Retrograding 12.17.07

5 Years. 150 Reviews. Where the the time go? I’ve written about 1000 articles, reviews, columns, news bits, and commentaries on games since my very first article for 411Mania.com five years ago. Who knew it would turn into such a big piece of my life?

This retrograding is more a look back at the games I’ve reviewed more than anything else.

My First two reviews were on 12/17/2003 and they were Robotech: The Macross Saga and Pokemon Ruby. Back then there was a four point system catering to graphics, sound, gameplay and fun. In other words it was skewed for a high score. I would review 14 games under this system until 10/02/2003 when we would switch over to the process you now know and love: The ten point scale.

The first review under this system was actually a test run we did on 1/28/2003 for a PSX game called Vanguard Bandits. The system was so popular, we ran with it and used it up until the entire games staff left 411mania for Inside Pulse. The first official review I did under the system was 10/28/2003 when I reviewed Demikids Dark and my last review for 411 was on 07/30.2004 which was MISSING Since November. In less than year I would review thirty games.

My very first review for Inside Pulse was also the very first new piece of content for the website. It debuted on 08/10/04 and was a review of Echo Night Beyond. There was actually a review I did two days earlier on August 8th that was for Inside Pulse in Ham-Ham games, but that ended up being on both sites. My last review on Inside Pulse in its preblog format would be on 09/01/2006 and it was about the game Barrow Hill. I would review sixty-nine games in a little over two years. Insane.

The first review I did for Note a True Ending was Disgaea 2 and it was on 09/16/2006. My last review was on 11/25/2007, which was KoF XI and my 150th review. In the year+ NATE has been around, I have reviewed thirty-seven games. Again, I find this to be insane.

As you know, there is a difference in how we score and how most other sites scores. MOST video game sites only give out scores ranging from 6-10 and are paid by publishers to give bullshit reviews and high scores, all the while telling their readers 7 is somehow average on a scale from 1-10. Not here. We don’t take swag, we don’t take bribes and a 5.0 is average because no one at IP has failed basic math. Here now is going to be a lot of statistics to chart my average review rating so we can see how I’ve evolved from website to website and year to year.

411 average with the old four point scaling method: 7
IP Average (From the first review for IP to the last review before IP3.0 when we all became blogs) : 6.1957
New Format Average (Every review under the ten point scale): 6.2243
NATE Average (all the reviews I have done since the switch to NATE): 5.73
Total Average: 6.2967

As you can see I’ve gone down from website to website. I feel my average is still pretty high, but I chalk that up to (hopefully) playing a lot of good games.

Here’s my average by year:

2002 Average: 7.5
2003 Average: 6.83
2004 Average: 6.76
2005 Average: 6.07
2006 Average: 5.93
2007 Average: 5.57

2002 can easily be explained by the fact I reviewed only five games that year: Phantasy Star 1-3, Robotech, and Pokemon Ruby. It’s no wonder my average was that inflated.

In 2003 I reviewed 18 games and half of those were still in the original IP formula.

2004 was arguably our best year in gaming. During this time period I reviewed a whopping FOURTY games. I was still playing a ton of games I loved, and some stinkers like Beyond Good and Evil and CIMA: The Enemy, but for the most part I was loving what I was doing. However I knew I was close to burning out and decided I wanted to stop reviewing and doing games writing in general.. Yeah. Look how well that worked.

My Hiatus lasted from 11/04/2004 until 02/21/2005 when Widro and Bebito literally begged me back to writing and bribed me with a Beta XBOX. My first game out of the shoot was the dreadful Chicago Enforcer. I didn’t take it easy on myself at all this year as having beta GCN and Xbox’s meant even more shit was coming my way. In 2005 I reviewed 38 games. Pretty insane when you realize that was in only nine months. I only reviewed from 02/21 to 11/11. You can see that this is really the year I agreed to throw anything publishers put in my way and well…the average score from 2004 to 2005 dropped by .69. Heh. Sixty-nine.

I took two months off and returned at the start of 2006 with SNK’s Samurai Shodown V. In 2006 I reviewed twenty eight games, showing I just don’t know when to fucking quit. My review average continued to drop, and the highest score I gave out that year was to Pokemon Ranger, the only game to get an 8 from me. Ouch.

