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Review scores and star stuff

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

As may already be obvious, from time to time I'll be posting game reviews. Some will be of new releases, but for the majority, I suspect, I'll be revisiting older titles. I realise it's a bit pointless reviewing games that are so far past their prime that the usual "consumer" concerns no longer apply, but formally passing judgment gives me an added incentive to not just skim the surface and quickly move on.

I'll also be including a score at the end of reviews, which you could argue is even more unnecessary than a review itself, especially when some of the more ancient titles display all the sophistication of a crayon drawing compared to a modern gaming masterpiece. Certainly, there are plenty of space games from the 1980s and 90s that have dated considerably. However, given the relative ease with which they can be sourced, played through with hindsight or without prejudice, maybe some are not as bad as we once thought, or as good as we were lead to believe by reviewers working to unreasonable deadlines.

At the end of the day a review score is just a bunch of symbols; a simple meter of classification - on a par with genre or difficulty - as much as a mark of perceived quality.

Mostly though, stars look neat!

★☆☆☆☆ A #1star-rated game is deeply and tragically flawed. It could be that fundamental parts of the game are missing, or are implemented so poorly as to eliminate whatever enjoyment can be found elsewhere. Avoid or approach with caution.

★★☆☆☆ A game awarded #2stars is perfectly playable but it is let down in one or two key areas or has features or qualities better represented elsewhere. You may enjoy it for a time, but you probably won't finish it, or feel a need to seriously recommend it.

★★★☆☆ Games with #3stars are eminently worthwhile and compelling. They have aspects that are unique or refreshing and as the whole the experience of playing is enjoyable. There are likely a few areas that are lacking, but not to any degree that you'd regret investing your time playing it.

★★★★☆ A superlative blend of ideas and/or implementation, you should seek out a #4star game at the earliest opportunity and set aside the required amount of time to experience all it has to offer. Playing it might not change your life, but it will enrich it.

★★★★★ Simply put, a #5star game shines brighter than any other, whether its due to its design, its production, or something deeper that's hard to discern. How long it shines for is hard to gauge, but right now, let yourself be drawn to its light and be utterly consumed.

✬✬✬✬ There are some games that may have dimmed somewhat: games that in their prime burned bright enough to have warranted the full five stars, but that no longer have the same intensity relative to newer titles. A stone-cold #classic, you could say; perhaps better appreciated from afar.

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