the wordy stuff that's about the number? The actual content of the review. Review scores are only stupid if the reader gets to hung up on the actual score.

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                July 26, 2013 2:33 PM

                about the number* = above the number.

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                July 26, 2013 2:46 PM

                Absolutely, but who's going to look at it now that there's a number?

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                  July 26, 2013 2:56 PM

                  That's the readers problem. It's inevitable that some people just focus on the score, but that's no reason to try and make the score all incomposing.

                  If anything it's better to keep the score simple so people are forced to read the content of the review.

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                    July 26, 2013 4:13 PM

                    The problem with review scores is that people don't read the actual reviews. They look at the score and they freak out because the game they have yet to play received a bad score. That's just the internet.

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                      July 26, 2013 5:43 PM

                      Why should I/we be concerned with those people? They probably weren't going to read and enjoy the reviews anyway then. Seriously if people stop reading the reviews because of a score then fuck them, it's not the sites fault that some people will do that.

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            July 26, 2013 2:29 PM

            If you want to do scored reviews, either go all the way stupid and do a 100 point scale like the aggregator bullshit they want to be recognized by, or keep it simple and do 5 starts like Giant Bomb.

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              July 26, 2013 2:31 PM

              I did suggest a 1000 point scale, because I agree with you. It would've been fun to go full-stupid. But ultimately, it would only be a joke--and at the end of the day, we still want reviews to offer a service.

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                July 26, 2013 2:35 PM

                A 10 point scale offers nothing.

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                  July 26, 2013 2:38 PM

                  At least nothing over any other review site's meaningless 10 point scale. They're broken and have become useless over the years and you won't be able to change that. Why not do something different or better yet, something that that matters if you have to put a number on it.

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                    July 26, 2013 2:45 PM

                    One of the biggest problems with scores is the importance the readers/gamers put on the scores. Trying to offer a better score system would just put more importance on it. Scores are fine in my opinion but the main review of the game should always be the written content of the review, not the score.

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                      July 26, 2013 2:56 PM

                      If you want the written word to keep its importance, leave the scores off. Simple. Any system contrasted to the way it was is going to put more importance on the numbers by the gaming community at large. Doing something different could make you stand out at least.

                      The scoreless review was once the best thing this stupid site had going on, and the reason I actually cared to read the reviews here. The staff changes ensured it wasn't going to last but whatever, a 5 star system like Giant Bomb doesn't put any more importance on scores over their reviews. Nor does the letter rating on 1up. If anything it makes me more interested in reading the full reviews compared to every other stupid fucking 10 point-that's-not-really-10-point site.

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                        July 26, 2013 3:02 PM

                        Even AndrewYoon is hinting they like that the reviews didn't have scores. I think most people here feel that way too, but it does limit the amount of off-site attention the reviews get. Out of 10 or out of 5 I don't see a huge deal either way as long as it's not over complicated.

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                July 26, 2013 3:53 PM

                Just have the valcan_s scale, where every game starts at 11/10 and you add 1 for every extra L in HOLY SHIT.

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            July 26, 2013 2:32 PM

            The usual is one through six are shit, seven is passable, eight is good with a few flaws, nine is great with minor flaws, and 10 is either a masterpiece or they got paid in suitcases full of money.

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              July 26, 2013 2:40 PM

              I think that in actual use, this is probably what will happen with this scale, though. Not enough games come out that can map to the low end of the scale, because a company that releases a game that deserves a score like that might as well commit suicide instead. I expect that every company has a key for their scale that they use to justify their scores. I heard some of the PC Gamer editors talk about how much nuance they see between a game that scores an 85 and an 87 in their scale. I strongly believe that you can get much more use out of a scale that allows you to say that a game is a 2/5, which on this scale would be something more like what their #5 or #6 represents, a game that a few people could pick up and still have some fun with for a while.

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            July 27, 2013 10:13 PM

            BlackCat9 is spot on. Either no reviews or a 5 point scale. Anything else is dumb because you aren't going to go out of your way to review horrible games that deserve a 1-2, so your scale is automatically redundant.

            Going back and putting scores on old reviews sounds like the worst idea ever :( There is no way to do it correctly with the hindsight that you have.

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      July 26, 2013 2:02 PM

      lol

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      July 26, 2013 2:03 PM

      Good. In the fast paced world of Windows 8 and generation Ballmer, i can't be bothered to read too many book words.

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      July 26, 2013 2:05 PM

      Meh, the ratings should following gaming conventions: Z F E D C B A S SS SSS

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        July 26, 2013 2:06 PM

        How about UT streak levels? M-M-M-Monster game!!

