Chris Slate | Editor in Chief | Nintendo Power (US)
GR: Does a perfect score make a perfect game?
Chris: No, I don’t think so. It’s unrealistic to think that any game could be without a single flaw, especially across gamers’ broad tastes. Personally, I’ve always viewed a 10 score not as 'perfect,' but as 'our highest recommendation.' 10s are the year’s best games, the titles that are destined to be classics. And if a game really is head-and-shoulders above the rest, then I personally wouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge that by placing it in an elite class.
Many would argue that a 10 should never be attainable, that the review process should be about how close a game can come to perfection. That’s a valid argument, but I disagree simply because it’s fun to see a game get a 10. When you’re reading through reviews, in the back of your mind you’re waiting for that 9 or 10 to jump out at you, and when it does, there’s a satisfaction that you’ve found what you were looking for; you’ve dug up treasure at last.
At the end of the day, though, it’s just semantics.
Above: Metroid Prime 3 (pictured) nabbed a 10 in Nintendo Power, while Mario Kart: Double Dash, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Smash Bros Melee all got 5/5 back in the day
GR: Are 10s dished out a bit too easily?
Chris: No, I don’t think so - not generally. Some reviewers and outlets give out 10s more frequently than most, but we still don’t see them very often. More important than the scores themselves, I think, is consistency. The reader has to understand the reviewer and his or her reviewing process to gain insight into the score - which, I believe, is where reviews often fail the reader.
As an example, I believe that Wii Sports - which was designed primarily for casual gamers - was done a disservice by many reviewers. They unintentionally scored the game low because, as hardcore gamers, they are used to critiquing games in terms of depth, number of modes, graphics etc, none of which matters much to Wii Sports’ intended audience. And since reviews rarely delve into the disposition of the reviewer or their review process, readers aren’t getting the complete picture. This limits a review’s usefulness because most gamers don’t care if the reviewer enjoyed a game; what they really want to find out is if they will enjoy it. And without knowing the reviewer or how they go about analyzing a game, how can readers properly judge the information and apply it to themselves?