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Topic: What Makes A Game A 10/10 For You?

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Fizza

Games by their very nature are inherently subjective. While no game is ever truly perfect (u̶n̶l̶e̶s̶s̶ w̶e̶'r̶e̶ t̶a̶l̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ T̶h̶e̶ G̶r̶e̶a̶t̶ A̶c̶e̶ A̶t̶t̶o̶r̶n̶e̶y̶ C̶h̶r̶o̶n̶i̶c̶l̶e̶s̶), the games we give 10/10's to can be a display of what we value in a game in order for it to rank as one of our all-time favourites. So allow me to pose a question to all of you then: what makes a game stand out as a 10/10 for you? It can be for any reason, no matter how simple or complex that reason may be, as I think it'd be fun to see the thought process that goes into awarding a game with such high praise.

As for myself, I heavily value a personal attachment/experience when dishing out 10/10 scores. If I can look at a game and immediately recall all the fantastic times I had with it (or if it invades my brain to the point where I can't stop thinking about it XD), then I definitely feel very inclined to give it a perfect score overall. This mindset can also apply to games I haven't even played yet; for example, I've never touched Castlevania: Rondo of Blood in my life so far, yet everything I've seen of it from its visuals to its music to its bold defiance of the general series conventions that were in place for CV at the time of its release has me very confident I'll be giving it a 10/10 when I do eventually get around to it.

Edited on by Fizza

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PikminMarioKirby

Fun question! Here’s some things that make a 10/10 game for me (not that a 10/10 game needs all of this stuff to be 10/10) and in parentheses some examples!

1. Really fun/good/lovable protagonist (Mario, Olimar, Kirby)
2. Good graphics (love to see lighting, shadows, reflections, crisp gameplay)
3. Skip glitches (BLJ, Log/Blue House skip, Floor 1.5, hazard respawn)
4. Fun/satisfying gameplay (good battle mechanics, fun overall movement)
5. Characters with great personality (Louie, King Dedede, TTYD’s partners, Luigi, Bowser)
6. Good music (VERY important. It’s not 10/10 if I don’t like the music.)
7. Customization (Big fan of choosing my Animal Crossing/Mario Odyssey outfit. Customization for gameplay with things like badges (TTYD/PM64 especially, also very nice in SMB Wonder) is also really nice.)
8. Good story (PM64, TTYD, SPM, Pikmin series, SM Galaxy, Kirby series all have really good stories/plots)
9. Good/unique environments (Having unique places such as Wonderia from KatFL, Glitz Pit from TTYD, Haunted Mansion for LM, LM3’s themed rooms)
10. Good length (Not too short, but not too long. If it’s too long then there’s less reason to replay, or they can just end up feeling drawn out. When it’s a good length then it is more replay-able. Luigi’s Mansion 1 and Pikmin 3 are shorter games but they’re so much fun and very replay-able that I’ve played through them a ton of times and it doesn’t get old. TTYD is a bit on the longer side but is so fun and every part feels unique that it doesn’t really get stale, still feeling very replay-able.)

Edited on by PikminMarioKirby

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Pastellioli

For me, it’d maybe have to be fun gameplay, great and charming characters, and having some uniqueness and creativity with other aspects of the game, like story, concepts, and gameplay mechanics. I don’t actually mind if the graphics don’t look 100% great, as I highly favor gameplay over visuals, and I don’t care if the story (if the game even has one) isn’t deep, since most of the time, that is not what I come to a game for. If the game is super goofy or extremely creative, then I am all the more likely to give it a 10/10. I’m just a fan of things that are weird, in a good way. I have a couple more things that I like to see in a game, but to shorten it in order to make it easier to read, I like a game all the more if it has:

1. Fun gameplay
2. A cast of characters that are charming and memorable (basically characters that have personality and aren’t bland)
3. Creativity or goofiness with some aspects of the game (e.g. gameplay mechanics or a unique setting and story)
4. Good performance and frame rate
5. Good controls
6. The game is equally easy and challenging (if the game is too easy or too hard, it isn’t fun to me)

There are a couple of games (usually retro) that I absolutely love and go crazy over and think are my favorite games of all time, but for me, I think of them as a 9/10 instead of a 10/10 for slight gripes, for example, the game might have some not so great choices with some of the gameplay, or might be janky if the game was released in a different era.