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        July 26, 2013 2:09 PM

        Pssh, Capcom would sue us into oblivion.

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          July 26, 2013 2:12 PM

          Knowing what I know from my ex-coworkers who are all over at Capcom now they'd probably love it. LOL

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        July 26, 2013 2:14 PM

        Only if it also follows the gaming convention of baffling roll-up scores.

        Graphics: B
        Gameplay: A
        Story: D
        Presentation: D

        Overall: S

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        July 26, 2013 2:45 PM

        They only need one rating. F! </shackers>

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          July 28, 2013 9:42 AM

          With that rating system they could even rate movies here!

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      July 26, 2013 2:11 PM

      Haha quit whining people, it's fine.

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        July 26, 2013 2:27 PM

        I think it's going to be cool/funny watching people offsite from a place like metacritic crash and burn here in the chatty when this site puts up a review score that happens to be an outlier for a popular game.

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      July 26, 2013 2:17 PM

      This sounds well intentioned, but it's ultimately a decision to conform to the worst elements of the video game press.

      If Shacknews wants to attract more readers, it should try, you know, improving it's editorial content. It's been a slow decline in quality since I started reading in 2007. Reviews are shorter, and less interesting. There is more coverage of banal news like DLC. There are almost no long opinion pieces about the game industry. Shacknews certainly isn't as bad as some place like IGN.com, but that's not saying a whole lot.

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        July 26, 2013 2:20 PM

        I'm just responding to this to let you know that I see this feedback and, in many ways, agree. I'm definitely pushing for more interesting news, and certainly more editorials to appear on the site. Thanks for being such a long-time reader, and I hope one day, you will PM me to say "hey, this site is now as good as I remember it." Really appreciate the honest feedback.

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        July 26, 2013 2:30 PM

        ^^^^^^ this right here.

        The amount of no-news that has been posted recently is ridiculous.

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          July 26, 2013 2:34 PM

          I don't think it's "ridiculous." I'm looking at the front page right now, and I don't see any "no-news." But I welcome your feedback, so if you can shoot me some examples via PM, I'd really appreciate it.

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            July 26, 2013 4:04 PM

            I actually appreciate some of the minor news stuff. Like Rayman Legends coming to PC. Not earth shattering news, but it definitely helps people like me who only like to read Shacknews and one or two other sites.

            I agree that the editorials have declined a little bit. I think 1UP in the mid-late part of the last decade is the best gaming site I've seen. It was unsustainable as a business, but it was awesome site.

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      July 26, 2013 2:17 PM

      I'm on board. It will help drive traffic and, ideally, increase page views. For example, personally speaking, odds are if I see Shacknews rate something 10/10 I'm going to read its review even if it previously didn't interest me. That also holds true if I see something rated 1, 2, or 3, because I'll be curious about what made it so bad. Also, if I was seeking out reviews of something, I'm not going to get all e-snob and turn my nose up at the review because there's a score at the bottom of the page.

      Get over it. Change helps avoid stagnation.

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      July 26, 2013 2:18 PM

      I give this review score system....... 3 pregant Sessler pauses....... out of....... 5.

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        July 26, 2013 2:21 PM

        Which is a 6 on our scale: "A flawed representation of its genre, failing to execute on new ideas"

        Sounds about right. ;P

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 2:29 PM

          Assuming the reviews are written the same way, then I'm happy with you not trying to do anything amazingly new with scores and then having the scores distract too much from the content of the review.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:29 PM

      Should have done this a long time ago. Good move.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:30 PM

      I am disappoint.

      Honestly though I'm glad we made this far without review scores and while I don't necessarily see them as "evil" I do see them as a step backwards from well thought out written reviews without a score; as soon as you add that number it becomes all most people see.

      Here's to hoping you guys can execute it in such a way that it isn't as soul sucking and meaningless as most sites that metacritic pulls from.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:32 PM

        We'll make the font for the score really, really small. Make people work to find it.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 2:34 PM

          Make Valve HL3-style ARG games to find out the review score.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 6:20 PM

          I'm not promising anything, but perhaps we'll be able to allow users to enable/disable scores via the Settings.

        • reply
          July 27, 2013 9:29 AM

          Or spoiler it.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:32 PM

      I want quick looks goddammit. Hmmm. That term may be copyrighted. Shack Looks? Stuff That Sucks?

