Games are judged on a Rating Scale from zero to four stars. Generally speaking, these are based on four criteria:
- Pacing. Does the game feel like you're constantly accomplishing something, or just padding itself with filler?
- Storytelling. Does the game tell a good story as you progress?
- Variety. Does the gameplay change up in interesting ways throughout, or does it all start to feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again with no mental component required?
- Polish. In general, how well the game is made; both for its time and the platform it was made for, and how well an older game holds up today.
In general, what each score implies:
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - An exceptional example of its genre and a must-play for any serious fan.
- ⭐⭐⭐ - A high-quality game in most every respect, and very much worth playing.
- ⭐⭐ - An game that equates out to being average or middle-of-the-road. May have some strong or unique elements that make it worth a look, but these are generally balanced out with prominent faults (lack of a decent story, mediocre gameplay etc.)
- ⭐ - A generally subpar game; not quite enough to rank as "godawful" but not worth your time.
- 💩 - The worst of the worst. Avoid at all cost.
- ½ - I'll also frequently include a "half star" for a game that doesn't quite fit into one category or the other, indicating it falls between those two tiers.
- 🌈 - Contains LGBTQ+ friendly characters and themes.
- 🎣 - Contains fishing.
- 🎵 - Great soundtrack.
- 👑 - A personal favorite.
- 💎 - Hidden gem; a game I personally think is underrated/overlooked.
- 💰 - A game that's become quite expensive on the secondary market; prepare to shell out a lot if you're collecting.
- 🗾 - Japan-exclusive; a game that never made it out of its home country. Fan translations may exist.