“The Game Got a 7? LOL, It Must Suck”

This scoring system is so out of whack that we may as well just use 5 stars, right?

This scoring system is so out of whack that we may as well just use 5 stars, right?

How often have we seen this exact quote, or quotes very similar? How often have we seen games that score around a 7 receive nothing but mockery and hate? And really, whose fault is it?

Firstly, strictly from a mathematical standpoint, it doesn’t make any sense to give a game that “sucks” a 7 when scoring on a 10-point scale. And yet, when the vast majority of games reviewed come in between 5 and 10, it does make sense to assume a 7 is on the lower end of the scoring spectrum. It’s what gamers have been almost subconsciously trained to believe.

When you see so many scores in any given year, and you’re hard-pressed to find any that go below a 5, what else can we believe? Now, it’s certainly true that one must place at least some blame at the feet of the critics. After all, they’re the ones who have misrepresented this scale so badly in the past, thereby leading us to the current situation. There’s no doubt that the seriously skewed 10-point scale is the result of video game lovers going easy on their favorite hobby.

If you had to assign scores to video game these days, how would you go about it?

If you had to assign scores to video game these days, how would you go about it?

But it’s not that simple. Now that we’ve established this bizarre precedent where just about anything that scores a 6 or below is viewed as utter trash, critics have a problem: If they suddenly start treating the 10-point scale the way they should, a lot of great games might perform terribly because gamers will think that 7 is only mediocre. It doesn’t help that only a few sources really try to be mathematically accurate in regards to the 10-point scale; that just makes things more confusing.

The bottom line is that right now, there’s no easy fix to the problem. There’s an accepted pecking order of sorts among core gamers, and you’ll be very hard-pressed to convince them that a 6 really is better than average. It’s too late. The only way to fix it would be to have all the major sources readjust their scoring policies at the same time, which is essentially an argument for a standardized, universal scale.

Then again, a sudden change like this might not go over well, and the industry as a whole could suffer. If gamers don’t realize that critics are using the 10-point scale the way they should, those consumers will start seeing “trash” everywhere they turn. This is quite the conundrum, isn’t it? Do you have a solution?

6 thoughts on ““The Game Got a 7? LOL, It Must Suck””

There is no solution. We got ourselves into this mess so I think now, we’re always going to think a 7 means a game isn’t very good. Decades of mis-using that 10-point scale has done us in.

I think we need a standardized system. I know nobody wants it, and I know each source wants its own scoring method, but it’s the only way to fix this problem. It may take some getting used to but it’s worth it in the long run.

If there’s no way to fix it, why try? 😉

Besides, I like seeing different sources and their extremely different approaches to game reviews.

This has been annoying me for years but as the article says, there might not be anything you can do about it now. Maybe if everyone already is aware of the skewing, it isn’t such a big deal…?

A standardized scoring system is a terrible idea. I like that different sources have different takes on games; that’s part of the reason we have all these sources.

Besides, it’s not like publications don’t have different interpretations of the four-star scale for music, movies and food.

I just know what a 7 means in our world, and that’s enough. 😉

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