Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Defining the "perfect 10", and a big change for One Duck's Opinion

Four. That's how many perfect 10s I've handed out in the history of One Duck's Opinion. Pretty much every time I've done it, people have gotten a little angry. "A perfect 10?! But this was wrong, and that part was bad, and such-and-such could have been better!" I don't disagree with these comments at all. In fact, I think they're right on the money. The thing is, to me, no game is perfect. It's impossible to even fathom such a thing. However, I can see a game being perfect in the way that it is fun 100% of the way. It could as be ugly as sin with a terrible soundtrack, but if it plays well and the gameplay is solid, it's a hit. Why is this? It's because games are about one thing, and one thing only: Having fun.

So if in the past I said a game deserved a 10/10, I meant it was just amazingly fun. For a good example of what I mean, let's take a look at my Super Mario Galaxy review. Of all the individual aspects to the game, graphics was the only category in which the game scored a perfect 10, with gameplay receiving a 9.8/10. In the end, though, I gave Super Mario Galaxy the prestigious award of 10/10. Why? Because the game was incredibly fun. The only reason gameplay didn't get a perfect score was because the camera control was crappy at times. Otherwise, it was fun, fun, fun all the time.

And the same goes for Team Fortress 2, Metroid Prime 3 and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I experienced nothing but fun while playing all of these games, with the only notable exception being Brawl's online issues. To be honest, I thought at the time that those issues were based in my then-iffy internet connection. I now know this isn't so, and Brawl probably wouldn't have scored as high had my internet been up to par at the time. Still, I felt at the time that the game was nothing but fun, so it received its 10/10. I stand by all four of my "perfect" reviews.

As I sat down today to write another review, I began to think that this whole numbers system was flawed. It doesn't matter what I think a 10/10 is, since the hundreds of people who view my blog probably all have their own understanding of the ratings system. After considering this, I came to a conclusion: Numbers have got to go. So, from now on, there will be only three possible ratings on One Duck's Opinion: "YAY", "MEH" and "NAY"

These new ratings allow me to more easily get across my feelings about a game without having to assign some arbitrary number to it. If a game is fun, it gets a "YAY". If it isn't, it gets a "NAY". And if it's somewhere it the middle, it gets a "MEH". These three new ratings are a key step in making reviews more easily interpreted.

What about the summary, you may ask? Well, it's basically going to be scrapped. The only remaining part of it will be the "OVERALL" section, which will be followed up with one of the new ratings images.

The standard number system served me well for a while, but now it's time to move along. Even a plain old "9.2/10", as simple as it may seem, really is a complex and open-to-interpretation way of expressing how fun a game is. Also, looking at some other publications and review outlets, I see they all have their own scales for what number identifies a good game, and what number indicates a game is crappy. What EDGE Magazine considers to be a 7.5 is usually what IGN would consider a 8.5-9.0. As for me, I'm not sure where I'd fit in. The point is, interpreting a numerical score changes from person to person, yet everyone can understand that the word "YAY" on a green background means "This game is fun", that the word "NAY" on a red background means "This game sucks", and that the word "MEH" on a yellow background means "This game is okay".

The only exceptions to the new rating system will be product reviews. After all, I'd hardly consider a NERF DS case to be "fun". Well, unless that "fun" was just part of the word "functional", in which case it would work. Whatever. Product reviews will retain the old rating system, at least until I think of something better (If that ever happens).

So, that's all for tonight. There will be a review posted on Friday to demonstrate the new ratings system. Until then, you guys have fun.

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Kyle said...

Dude, nice decision. I really was actually thinking about ditching the overall score all together and just giving writing the damn thing. Don't know if I'll do that but I totally agree with most of the stuff you said. I hate it when people are tempted to just scroll to the bottom (even though I'm guilty of doing it myself).

Pontus said...

Good call.