A Little Something About 10 and 9.5 Games

Dark Souls III

Although I like to pride myself as something of a tough (but fair) grader, I realize I may not always come off as being so tough. Since I launched Wizard Dojo on Christmas day of 2014, I have, as of this post, written 124 video game reviews. Of those 124 video game reviews, I’ve awarded four games a perfect 10, and an additional nine games a near perfect score of 9.5. In my defense, I’ve been reviewing games from all generations since this site launched, and been playing sort of a game of catch-up with my personal gaming history. So I’ve reviewed a number of personal favorites and classics of the medium in a relatively short timespan.

So the frequency of which I’ve been writing these more glowing reviews is a relative thing (at least I like to think so). After all, those four 10s I’ve dished out, and those nine 9.5s, are actually a good chunk of the the games that I would award those scores to.

I’m not going to give an exact number of games I would give these top marks to at this time(put the 10s and 9.5s together and it’s somewhere in the “a little over twenty” area). I have a rough idea of which games I’ve played through the years that might be given top honors, but I would like to spread out these reviews a bit. That way it feels less like I’m rushing them out of the gate and emphasizes them as more of a big deal.

You may be aware that, when reviewing retro games, I largely review them based on how well they hold up. So a game that I may have seen as a 9.5 back in its day may not be a 9.5 now (why is it I think of Perfect Dark as I write that?). There are still a few classics I need to replay to see how they stack up by current standards. Not every acclaimed game is a timeless classic, after all.

Modern titles that earn the two highest rankings do so by providing the best of what modern games have to offer. You can’t always tell when a game will become a timeless classic, but the modern games I’ve currently awarded a 9.5 or 10 are ones I feel have a good sporting chance at becoming just that. I myself am pretty surprised at how many games from just the past few years have won me over so strongly, with six games I’ve given a 9.5 score to having been released since 2014. I like to think we’ve simply been seeing some exceptional gaming years.

Also note that games I award a 9.5 are held in a similar regard to those that earn a 10. But whether it be a more notable flaw or (in some cases) just personal preference, they just barely missed out on that perfect score. So don’t feel too bad if your favorite game landed a 9.5 instead of a perfect 10.

Because I have now written a decent number of reviews for 10 and 9.5 rated games, I figured I’d create a sub-page dedicated to them (you can also find this page by highlighting the “Game Reviews” section). It’s not much now, being more of a series of quick links to each review of 10 and 9.5 game than anything else. But hopefully I can expand it in some way in the future.

For quick reference, here are all the games I’ve awarded a perfect 10 so far.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario World

Donkey Kong Country 2

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Symphony of the Night


And here are the 9.5s.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Super Mario 64

Mega Man 2

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Maker


Dark Souls 3

Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4


There are still more 10s and 9.5s to review down the road. All in due time. Perhaps the more interesting prospect is what will be the next release to earn these top honors.

I hope you enjoy this (admittedly overblown) rant about my little scoring system. Hopefully, you actually care about my reviews themselves, and not just the silly little numbers.

Again, for anyone interested in my highest scoring games, check out the aforementioned new section dedicated to the 9.5 and 10 games I’ve reviewed.


Author: themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

3 thoughts on “A Little Something About 10 and 9.5 Games”

  1. I think adopting serious storytelling in gaming has effected the best changes in design practices for the medium. After all, if you care about the player experiencing your entire story, making the game as difficult as a typical NES-era title would be extremely counterproductive; it would be like forcing someone to break a world record before they were allowed to see how a movie or book ended. It’s because of this that I think classics from this era actually have a better chance of holding up than their counterparts of yesteryear. A lot of those designers deserve a lot of credit for creating content when they had no frame of reference (it’s not like they could make games like the ones from their childhood when they had none to play), but some commonly accepted trends have proven to be awful design choices in hindsight. In short, I get why you would award scores based on how well they have aged. Some will argue it’s unfair to compare games across generations (indeed, I remember one person thinking it was unfair to compare Resident Evil 4 to Uncharted 2 despite only having been released four years apart from each other), but it’s a weak argument in practice because it’s like saying that typewriters can’t be compared to word-processing programs. There’s little doubt as to which one was more innovative, but almost nobody will recommend that you use the former over the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

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