I’m such a huge fan of a bunch of Rare’s N64 games and they come close to being 10/10’s, but they have problems related to some aspects of the gameplay, controls, and design. A lot of their games tick off most of the boxes for me, but they always have some type of issue with the controls, mostly thanks to the games being decades old. There was this one game from them, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which ticked off a lot of the boxes and was so close to being a 10/10 for me, but because it was released for an old console from nearly 30 years ago, it had such terrible controls and a pretty infuriating camera, which I would say is maybe the WORST camera I’ve ever encountered in a game ever. I played the Xbox One port of it, but they did not do anything to improve the bad controls. The Xbox’s port of Banjo-Tooie I feel is better, mostly because it didn’t have bad controls or camera, but it also wasn’t a 10/10 for me since the game was hard and not a mix of easy and difficult challenges.

Edited on by Pastellioli

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StarryCiel

I guess for me, a 10/10 game is more than the sum of its parts, they just come together really well and stick the landing for me. No game is perfect and even my favorite games have flaws, but if a game can do at least one thing exceptionally well and leave a strong impact on me, I'm content to give it a perfect grade.

However, like PikminMarioKirby, I do have my preferences and criteria that would make a game more likely to be a 10/10 for me such as:

  • Satisfying movement/combat/gameplay that's easy to pick up but has a lot of depth under the surface
  • A strong sense of progression and forward momentum, but also leaving room for exploration
  • Creative and varied level design that constantly keeps me guessing
  • A tightly paced main campaign but with a ton of side content and replay value
  • A sincere narrative can leaves me emotionally invested in the characters
  • Cutesy character designs and fantastical environments
  • Polished presentation with a cohesive art direction and banger soundtracks

StarryCiel

FishyS

I compute points for the following categories, trying to be objective for most, but some are inherently subjective. It does let me score my games semi consistently though. I then normalize to a 1-10 scale.

  • General Gameplay Goodness
  • Fun/Addictiveness
  • Story/Characters
  • Originality
  • Art
  • Framerate/Connectivity/Smoothness of art
  • Sound/Music
  • Jankiness/Bugs (lack of)
  • UI - interfaces are important!
  • Controls/Smooth gameplay
  • Technical-other (catch-all)
  • Value
  • Game stays good throughout
  • Completeness/Whole greater than sum of parts
  • Satisfying
  • Reasonable length for format
  • Is the game groundbreaking/genre defining/industry or world shaking
  • Is it personally impactful, emotionally or otherwise

Note that these are not all weighted the same in my scoring system, but I'm not going to paste an excel sheet 😝

Since the question was 'what makes a 10/10', it should ideally max all of those categories, but in practice it can miss a little and round up to 10 from 9.5. Most of my favorite games I have rated 9/10. The true 10/10s have permanently affected my brain.

In practice my system tends to mean if I am not a fan of a game but it is objectively extremely good, I will still rate it up to 8/10 (lower than others might rate it but not super low), although I also leave myself a note that I personally never want to play that game again 😝 Conversely, a decent but not amazing game I personally love will have an increased score but not usually unrealistically high. Either way, 10/10s are rare.

Edited on by FishyS

FishyS

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Novamii

For me, the way I rate games is kind of a hodge-podge of all of the usual stuff you can expect when rating a game. Story, characters, controls, performance, etc. While I can't exactly pinpoint "how" I call a game 10/10 when I see it, I usually attribute it to one of the little rankings I came up with in passing. Funnily enough, I based my rating system off of Sonic Colors' combo quotes ever so slightly. (Believe it or not.)

