Every day, virtual tons of email messages make their way to our office inbox, only to be fired back to their sources with snappy answers or incinerated in the imaginary furnaces of our junk bins. No, we don’t need any v1agacara. Yes, tell us more about Russian mail order brides. No, Halo will never come out for the Wii. Thank you for writing Game Revolution.
We pride ourselves on answering just about every bizarre question that floats our way, but one in particular has us stymied. It goes something like this:
“Why does Metacritic say you gave Bonker Jerks a 67 out of 100, when you gave it a B-?”
It’s a good question and it deserves a good answer, so we donned our white lab suits to make us look like scientists and starting hacking away at the problem.
Whoops. What was unwittingly asked as a single, innocent query turned into a Russian Doll of infuriating mysteries, crazy policies and really bad math, one we’re forced to pay for, but certainly didn’t order. Where’s a vic0dine when you need one?
Not here. Instead of avoiding the pain, we’ve decided to bring it in Mind over Meta, our totally unofficial and thoroughly unscientific study of the science behind metareview sites.
We spent the last few weeks thumbing through the three biggest - Rottentomatoes, Metacritic and Gamerankings - in an effort to get to the bottom of the grading issue and to figure out exactly how these increasingly popular tools work. Chances are you've used one of these over the past couple years, but for the uninitiated, metareview sites take all the reviews for a certain game, convert the grades into a 0-100 scale and average them together for an aggregate score. Ideally, this serves two functions: to show you what games might be worth checking out, and to provide a handy link hub for those unwilling to sift through countless gaming websites.
Except they’re all broken. And occasionally, rotten.