lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

Edge's review policy

Jason Kottke recently changed his movie review system from a 100-point scale to a 5-star scale, claiming that a 5-star scale is easier for him to judge (he asks “How can there be a tangible difference between a 75 movie and a 76 movie?”).

This reminded me of something from Edge magazine a while ago. They did an issue where they got rid of the review score completely. At the time, they suggested that the score did not necessarily give an accurate representation of the nuances of the videogame they were reviewing.

As a reader, I found this issue especially interesting. One of my (many) bad habits is reading the review score first, then the body of the review. Without a score, I was forced to read the text to find out whether a game was particularly good or bad. This was definitely more challenging and informative than usual, since I tend to skip bad reviews completely, unless it’s a game I had high hopes for and wanted to see what the reviewer disliked about the game.

It seems Edge’s dislike of neat ‘scores’ for games still continues. With their recent redesign (which has taken quite a bit of getting used to), they also revamped their “review policy”

Previously, it read:

Every issue, **Edge** evaluates the best, most interesting, hyped, innovative or promising games on a scale of ten, where five naturally represents the middle value. **Edge**'s rating system is fair, progressive and balanced. An average game deserves an average mark -- not, as many believe, seven out of ten. Scores broadly correspond to the following sentiments: zero: nothing, one: disastrous, two: appalling, three: severely flawed, four: disappointing, five: average, six: competent, seven: distinguished, eight: excellent, nine: astounding, ten: revolutionary

Now, it goes:

**Edge**'s scoring system explained: 1 = one, 2 = two, 3 = three, 4 = four, 5 = five, 6 = six, 7 = seven, 8 = eight, 9 = nine, 10 = ten

Deliciously succinct and pithy.

While I’m on the subject, I honestly don’t think Edge magazine gets enough praise. It was promoting “new games journalism” before anyone ever thought of giving it a name. Every month, it writes the most beautiful prose-poems about video games. It’s less a videogame magazine, and more a love-letter to video game culture.