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The WatchmanThe Watchman Owner
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Don't forget - This Sunday is the NerdBacon Game of the Year Awards Spectacular! - 8pm EST on Twitch.tv/nerdbacon
 

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Hope everyone is safe during these hurricanes and wildfires! Irma and Harvey are total b-holes.
 

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Framework and several plugins updated. Several issues fixed. Let me or other admins know if you find goofy stuff
 

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Thinking of doing a stream series soon. The theme: Retro games I never beat as a kid and want to try again. Thoughts?
 

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Rating Games

When it comes to rating games, almost everyone has their own style.  Some people use 5 point scales and others go with 100 point scales.  Still others use a system of averages or even assign letter grades to games.  Nerd Bacon currently uses 1 rating system. To establish cohesion and have our “Nerd Ratings” mean something out in the larger internet one day, we need to all use the same rating system.  Furthermore, we need to all be clear on what the ratings themselves mean so that we can be sure we’re assigning the right number to correspond with what our overall impressions of a game are.

Scale Uniformity

The system below represents what is essentially a 20 point scale.  Although we want everyone to use the same system, you are free to use it in whatever way suits your style best.  For example, let’s say you’re someone who prefers a “5 star” scale.  To adapt this scale to yours, simply use the even numbers.  If you include half-stars, then you’re basically using a 10 point scale where you can just as easily use the numbers whereby 1/2 star = 1; 1 star = 2; 3 stars = 6; 4.5 stars = 9.  The idea here is to use the beginning and end points of this scale as the beginning and end points of your own and modify what’s in between incrementally appropriate to your own.

20 points is still a lot of small divisions, and some people are adamant about rating games on even smaller scales, all the way up to a 100-point system.  This scale can easily be altered to fit this model (by assigning scores such as 4.7, 5.3, or 7.5 for scores of 47, 53, and 75 out of 100, respectively) though I urge anyone attempting to use such a large scale to exercise caution.  If you can reasonably and articulately point out the difference between a game you’d award an 83 to versus an 84 or even 85, then more power to you.  But if you have trouble drawing distinctions between such tiny variations, take a few moments to look over what we have listed below and see if this could work for you.  Even dropping it down to a 40 point scale (where you’re using scores such as 3.75 or 7.25)  is a considerable step down from a full 100 points.

The idea here is to establish site-wide uniformity when it comes to ratings so that readers are clear on how Nerd Bacon as a whole quantifies the merits and shortcomings of games rather than having to understand each and every writer’s own particular style of rating.  We think there’s enough flexibility here to make this your own.


The Meaning of Your Score

Rather than sort of picking a number out of thin air, here’s how I go about the process of establishing a game’s score.

  1. A score of “0” is reserved only for the severest of atrocities, if even then.  Giving a game a 0 should be more seriously considered than handing out a perfect “10.” Consider the fact that a ZERO typically means a game is entirely unplayable, likely an incomplete game.
  2. Similarly, 10’s are reserved for flawless games with near-universal appeal (more below).
  3. First I begin by determining whether the game is good, bad, or average.  Extremely poor games belong somewhere from 1 to 3, average 4 to 6, and good 7 to 9.
  4. Afterwards I weigh it against other games in its class.  For example, If it’s about the same as other games in those categories, I give it a 2, 5, or 8 respectively.  A little less well done and it gets a 1, 4, or 7.  If it’s a notch better, 3, 6, and 9.
  5. Then I start thinking about games on a more specific level, especially the major aspects mentioned above and my own subjective experience.  If and when any of these strike me as particularly well done, I’ll bump the score up by .5 points.  If there’s a sole quality dragging the game down, .5 points are lost.

Apply this in whatever way works best for you, but keep in mind that if you rate something a 7 and I rate something a 7 these ratings should both mean that we find these to be good (nearing great), but not wildly spectacular, games.

