Reviewing Games on Gametunnel

You may or may not have noticed that I now review games on GameTunnel’s monthly roundup nowadays. As usual I’ve been kicking up controversy with my reviewing style and outrageous review scores (2 out of 10! He can’t be serious!)

Well, I think I ought to set the record straight on the review thing as it’s spawned numerous grumpy decisions around the internet.

Gametunnel uses a marks-out-of-ten review system for the monthly round up, which I’m not a great fan of anyway. It’s got some advantages but mostly disadvantages in my humble opinion, mostly being that very rarely does anyone ever score anything much below 5, and also that scores just aren’t consistent from one reviewer to the next or even for one month to the next.

I wanted to make the marks out of ten system work for me, and be consistently reliable so that I could look at a game and know that I’d always rate it the same. And let’s be clear here, it is my opinion, not anyone elses, so I can justifiably come up with any score I want for a game, just like everyone else does,.

So here’s the scheme I settled upon:

  • 1 point if the game installs and runs painlessly
  • 1 point if it doesn’t crash or go wrong in some way at all
  • 1 point if it’s slickly presented
  • 1 point if it’s original
  • 1 point if I think the graphics are good
  • 1 point if I think the sounds and music are good
  • 1 point if I think the overall style is good
  • 1 point if I enjoyed playing it
  • 1 point if I wanted to play it some more later on even though I didn’t have to
  • 1 point if I’d actually buy the game either for me or for someone else

Now, I’m very lenient about my ratings for graphics and sound and style. Style is a combination of graphics, sound, presentation and gameplay which is where the whole thing comes together to create a consistent and immersive experience.

The first three points a game can earn are very objective. It’s not much to ask that a game installs fine and doesn’t crash, and that it presents you with clear and concise options and menus to let you start playing.

The graphics, sounds, and style are subjective but as I say, I am very lenient and have a critical eye for what works and what doesn’t. That’s why Lexaloffle’s Chocolate Castle, with its simplistic 16-bit style unantialised 640×480 graphics gets a point but Magi didn’t: Magi has nice icons but very weak particle effects and sprites which just don’t seem to work.

Then there are the absolutely totally subjective points of whether I actually enjoyed playing the game or not, and whether I wanted to play more than I had to for the purposes of a review, and whether I felt like actually buying the game. And mostly this comes down to plain old whether I like the game, not if I think someone else might like it. That’s the whole point of it being me that’s reviewing the game instead of someone else.

But the end result is a scale that works from 1 to 10 consistently. You know what you have to do to get 10/10 from me. It won’t be very easy at all, of course, but at least it means that if a game gets 10/10 from me I don’t think it could really do any better!

3 thoughts on 'Reviewing Games on Gametunnel'

  1. Bravo Caspian. Good post all around.

    In regards to rating systems. look at Gamespot. For them, a generally good game is only a 6 or 7. To score any higher means that there isn’t really much else to be done, or that it’s excellent but only for fans of the genre, or that it brings something truly new to the table, and offers to change the way that genre of games are made or played.

    At the same time, X-Play on G4TV uses only 5 point system. When asked about it, the hosts said it’s because the only real way to review a game is to play it yourself, and leaving broad room (and not having a 2.7 and just 2s or 3s) leaves room to easily say that it’s either good, really good, or needs improvement.

    I personally would rather just discuss the game, as seen in my review of Ac!dbomb – going over all aspects of the game in an unbiased fashion, and would prefer if my review informed a reader more than cast judgment. In the end, only a person playing the game themselves should have that power.

  2. Indeed. The roundup’s kinda special though; the reviews are lightning fast and literally only a paragraph or two in length from each reviewer. I think each game we do in the round up deserves a full review really.

    But you won’t catch me doing that until I get paid a proper wage to do it 🙂

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