(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the April 2007 issue of GameCola, back when GameCola was published in a monthly online magazine format.)
College Park, MD 20740
April 1, 2007
As part of my endless quest to produce as few of my own words as possible while still calling myself a “writer”, I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to a comment posted by Matt Gardner in our review of Club House Games in last month’s ‘Cola.
First, though, some background: This comment stemmed from a discussion of the Novelty score our writer gave to Club House Games. She gave the game a 9, which, on the GameCola ratings scale, means the game has a near-perfect level of novelty—meaning that, if this game’s novelty score was a professional wrestler, it would pretty much be “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, who is definitely very, very close to perfect.
Since, however, the title is actually a collection of board and other parlor games, some people had trouble grasping the idea that it could be so novel, suggesting a 6 or 7 or, most likely, less, would be more appropriate.
Now, on to the comment!:
The way the ratings system works is, you have to compare games to other games on the same system, AND games of the same sort of genre. For example, you can’t give one game a 1 in Visuals and another game a 10 because the former game is for NES and the latter for PS3. You also can’t give two near exact same games 10s in novelty because they occur on different systems. For example, a game where you play chess on the DS might get some extra novelty score because there’s no other ones on the DS and the touch screen use works rather well for chess. It can’t get something like 9 or 10, unless there’s something insanely special about it, because there’s already something like 5000 chess games for other systems.
There has to be something that truly sets the game apart from other games for it to get a high novelty score. For a 9 or 10, the game damn well better be the most unique game ever.
So, when you are reviewing a game and thinking of its novelty score, it’s helpful to think “Hmm, have I played/seen anything like this before? I have? How many things have I seen like this?” etc.
I know it seems like I preach about our ratings system a lot in here, but the fact remains that people still aren’t getting it, so I have to keep doing what I can to make sure they do. 9 is way the hell above average. 9 means it’s nearly perfect. If a game can substantially be improved—heck, if a game is particularly noticeably flawed at all—it shouldn’t be getting a 9. 10…really should not ever be assigned to any game; I have trouble seeing how perfection could ever be achieved. On the same token, of course, 0 probably shouldn’t ever be assigned to any game as well, just because it’s hard to imagine a game that doesn’t get anything right at all.
Do you guys follow? I don’t think you do. Repeat after me:
- On the GameCola ratings scale, 5 means average.
- On the GameCola ratings scale, 9 means just a hair away from perfect.
- On the GameCola ratings scale, 0 means it couldn’t possibly be any worse.
To help you, the Reader, remember how, exactly, our ratings system works, we’re hard at work on our latest line of merchandise! (No, really, this segue actually does make some sense.)
GameCola is proud to present to you the still-in-progress “7 is Above Average!” collection! Sleek, trendy, and—above all—awesome, the “7 is Above Average!” not only looks great, but also serves all our beating-a-dead-horse needs.
The “7 is Above Average!” collection includes this bumper sticker:
And this mouse pad, which has nothing at all to do with our ratings system but is mosdef the greatest piece of The Gates of Life-inspired swag ever created:
And after you’re done that, go right on ahead and read the rest of the issue! We’re a little slim this month due to several of our writers having, somehow, better things to do than wax nerdy; but that’s OK! It’s still all killer. Enjoy!
editor in chief