Lately a lot of you have been asking me about how the rating system used in our reviews section works; this seems like as good a time and place as any for an explanation.
Our crack review squad* has chosen the five attributes that we feel determine the overall quality of a video game, which are:
- Fun – the overall enjoyment caused by playing a video game,
- Audio – the music and sound effects of a video game,
- Controls – the physical means by which a video game is played,
- Visuals – the graphical aesthetics of a video game, and
- Replay Value – a video game’s worth in playing after completion.
Attributes such as gameplay, story, difficulty, and concept are not individually rated, for they can all be worked into one or more of the above categories.
Each attribute is rated with a numerical value ranging from 0 to 10, which 0 being non-existent (which should, theoretically, never be used, based on what follows), 5 being average (which is important to remember; with many gaming publications, a 5/10 means “bad”, but here it means “not actively offensive”), and 10 being perfect (which should, theoretically, never be used; there is no absolute perfection in this industry). The individual scores are then averaged together, which results in an overall rating of the video game in question’s quality.
The attributes themselves are rated based on comparison with those of video games from the same genre and console as the one being reviewed. For example, the audio rating of Uncle Worm for the TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator would be 5 instead of the presumed 0 for having no sound, because it is average of games for that console to have no sound. In the same light, an RPG that a gamer would want to complete but one time would have a Replay Value of 5, while that of an RPG with incentive for multiple plays (such as alternate endings) would rate higher. One final example, to make sure we all certainly know what is up: The attributes of Dragon Warrior, an NES RPG, would be rated in comparison with those of (among others) Final Fantasy, an NES RPG, but not with Kirby’s Adventure, and NES Action/Adventure game, or Kingdom Hearts, a PS2 RPG.
Paul Franzen, Editor-in-Chief
* Paul Franzen was the only member of the current crack review squad involved in determining which attributes to use.