10 - Essential (Must play!!!)
9 - Outstanding
8 - Awesome
7 - Great
6 - Good
5 - Mid
4 - Bad
3 - Awful
2 - Atrocious
1 - Bottom of the Barrel (Avoid at all cost!)

I try to be relatively conservative with giving games 10/10. In my eyes, 10/10 is as close to perfection as you can get. The qualifications for it are a lot harder to meet, but that just makes the ones that do all the more incredible! It's a bit tricky for me to describe what exactly constitutes a 10/10 game, so I just keep it simple by going by my ranking names.

tl;dr - I save 10/10 ratings for games I truly deem essential, or "required reading". Games that I feel any player worth their salt needs to try out at least once! My rating system is far from perfect (I know it's not exactly the most detailed way of rating games.) but hey, I don't review games for a living. It doesn't have to be.

Edited on by Novamii

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Ryu_Niiyama

(IMO) The game should be well made from a technical perspective (or that I don’t notice the technical flaws…I am not very sensitive to framerate so what is a dealbreaker to many doesn’t ping my radar. I’m also an 80’s baby so I grew up with slowdown so I am pretty numb to that even if I can perceive it), to make sense within the context of its lore (so crazy thing can happen if it was set up properly so it doesn’t feel like a butt pull), engaging story OR gameplay (I prefer both but if the story is engaging enough or the world engaging enough I can usually forgive boring gameplay loops. Engaging is not the same as technically sound, so if game is broken…no dice.) after that, art and music style must be fitting. I like a really wide range of games so i basically need the game to work really well, make sense and feel good to play.

Edited on by Ryu_Niiyama

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Logicfire

Few games have been a 10/10 for me. My first was probably “A Link to the Past” and it setup for me what it means to be a 10. It’s gotta draw me in. Like the world needs to be something grand and immersive. There has to be a sense of wonder throughout, not just the setting the scene in the beginning, or the epilogue at the end. And the game has to play really well where a technical glitch won’t break the spell. (Like when I’m reading a book with a great premise but the words distract, and I end up focusing less on the story and more in the sentences.)
The game also has to challenge me. So I’m thinking about it even when I’m not playing it. What can I try next? What does that thing mean? Where can I go with what I have that I haven’t tried yet? So the game needs to have a complexity to it that isn’t a simple A to B to C. It’s got to have layers of linearity and nonlinear elements too.
But if it’s not fun, none of that matters. A 10 is a game I’ll want to go back to from time to time, because it was a journey, a place in time worth revisiting, and a reminder of why I play video games.

Logicfire

MarkSeteth72

If it moves me emotionally. Fire Emblem Three Houses has a boatload of issues but just because of the excellent dialogue, sense of urgency and lovable characters it's a 10/10 for me.

MarkSeteth72

BenAV

I don't really have any sort of set in stone method of judging what score I give a game, just comes down to how much of a good time I feel like I had when I get to the end. I tend to give most games that I love a 9/10 as they almost have enough small things to nitpick about that add up to the point where giving it a 10 doesn't quite feel right. Half the 10s I give out are just to visual novels, partly because there's a lot less to get wrong when gameplay isn't a required factor.

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riggs

If I enjoyed my playthrough without getting annoyed, it's a 10.
There aren't many, but if I made it to the end (or tried really hard and couldn't) then it'll be a 10.
Everything else is a 5 (good but annoying) or a zero (annoying)

... yeah

jedgamesguy

I’m not by the books with my ratings, each game I judge on a case by case but there’s a few things I always keep in mind:

  • I separate story and gameplay distinctly. If a game has a knockout story but bad gameplay, the score will reflect that, it’ll be knocked down appropriately.
  • I’d much rather have a game consistently good across all departments than a game that’s good at one thing and horrible at another. Consistency gets more points than more highs and lows.
  • I can think a game is great while not liking it. I’m not gonna give Elden Ring less than a 4 star rating even though I suck at souls games. Some greatness is more objective than others.