ONCE AGAIN I tried to leave gaming, but got pulled back in. I managed to escape this time from 12/09/2006 to 03/09/2007, a full quarter of not gaming. This year I cut my reviewing back dramatically – down to 21 games. Yet this was also my lowest average ever, with a score of 5.57. There were a lot of bad games this year. I sadly seem to have played them all.

I thought it would also be fun to look at the different genres I’ve reviewed over the years and see how they faired. It gives a telling look at either what genres I prefer, or what genres inherently make for better gaming.

Action Games (10 Games): 6.05
Adventure Games: (10 Games): 4.95
Beat Em’ Ups (3 Games): 5.5
CCG Style Games (1 Game): 5.0
Compilations (7 games): 7.21
Dance Games (2 games): 6.5
Fighters (14 Games): 6.43
First Person Shooters (6 games): 5.42
Mini Games (4 Games): 7.13
MMORPG (1 Game): 6.0
Pinball (1 Game): 9.0
Platformer (4 Games): 7.5
Puzzle Games (4 games): 6.13
Racing Games (2 games) 7.0
Rail Shooter (1 Game): 7.0
Rhythm Game (1 Game): 4.0
RPG, Action (18 games): 6.08
RPG, Dungeon Crawl (4 games): 5.63
RPG, Strategy (12 Games): 6.38
RPG, Turn Based (21 Games): 6.9
Real Time Strategy (2 Games): 3.5
Shooters (8 Games): 7.5
Simulation (1 Game): 5.5
Sports Games (6 Games): 5.5
Survival Horror (7 Games): 6.43

It’s interesting that one of my favorite Genres in Adventure has such a low average, while a genre I hate, Platformers, have such a high one. I don’t think anyone is surprised that SHMUP’s are my highest scoring genre. I am shocked that a little over 1/3rd of my gaming involved RPG’s of some sort.

Now let’s take a look at games by system.

DS (14 games): 5.61
Game Boy Advance (28 games): 6.68
Game Cube (14 games): 6.93
PC (11 games): 5.14
PS2 (39 games): 6.06
PSP (2 Games): 6.25
PSX (1 Game): 6.5
Wii (6 Games): 6.67
Xbox (35 Games): 6.57

I had no idea I reviewed THAT MANY Xbox games. Not a surprise that the PC and DS had the lowest score averages. I’ve always been open that, in my opinion, both have pretty low quality games. The fact the Game Cube had the highest over all score did cause me to raise an eyebrow. I thought the GBA would win here as four of the five games I have ever given a 9 to have been for that handheld.

I figure we should close this at with two lists. The first list is a list of every game I have reviewed chronologically. The second is a list of the 150 games I have reviewed from lowest score to highest.

