Question of the month – How do you rate the games? LadiesGamers team members James and Elena explain how they arrived at their final verdict.
These questions and answers are for clients only. The first two (with Yvonne and Paula) can be read here and here.
Love vs. notes
Elena: I love our LadiesGamers ranking system. He admits that, as with other types of art – B. Cinema, for example – the sense of play is still quite subjective. Our evaluations, such as. B. I like and enjoy reflecting on this subjectivity.
It would be harder for me to rate the games on a numbered scale, like a 5 or 10 point scale. I can worry too much about the accuracy of my ranking and comparing one game to another.
James: I like LG’s rating system because I’m bad with numbers. Sometimes I go from score to score to see if the game is good. In practice, this is often silly, as no game is suitable for everyone and usually only the content of the exam tells you whether you like the game as a player or not.
Elena: Additionally, I think the numbered score might encourage some readers to hurry up and finish the game if it doesn’t score high enough. I admit that I often look at Metacritic and Steam scores myself and decide too quickly: This game isn’t that great, is it? Maybe I’ll give it up when I can really enjoy it.
James: There are many examples of games that people like and enjoy that I probably don’t enjoy as much. Because I’m weird.
I’ve reviewed games on several sites, and LG is my favorite system. I’ve never liked 5 or 10 stars. The LG community is also much nicer than what I’m used to. When evaluating games, some people can be very rude if your opinion doesn’t match theirs. This hasn’t happened since I started writing for LG, which is good.
Elena: We have a beautiful community. One of our colleagues pointed out that we don’t deal with rabid fans because we cover a lot of independent games and we don’t cover some mainstream PC games.
Our evaluation criteria
Elena: How do you decide the final verdict, James?
James: To get the Like rating, games generally have to meet these criteria: Released with a minimum of bugs, good controls, works well in TV and portable modes, and seems to appeal to a wide audience even if the game doesn’t specifically appeal to me.
For I Like It A Lot, the game must not only meet all of the above criteria, but also offer a unique artistic style, a good soundtrack, and fun gameplay. It may even be useful to review this game. Having an original concept that no other game has ever tried before also helps me get this grade.
Games I particularly like usually get the green light. The game usually does something special that I think about for days. In a way, it’s a rank you can’t aspire to. I stumbled across most of the games I give this rating to, not expecting to like them as much as I do.
I’m not Sure is usually rewarded when a game breaks at some place near the exit and needs patches to fix it. Or it has flaws in the game that make the experience less enjoyable than it could be. I don’t take that as a negative; I’m not sure I’m still in the hot seat.
I don’t like it: I usually give this award to games that are fundamentally broken and that I think most viewers won’t like, even if the game is fixed. Personally, I hate to give this review, but in some cases it’s unavoidable.
Elena: For me, a game that is fundamentally decent, I like it, even with obvious flaws that need improvement.
I like that – they’re games with engaging gameplay, without much of a challenge, plus quality art and/or music. I’ve noticed that these games tend to fit my taste in genre as well.
Two thumbs up for games that are good on all counts: Game, text, art, sound (music doesn’t have to be super catchy, just not boring), user interface and controls, and quality of life features.
I’m not sure – it’s for games that are somewhat normal and need significant improvement. I don’t recommend these games yet.
I don’t like this game? So far, I haven’t had any… Well, actually, I do. But I found it forgiving and unsafe because I’m not sure it’s a typical video game – the manufacturer was an application developer that uses motion sensor technology to create health and e-learning applications.
Back to subjectivity: In our own group of LG reviewers, we probably have different internal criteria for the two thumbs up, etc. So at the end of the day, it’s a fully written report that tells you what to expect from the game, in terms of gameplay, difficulty, and so on.
James: This largely depends on the personal preferences of each author. Give the game 10 writers, and 7 writers will probably come out with similar rankings, but the other 3 could be very different.
I like to think that readers like the people on our site. This is what makes each of our testing styles unique.
Reviews and Developer
Elena: Sometimes it’s hard for me to decide between what I don’t know and what I like. I try to find reasons to like it. Because I want to encourage the developers to continue. I think critics of a new game can make or break the sales figures of a small independent developer.
If something in the game is bad, I try to give examples or reasons in my review instead of just saying the music is terrible. So if a developer actually reads my comments, they’re giving concrete advice on how to do it better, not unnecessary criticism.
James: I’m okay with trying to help little indie girls by avoiding her, I don’t like it. I never criticize a game with the intention of not liking it; I like to find the positives.
In general, I have much more sympathy for small developers than I do for large ones. But I don’t speak well of many great promoters either. As you said, I think giving reasons and explaining the problems helps to justify the assessment.
Elena: It’s an aside, but what do you think about development companies rewarding employees based on their performance, like in Metacritic?
James: I’m not really a fan of rewards based on evaluation results, and the quality of a game’s results is not related to how hard employees work. Many games that are considered bad have a dedicated and hardworking staff. But it’s a tough discussion, because the goals for some people can be healthy and trying to make a game that fits. I just don’t think employees should stress about these things if it’s detrimental to their mental health.
I often get the impression that there is a big gap between the critics and the way the games are played. Many critics seem to focus on the product, which is good, but critics often forget that games are not easy to make. It is difficult to carry out such a complex project. This brings me to a point where I don’t like the numbered scoring system.
In short, no: I don’t think there should be bonuses for grades. But it’s a complicated question. After all, it’s hard to get a bonus if the game isn’t selling, and good reviews usually help.
Elena: You mentioned a big disconnect between the critics and how the games are played. Do you think maybe the examiners are too strict or something?
James: Yeah, I meant that some critics (not all) are a bit harsh on the games. Again, it is difficult to say whether the format should take into account how the games are played. I think readers just want to know if the game is good, not read about the whole production process.
Elena: It’s good that the game talks about how the design works (or doesn’t work). Or how the design differs from other games in this genre. But while I love hearing about development, I think it’s best to stick to the general theme of whether the game is good or not. There is a difference between the way the games are made and the way they work. Their operation is described in test reports.
I’m really excited that we’re doing more interviews with independent developers at LG to learn how the games are made! So you can scratch that itch too.
James: I love developer interviews, but sometimes they are very hard to get. People are always so busy.
Final considerations on evaluation sets
Elena: Do you have any final thoughts before we call it a day?
James: When I review games, I try to write a review with my own take on the title. To do this, I don’t read other reviews of the game, but I hope to make my own contribution.
Elena: Yes, if possible, I also try not to read other reviews until mine are done.
James: One last thought. My advice to anyone taking an exam: Find your own writing style, be yourself, but also be kind to your classmates and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you get stuck.
Elena: That’s good. That’s good. My final thoughts: I recently learned to take my time with an exam – if I don’t have a deadline, I have one!
After 80 days of playing, I discovered that I enjoyed the game even more when I took the time to enjoy it and play it over and over again instead of jumping through the game to get a faster score. If I had tried to publish the exam earlier, I would have given it a lower grade.
So it’s a good thing for LadiesGamers to consider. Although for some games we have a recommended release date (about 2 weeks after receiving the evaluation copy), in other cases we can evaluate the games at a leisurely pace, for example when we have bought the game ourselves!
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