On game rating sites I’m usually lenient enough, most games get over 6/10, which I’d consider a low score by my standards. I don’t play many “awful” games so the crème de la crème are between 4-5. The very best games of all time, stuff that can be considered on par with the greats, get a full five stars. If there’s a serious flaw holding that kind of game back, it gets a half or full star knock.

Example: FF7 Rebirth was a five star story but a 3 star game, if not worse at times. Evens out to a 4 star.

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Magician

What matters: art style, performance, gameplay, audio design, and replayability.
What kind of doesn't matter: graphics, time to beat (length of the game), and story.

I'm a guy who grew up where a game's endgame was only a score attack. I've played games where I've gotten a stronger dopamine hit inside ten minutes rather than tens or hundreds of hours into a game. So a game's length (or time to beat) does not equate to higher value in my eyes. Story is a nicety, though not necessary. Do the most popular multiplayer games need to give their players a background as to why they're competing against each other (NBA 2K, FC, CoD, Fortnite, etc)? Not really.

Does the game's controls respond well?

Are you doing cool ****?

Do you like the sounds the game makes when you do cool ****?

Are you enjoying the time you're spending there?

Do you want to go back once you're done?

....a good video game has you saying yes to all those.

Edited on by Magician

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kkslider5552000

I'd say it has to be a game that stands out from even other great games, and a lot of what it does is some of the best I've ever experienced, and its issues are at most, either not a huge deal or stop being that upon replay. And other various factors specific to what I get from it (not quite a 10/10 but my go to example of that is how much Hyrule Warriors works as a game of catharsis whenever I had a bad day, which almost certainly made it better than if I had been in a good mood each time I went to play it)

Being a video game I played before 2014 (especially before 2004) in some way also helps :V

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diamond_dog88

Something that does not involve micro transactions, does not need a dedicated server to play online, as the server is on the game.

Something thats straight to the point and does what all gamers want it to do, simple matchmaking making setups, plenty customisable unlocks and replayablilty.

Diamond Dog.

CaleBoi25

I feel like I have nothing to say on this topic that hasn't been said already, so instead I'll list a few of my (personal) list of 10/10 games:

  • Splatoon 3
  • Tears of the Kingdom
  • INK
  • Smash Ultimate

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skywake

For me a "10" in any media is simply something that sits at the top of the pile. Either because it did something nobody else had done before and did it well or because it's largely retreading well established ideas but did it like a master craftsman

Basically there are some games, musics, movies, whatevers that you'll come across and go "that was alright". A 10 isn't that. A 10 is the one that when you hit the end of it you go "this was no only great but I already know I'm going to still be talking about this 10, 20 years from now"

It's like, Twilight Princess was a solid game but it wasn't a 10. We still bring it up but only because of the series it belongs to. But Super Mario Galaxy is a 10, you could give me a WiiMote today and I'd still rave about how great it is

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GrailUK

It's usually when I feel overwhelmed by how good something is. And that can happen for far too many reasons to type lol! Things that capture my imagination are things like Intuitive gameplay, original thinking, outstanding design (and I'm talking about the art od making something suit it's purpose, not just cool looking things.) Loads of reasons. And typically, the rest of the game doesn't betray the points of genius that makes it overwhelmingly good (if you get me!)

Edited on by GrailUK

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Kermit1doesmath

If I enjoy it and it clicks with me it's a 10.

The only games I'd ever give a 10 are:

ACNH
BOTW
TOTK
Untitled Goose Game
Super Mario Bros. (NES)
Legend of Zelda (NES)
and I'd give Minecraft a 10 but I've had so many issues with it I'd give it an 8.

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dew12333

For me it mainly me the wow power, how many times I am that impressed by an aspect that makes me go wow. This includes thing like a scene or landscape within a game, instense gameplay, an enthralling story which can be the full plot or just a small part, sense of acheivement. A game that deliveries enough of these moments gets the 10 frome me.

Games I would choose are -
Viewtiful Joe
Kid Icarus Uprising
LOZ Ocarnia of time
Resident Evil 1 (gamecube)
Resident Evil 4
Advanced Wars
Meteos

dew12333

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