Pokemon R/S GBA 12/17/2002
Robotech: Macross Saga GBA 12/17/2002
Phantasy Star 1 GBA 12/24/2002
Phantasy Star 2 GBA 12/24/2002
Phantasy Star 3 GBA 12/24/2002
D&D: Eye of the Beholder GBA 01/03/2003
Lunar Legends GBA 01/23/2003
Ikaruga GCN 06/05/2003
Space Channel 5 GBA 07/28/2003
Pokemon Pinball R/S GBA 09/04/2003
F-Zero GX GCN 09/15/2003
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance GBA 09/22/2003
Wrestlemania XIX GCN 09/23/2003
Shining Soul GBA 10/03/2003
Vanguard Bandits PSX 01/28/2003
Demikids Dark GBA 10/28/2003
TMNT GCN 10/30/2003
Haunted Mansion GCN 10/31/2003
Double Dragon Advance GBA 11/19/2003
Pokemon Channel GCN 12/09/2003
Onimusha Tactics GBA 12/10/2003
Midway Arcade Treasures GCN 12/30/2003
CIMA GBA 12/31/2003
Sword Of Mana GBA 01/02/2004
Beyond Good and Evil GCN 01/07/2004
I-Ninja GCN 01/12/2004
Arx Fatalis Xbox 01/19/2004
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel Xbox 01/22/2004
Curse: Eye of Isis Xbox 01/28/2004
Dark Alliance 2 Xbox 02/04/2004
XIII Xbox 02/06/2004
R-Type Final PS2 03/02/2004
Ninja Gaiden Xbox 03/09/2004
Dead man’s Hand Xbox 03/19/2004
Pokemon Colossium GCN 03/22/2004
The Suffering Xbox 03/29/2004
Shining Soul 2 GBA 05/03/2004
Shining Force GBA GBA 05/18/2004
River City Ransom EX GBA 06/07/2004
Metal Slug 3 Xbox 06/10/2004
Psi-Ops Xbox 06/23/2004
Ribbit King GCN 07/01/2004
Pokemon Box GCN 07/16/2004
MISSING PC 07/30/2004
Ham-Ham Games GBA 08/08/2004
Echo Night Beyond PS2 08/10/2004
Doom 3 PC 08/27/2004
Phantom Brave PS2 09/07/2004
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green GBA 09/10/2004
Silent Hill 4 Xbox 09/14/2004
Advance Guardian heroes GBA 09/20/2004
Gradius V PS2 09/20/2004
Fable Xbox 09/27/2004
Second Sight Xbox 09/30/2004
Bubble Bobble O&N GBA 10/11/2004
Shadow Hearts 2 PS2 10/18/2004
King of Fighters: MI PS2 10/19/2004
Kingdoms Under Fire Xbox 10/25/2004
SVC Chaos Xbox 10/28/2004
Neo Contra PS2 11/01/2004
Nightmare of Druaga PS2 11/02/2004
Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Xbox 11/03/2004
Bard’s Tale Xbox 11/04/2004
Chicago Enforcer Xbox 02/21/2005
KoF 2002 PS2 02/24/2005
KoF 2003 PS2 02/24/2005
Y’s: Ark of Naphishtim PS2 03/01/2005
Digital Devil Saga PS2 03/08/2005
Street Fighter: Third Strike PS2 03/09/2005
Street Fighter Anniversary PS2 03/09/2005
Phantom Dust Xbox 03/23/2005
SMB Deluxe Xbox 03/24/2005
Shining Tears PS2 04/01/2005
Obscure Xbox 04/14/2005
Jade Empire Xbox 04/18/2005
WM XXI Xbox 04/25/2005
Raze’s Hell Xbox 04/26/2005
Stella Dues PS2 04/29/2005
PsychoNauts Xbox 05/05/2005
Pokemon Emerald GBA 05/06/2005
Samurai Western PS2 05/11/2005
Haunting Ground PS2 05/16/2005
