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Why 70% is a good review score

New-look ONM has a new scoring system

If I received 70% in an exam at school I would have been awarded an A (these were the days before A stars. I'll get my walking stick). I would have been dancing down the pedestrianised streets of Norwich city centre. In fact, I might have done a little jig on the roof of the castle had I got 60%. To tell you the truth, I got a 2:2 at university which means all my hard work amounted to a score between 50 and 59%. I was quite happy with that.

Had I been a game, I would have been useless. A waste of space. Unemployable. Thankfully, while I was at university, I also wrote a review of a curry recipe book for my student paper which the Editor of PlayStation Max found amusing and gave me a job. I'm still reviewing games 14 years later.

Which brings me back to review scores. You see, when we post a review and give it a 70-79% review score, I often see comments from readers who think that it's a bad score. Take our LEGO Batman 2 review for earlier this year, for example. We gave it 78%, saying that fans will have a blast. Yet in the comments, we were accused of being hard on the LEGO games.

Which is why we're now giving a Bronze Award to games that get over 70%. We want you to know that we think a game that gets 70% is a good game and a worthy purchase if you are a fan of that genre. Okay, it's not outstanding and if you're not usually a fan of the that sort of game, it won't do enough warrant it being an essential purchase for everyone, but it is good.

If you saw a 7 out of 10 review score of an album by an artist you liked in a music magazine or a three star film review starring actors you liked, it wouldn't put you off downloading the album or going to see said movie at the cinema. Admittedly, games are more expensive than a cinema ticket or an album and you need to be sure of your purchase before you decide to spend £40 but the point remains the same. You should consider buying a 70%+ game if you like the sound of it.

The new-look Official Nintendo Magazine
The new-look Official Nintendo Magazine
With a new look and a new console, this is a new era for Official Nintendo Magazine but if you read a review online before you see it in the magazine - we will occasionally review games on the website first when a game's release doesn't fit with our mag deadlines - I thought it might be useful for you to understand our scoring system

Obviously you are entitled to complain if you disagree with our review scores (everyone is allowed an opinion) or thought we should have marked it higher or lower but by sharing our scoring scale, you'll know exactly what the score means when you comment.

Here goes:

0-29% Toxic

To be avoided at all costs

30-49%: Troubled

Tending towards rubbish

50-69% flawed

Solid but unspectacular

70-79% Bronze

Decent, mildly flawed

80-89% Silver

Good times guaranteed

90-100% Gold

A stone-cold classic

I hope that clears things up...

Comments

28 comments so far...
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  1. jimbob555 Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:01

    "70-29% Bronze"

    Quick edit needed there. :P

    Seems like a good idea.

  2. toffeeman30 Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:03

    90-100 is a masterpiece of a game. i remember buying mean machines and they gave super kick off 96% for the master system. im still shocked till this day

  3. Slinkington Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:06

    I've always thought of a 70% as a good score. I mean why isn't it? It's only a few from the top.

    People have varying opinions on this. I see anything below 50% as "not good". 60% is playable but with a few flaws, 70% and above is an enjoyable experience.

    90%-100% should be reserved for SPECTACULAR games. Only the best should be awarded such a score. Too many sites are way too lenient on this now.

  4. Targey Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:06

    90-100 is a masterpiece of a game. i remember buying mean machines and they gave super kick off 96% for the master system. im still shocked till this day

    Didn't NOM give Donkey Kong Country 3 98%, which is the highest score they ever gave a game? I remember them mentioning it in a feature on Twilight Princess.

  5. reeesy Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:24

    I've never really understood why people feel the need to attack other peoples review scores. I'v been playing games since the late 80s, and i'm more than confident in my own opinion on what makes a good game. I only really look at review scores as a general guide, and I usually know whether i'm going to buy a game or not before I read the reviews. Unless a review points out serious flaws, I'm more than happy making up my own mind. Some of my most memorable gaming moments have been from games that weren't particularly well reviewed at the time.
    At the end of the day a review is merely one persons opinion - thats why they differ from review to review. They're there to give you a idea of what to expect. If its a good review it will give you all the facts, good and bad. And from that you should be able to make your own mind up whether its worthy of your money.

