Should Critics Ditch The 10-Point Review Scale?
For decades now, the standard review scale for video games has gone up to 10. And maybe it's so ingrained now that it's impossible to change the norm.
But there are plenty of reasons to change. Firstly, we're really not utilizing the full 10-point scale; at least, not in the mathematical sense. Regardless of the policies of critics and sources, gamers will quickly harp on any game that scores below an 8. The way we have it now, a 7 is considered "average" while a 5 is just plain horrendous. Obviously, that's skewed.
Secondly, if we're breaking the review down into tenths of a point, do we really need 100 little points to fiddle with? What's the difference between an 8.2 and an 8.3, really? Or the flip side, a 3.6 and a 3.7? Some sources have eliminated the tenths and settled on a .5 differential, which makes a little more sense. It's just that the standard setup seems over-complicated and indeed, unnecessary. Are video games really that complicated?
Thirdly, maybe it'll help games push a little further into the mainstream. There's a 4-star rating for movies, for instance, and four and five-point rating scales are pretty common in the entertainment medium. Therefore, by shifting to a 5-point scale for games, it might just become a more accepted score...as silly as that may sound. It also might help us critics; I know gamers would see a 6 as a terrible score, and I have to consider that. Plus, deciding between a few tenths is getting ridiculous.
Perhaps it's time we left this old-fashioned system behind.
10/7/2011 Ben Dutka