Finny the Fish PS2 05/24/2005
Forza Motorsport Xbox 06/11/2005
KoF: MI-Maniax XboX 06/30/2005
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana PS2 07/05/2005
Riviera GBA 07/14/2005
Makai Kingdom PS2 08/01/2005
Sigma Star Saga GBA 08/24/2005
Centipede/Warlords/Breakout GBA 08/25/2005
WWE: Day of Reckoning 2 GCN 08/27/2005
Pump It Up: Exceed PS2 09/26/2005
RPG Maker 3 PS2 09/26/2005
Capcom Classics Collection PS2 10/05/2005
Pokemon XD GCN 10/08/2005
King of Fighters 2002 Xbox 10/13/2005
King of Fighters 2003 Xbox 10/13/2005
Digital Devil Saga 2 PS2 10/15/2005
Shining Force Neo PS2 10/31/2005
Call of Cthulhu XboX 11/03/2005
Taito Legends XboX 11/11/2005
Samurai Shodown V XboX 01/16/2006
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings DS 02/21/2006
Pokemon Trozei DS 03/21/2006
Scratches PC 04/01/2006
Crime Stories PC 04/03/2006
D&D Online PC 04/12/2006
Shadow Hearts 3 PS2 04/18/2006
King of Fighters Neowave XboX 05/13/2006
Steambot Chronicles PS2 05/22/2006
Street Fighter Alpha Anthology PS2 06/21/2006
Xyanide XboX 08/26/2006
Barrow Hill PC 09/01/2006
Disagea 2 PS2 09/16/2006
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon -Red Rescue Team GBA 09/24/2006
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon -Blue Rescue Team DS 09/25/2006
Bubble Bobble Revolution DS 09/27/2006
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria PS2 10/01/2006
Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier DS 10/06/2006
Keepsake PC 10/22/2006
Magical Starsign DS 10/29/2006
Touch Detective DS 10/30/2006
Pokemon Ranger DS 11/02/2006
Marvel Ultimate Alliance Xbox 11/06/2006
Sega Genesis Collection PS2 11/09/2006
Secret Files: Tunguska PC 11/11/2006
Final Fantasy XII PS2 11/14/2006
Murder on the Orient Express PC 12/02/2006
Castlevania: PoR DS 12/09/2006
Secrets of the Ark PC 03/09/2007
The Sacred Rings PC 03/19/2007
Pokemon D/P DS 04/23/2007
Etrian Odyssey DS 05/22/2007
Taito legends 2 PS2 05/27/2007
Art of Fighting Anthology PS2 06/06/2007
Sim City DS DS 06/22/2007
Pokemon Battle Revolution Wii 06/25/2007
Grim Grimoire PS2 07/01/2007
Hoshigama: RBE DS 07/08/2007
The Bigs Wii 07/12/2007
Carnival Games Wii 09/02/2007
Growlanser V PS2 09/26/2007
DDR: Hottest Party Wii 09/30/2007
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe PS2 10/16/2007
Dementium: The Ward DS 11/02/2007
Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles PSP 11/05/2007
Silent Hill Origins PSP 11/11/2007
Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles Wii 11/20/2007
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 Wii 11/22/2007
King of Fighters XI PS2 11/25/2007