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:34 PM

      According to your scale, Call of Duty should be getting 7's. We'll see if that plays out.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:37 PM

        Haha, seriously.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:40 PM

        Pretty sure CoD is easily a leader of its genre whether you like it or not.

        A fresh interpretation of the form is open for debate but they do new things with each iteration. They're small changes but still.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 2:43 PM

          That's kind of the problem with critical scores, though, isn't it? Call of Duty is a leader in the genre because people follow it, not because it has done much of late to deserve the artistic merit that this scale is based on.

          • reply
            July 26, 2013 2:46 PM

            I would argue that people follow it because it is a leader in its genre. Hell it defines its genre.

            Also players have different priorities.To me CoD immediately gets a few legs up on most of the competition because it runs at 60 fps and has amazing feeling controls. So many games fail miserably in both of those departments that I would have trouble ranking them above a 7. Other people couldn't care less about either of those things.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:41 PM

        Why? I'm not saying I agree (I don't really) but for a lot of people it could be "An exemplary representation of its genre, with resounding impact".

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 2:44 PM

          I might have classified COD4 that way, but it would be a joke to consider any of its sequels fitting of that description.

          • reply
            July 26, 2013 2:47 PM

            So COD4 would've got a 9 and the sequels probably a 7, what's wrong with that?

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 5:12 PM

          It's a leader in sales and popularity and it's mechanically sound, but it's definitely not a "fresh interpretation of the form".

        • reply
          July 28, 2013 9:45 AM

          That's CoD: Ghosts because they added the dog and now have fish AI.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:43 PM

        How can Garnett Lee give it a 7 when they give him an all expense paid trip to the Bahamas to play like last time.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 3:47 PM

          THIS is what's wrong with the game journalism industry.

          Don't get me wrong, I'd take the free trip too. But to think it doesn't sway opinions is naive.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:49 PM

        While we have yet to retroactively score our reviews, you've got the score spot-on. That's precisely what that game would get according to our scale.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 3:30 PM

          So, pretty much *any* iterative annual sequel game (COD, MOH, Madden etc..) should be a 7 in almost all circumstances.


          • reply
            July 26, 2013 3:35 PM

            For having a lack of originality or 'the same tire old shit every year' factor, sure.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:36 PM

      I prefer the four star system. it's all the range you need.

      1 star: stinks
      2 stars: only worthwhile if you have a particular interest
      3 stars: solidly entertaining and well-made
      4 stars: classic, great, fun even for people who might not otherwise like the genre

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 3:03 PM

        But then most everything would be ranked as 50 or 75 on metacritic and gamers as well as the publishers would be upset. Gotta cater to those folks now, ya see?

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 3:06 PM

          And by gamers I should say fanboys. The real weirdos who care about scores and will throw shit fits when their favorite game isn't ranked a perfect 10.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 3:50 PM

          nah. you just call one star a 60 and four stars 100 and fudge it a bit in between.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 3:07 PM

        because it's not about the score but OMG metacritic that would normalize those stars to shit.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 3:37 PM

        Make it 6 stars.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:42 PM

      when can I get a signature for my posts?

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:44 PM

        Hah, I guess I'm one to talk. I always wish we could've gone without stars at Screened, though.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 2:54 PM

        shortly following edit functionality.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 2:59 PM

      Tired of not being counted on Metacritic, huh?

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 3:36 PM

      "This game was terrible. 6/10"

      "This game was a lot of fun. 7/10"

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 3:36 PM

      In other words, you're selling out.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 3:58 PM

      I wonder how many finalspart4ns we'll get.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 4:03 PM

        There is only one finalspart4n, and he's actually one of several core gamers we consulted on this new review scale.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 4:07 PM

          You don't joke about these things, greg-m. You just don't.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 4:08 PM

          I remember when 'core' gamers left the rest of us the fuck alone and called people niggers and faggots in the street instead of on the internet. Good days.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:09 PM

      Well as long as the way you do your reviews don't change I'm fine with this but at this thread illustrates there will be some backlash, because people will be offended when you don't give The Last of Us the proper 10 it deserves and instead give it an 8...... Still can't believe the rage that incited over at GS which goes to show what happens when you do attach a number to a great review the drones stop thinking.

      But once again as long as the actual reviews are concise and well done as they already are then the number means little to me overall, its just for the simpletons.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:11 PM

      So let's say you go back and give a retroactive grade to games like STALKER and Sim City 5. How does a buggy POS on release get rated retroactively and going forward?

