A key part of our coverage is reviewing video games and other gaming/tech related products. We’ve put this page together to explain our policies for reviews, explain our rating system, and outline our commitment to journalistic ethics.
How We Cover Games
We cover games in several different ways:
- If we play a game in a supervised or limited fashion (ie, at a con or developer event), we will cover the game with a “hype” article. These articles should be taken with a grain of salt – that’s why we clearly label them as hype. The game is likely to be in a very unfinished state. Things we see may get cut or changed drastically before release.
- If we get access to a game while in development (ie, a beta release or similar) and are able to play it on our own time, we will cover the game with a preview. In previews, we may gloss over bugs or unfinished content, with the understanding that the game is still unfinished.
- If we play the release version of a game, either a few days before launch or shortly thereafter, we will cover the game with a review. Reviews reflect the game in its finished state, and are the best indicator of what you’d get if you purchased it. Post-launch, games may get patches or updated content. This may impact the state of the finished product. If the change is significant, we reserve the right to revisit reviews at our discretion.
There may be other features that contain game review content, such as articles where we round up games around a theme (ie, best games in a genre, games like another game, or back catalog games). These features may follow other rules that will be explained as part of the feature.
Review Score Guide
When we do a review (as described in the section above), we will assign a score to the game. This score is intended to be a quick look at how much we liked a particular game. We review games on a 5-point scale.
- A score of 1 means that the game is fundamentally broken, and we don’t think you’d enjoy it at all.
- A score of 2 means that the game has some serious flaws, and is probably not a game worth playing.
- A score of 3 means that we liked the game OK, but it had some issues that might keep people from enjoying it. If you are a fan of this type of game enough to look past shortcomings, check it out.
- A score of 4 means that we think the game is quite good! Chances are good you’d have fun with it. It stands out in its category and is worth checking out even if you don’t always play that type of game.
- A score of 5 means that this game is epic. It’s easily game of the year material, and you should definitely play it.
We don’t review every game that comes out – we hand select the games we choose to play and review. Thus, we expect most games are going to get a score of 3 or 4. Once in a while, a game will get either a 2 or 5. We don’t see the point in playing terrible games and bashing them on our site, so a score of 1 is going to be very rare.
Conflicts of Interest
We pledge to disclose any potential conflicts of interest we have when reviewing a game. If we feel the conflict is too great, we will decline to review a title. The things we will disclose include, but are not limited to:
- Personal relationships between the reviewer and the item being reviewed. This would include anything beyond the professional relationship we have with game makers – they’re our best friends, we’re related, love interests, etc.
- Gifts or other consideration we were given in exchange for our review. Stuff like free copies of the game, collector’s items, trips, food, etc.
- Financial incentives we may have related to the review. This would include any financial ties between the reviewer and the thing we’re reviewing – if we have investments, Kickstarter funds, sponsorships, ad deals, etc involved in the project.
Aside from the review copies of games we get from time to time, none of these other things has ever come up. If it does, however, we’ll make certain that it is clear when you are reading our coverage of a game.