Since reviewing video games will be a big part of this site, and given that the score at the end of a review seems far more important to people than the review itself, I thought I’d tell you a bit about the rating system this site will be using.
Wizard Dojo will be using a classic 1-10 scoring system, with scores of .5 in between each number. Think of those that receive that additional “.5” as being exceptional works within that number range, even if they can’t quite reach the next rung of the numerical ladder.
Also keep in mind that when reviewing retro games, I’ll not only be taking into account how well a specific game was made for its day, but how well it holds up by today’s standards. Some may deem that unfair, as technology gets better and games become dated. But I don’t entirely agree with such thinking. Yes, a lot of games age like sour milk, but others hold up beautifully. So even if one classic game may be more ‘important’ than another in retrospect, a ‘less important’ game may still be more fun to play today. As such, the ‘less important’ game would be given a higher score.
Another thing to take note of is that I’ll also be using the same rating scale when reviewing animated films. For obvious reasons, they’ll be judged by different criteria than video games, but the same scale can be translated between the mediums. At least I think so, anyway.
Here’s a general idea of what the scores mean:
10: Masterpiece – This is as good as it gets. A definitive experience that’s as close to perfect as possible. Timeless.
9.5: Classic – In a lot of ways, a 9.5 can be as good as a 10, though it may have a flaw or two that prevent it from reaching that elusive perfect score.
9.0: Fantastic – A top tier title with minimal drawbacks. Forget that it isn’t a perfect or near-perfect score, a number of all-time greats might fall under this category.
8.0 – 8.5: Great – A thoroughly enjoyable experience that may have more notable flaws, but the overall greatness heavily outweighs the drawbacks.
7.0 – 7.5: Good – Despite a common misconception, I don’t see a “7” as something to be ashamed of. They may have needed a bit more polish and/or thought, but they are solidly entertaining nonetheless.
6.0 – 6.5: Decent – Any title that falls under this umbrella is one that, while good, needed some extra work. They’re enjoyable enough, but they may not demand return visits.
5.0 – 5.5: Mediocre – Titles that fall under the “5” category could be worse, but they could also be a whole lot better. They have their merits, but are ultimately forgettable.
4.0 – 4.5: Lackluster – Receiving a grade in the “4” range means that the title may have some redeeming attributes, and maybe even a good concept, but as a whole it just falls flat.
3.0 – 3.5: Bad – This is when things get irritatingly bad. A “3” simply isn’t enjoyable.
2.0 – 2.5: Awful – A terrible waste of time. Avoid at all costs.
1 – 1.5: Abysmal – My eyes! The goggles do nothing!
You may be wondering why 9.5s get their own category while the other .5 numbers are lumped with their .0 counterparts. The answer is, as I said, the .5s are more exceptional works within their range, but I feel a 9.5 is a little something more. It is, after all, the near-perfect score. I feel near-perfect scores have become something of a lost art in recent years. I want to be sure that a 9.5 remains a big deal at Wizard Dojo. The same could be said about a 9.0, which I still view as an incredible, top tier title. Even an 8.5 can be a Game of the Year or Best Animation/Film of the year.
So just because I don’t give your favorite video game or movie a perfect 10 doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s good. Too many people these days seem to have a “10 or nothing” mentality with these things. I try to make sure that every score means something, and I do my best to remain consistent with it.
However, I would like you to care about the review itself, and not just the number at the end. After all, a review is more than just a number.