Here’s How Fanbyte Scores Games

Hey folks. This is Fanbyte. You might be familiar with our website through such posts as “Welcome to Fanbyte” or our other straight life-changing video game-related content. If not, please take a moment to enjoy our entire library of informative and entertaining work…

With that done, let’s get to the task at hand: reviews. We put scores on them. Those scores reflect how our reviewers feel about particular games after playing them at a particular points in their finite lives. Like nearly all acts and consequences of human creation, they are subjective. But they are subjectively chosen based on the following subjective guidelines.

We invite you to take a look at those guidelines. Doing so might give you a better understanding of what our reviews mean. We at Fanbyte also recommend reading and/or watching our reviews for full context. That’s what they’re for.

But first, here’s some other stuff!

How does Fanbyte choose its scores?

The reviewers pick the scores. That’s it! They use the same review scale you can see below and make up their minds based on that. We trust them enough to write for our website. So we also trust them enough to comprehend our scale (and ask questions if necessary).

How do half-points work?

Fanbyte scores on a “20-point” scale. That’s a weird turn of phrase, since our scores only go up to 10, but that’s what we’re going with. What it basically means is that, besides just picking a score from one to 10, reviewers can give themselves a little wiggle room.

A half-point score (e.g. a 7.5 instead of a straight seven) indicates the reviewer doesn’t think a game fits perfectly on our prescribed scale. This usually means the game has some small, unreliable number of redeeming moments that push it just a smackeral higher than the categories we’ve listed below.

Games are weird. Players move at their own pace and adjust the nature of the experience, however slightly, just a bit more than in other media. Sometimes that leads to worse experiences—like when you accidentally clip through a wall and fall into an infinite, digital void. Sometimes it makes the game better.

Half-points account for these moments that, even in the reviewer’s holistic experience, are so random and rare as to constitute flukes.

The Fanbyte Review Scale

1: It doesn’t get any lower than this. In fact, it’s very unlikely that we’ll review any game that could go this low, except by some cosmic accident. A one isn’t just a bad game. It’s a game that fails to function reasonably or properly. If it continually crashes on startup, or is secretly just a cryptocurrency miner, it’s a one.

2: A two is playable. You just probably shouldn’t play it. These are operational games that nonetheless have no redeeming entertainment and/or artistic qualities whatsoever.

3: You might play a three. You won’t actually enjoy it, but it might at least distract you from the universe’s inexorable march towards entropy. A three is still just on the wrong side of “so bad it’s good” territory, though.

4: This is where the “so bad it’s good” games might live. You probably still shouldn’t play them, but they have a baseline sort of competence. These are best enjoyed by watching some other poor sap’s Let’s Play. The vicarious enjoyment you get out of their suffering which is weirdly more fun than the game itself—you weirdo.

5: Fives are boring. In some ways, that’s worse than the lower scores on this list. You can play them. You can beat them. You just won’t remember anything about them after you do.

6: A six is okay! It’s just the lowest level of “okay” possible. Maybe it’s a mostly forgettable game that has one or two interesting qualities which, if the developers had just honed in on them, would have made it great.

7: Sevens are good. They’re just not that good. The average person might pick up a seven and think it’s a five, but you? You know better. You get a couple drinks in you and won’t shut up about how it did X or Y better than that eight everyone won’t shut up about this year. And you know who you are, Darlene.

8: Eights are great! Any reasonable person will tell you that. But sometimes they’re like “super-fives.” They’re well-made, feel good in the hands, competently written, and likely to be forgotten by next holiday season.

9: A nine is like a seven and an eight that entered a long-term life partnership based on mutual trust and affection. They inspire that seven-like passion to throw hands, but it’s tempered by the smug satisfaction that comes with the attentive design and gameplay of an eight. Take the high road. Play a nine and be insufferable about it.

10: Tens aren’t beyond contestation. No game is perfect and that’s not what this score means. It does mean that these games will very likely dominate the conversation for months and years to come. Whenever another game does something similar to a 10, you’ll look back and say “but this game set a new bar for how these things are made.” It might not be a perfect creation. It’s just the high bar by which all others must face final judgment.

Thank you for taking the time to read our review scale. By doing so, you have automatically and unwittingly signed a legally binding contract not to yell at the Fanbyte staff or its freelancers when you don’t like a score a game got (whether you think it’s too low or too high).

Sincerely, though: thank you. We put a lot of work into providing the best reviews possible. Maybe they can help you to look at a game differently. Maybe you just want a sense of whether or not something is worth your money. Either way, all of this is for naught if people don’t actually take the time to check out our thoughts on a given topic.

We hope you continue to enjoy all that we do at Fanbyte.