The USS Quad Damage

Scoring Games

I like UGVMs method of scoring games. They score out of 5, where:
  1. Don't bother
  2. Only get it if you're obsessed with the genre / frachise
  3. Average. Playable, but not awesome
  4. Good, but maybe a couple of flaws
  5. Must buy!
Other magazines will do percentages or scores out of 10, but with floating point accuracy (72%, or 7.2 out of 10). I find that it's completely useless to do this, because a person's opinion might sway them between a 7.3 or a 7.4, but it's very difficult to cross the border between a "4" and a "5". Conclusion: the most effective dynamic range is a score out of 5. The way I cope with this is to map everything to a universal UGVM score:
  • 0-50% goes to 1
  • 50-60% goes to 2
  • 60-80% goes to 3
  • 80-90% goes to 4
  • 90-100% goes to 5
I made this decision because of the intuitive feel someone gives to a percentage. Anything below 50% is a waste of time. You'll give someone a 6/10 if the game wasn't complete crap, but still not worth the time or money. Average games sit between 60-80%, good games at 80-90%, and excellent games 90%+.

However, a person only has a binary decision to make: do I buy this game or not, so what's the use of 5 levels of depth? The reason is to lower the effects of opinions and personality when describing how good the game is. A score of 5 or 1 means "don't bother reading the review, you'll love / hate this game." A score of 4 or 2 means "you'll probably like / hate this game, but read the review to find out why. There might be problems / redeeming features that might make this a show-stopper for you / make you consider buying this game." 3 means average. If you like it, buy it.

I'm discussing this because I just bought a DS lite, which means my normal routine of "just download / borrow the game, and if you like it enough, then buy it" won't work. I'm going to have to shell out hard earned cash before I really know whether the game is actually good or not. It's mitigated by the fact that GBA & DS games are relatively cheap. Because I don't actually have a collection yet, I'm going to start with the 5s and go down, starting from the genres I like.

Tetris DS

To say Tetris was the defining game of all gameboys might be a stretch, but only just. The real things I'm looking at with this game is the multiple play modes, online play, as well as direct connect against 10 others. The nice thing about this game is that you only need one cart for something like 10 players, and they can all play against each other. Clearly, this is only a good buy if I can entice others into buying a DS lite, but I'm hoping that it won't be too hard.


Meteos is a puzzle game by the makers of lumines, and the interesting thing about this is that after matching pieces, instead of having the pieces disappear, they "blast off" lifting up the pieces above them as well. If the pieces above them are too "heavy", the blasted off pieces will actually fall back down. Adding to the fact that you can't play effectively without the stylus means that this ought to be a unique and interesting game which can use the DSes functionality.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

Dual Strike here is clearly a homage to the system it's running on. This thing is portable turn based strategy with some RTS elements. From what I've heard about this game, this is "the one" to own from my perspective.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Of all the games with "DS" at the end, this has to be the one with the most thought put into it. I mean neither the word "Dual" or "Screen" are used in "Dawn of Sorrow". I've heard a lot about the Castlevania series, but never really got to play it. Maybe this will be the title that starts it all off for me.

Mario Kart: DS

I read a review that calls this the best kart game ever. While I'm not a big fan of the kart racing games, I know that everyone else on the planet is. The only reason to get this is that all my other friends have bought a DS and also Mario Kart, and I have to get this game or else become an outcast.


The questionmark is there because I'm mentioning this last. I'm rather hot and cold about this game. It's like Animal Crossing, and I generally like the idea, but it's sort of creepy at the same time. The gameplay is unique and relaxing, and it takes full advantage of the DSes features. However, when I envision myself sitting on a train looking at my DS saying "Sit... stay... good boy!", getting wierd stares from everyone else, I kinda think "maybe I don't want this game in my library." Having said that, the idea of having a dog without the responsibility of taking care of it and cleaning up after it is a big plus, so maybe it's worth it.