10/10 Scores: What Makes a Game Worthy to You?

What does a 10/10 video game mean to you? Which games are worthy of such a score? You’re likely to get very different answers to those questions depending on who you ask. After all, gamers are an endlessly diverse group that comes at this shared hobby from countless different perspectives that appreciate everything from from Call of Duty to Stardew Valley, Minecraft to God of War, mobile games and VR, and many others. We all have our favorite genres and our own ideas about what makes them great. That also means that, somewhere out there, someone hates your favorite game and believes with absolute certainty that you’re crazy for enjoying it. That difference in taste is a fact of life when it comes to evaluating any form of art – be it games, music, movies, painting, sculpture, dance, or countless others – where beauty is in the eye of the beholder and one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

Of course, this puts anyone else who likes to voice their opinion publicly in a bit of a pickle: no matter which games you choose to award your highest score to (or simply rave about without attaching a score), regardless of whether you think you’re going out on a limb for something niche or it seems like a slam-dunk crowd-pleaser, some portion of your audience – large or small – will disagree. Some of them will do so vehemently and even angrily. But critics do this because highlighting and vocally advocating for games we think are special is one of the most important parts of the role we play. No one review can speak to everyone when viewpoints can be diametrically opposed, but our hope is that – as one critical voice among many available on the internet – we can help you find games you’ll love by not only giving them a high score, but also explaining why we think they’re worthy of it in a detailed review.

To illustrate the inherent divisions, I present you with a simple, non-scientific experiment: below, you’ll find a list of 25 games that have received very high scores from IGN or elsewhere in the not-too-distant past, along with the question of whether you, personally, consider them to be worthy of the highest score a site like IGN can give. Before even one vote has been cast, it’s safe to say that some of these 10/10 scores will prove to be popular, others will be controversial, but none will be unanimous – and some will likely be surprising to fans.

Some of these results will likely be surprising to fans. 

To be very clear, the idea here is not to prove anyone’s opinion “right” or “wrong;” after all, learning that a majority of voters disagree with your love of your favorite game isn’t going to convince you you’re wrong to love it, and seeing others’ love for a game that didn’t click for you isn’t going to change your mind. Instead, I hope this will provide some context and perspective for the next time you’re wondering how a reviewer could’ve arrived at a 10 when you would’ve scored it lower – or how they could’ve given something you consider a clear 10 anything less.

Dan Stapleton is IGN’s Executive Editor of Reviews and self-proclaimed chief pun officer. Follow him on Twitter.

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