Ratings Systems

I decided that I wanted to start rating things. When I review movies or games or TV shows or the lives of people I meet or customer service or my own stupidity, I want to have one of those goofy scales so that something can be a “9 on the ProbablyNot scale”. But I can’t just arbitrarily slap one on.

Or more to the point, I needed to make sure my scale was absolutely arbitrary.

First off comes the symbol. There are the overused stars and thumbs or even lawn chairs. I wanted mine to be confusing, so I looked long and hard for a symbol to properly represent the site but also to completely misrepresent the scale itself. Eventually, I settled on the wide spread “not” symbol, as seen on road signs and warning labels everywhere.

A Lone Not

With the symbol decided, I next needed a range. Typically these ranges go to 3, 4, 5 or 10. Each of these makes logical sense, so as with my symbol, I needed to make sure my range made no sense at all. Being that my name is Jason and thanks to a particular slasher movie franchise it will forever be associated with the number 13, and I happen to like the number 13, I am going to go with 13. Oddly enough, this actually will help reduce some confusion, especially when it comes to reviewing video games. Most game reviewers use a scale from 1 to 10, and since 70% is passing is most educational establishments, people (insane people) have come to expect that a 7 out of 10 means that it is just barely passing, and anything from a 6.9999999999 down to 1 is failure. Stupid, yes, but also completely understandable to magazines looking to sell issues and to get exclusive previews of new games. So many game sites and magazines actually rate games from 7 to 10, with lower scores being reserved for items that are complete and utter crap. Back to my scale, confusion will be lessened because a “middle of the road” score on a 13 point scale is 7. So game makers can feel good in getting a 70% on my scale, as long as they realize that I give out grades up to 130% for awesomeness.

But a straight linear scale would be too easy, so two elements are added.

First, on my 13 point scale, 7 will indeed be an “average score”. What a 7 means is that whatever I am reviewing was not a complete waste of time. If I am reviewing a movie and give it a 7, that means that after two hours I felt like I’d just spent two hours, but not wasted two hours. Enjoyable, but nothing to get excited about. Being on the low end of the scale is not always a bad thing. While 7 will be middle of the road, the “worst” score to get will be a 3. A 3 means that this thing is godawful bad, and had no redeeming qualities. To score a 2 or a 1 on the scale, your product must be so horrifically bad that it actually turns a corner and becomes something I will actually share my pain with others about. The kind of shitty movie or game that I insist other people must experience to truely understand the depths of the miserable quality contained therein.

Secondly, even with a confusing symbol and an unusual scale, the review score still isn’t odd enough for me. So I’m going to also steal an idea from the ESRB (the people who rate video games for content) and the MPAA (the Motion Picture Arbitrary Assessment, or something like that) and include verbiage for why the score is what it is, but make sure those words are vague enough or strangely worded so that no matter the rating you might still want to see the thing I’m reviewing just so you can get it.

As an example, recently I saw the movie The Mist, which I might have given, had this system existed at the time:

11 out of 13 nots
for Creepiness, Social Commentary, Religious Fanaticism and Clever use of Dog Food.

All reviews will be presented with the rating first followed by a more in depth write up. In depth write ups will likely contain spoilers.

Keeping up with a rating system can be a chore, so we’ll see how long I stick with it. I might get bored and give it up, or not… who knows…

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