  6. BlockPunch Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:27

    Typo: 70-29%

    Should be: 70-79%

    B-
    Try better next time.
    :wink:

  7. danbish Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:34

    I hoped you'd get rid of percentages score completely and just mark them out of 10, was a bit disppointed when I read your new mag at the weekend and found percentages still there. I don't see why people bicker over a review score, and I think its rather pointless too, by just a few percent, "71%? It deserves at least a 76%!" but I know that they'd bicker all the same with a 7/10 saying it should be 8/10 etc.

    Also, whats the difference, and how do you decide on a number like 71% or 77% instead of a whole 7? It's still an overall mark of 7 (I see 73's etc as a whole 7/10), just seems a bit like random guessing to me.

  8. IPecksU Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:41

    *salutes*

  9. MatthewONM Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:47

    Also, whats the difference, and how do you decide on a number like 71% or 77% instead of a whole 7? It's still an overall mark of 7 (I see 73's etc as a whole 7/10), just seems a bit like random guessing to me.


    There's no right or wrong system, and it's largely down to personal taste. Personally, I've always liked using percentages as more of a ranking system. Dragon Quest V is a little bit better than Dragon Quest IV, and can be reflected in a few extra points. Of course, that only holds up if you mark consistently, which is down to the editorial team. Fingers crossed, eh?

  10. danbish Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 14:52

    Also, whats the difference, and how do you decide on a number like 71% or 77% instead of a whole 7? It's still an overall mark of 7 (I see 73's etc as a whole 7/10), just seems a bit like random guessing to me.


    There's no right or wrong system, and it's largely down to personal taste. Personally, I've always liked using percentages as more of a ranking system. Dragon Quest V is a little bit better than Dragon Quest IV, and can be reflected in a few extra points. Of course, that only holds up if you mark consistently, which is down to the editorial team. Fingers crossed, eh?


    Indeed. Thanks for the answer!

  11. GreatGonzalesJr. Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 15:08

    I've always found 70% to be a good score. For me, I will definitely buy a game if it gets 85% or more and look at gameplay videos if it gets 70% - 84%

    Never once have I thought "That game got only 72%, therefore it's a terrible game that makes Ninjabread Man look good".

  12. Devilmancheese Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 15:25

    I still think the "not worth stealing" should be used for 0 to 29%

  13. K-tet Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 15:42

    70% is a decent review score, and nothing more than decent. Stretching into the 'good' territory would be 75% at the least (while many would opt for 80%). Bronze being 70-79% however is worth it, but 98%+ (in other words, as close to near-perfection as can be, then near-perfection. ending with perfection) deserves its own wing. I'd suggest a Platinum Award for those.

    For me, if I rate a game 30/40 or higher, it's a title I'd recommend to others. I prefer the Famitsu scoring system myself (but rather than four individual reviews, each of the main core components (Gameplay, Audio, Graphics and Longevity) are marked out of 10). Each to their own of course.

  14. 3DSRulesO.K Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 15:49

    I like the new system, but the actual logo for the awards should be taken back to the previous one. The new ones dont look like 'awards', they look way too basic! :|

  15. Pyron12 Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 16:16

    I've always thought of a 70% as a good score. I mean why isn't it? It's only a few from the top.

    People have varying opinions on this. I see anything below 50% as "not good". 60% is playable but with a few flaws, 70% and above is an enjoyable experience.

    90%-100% should be reserved for SPECTACULAR games. Only the best should be awarded such a score. Too many sites are way too lenient on this now.


