On Reviewing Things

Every year I go through the movies I watched that year and assign a number from 1-10, adding it to my list of movie scores. For example, last year Arrival (10) was the best movie, followed by Star Trek Beyond (9) and Rogue One (9), while the worst was Assassin’s Creed (2). You can see the full list here.

arrival

This year I want to add a list for video games. But this seems much harder to do, for at least the following reasons:

  1. There is so much more variance in the amount of time spent. Most movies are about 2 hours long, plus or minus an hour. But video games can range from one hour to many thousands of hours. I think the shortest video game I completed (depending on what you call a video game and what you call “completed”) was Gone Home in 54 minutes, while I roamed the World of Warcraft for 3472 hours.
  2. There are lots of different goals in video games. Most movies can be graded on the same rubric. But for video games, there is again much more variance. For single-player/story modes, do you count the experience of just going through the main story, or all the side content as well? Do you care about the story at all if it’s a sandbox game? For RPGs, do you count the experience as getting to max level (if possible) or rather the full scope of endgame content? For multiplayer, do you care about the fun aspect or competitive aspect or even spectating? What about graphics/sound? “Art” games? How do you judge the quality of multiplayer when very few people are playing?
  3. Pricing. Movies generally cost about the same to watch in theaters and to rent. Games have lots of pricing models: one-time purchase, free-to-play, subscriptions, microtransactions, etc. It’s tough to compare across different price levels or models. What about expansions/DLC? What about games that start off bad but get better as more patches are made?

This makes me think rating games on a scale of 1-10 is not as meaningful as for movies. But I will probably try anyways.

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