Empirical and Numerical Game Reviews: Why One is Handy, and the Other Useless
11/11/25 at 18:51 EST
There are a lot of people out there who review video games, either professionally or as a hobby. That's great for people who play video games, as these reviews offer insight into what is often an as-yet-unreleased product, that help inform a potential consumer of the game's strengths and weaknesses, and whether or not it would be a good fit for purchase. Something that kind of disturbs me, however, is that many of these reviewers attach a numeric evaluation to the games they review (shut up, I know I'm part of the problem.) What I find really disturbing, is that some people take these numbers seriously. And what I find downright disheartening is that these numbers are only used as a platform which people use to bitch and moan at one another.
I have a theory, and I'm going to share it with you. I believe that any number used to evaluate something that cannot be reproducible by a computer is meaningless. In the example of game reviews (or any media review in general) is that it all comes down to personal taste and experience. Telling someone "I give this game a 9 out of 10" doesn't mean jack shit to them unless they know exactly what sorts of preferences you have. And unless they ask "Why?", they aren't given any context. So what do these numbers actually mean if they all come down to each individual's personal preferences and tastes? I'm gonna drop the bomb on this one and tell you.
Game reviews are not worthless. Talented game reviewers will offer explanations and perspective into as many facets of the game as they can - what they think about the music, the controls, the aesthetics (if they're good at reviewing - otherwise, they'll describe the graphics, in which case be wary) the writing, the direction, or any whatever else they care to share.
Game review scores are not worthless either. If they were, they'd do nothing. what game review scores do is polarize people's opinions, split them into two groups, and then let them wage Internet War on one another. Game review scores are actually worse than worthless. So what can we do about it?
For the most part, nothing. You can choose to ignore them, or you can contribute to the problem. All I set out to do with this short little article is explain my feelings on numerical game review scores and why anyone who takes them seriously is essentially an idiot. I'm sorry if that's you. I don't hate you, and completely forgive you as long as you're willing to change.
Tagged under: gaming
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