    I do the same thing. But there was one time when I bought a Wii game (Rampage TD) and it was a couple of years before I found out it got 20%. Imagine my embarrassment. :oops: :roll:

  16. mushroomchow Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 16:40

    Excellent. This brings me back to the laughs I used to have reading the parts of the magazine where readers "disagreed" with your scores, along the lines of "POKEMON ORANGE EDITION ONLY GOT 91%? WHAT THE HELL ONM? IT SOOO DESERVED 93%!"

    Fact is, the people who rely on scored reviews to buy their games genuinely do need the system spoonfed to them to understand that there's no shame in buying a game that doesn't get a near-perfect score. Excellent job, ONM Towers!

  17. masamune Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 16:42

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/star_ratings.png

    this also applies to onm

  18. thenintendoer Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 18:29

    good idea im always discouraged from buying anything less than 80% even though i know a 7/10 and to some extents 6/10 is a good score

  19. jaco_p Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 18:35

    Edge only gave zombiu a 7. Does that mean i won't buy it?? hell no!! even 60% is good if you're a fan of that particular genre, and anyway, a review is only the point of view of ONE PERSON. Or maybe a couple, im not sure. Thing is, it's a guide, not the gospel truth, and as someone who has their own personality and unique point of view, you may disagree!! Shock!! Horror!!

  20. jaco_p Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 18:38

    I still think the "not worth stealing" should be used for 0 to 29%


    Verry nice. I also like "You couldn't pay me to play it!!(again, 'coz i already reviewed it hmmph)"

  21. Argenthor Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 18:45

    90-100 is a masterpiece of a game. i remember buying mean machines and they gave super kick off 96% for the master system. im still shocked till this day

    Didn't NOM give Donkey Kong Country 3 98%, which is the highest score they ever gave a game? I remember them mentioning it in a feature on Twilight Princess.


    I remember NOM.... *memories*

    The problem with trying to get people to understand that 70% is a good score is that it has to be encouraged universally. Places like metacritic don't show individual differences when it comes to scores and so people may be put off by a lower score.

  22. 3DSRulesO.K Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 19:09

    I hope that the ONM review scores aren't going to be much more lower than before because of this.

  23. jawafour Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 19:24

    90-100 is a masterpiece of a game. i remember buying mean machines and they gave super kick off 96% for the master system. im still shocked till this day

    Fully justified; the Master System version of Kick Off was superb! Far better then the awful Megadrive version... :-)

  24. jawafour Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 19:30

    A good stance from the ONM team. The "assessment" of videgames is rapidly losing credit; online sites are more concerned with getting their review of a game out first rather than offering anything approaching insight. Equally, most game fans who look online for reviews seem more concerned that a review matches their expectation rather than actually learning something about the game.

    70% should be "pretty good"; while anything in the 90% plus area should be exceptional. Well played, ONM.

  25. Mr Roboto Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 20:14

    Not bad but I would prefer out of 10 for review scores.

  26. The_BAAD_Man Wednesday 21st Nov 2012 at 21:33

    I hope that the ONM review scores aren't going to be much more lower than before because of this.


    If they were, I feel that would be a reflection of the reviewers opinions and not simply because the issue was raised in this article.

    Over 70% is a good score. A review and score is merely a guideline anyway, so take from one what you will :)

  27. KairiZero Thursday 22nd Nov 2012 at 00:16

    I tend to ignore scores as a whole, although I will read several reviews of games I'm interested in, to give myself a general idea of any serious flaws or gamebreaking problems. there have been some very strange Wii U game reviews on other sites....I won't name them but they spent the entire time pre-release saying how revolutionary it was, and how the gamepad adds such a fantastic additional element to it. After a few hands-ons and a few other game testing sessions, they summarised it will be an amazing title anybody should own.

    The review comes around - and it gets slaughtered? hammering it for the things they classed as revolutionary!! Seems very strange how opinions can change so fast. I've always thought that a review shouldn't really have a score at all, and should just summarise the good and bad, point out how it plays and how the story etc works to gel gameplay together, and whether replay value is there or not.

  28. LBDNytetrayn Thursday 22nd Nov 2012 at 09:43

    Good call! I like this!

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