DrJUpdate

Hello, my patients! When I launched this blog I did an “update” article of sorts that mentioned what plans I have for it and what I had been up to in the recent past. While I don’t plan to make these regular posts, I will write them whenever I feel they’re necessary, and there are two things in particular to address that warrant a post like this at the moment.

First of all, I have joined OpenCritic’s Contributor Program! It allows “anyone who takes game reviews seriously a way to participate in a mainstream review aggregator” without flooding the website with a bunch of unchecked user reviews that don’t offer real, meaningful criticism. Considering that I’m hopelessly attempting to be taken seriously as a video game journalist, I applied to become a Contributor and can say that my personal blog now has a credible seal of approval! You can count on me to always deliver open, honest reviews that are backed by a strong sense of ethics and duty to honor my readers and their time. I aim to inform the consumer and provide constructive feedback to developers with thoughtful criticism that deeply and sincerely takes all video games into fair, equal consideration. So yeah, you can actually customize your review feed on OpenCritic by turning me on as a trusted publication and my reviews will be aggregated among any other outlets you follow, so if you enjoy my work, I’d really appreciate the gesture!

Speaking of reviews, here’s another important change I’m making to my blog. It stems from the fact that I’m not a very consistent fellow. You might have noticed that I make little design changes to the cover images of certain articles, the way I organize the order of talking points of reviews, and how I choose to score games. This is an ever-evolving platform that I manage by myself, so it’s something you should come to expect from me, even though I hate not sticking to something!

However, one area I can’t keep waffling on is scoring, and I’m going to establish here and now how I plan to deal with this across my different types of reviews.

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My Revelations 2 E.R. Review on YouTube employed a unique scoring system just once, and it’s making a comeback…

I’ve never had an antagonist attitude toward scoring, but at the same time, it can get ridiculous and unnecessary. For example, I’m personally not a fan of IGN’s 100-point scoring system. How can you pinpoint that a game is a 9.1 or a 7.6? Numbers that are so specific like this come across as arbitrary, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe there’s a point where some scoring systems do feel right, such as Polygon’s 20-point or even Game Informer’s 40-point scoring systems. I have genuinely felt convinced that something like Quantum Break isn’t a 6.5/10 and not quite a 7/10, so I gave it a 6.75. It’s in between the two, but doesn’t get meddled in silly numbers like 6.8 or 6.9.

Perhaps I’m being hypocritical since 6.75 is an oddly specific number in itself. Why not drop scores entirely? Believe me, I have done this with A.D.P. Reviews, but what about E.R. Reviews? I realized I had no idea how I wanted to score with those critiques, so I’ve developed a solid system that even incorporates a new type of review. Allow me to explain.

I believe scores are great complements to reviews that are short in length. The shorter the review, the more specific the number should be, but the longer it is, the score should be more ambiguous. If a reviewer is being exceptionally detailed in his criticism of a game, why ascribe a specific number? The review itself has everything you need to now, but since a 1000-word review might skim over lot of details involving gameplay, story, and what have you that factor into his verdict, a more specific score can clear up any misconceptions a reader may have since he might spend a lot of time talking about positive things that are essential to mention, while glossing over minor, negative details that he doesn’t have the space to mention.

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I was originally on the teetering edge of giving Alien: Isolation a score with this image in my first A.D.P. Review, but decided against this since I felt it wasn’t necessary.

That’s why my 4500 to 5000-word A.D.P. Reviews will never have scores. I spend about 10-13 hours putting these extensively deep, research-heavy criticisms together, and since they’re twice as long as the average review that outlets put out, why is a score necessary? It’s not, because I want you to pay attention to everything I write. When I take the time to write these reviews, it conveys that these games deserve the attention they get. Overwatch is a recent example of this, and I could’ve given it a 9.75/10 or a 10/10, but do numbers need to express what is clearly expressed by my words?

I do understand that scores are…fun! And humans just feel the impulsive need to categorize and classify everything; I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t have this urge as well. That’s why my E.R. Reviews, which are 2000 to 2,500 words, will now be classified by a unique 10-point scoring system. As you can see below, I rank games from being in a Flatlined to a Miraculous state. I also go in between these states, so one game my be somewhere between Stable and Healthy, and another might almost be perfectly Miraculous. These ranks respectively align with a 7/10 and a 9/10, and there’s a reason for that. I want to be able to convert this system to traditional scoring on OpenCritic while having a unique spin on it for my own blog, so this is the best of both worlds. You get the usual, say, 8/10 on OpenCritic for a game, but on my blog, I would say the game is in a solid Healthy state. You can look at it however you like.

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The “Score Meter” will be used in all of my E.R. Reviews, which is essentially my main type of critique compared to A.D.P. Reviews, so I want their score system to stand out.

Lastly, I have a special announcement for a new type of review! I will now be writing “Doctor’s Notes,” which will be 500 to 800-word critiques that surpass the shorter nature of my E.R. Reviews. This will allow me to review nearly every game I play since these will only take 3 to 4 hours to put together, whereas E.R. Reviews take about 8 hours to finish. I will have these reviews use a 40-point scoring system identical to Game Informer. I’ve always preferred this since it hits the right spot of being just specific enough, so for reviews of this nature, I feel the implementation of this with Doctor’s Notes will be perfect.

That’s it! If you have any feedback about this, feel free to offer any since this might not turn out to be a good way to run my reviews. However, I think having three different types will be nice and prevent my content from being too “same-y” over time. As always, thank you very much for reading, my patients!

-DrJ

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