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Why 5 stars? (Also, RPGs)

11-10-2012, 01:24 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 82
Why 5 stars? (Also, RPGs)

The confusion here is the fact that the rating system here is really a 10-point rating system. Why do we use 5 stars if we have half stars? We should either use 10 stars or, as I would prefer, switch to a 4-star system.

4- this game is awesome

3-this game is good

2-this game is ok

1-this game sucks

I would really prefer that to what we have now.

Also, I've noticed that TA tends to avoid reviewing RPGs recently, probably becaus you have to play the whole thing before you get a feel for it. Games like wild frontier and EpicHearts go unnoticed by TA staff but have readers all over them. Why, TA why?
11-10-2012, 03:42 AM
Doctor of Game of the Week-ology
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
Posts: 7,679
There current system follows a traditional rating system that a lot of other websites and companies use. The half stars allow them to help separate the perfect-scorers from the almost-therers (No, that's not a word, and yes, I am using it).

As for the games, they can't get to them all. TA only has a couple full time reviewers with a few being forum members. It either hasn't been noticed or they DID notice it but did not consider it worthy of a front page review.
11-11-2012, 09:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 9,493
Respectfully I agree Touch Arcade would benefit from increasing their review scope; the site is implied to be a general game site but it seems like some heavy hitters fly under the radar.
11-12-2012, 11:21 AM
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,988
Here's a recent response to an email that we got recently that was very similar (and might have even been the O.P.)-

The reason you see this sort of curve in our review scores is because when we choose games to review we typically only choose fun, good, interesting, or otherwise noteworthy games. TouchArcade is a game discovery site just as much (if not more) than a game review site, so we try to position the page so whenever you check it there's always some new game(s) to take a look at. This naturally causes review scores to trend higher as we simply don't often cover games that we'd score low. Some recent exceptions would be Dexter 2 and Curiosity, but those were two extremely high profile (and extremely bad) games.

If you look at the AppShopper feed for ALL new games being released, you'll see that any given day there can be hundreds of new "games." See for yourself- http://appshopper.com/all/games/new/ when I visit this now, here are the five newest games to be released:


So, yes, if we reviewed all five of those games, four or five star games on TouchArcade would be incredibly rare- But who would read a site with that sort of signal to noise ratio? You don't need a review to tell you that you shouldn't download a game whose entire basis is waiting for a dollar sign to turn yellow and tap on it. We also only have so many writers to work with, so being thorough and reviewing more bad games to even out our score curve would only cause actual good titles to be missed.

You could easily argue that it's silly that all "good" games are scored four stars or higher, but that's not a problem specific to TouchArcade by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, the internet as a whole was about ten minutes away from mobilizing to tar and feather to author of an EGM review who scored Halo 4 a seven. It's ridiculous, and to some extent, scoring these games so high is something we do because our readers demand it. I think it's silly, and actually fought pretty hard to keep ratings off TouchArcade back in the day.

In the future, I suggest just reading our reviews instead of focusing on the actual score. Remember, if something even makes it on TouchArcade, chances are it's pretty good.

Thanks for the comments,
As far as why we don't review more RPGs, I think we do a pretty good job of hitting all the major ones. The problem with RPGs is they require a significant time investment to review. I encourage our writers to either finish a game completely or at least play more than enough to have a good handle on the game. For most simple iOS titles, this means maybe playing for a few hours. For even a simple RPG this means potentially playing for days.

Since, as mentioned above, we only try to cover "good" games, it sucks when a writer comes to me and is like "I'm eight hours into this RPG and it's really just not getting any better," and we scrap the review. In that same amount of time, that same person could've written multiple reviews for other games.

It's a balancing act, sure, and we've talked about ways to provide more coverage for games that people are talking about in the forums which is something you'll hopefully begin seeing either this week or next.