And now for the Scoring.

Title Score Genre
Wrestlemania XXI 2.5 Sport
Nightmare of Druaga 2.5 RPG Dungeon Crawl
Hoshigama: RBE 3 RPG S
The Sacred Rings 3 Adventure
CIMA 3 RPG Action
Keepsake 3 Adventure
Crime Stories 3 Adventure
Bubble Bobble Revolution 3 Puzzle
Chicago Enforcer 3.5 FPS
Growlanser V 3.5 RTS
Grim Grimoire 3.5 RTS
Riviera 4 RPG TB
Advance Guardian Heroes 4 Beat Em Up
Space Channel 5 4 Rhythm
Shining Tears 4 RPG Action
Shining Force Neo 4 RPG Action
Secrets of the Ark 4 Adventure
Day of Reckoning 2 4.5 Sport
Beyond Good and Evil 4.5 Action
Raze’s Hell 4.5 Action
Samurai Western 4.5 RPG Action
King of Fighters XI 4.5 Fighter
Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier 4.5 RPG S
Dementium: The Ward 5 FPS
Wrestlemania XIX 5 Sport
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana 5 RPG TB
Etrian Odyssey 5 RPG Dungeon Crawl
Silent Hill Origins 5 Survival Horror
Echo Night Beyond 5 Survival Horror
Street Fighter Anniversary 5 Fighter
Y’s: Ark of Naphishtim 5 RPG Action
Steambot Chronicles 5 Action
Touch Detective 5 Adventure
Call of Cthulhu 5 FPS
Scratches 5 Adventure
Murder on the Orient Express 5 Adventure
Phantom Dust 5 Card game
Pokemon Battle Revolution 5.5 RPG TB
Pokemon Box 5.5 Mini games
King of Fighters Neowave 5.5 Fighter
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 5.5 RPG S
Curse: Eye of Isis 5.5 Survival Horror
XIII 5.5 FPS
Pokemon Trozei 5.5 Puzzle
Shining Soul 2 5.5 RPG Action
River City Ransom EX 5.5 Beat Em Up
Art of Fighting Anthology 5.5 Fighter
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria 5.5 RPG TB
Sim City DS 5.5 Simulation
Magical Starsign 6 RPG TB
D&D Online 6 MMORPG
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings 6 RPG S
Castlevania: PoR 6 Action
Kingdoms Under Fire 6 RPG Action
Fable 6 RPG Action
The Bigs 6 Sports
Xyanide 6 Shooter
KoF: MI-Maniax 6 Fighter
Stella Dues 6 RPG S
Neo Contra 6 Shooter
Final Fantasy XII 6 RPG Action
Finny the Fish 6 Action
Haunting Ground 6 Survival Horror
I-Ninja 6 Platformer
Sword Of Mana 6 RPG Action
Centipede/Warlords/Breakout 6 Compilation
Doom 3 6 FPS
Pump It Up: Exceed 6.5 Dance
Psi-Ops 6.5 Action
Demikids Dark 6.5 RPG TB
SVC Chaos 6.5 Fighter
RPG Maker 3 6.5 RPG TB
Taito legends 2 6.5 Compilation
Disagea 2 6.5 RPG S
Sigma Star Saga 6.5 Shooter
Vanguard Bandits 6.5 RPG S
DDR: Hottest Party 6.5 Dance
Pokemon R/S 6.5 RPG TB
Phantasy Star 1 6.5 RPG TB
Pokemon Emerald 6.5 RPG TB
Shining Soul 6.5 RPG Action
KoF: Maximum Impact 7 Fighter
Samurai Shodown V 7 Fighter
King of Fighters 2002 (Xbox) 7 Fighter
King of Fighters 2003 (Xbox) 7 Fighter
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe 7 Action
Capcom Classics Collection 7 Compilation
Arx Fatalis 7 RPG Action
Second Sight 7 Action
Phantasy Star 3 7 RPG TB
Double Dragon Advance 7 Beat Em Up
Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles 7 Rail Shooter
Midway Arcade Treasures 2 7 Compilation
Silent Hill 4 7 Survival Horror
Carnival Games 7 Mini Games
Forza Motorsport 7 Racing
Secret Files: Tunguska 7 Adventure
MISSING 7 Adventure
TMNT 7 Action
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe 7 Puzzle
Jade Empire 7 RPG Action
Ninja Gaiden 7 Action
SF: Third Strike 7 Fighter
Phantom Brave 7 RPG S
Digital Devil Saga 2 7 RPG TB
F-Zero GX 7 Racing
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 7 RPG Action
Shadow Hearts 3 7 RPG TB
KoF 2003 (PS2) 7 Fighter
Eye of the Beholder 7.5 RPG S
Onimusha Tactics 7.5 RPG S
Dead Man’s Hand 7.5 FPS
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 7.5 RPG Action
Ham-Ham Games 7.5 Sport
Obscure 7.5 Survival Horror
Street Fighter Alpha Anthology 7.5 Fighter
Sega Genesis Collection 7.5 Compilation
Makai Kingdom 7.5 RPG S
R-Type Final 7.5 Shooter
Ribbit King 7.5 Sport
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon -Blue Rescue Team 7.5 RPG Dungeon Crawl
Barrow Hill 7.5 Adventure
KoF 2002 (PS2) 7.5 Fighter
Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles 7.5 Platformer
Lunar Legends 7.5 RPG TB
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon -Red Rescue Team 7.5 RPG Dungeon Crawl
Shadow Hearts 2 7.5 RPG TB
Taito Legends 8 Compilation
Pokemon Channel 8 Mini Games
Pokemon XD 8 RPG TB
Pokemon Ranger 8 RPG Action
PsychoNauts 8 Platformer
Metal Slug 3 8 Shooter
Bard’s Tale 8 RPG Action
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 8 Mini Games
Phantasy Star 2 8.5 RPG TB
Pokemon D/P 8.5 RPG TB
Digital Devil Saga 8.5 RPG TB
Gradius V 8.5 shooter
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green 8.5 RPG TB
Midway Arcade Treasures 8.5 Compilation
Pokemon Colosseum 8.5 RPG TB
Ikaruga 8.5 shooter
Dark Alliance 2 8.5 RPG Action
Haunted Mansion 8.5 Platformer
The Suffering 9 Survival Horror
Robotech: Macross Saga 9 shooter
Bubble Bobble O&N 9 Puzzle
Shining Force GBA 9 RPG S
Pokemon Pinball R/S 9 Pinball

And there we have it. A way too long look at the 150 games I’ve reviewed in the five years I’ve been in gaming journalism. Hopefully this has been of interest to more than myself.

Tomorrow we see my 151st review in Neo*Geo Battle Coliseum. Let’s see where the next five years take me.