Same score but different… About movie and game reviews

29 Feb

40 not equal to 40

If a movie receives a review score of 3 (of a grade on 1 to 5) it is considered ok; not bad. Compare that to if a game receives 60 (on a scale on 1 to 100), then it is considered quite bad. You can also make the exact comparison: a movie with a mean review score of 70 equals “quite good”, “above average” and most people will like it, but 70 for a game mean “just ok”, “average”.

80 equal to bad?

These assumptions are of course based on my personal observations of other people’s comments and my own readings of reviews of games and movies alike. It seems as if a game which players have been wanting to play for a long time receives “just” almost top scores, many players get angry at the reviewers with comments like “I had expected it to receive at least 9 [out of 10]” and “Just 81, that is very bad!”. The same rarely happens for movies if they receive an 8 or 9 (80 or 90).

40 is not equal to 40

On the other hand, quite a few movies which receive very low review scores still manage to become box office hits; the same is very rare for games. I can imagine a movie I have been looking forward to, and just before going to the cinema to watch it I read in the newspaper that it only got 40 (of 100) in review score, but I will most likely see it anyway, because it features my favorite actor and is set in a cool environment. Then I imagine a game I have been looking forward to; by reading its review score of 40 I immediately cancel my pre-order!

Das Boot

Das Boot is a very long (and good!) movie, around 3.5 hours long (director’s cut), but that is still very short compared to the time people usually plan to spend playing a game. The expected “usage time” of the product is probably the main reason behind the different view of objectively equal game and movie review scores.


The only subjective conclusion I can make of this is that review scores of games and movies are viewed differently due to (1) the scores are “pushed” higher in the game media by either the critics themselves or, beware, the publishers[!] or (2) watching a movie is mostly a cheaper investment than a game hence people care less about review scores of movies. Since a game will in almost all instances be played more than once, you really want value for your money, therefore we “demand” higher scores before buying a game compared to when deciding to watch a movie.


Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Ravings


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Same score but different… About movie and game reviews

  1. Eric

    March 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    It can get frustrating to see people get up in arms about great games “only” getting an 8/10. To me, that is still a very good score and almost certainly worthy of a purchase. It seems video games are mostly rated on a scale of 6-10 anymore. That could be a testament to the quality of the titles, but it could also be due to a broken review system.

    But yeah, I agree with your conclusion. People expect more from games since they generally cost upwards of $60 brand new, whereas a movie ticket is around $10 and new DVDs about $20. I just wish more people would read the reviews rather than focusing strictly on a score.

    • gotounknown

      March 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

      I lean more toward “broken review system”. To me it seems if a game have great graphics, it will never get below 6 in score, no matter how stale the story is, no new game play, and same as 100 other games. If a movie was released with “beautiful” actors and nice views, but horrible story and something we have seen 100 times it would score very low (think below 4-5).


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