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My Ratings System

Updated: Jul 7

I shied away from numerical scores for a long time. They have some obvious drawbacks: even with score explanations like this, a 70% is always going to mean different things to different people, they can't differentiate well between a game that is mediocre at everything and one that alternates between amazing and horrible, and they imply that it's easier to compare games than it often really is. Still, I've come around to them because reading reviews is time consuming and it's useful to have an at-a-glance way of getting the sentiment of a review when I don't have time to read the entire thing. Plus, scores are useful for aggregators if this site somehow ever becomes successful enough to matter on those.

At any rate, I use a 0% to 100% scale. A 70% is the baseline for a forgettable game that I'll still finish. Increments are 5%, but the 5% increments under 60% will be rare because I hardly ever finish games that I actively dislike. I also don't think there's as much value in distinguishing between 50% and 45% as there is in 90% and 85%.

Here's a more detailed explanation of the scores for video games and example game I'd give each score to:

Reviews are archived by score here

10%: One of the worst games I've ever played. No redeeming factors whatsoever: Speedy Gonzalez: Aztec Adventure

20%: Still fails at nearly everything, but is at least occasionally interesting or funny, even if at its own expense: Hydrophobia: Prophecy

30%: A game with one or two good parts among a sea of crap: Rev Up! RC Grand Prix

40%: A game that I fundamentally did not enjoy, but which has enough promising features that I can just about imagine someone else enjoying it: Two Point Campus

50%: A game that is bad roughly as often as it's fun. May have individual features that are very interesting, but they don't come close to salvaging the experience: Desktop Soccer

55%: A game that I might still be able to recommend to the right person, but that had too many flaws for me to even consider finishing myself.

60%: The edge of what I'll generally bother to finish. I may even have enjoyed the beginning, but ended up groaning through the credits: Red Bow

65%: A largely mediocre game with a few frustrating systems or an occasionally good game with major flaws that make it questionably worth finishing. Frog Detective 3

70%: The average game that anyone would consider playing. I probably won't remember it in a year, but I had fun with it: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

75%: The edge of what I'd consider good. Nothing to run out and buy, but definitely worth playing off a backlog or bundle: If on a Winter's Night, Four Travelers

80%: A game with mostly strong systems that either doesn't do anything to stand out or has a few noteworthy flaws. A Story Beside

85%: A very good game that either has one significant misstep or that just didn't take its ideas as far as I wished it would: Vigil: The Longest Night

90%: A great game that succeeds at almost everything it tries to do. May drag in a few places or be too short, but is nonetheless a top-tier experience. Expected to make the yearly top 10. Signalis

95%: Near or at the pinnacle of its genre and an almost constantly enjoyable experience. Either has very minor flaws or is a perfection of things I've seen before. nirvanA Initiative

100%: An unforgettable experience that, while probably not truly perfect, will almost always be the game of the year and likely pushes the boundaries of what I thought games could be. A Space for the Unbound

For board games, I use the same scale as Boardgamegeek. This makes a 7/10 the approximate minimum score for a game I'd want to own, but a 6 might still be fun to play when someone else brings it. Low scores for board games will be more common since they're much less effort to finish, and my overall average score at time of writing is a 6.83.

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