Game Ratings Suggestion

There was a thread on the main site about this, but I can’t find it no so thought I’d post here;

There has been some discussion about how to make the rating system more “accurate” or how to better reflect people’s feelings on a game. An example was given of a technically brilliant game that someone might play only once, but score 5/5, while a technically flawed but enjoyable game that someone would play over and over might also be given 5/5 and that, upon first glance at just the star-rating, it would seem these two are of equal quality.

Something I’d like to suggest is an idea from a now defunct movie rating site. The site provided two rating “tiers,” the traditional star-based one and another, personal tier. The way it worked was the stars represented the movie’s quality in regards to the art form of film. Was it well directed, shot, acted and so on. The second personal tier (can’t remember what it was actually called) allowed for more individual reactions. It had things like “would watch gain,” “hire it out” (that date’s the site :stuck_out_tongue: ), “only for fans” and so on. So if, like me, you didn’t love Titanic you could say that while it was technically a good film, for you personally it was a boring snooze fest with Billy Zane being the only good thing about it.

Perhaps something like this could be implemented? A little while ago I was doing an (obviously unofficial) system of using emojis to represent my personal thoughts on a game (might start doing that again). Perhaps something like that could work?

Even if @peter didn’t want to build something into the site, if we as a community agreed on levels/scores/emojis to use it could be an unofficial personal rating for those who wanted include something like that in their reviews?

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A numerical rating system is always pretty simplistic, and there are as many interpretations of the rating scale as there are people rating games. (Only in an imperfect system could Dear Esther end up in the ‘Bottom 100 games’.) In my personal experience, I give far more perfect scores when a scale runs from 1 to 5 with only integers than I do if half-stars are available – in the latter situation I might give 4.5 to ‘merely’ great things and reserve perfect scores for personal all-time favourites and outright masterpieces. And with an integer system I might give 2 or 3 stars to different games that would all get 2.5 from me if it were possible, by some ill-defined instinct rather than any thought-out standard. (I write all this just to emphasise the inherent vagueness, ambiguity, and subjectivity of numerical rating systems.)

I guess I always consider ‘technical excellence’ when rating a game, even if my chosen ratings are ultimately instinctive and personal – and I think a thoughtful user will factor in both their personal taste and a game’s overall competence when they choose a rating. (But I agree with @GlitchtheGameGremlin – technical excellence alone hardly entitles a game to climb the ratings ladder.) Overall, a simple rating system does often give a fairly accurate and helpful indication of the community’s broad opinion of a game, if there are enough individual ratings (at least a few dozen, preferably many hundreds or thousands) – even if one might disagree with the consensus due to individual preferences.

While it’s a curious idea, in my opinion, a more detailed rating system which distinguishes between different criteria of excellence is best left to the text of a review and to personal preference. I think trying to extend an inherently vague system to make it somehow more objectively accurate is a bit futile. Personally I don’t find it particularly helpful or interesting when people give individual ratings to various aspects of a game (such as for graphics, sound, &c.) – I’d rather read their reflections in prose. But if the meaning and intention of your emoji system is clear in your reviews, then surely it will be something that adds a bit of nuance and is of interest to others. Many people might adopt or adapt your system for their own reviews, but I think the whole community seeking a consensus for such a standard probably isn’t broadly helpful or likely to happen.

But all that said, I might make use of a multi-faceted rating system if @peter built it into the site, and I wouldn’t be averse to the addition if it were minimal, optional, and didn’t clutter things up.