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The Validity and Value of Numerical Video Game Review Scores

“Boiling down pages of analysis to a single grade or score or number of pumpkins doesn’t help readers, it hurts them, reducing the process of critiquing what is often a living document into black and white terms, when there is often a world of gray left untouched.” – Kotaku’s justification for eschewing numerical review scores.

This sentiment has become incredibly widespread. Numerical reviews are derided everywhere as sweeping generalizations, simplistic and unfit to convey the impenetrable complexity of the real world. Number-based reviews, video game critics say, are just gamers’ way of trying to control, to categorize, to make sense of a complex reality that does not automatically impress itself in their minds as neatly organized.

They are right.

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