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My Atari 7800 Reviews Explained


Silver Back

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I want to take an opportunity to add some basic information to my blog about how I grade games. I've been using a 10 point scale, but I feel that explaining the scale helps people understand my thoughts better. Other websites or reviewers might use a similar numeric grade but it means something different to them. So here's the scores and what they mean:

10 Perfection!  If a game or an element of a game gets this, than I found absolutely nothing to complain about. It's top tier for the 7800!

9-8 Great! Usually this grade means that it's done well. I might have nit picks, but when it comes down to it the game (or game element) is done well. 

7-6 Good!  This usually means that a few flaws are present, but it doesn't hinder the game at all. You can find enjoyment here!

5-4 Bad! This is the other side of the good coin. There are a few flaws present but they hinder the game from reaching it's potential. Some people my be able to look past these flaws, but most wont. 

3-2 Awful!  This mean that there is something really wrong here. Hardly anybody will find enjoyment with this and it should be avoided except by collectors who need everything. 

1 Literally Broken!  I reserve this score for something that literally doesn't work. The NTSC version of Impossible Mission being unbeatable due to a glitch is an example of something broken. 

So those are the grades but what are they applied to?  Well I look at five main aspects of a game and then give an overall score. In general I find the average, but every category doesn't have the same weight. Let's explain more as we break down each category:

Graphics: This is what you look at. Some games look good and some don't. But this category doesn't carry a lot of weight for me in overall score. Looks isn't everything after all.

Sound: Obviously what you hear. The music and sound effects are here. The 7800 is known for having terrible sound, and this can easily be fixed by muting the TV (usually).  So this carries the same weight as graphics. 

Gameplay: This is how the game plays. It factors in how the controls feel, how responsive they are, how the levels are designed, and how equipped you are for the challenge. This is petty important to me.

Value: To me, this means whether or not your getting your money's worth. If a game holds my attention for a long time and it has a lot to do, then that's good value to me. If it makes me want to replay it a lot, well that counts too. This is just as important as gameplay.

Fun: Fun trump's everything to me. This carries the most weight. In my opinion, a game can look and sound great, play great and have a lot to do. But if it's not fun then what is the point?  

Hopefully this helps explain why my scores are the way they are. I thought it would be important to have a grade key available, so I'll point to this entry in the future.  So I might give a game low scores for graphics and sound, middling scores for gameplay and / or value, but a high score in fun and give it a good overall. This is usually due to the weight of each grade, but they are split out so you can see what's important to you and adjust accordingly. Well that's it for now!

Thanks everybody!

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