Is the Review Rating Model Broken?

The subject of numerical ratings for both games and films has been the topic of much debate for a long time, and it has only garnered more attention in recent years. With thousands of review sites online, there are very few examples that deviate from the standard "this many points out of this multiple of 10" system, with a few notable exceptions like Rotten Tomatoes. In recent years the Like/Dislike system has gained popularity in other mediums, but not so much for games and films because of their rabid internet followings and the likelihood of tampering. We here at Bloody Good Horror use a x/10 system, and even we have had many discussions over whether or not it's the best way to go. Although he was speaking about the x/100 system, Clint Hocking, the creative director at Ubisoft, recently had some interesting things to say at GDC, comparing today's rating systems to a similar problem in the wine industry:

From IGN

After wine critic Robert M. Parker introduced the 100-point rating system to the wine industry, wines soon began to be divided into two distinct categories: those that received scores of 90 or higher and those that did not. Hocking read a quote from another noted wine critic who distinctly divided wines along those lines, even claiming there was an important and mysterious difference between a wine that received a score of, say, 89 percent and a wine that was blessed with a score of 90.

If you notice, we occasionally rate a movie between two numbers (ex. 6.5), but very rarely. This is often a case of the "89 vs 90" scenario where you just can't justify something being at a certain number, but believe that it deserves better than the previous. Although I'm not averse to checking numbers to form a quick picture, I'll almost always read the full review. Let's be honest too, if we believed the ratings on IMDB, we would almost never watch horror films because they are almost always rated under a 5 or 6.

So, what do you think? Do you think that numerical ratings still have a place in the amorphous mass of the internet, or are we all contributing to a so-called "Cult of 90-plus?


Co-Owner/Managing Editor/Web Developer/Podcast Co-Host/Beard Wizard

Mark is the pretty much everything of Bloody Good Horror. When he's not casting spells in Magic or Hearthstone, you'll probably find him watching wrestling, beard glistening from the essence of Chicago's myriad beers and meats.

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