"Literally, we've got a half dozen perfect scores and I've also gotten the lowest scores I've ever gotten on any game I've ever worked on. Of course you want everybody to think you made the best game ever, but if we were trending at something like an 8 out of 10? I'd probably have to kill myself."
8.8 is a fan speak
term that describes the stir created in the video game community when a high profile game receives an unexpected review score by a major reviewer, especially when it significantly differs from the general consensus. This is especially jarring because professional video game reviewers tend to give out very similar scores
The name comes from the unimaginable havoc created by GameSpot's review of the Wii
version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
in November 2006, which awarded the game a great-but-not-amazing score of 8.8 out of 10. The Internet erupted in anger and chaos, as the game was one of the most anticipated games of all time, and near-perfect scores were expected. Ironically, GameSpot gave the GameCube
version of the game a score of 8.9.
Whether or not an 8.8 furor is justified
is up for debate. On the one hand, a reviewer shouldn't just automatically go along with the crowd, even for nigh-universally-loved games. On the other, sometimes you get the feeling that they're doing it intentionally to create controversy and attract attention
or forgot to do their research on the subject.
Sometimes you get the feeling that 8.8 situations are simply the fans are making a mountain
out of a molehill
. It's worth noting that reviews tend to be published a day or two before the game is actually released, meaning that many people are decrying the score awarded to a game they haven't yet played themselves
. Such is the behavior of a console or series' fanboy
: complaining about people not liking the show
. Naturally caused by the fact that many gamers believe that reviews are the gospel
. Might lead to a situation where fans will dislike the reviewer
Often, the score may be controversial because it adversely affects the game's overall average score on review compendium sites such as GameRankings
. Alternatively, animosity can be generated from detractors of the game who all act as if the low score is the only "correct" one, so no matter how many good reviews it got, if a major reviewer says it's not that great, it's officially a rubbish game.
There is some internal logic to this and related tropes, however, as far as video game developers are concerned. There is evidence of a correlation that good reviews will in fact drive sales. In one study, three groups of people were to read a (fake) review of and then play the game Plants vs. Zombies
for 45 minutes; at the end of the session, they could either take 10 bucks or a free copy of the game. The group that was given reviews that were positive tended to take the free copy. Those that were given reviews that were negative (or unflattering) tended to take the 10 bucks instead.
provides a good explanation of this and its faults.
See four point scale
for an explanation of why 8.8 out of 10 would be considered a low score. See also critical dissonance
This defines a fan speak term. No examples, please.