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 4:21 PM

        Unfortunately, we can only assign scores based on whatever copy exists on the site. For example, I quite disliked Uncharted 3 and disagree strongly with our review. And as the years have gone by, I think consensus has shifted a bit. But, we're going to assign the score based on what's originally on the site.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 4:30 PM

        I was wondering this myself, but my example was Elemental because I don't know the meaning of "recent example".

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 4:48 PM

          Saints Row iV = 5!

          • reply
            July 26, 2013 4:49 PM

            If that's the score it gets, then I won't be alive to debate it.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:24 PM

      Gotta get on that Metacritic.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:25 PM

      It's simple. Reviews without scores do nothing to bring new traffic in.

      Done. Move on everyone.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 6:08 PM

        If only it were that easy to stop a shackpile in progress.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:26 PM

      Your current review scale is fine, but is way to complicated for the raging fanboy. Here's a review scale that will coincide with the internet's reaction to scored reviews.

      10-8 A great game that you need to play.

      7-1 A piece of garbage that needs to be destroyed.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:29 PM

      how is "Insipid, and mechanically faulty" - (game doesn't work right)

      33% better than

      "Artistically void, but mechanically sound" - (game works right)

      • reply
        July 27, 2013 2:06 PM

        Check out my reply about #9 and #10. They need to revise this rating system ASAP.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:42 PM

      This changes nothing.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:46 PM

      The problem is you have people who aren't going to look at what each score means, so anything 7 and below will be shrugged off and they won't even read the review itself, they'll just jump right to the score.

      And I guess we can expect those other people who like to complain about scores being too low or too high to start showing up...

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:48 PM

      Finally

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:52 PM

      Use the Conan review scale

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 5:22 PM

        Wiggling my toes is ok, scratching my head means it sucks, and sniffing my arm pits means it's average. So I'm giving it a picking my belly button. You figure that out!

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:53 PM

      hey everyone, make sure to wave to the shark as we jump over it.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:53 PM

      this is the end of shacknews

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:55 PM

      Did it burn you that much that you weren't part of Metacritic?

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 4:57 PM

      Just another step in the inevitable downfall of shacknews.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 5:01 PM

        Also first review you should go back and give a number to is DNF.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 5:04 PM

      I think this is a good idea. Like it or not, people love review score hunting when a new game is out and the shack will now show up in those, which will bring more people here hopefully. They have my bow!

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 5:23 PM

      If you guys can make most games top out at 8 with only seminal games making it to 9 or 10, I'll be OK with it.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 5:53 PM

        That's almost certainly the plan.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 6:12 PM

          and a plan is a list of things that don't happen.

          • reply
            July 27, 2013 1:07 PM

            I like to think that they do happen but have a way of "unhappening" after a while

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 5:37 PM

      I echo the "Ughhh" sentiment. I just got done turning off ALL the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes with using CSS and Stylish in Chrome. Showing simply "rotten or fresh" icons and hiding the score for movies suddenly made that site useful for me.

      I think the same is true about video games, you really only need two, maybe three categories for them: Good, Bad, and Must Play

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 5:51 PM

      I think it'd be better instead of a hard number, you score based on how much you're willing to play it again.

      Will definitely keep on playing!
      Not bad, could use more work.
      Not touching this pos after this review.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 6:15 PM

      I give this post a 6. If you come up with something new, lemme know, I might can bump it to a 7.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 6:18 PM

      Did you really use the word Insipid twice? I wonder how many people know what that means.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 6:24 PM

      I demand we get back our profiles now

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 6:26 PM

      I could very well be wrong but didn't Garnett, in a early podcast, state that for good or ill scores would never be a thing while he was in charge? If I'm remembering right then one of two things has changed either he is longer in charge of reviews or he changed his mind in favor of potentially more traffic.

      My hope is that you hold true to the score reflects the review. Have sometimes seen reviews that lambasted a game only for it to get a high score.

      Really though I don't put much thought about whether I should purchase a game based on a review or score. I might take certain critiques into consideration but by far I base it on whether the concept/story sound interesting and the mob logic that you see on forums or WC (Though I do realize that a lot of talking points might just be carried over from a review rather than having a conversation).

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 6:34 PM

      Certainly not the best idea to come out of Shacknews.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 7:29 PM

        Reasons?

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 7:34 PM

          same reason museums don't grade art on a 1-10 scale

          • reply
            July 26, 2013 7:53 PM

            But then Metacritic could cherry-pick reviews to provide a flawed consensus view of how well liked various pieces of art are in comparson to one another. Don't you want to know how the Mona Lisa compares to David and The Starry Night?

