The 10/10 game rating scale

Do you believe that we could ever accurately use a numbering system for rating games? I can’t really say that I’ve ever played a perfect game or even near perfect, so I don’t believe any game is deserving of 10/10

The issue I’ve observed with rating things out of 10 is you feel like giving things at least a 6, because hey, they put effort in, it’s “above average,” “It’s not a BAD game, just really boring”. That’s the sense I get from these things. We tend to rate on a logarithmic scale, rather than a linear scale. I think rating out of 5 keeps us a bit more honest with ourselves if we remember what the numbers stand for, and keep our standards in mind. 1 and 2 are for games we dislike, 3 for games which don’t lean strongly towards good or bad, 4 and 5 for games we like.

This might sound a bit silly, but I like to rate out of 5 first, then out of 10, with the out of 10 rating expressing whether a game should fall on the upper or lower value for the out of 5 number. Rating out of 5 keeps me honest, rating out of 10 helps me differentiate a bit closer. There are cases where I feel like two games with the same number should be a bit above or a bit below one another, but I don’t worry over it too much.

That and I think it’s fine to hand a 5/5 or 10/10 to a game with flaws. Every game is going to have flaws of some kind, we shouldn’t be scoring out of “literally not a game at all” to “perfect”. Sure you might say, “well what if there’s some game that’s 10/10, then a sequel is released that’s literally better in every way” and I’m gonna ask how often does that really happen? Give them both 10/10 and check your cognitive dissonance at the door. Games aren’t a medium where standards have gone up over time, and it doesn’t look like it’s moving to become one either.

Just ask, is it good? Is it really good? Is it in the upper echelon of really good games? Then give it a 10 and don’t worry about whether it’s perfect or not. You’re not gonna hand 10s out for very many games anyway and a ton of really popular games deserve worse than a 5.

One thought on “The 10/10 game rating scale”

1. main_gi March 25, 2019 / 5:09 am

3 years late perspective: I have quite high standards (or, expected standards) of games. I use a 61-point scale with the aesthetics of a 10-point scale: I have ratings of 0.5, and then +/- for a shift +1/6 or -1/6 (so all “7” numbers are 7-, 7, 7+, 7.5-, 7.5, and 7.5+). I actually feel very confident about this system. Most games are between the 7-7.5 mark and I think I have a really good handle on what sort of games fit around that, mostly because the pure 7 and 7.5 numbers provide a good anchor point.

I only have like 3-4 games that I rated around 8, and nothing higher than that. I really do think game developers could make games 9 or higher. I believe in having sensible wiggle room so I subscribe to the “10 is perfect, nothing could be ever added” philosophy. I’ve even seen a friend who rated a game 10/10 and later rated something else 11/10. It does mean the area between 0-5 in my scale is quite barren, but occasionally I’ve used it to describe strong negative portions of games.

Maybe part of why people rate games so high to 10 is a bunch of hype reviewers rating everything between 8-10 now. It’s worth noting the cognitive effect of “3/5” feels middling while “6/10” feels only above average, when they’re the same number.

That, and some reviewers don’t actually specify what games they recommend on their scale and where it stops being a recommendation. For me, anything >= 8- is a recommendation with only minor issues, >= 7.5- is a recommendation but the game has some mediocrity, >= 7- is recommended if you haven’t played any better games, and < 7- is not recommended.

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