We strive to produce articles that our readers can only find on our site, and to accomplish this, we feel that reviews are best served as audits of our personal journeys. The tangibles may be there – the gameplay, the graphics, the aesthetic quality – but only as pieces of the whole experience. Video games are not mechanisms. They are meant to entertain and delight and to hit us where we feel something.
Here’s a breakdown of our 10-point scale.
10 – These are keystone works that spark a paradigm shift in the medium
While longevity is the determining factor in how games redefine the medium, we sometimes encounter an experience so uniquely powerful it feels as though anyone in the world could feel it, too. These games have the potential to change the trajectory of video games with their innovation, storytelling, and creativity.
9 – These are disruptive titles that define their generation
Each era of consoles brings a new capacity for players to interact with video games. These titles push the limits of how video game stories are told, how we play them, and employ unprecedented, provocative ideas in their construction.
8 – These are headline titles within their genre
Though video game genres are constantly blending, each game exhibits fundamental characteristics of traditional type. These games take the soul of the genre to its threshold, conveying imaginative experiences and memorable applications of the conventions.
7 – These are notable titles within their genre
These games provide solid, engaging experiences by capitalizing on thoroughly-conceived ideas and deft execution.
6 – These are praiseworthy and flawed
Though flaws can often make games more endearing, sometimes they hamper the overall experience and make us long for what could’ve been. If that’s the case, however, they are worthy of praise for giving us a reason to long.
5 – These do as much right as they do wrong
These games measure up to the status quo by providing commercially safe entertainment without an ambitious reach, or bland but workable interaction.
4 – These have moments of good among foundational flaws
Instances of beauty or intrigue can make entire games worth playing, but oftentimes they are shrouded by a flawed premise, shallow experience, or disjointed progression. These titles have value – yes – but the lengths to which one must go to find that value may be too great.
3 – These are functional, though heavily flawed
On the most basic level, a video game must be playable to be successful. These games can be played from start to finish, but players must be forewarned that the experience may yield tremendous frustration.
2 – These are nearly unplayable
Sometimes we encounter a game that managed to achieve gold status, however all signs indicate that may have been a mistake.
1 – These have been made examples
This is a very special rating. Only games that are truly repugnant and valueless will be tagged with a “1″.
About the Author:
James Hawkins is the founder of Bit Creature. He's a published poet, dabbling sportswriter, and former Senior Editor of Village Voice Media's Joystick Division.