"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/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 one hand, a reviewer shouldn't just automatically go along with the crowd, even for nigh-universally-loved games. On the other hand, 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.
Gamers, reviewers, and publishers all share the blame equally for allowing these controversies to arise. Angry gamers pile the pressure on reviewers to award high profile titles higher scores, often forcing editors of video games magazines to revise their scores and strip themselves of all credibility in the process. NGC
magazine once gave Star Fox Adventures
a mediocre score. They received so much backlash
that they eventually conceded and jokingly included a perfect score sticker for readers to apply over the original score if it upset them that much
Reviewers in the past have casually handed out perfect 10/10 scores like they were nothing, praising a video game endlessly and giving their readers a false sense of expectation. Publishers force journalists to award 10 out of 10 by applying external pressure to get those perfect scores. Scores that are 'fair', 'good' and 'great' are no longer acceptable. They, along with any form of critique, are seen as undesirable
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, this is caused by the fact that many gamers believe reviews are the gospel
. Might lead to fans disliking 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, using it as "proof" that the game is rubbish no matter how many good reviews it got.
Another issue has arisen in which publishers would not give bonuses if a game did not achieve a certain arbitrary Metacritic score, and some classifieds for video game industry professionals have now included requirements that applicants should have worked on games that achieved at least some high arbitrary Metacritic score.
Another problem can arise if the review itself is largely positive, making it look like the few minor complaints account for a fairly significant drop in the rating.
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 Plants vs. Zombies
and then play the game for 45 minutes; at the end of the session, they would be given the choice of taking either 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. So, in essence, an expected Killer App
getting The B Grade
make its publisher nervous.
provides a good explanation of the phenomenon 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.
I give this trope article 9.5/10. Eh, it's okay.