It’s tough to start writing reviews these days, not just for movies or TV shows, but gaming especially. Whether they are correct or not, there are many arguments against most scoring systems being inflated, outdated, needing refinement, biased, or simply inaccurate. One of the prevailing arguments is that scoring systems are arbitrary and more often than not taken out of context. For example: 7 out of 10, even though it may be decidedly “Good” by definition of the reviewer will only be interpreted as intermediate or poor by our cultures standards.
How can you blame anyone for looking at a numbers based scoring system as such? The association, at least in American society, is that 7 out of 10 translates to 70% out of 100%. It’s the way we’ve been raised, and it’s not likely to change until grading systems change. So where does this leave number based scoring systems?
Should scoring systems be abandoned, along with any other arbitrary system? The answer is very simply NO, unless writers don’t mind abandoning a large portion of your user base. The majority of users prefer to simply look at a score, and move on with their day. If they want they delve into the context of the review after that then they have the freedom to read. With that in mind, how should systems be modified so they do not have a correlation with a 0 – 100 score base system?
Any review system relying on numbered scoring or even based on factors of five and ten need to be revamped. First, if the reader is unlikely to play a game rated 5 out of 10, 2.5 out of 5, or lower then why have any ratings below those? Rather, the lowest score or nearest to lowest scores should be those reflecting games that consumers are unlikely to buy. A 0 to 10 scale scoring system incorporating such an idea would look closer to this:
9 The Best
With more and more time and money being dumped into the development of entertainment products a reimagining of scoring systems similar to the one above is necessary if magazines, websites and writers in general want to make a better attempt at dismissing the insinuations that systems are inflated. Perhaps such an overhaul could even satiate some of the rage of fanboys.
Games, movies, and Tv shows that take longer to produce with more funding naturally receive lots of attention, and more often than not score well. However the expectations of fans are hard to please and when it comes review time it often results in the accusations of improper scoring. With a greater interval of “Good” scores for “Good” products it would be easier to fall on a score that would be appreciated by the audience. What’s then required in a score is a gap to represent a difference in consumer’s opinions.
Reviews are opinionated because they are written by one editor and often the amount of enjoyment the editor has received from the game. They will make notes in the review on how an element, plot point or a certain glitch aggravated them or may get under another player’s skin, yet at the end of the review it’s still only one score. Being that the review is opinionated and open to comments on how some gamers may like or dislike an element of game play the score should cover range representative of different opinions. Instead of scores that are just 95%, 5 out of 5, or 8 out of 10, I believe scores should cover a more like 9 - 10 out of 10, 85 - 95% of 100%, or 7 - 8.5 stars out of 10. This idea of scoring is capable of mirroring the opinions of reasonable gamers interested in purchasing the product.
With these ideas in mind I present the Fullicide scoring system, a method that compensates for the possible biased of the reviewer (me) while still using a scoring system that, while arbitrary, can give a better reflection of how the game may score among readers. This system may simply be called the Fullicide Exponential Curve Score (FECS):
1 -The Worst
7 - Excellent
8 - Fantastic
10 -A Work of Art
11 -The Best
12 -A Masterpiece
A friend of mine named Marc phrased it best, “These days the quality of games rate something closer to that of an exponential curve rather than that of the American grading system.” FECS has the potential to properly account for differences in games often rated on the same caliber by traditional scales. Games that have been rated closely to one another would follow as such:
-Crysis 2 8.5 – 10
-Modern Warfare 2 8 – 9.5
-Infamous 2 9.5 – 11
-Dead Space 2 10 – 11.5
-Ratchet and Clank: ToD 8 – 9
Obviously all five examples were PS3 or PS3/Xbox360 titles because at the time this was typed, I only had a PS3, my desktop PC, and my smart phone. All were games I have played in their entirety, will not be writing reviews for, and felt my view of these games to be similar in rating to others. They show distinctions in scoring where other systems are unable to because of the constraints in the scoring method.
Moreover the system is two pronged. While the numbered score increases for the quality of the game, the terms such as “Excellent”, “Profound”, and “The Best” are not arbitrary terms given to each number. Many of the terms act as barriers that the medium has to overcome in order for it to achieve such a score. In order for it to be Excellent, the entertainment must excel at what it does, to obtain the score of Profound it must do something profound.
Enjoyment is not based upon the quality of a product, some reviews will be written about items that can be entirely terrible, which is something I will note. Things that don’t shine in every aspect of their medium, much like Transformers: Dark of the Moon with its many plot holes and overall ridiculousness, may still be considered enjoyable by the standards of a reviewer. I chose to see the movie for the sheer spectacle and would rate it within 4 – 7 on the Fullicide Enjoyment Meter, making it “Ok to Excellent” according to the FECS scoring system.
Tv shows and movies will have a slightly larger deviation rather than the standard 1 to 2 point range for video games. I feel that opinions on movies can vary with greater degree, so, I will probably rate movies with a 2 to 3 point deviation. Still, this could change. The system will always need refinement as time marches on.
Hope some of you come to enjoy my method of review, and even rely on it. Weekly Review will occur every Wednesday, most often covering movies, tv shows, or games.