By Richard Ross / May 2nd, 2012
All too often I see gamers react to a 7 out of 10 for being a “bad” score. As if for some reason the only possible scores a game can get are 7 through 10. This is absolutely wrong and it needs to stop. I’m here to enlighten you on how exactly each popular review scale system works while providing charts to illustrate each system.
The 20 point scale
The 20 point scale is probably the most common system I see reviewers use. It is a system consisting of scores ranging from .5 through 10. The scores ranging from .5-4.5 would technically be considered “Bad.” A 5 would be considered “mediocre” with 5.5 being just above. 6-10 is actually considered “good” with the later scores (namely 9-10) being “great.”
The 10 point scale
The 10 point scale has mostly been replaced by the 20 point scale, although there are sites that still use it. It’s fairly simple with the scale consisting of the numbers 1-10. 1-4 would be considered “bad,” 5 being “mediocre,” and 6-10 being “good” to “great.”
Some sites used the five star scaling system. 1 to 2 stars would be bad, 3 is mediocre, and 4 to 5 stars is good. There’s also the variable five star scale that uses half stars, which is more or less the same as the 10 point scale only in star form.
This one is a little complicated as there is no “middle.” 1 star is bad, 2 stars is mediocre, 3 is good, and 4 is great. Typically when a site goes for a four star scale they don’t split the stars in half as it’s already small enough already.
Very seldom used, think of this as your typical elementary school grading system. An F, which is a failing grade in school, is reserved for the worst of the worst. Then things get complicated. C- through C+ is used for a range of just passable games. B- through B+ is used for a range of generally good games. A- through A+ are used for a range of great games. There really isn’t a clear indication of what is considered “bad” (except for an F) and really all depends on the tone of the review.
The 100 Point Scale
This scale has been mostly abandoned as it’s really too complicated to understand. While 1-49 would be “bad” 50 being “mediocre” and 51-100 being “good” to “great,” what really separates a score that is 33 to one that is 34? Seriously, screw this scale.
So why did I bring this up? Basically it’s to stress the point that what people perceive as a “bad” score is actually the opposite. This isn’t solely the fault of the reader though and it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. Reviewers have a habit of throwing a 7 out of 10 at many games, almost as if they are indecisive. With so many games getting a 7 out of 10 it actually becomes rare for any review to be below 7, therefore gamers adapt a 7 as a the new “low” score. That’s not true though as it’s possible that right now we have a generation of generally “good” to “great” games.
In the end it’s actually more important to make an educated decision about games. Read up about it, if it seems like the type of game you would like the play, it probably is! Of course there are gamers who can be on the fence about a game and that’s where reviews come in. Gamers shouldn’t base their decision on one review alone though, it should be a consensus of various reviews and they should actually read them instead of going straight to the number. If the majority of reviewers insist a game is good, the game is probably good.
If you do decide to use reviews, please, for the love of god, use the entire scale! You’re driving me insane!
Do you use reviews? If so, how do you use them? If not, what’s your reason for not?
7 out of 10EditorialReviewsScales