Long before I ever thought about writing on a personal blog, I pondered the best way to express a rating for a video game in a written review. I've seen all kinds. Reviews with a single score at the end, out of 5 points, out of 10 points, out of 20, 30, 100. Reviews with scores from 4 different people. Reviews where they break down and review each component, sometimes they average those numbers for the final score, sometimes they don't count at all.
One line of thought says you should let the words speak for themselves. no number, no letter, no rating at the end at all. It's a nice sentiment, but everyone writes differently; some people focus more on the things they didn't like about the game as they write about it, without giving praise to enjoyable portions. Without a black and white rating, it could come off more negative then the writer intends.
Here's my own little conundrum, though; I don't really use reviews anymore.
I got a Wii within the first month of it's release. I wasn't considering all the details that may have been a prelude to the console's future when I did. Motion controls seemed to have a lot of potential, it was much cheaper than the alternatives, and it was from Nintendo. That was enough for me at the time. Fast-forward through the next few months; mediocre to poor reviews for the games all around, without a big selection of highly praised games or games that looked to be highly praised on the horizon. I wanted games, dammin, so I ignored the reviews and bought some. I eventually got Elebits, Excite Truck, Red Steel, Sonic and the Secret Rings, and Kororinpa Marble Mania. None of them were critical home-runs, but they all seemed like fun (Red Steel I had rented) so I jumped in. Kororinpa, Elebits, and Excite Truck remain some of my favorite Wii games and the others were plenty of fun. I found this scenario of reviews/review aggregates not reflecting my enjoyment of a game at all to be true again and again; if it seemed like fun from videos and descriptions, it almost always was. The one exception was controls; you can't glean how you'll feel about the controls from a video or description. So when something isn't completely straightforward, or from a quality development studio, that's when I turn to reviews. But usually written impressions come out before reviews to gather info on controls.
As I said, I don't -use- reviews often. Usually when I read them, it's to compare my own opinion of a game to the (hopefully) in-depth opinion of someone else. I read them for entertainment, basically. But I understand that people do use reviews, and I love to steer other people toward something I enjoyed. I want to write reviews for video games, but I'm not sure what system would match my ideals and be accepted by readers. I really like the idea of a "recommended" or "not recommended" system, because for me, that's what it boils down to. Was it worth my time and money, or wasn't it? It reinforces what I would write just enough to give people the right idea. It wouldn't be a simple "yes or no" of course, as the rest of the writing would hopefully add context to the recommendations, such as the current prices you could find the game at or a lower price I might suggest waiting for, if you should avoid it if you aren't familiar with some cultural conventions that might be a turn off, if you could find a better version or a better, similar experience somewhere else, etc. But my concern is if the "yes or no" will feel too cheap, too simple to a prospective reader. One game vs. another, you don't have any context at all unless you confront me for my opinion directly, something I'm definitely willing to do, but it's awkward to advertise that every time.
Alternatively, I enjoy the prospect of a review system that breaks down and scores the components of a game; controls, visuals, music and sound, "fun factor". It naturally gives every review a comparable structure and you're not necessarily forced to make an aggregate score from those parts, so I don't have to say visuals account for this or that percentage of the rating, when something like graphics fidelity isn't always important.
Let me know what your favorite review system or scale is. Give me something different to consider.