Nerd Ratings

  • 0 – Unplayable.  Glitches due to development, completely unresponsive controls, something that was released as a “video game” but can hardly be called one. Why we give the freedom to rate games however you see appropriate, a score of 0 or .5 is such a rare feat, we recommend checking in with an administrator prior to doling out this rarer-than-rare score.
  • 0.5 – Awful game with minor flaw or unplayable game with small merit.  Unlikely to be often used.
  • 1 – Awful.  The worst of the worst.  Poor graphics, difficult gameplay, either no challenge present or so hard it’s impossible.  Can be hard to find now; mostly the product of 3rd party developers while the industry was in its infancy and licensing was unstandardized.
  • 1.5 – Awful with one exceptional quality or poor with one minor flaw.
  • 2 – Poor.  A generally bad, but playable game.  Progress can be made, the main objective can be understood.  Anything and everything else is up-in-the-air.  Cheapest bargain bin games.  Can be hard to find now; mostly the product of 3rd party developers while the industry was in its infancy and licensing was unstandardized.
  • 2.5 – Poor with one exceptional quality or bad with one minor flaw.
  • 3 – Bad.  Coherent enough to be recognizable as a video game, but with major flaws in more than one area relating to graphics, concept, or controls.  Lowest possible rating for “so-bad-it’s-fun.”  Possibly confusing game structure.  Many bargain-bin games.
  • 3.5 – Bad with one exceptional quality or mediocre with one minor flaw.
  • 4 – Mediocre.  Playable games made with a decent level of competence, but often times are boring, pointless, or poorly designed.  May possibly include pointless and/or disparate elements of game play, but may also be somewhat fun or enjoyable for one reason or another.  Many bargain bin games.
  • 4.5 – Mediocre with one exceptional quality or average with one minor flaw.
  • 5 – Average.  The “I’ve seen better, but I’ve seen worse” games.  Games that one would consider at least somewhat fun or enjoyable. Smooth flow, workable control mechanics.  Little if any glaring errors but also nothing to set it apart from similar titles.  Probably relies mostly on reflex/button pushing ability.  Adheres to accepted genre conventions.  Mid-priced games in bargain bins.
  • 5.5 – Average with one exceptional quality or fair with one minor flaw.
  • 6 – Fair.  More fun than the 5’s.  Usually contains some element of note, even if other games possess stronger appeal in the same areas.  Smooth, adequate controls, a game worth playing again.  Nothing is wrong with the game even if nothing is all that special either.  Mid to upper priced bargain bin games, especially 5th and 6th generation games; can also include games that came to rest at a respectable price point during and after the life of the system.
  • 6.5 – Fair with one exceptional quality or good with one minor flaw.
  • 7 – Good.  A game someone would recommend as a good game.  Worth buying.  Fun with precision controls and clear objectives.  No confusion over objectives or in-game items, nice balance of using in-game mechanics as well as creative techniques to solve problems. Perhaps somewhat influential.  Helps to define and reinforce genre conventions, often with original and memorable touches.  Price steadily decreases but stabilizes at ~$20 during and sometime after the life of the system.
  • 7.5 – Good with one exceptional quality or great with one minor flaw.
  • 8 – Great.  Extremely enjoyable game with novel and progressive elements to be imitated and ripped off by others.  Cutting edge from a technical standpoint when considering its era.  Sometimes complex gameplay that is both easy to understand and execute.  Absolutely no issues with controls.  Perfects genre conventions.  Many highly revered launch titles would fit here.
  • 8.5 – Great with one exceptional quality or outstanding with one minor flaw.  Influential.
  • 9 – Outstanding.  Almost perfect.  No major or minor issues, only nitpicky, situational, or rarely encountered problems or difficulties with gameplay.  Precision controls, unambiguous objectives.  Refinement and expansion of new ideas presented in “8” games.  Redefines genre conventions.  Could include popular and critically acclaimed sequels to “8” games.  Highly influential.
  • 9.5 – Outstanding with one exceptional quality or perfect with one minor flaw.
  • 10 – Perfect.  A perfect game with absolutely no flaws.  No minor annoyances.  Likely to also include wondrous achievements never-before seen until its release.  Pushes the envelope of video gaming in its era and influences future titles for technological generations to come.

Keep an eye out as we refine and update this scale as necessity dictates.

If this is your first time, please read through the required reading IN ORDER.

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