            • reply
              July 26, 2013 8:28 PM

              I have seen all three and TBH Starry Night Blew Me Away

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 7:44 PM

      Really disappointed to see this. I read ShackNews reviews in part because of the editorial decision not to associate them with scores and let the text speak for itself. It also doesn't speak well for the health of the site, so regardless, I hope the move does drive visitor numbers for you.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 7:53 PM

      Chris Remo is rolling in his grave.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 8:35 PM

        It's worth linking "I Would Give It An 80": http://www.shacknews.com/article/50124/i-would-give-it-an

        Numerous developers have told me that their mixed-review games actually deserved an 8/10. That seems to be the baseline. Sometimes I think they do believe it deserves higher, but that's the score they think they can say without being overly presumptuous.

        By the standards laid in the scores above, I fully expect Shacknews to give the "I would give it an 80" games a 6.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 8:26 PM

      I rate this idea a 6.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 8:28 PM

      Why should a game that doesn't have new ideas be offhandedly classified as flawed?

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

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 8:36 PM

      please make it on a strange scale. like
      out of 17 or something

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 8:38 PM

      Look, guys, just...use my rating scale. Does it 0wn? Yes? Say why it 0wns.

      Wait, it doesn't 0wn? Tell me why it doesn't 0wn.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 8:40 PM

      I prefer a 2 score scale

      Worth Buying
      Not Worth Buying

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 9:22 PM

      I rate this decision a Shacknews 4

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 11:02 PM

      I think I agree with others in that you might want to try improving the news and editorial content here before implementing things like review scores. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the logic behind what you decide to consider news-worthy.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 2:53 AM

      It's a good decision. While it's neat and everything to offer an "experiential" style review, it's also helpful to have a final qualitative assessment, too. Good call.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 4:20 AM

      Please don't drop the quality on writing for numbers. A 6.5 rating tells me way less than personal thoughts on gameplay and story.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 5:11 AM

      Why does only Giant Bomb use 5 stars? Anything more granular than that is pointless and open to interpretation (hence the inevitable 7-9 scale)

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 5:37 AM

      Why introduce scores now?

      • reply
        July 27, 2013 7:01 AM

        MCritic scores get review resources no one else does

        They are playing the rap games now

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 8:47 AM

      If you stick to the scoring system then that's fine. I'll reserve judgment till then.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 12:38 PM

      It was much better then Cats. I'll see it again and again.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 2:04 PM

      This rating system is flawed. The description for #9 really should be #10. "Milestone" means a significant event or turning point. That does not automatically assume that it is a turn for the better. It could also be a turn for the worse. Therefore, "milestone" should not be used to refer to the highest rating. "Exemplary" and "resounding impact" are more suitable for #10. Please correct it. Thank you.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 7:21 PM

      Looks fine to me Andrew. Make sure you keep the scale numbers and descriptions together so you don't loose the message in a number that has no meaning at first glance.

    • reply
      July 27, 2013 7:42 PM

      Hope the numbers don't become completely meaningless. Some stuff I read and watch give out 7/10s for things they don't even like lol.

    • reply
      July 28, 2013 1:32 AM

      This site reviews video games?

    • reply
      July 29, 2013 6:48 PM

      One of the benefits is the amount of proper discussion of the actual game that takes place in the comments instead of 50 comments bitching about a number.

      • reply
        August 2, 2013 6:41 AM

        Good point, "I would have given it a ..." will dominate rather than "I hated/loved" this part because

    • reply
      August 16, 2013 5:08 AM

      I am okay with this.

    • reply
      September 10, 2013 11:15 AM

      I'm not a big fan of 10 value scoring. Ultimately half the scale never gets used and it generally falls into the same pattern of:

      6 = bad
      7 = decent
      8 = good
      9 = great
      10 = exceptional

      In my opinion, a five-star scale or a letter grade scale works much better.

      6 = 1 star = F = bad
      7 = 2 stars = C = decent
      8 = 3 stars = B = good
      9 = 4 stars = A = great
      10 = 5 stars = AA or S = exceptional

      • reply
        September 10, 2013 11:17 AM

        Also, a 5-tier rating system makes greater allowances for differences in personal taste. Giving a game a specific rating down to the 10th degree loses some of it's value in my opinion.

    • reply
      October 9, 2013 11:08 AM

      According to Shacknews' weird scale, it should be a 6 at least. It's basically its own genre with Heavy Rain.

    • reply
      November 18, 2013 11:26 PM

      Late to this thread, but I don't want scores to happen. I will stop reading your reviews if you start providing scores.