N64 Today’s game review scoring system explained

by Martin Watts, 9 November 2017

An original black Nintendo 64 console with controller

Reviewing old games in a modern context isn’t an easy task.

If you’re not careful, your nostalgia for an old game can inadvertently mask things that those coming to it fresh would find problematic today. On the other hand, drawing direct comparisons between old and modern games runs the risk of making many great retro titles sound like they’re not fun or interesting when they actually are.

I take a straightforward approach when it comes to N64 Today’s game reviews: I play a game and determine to what extent it’s still enjoyable to play today. I take a look at everything you’d expect to find in a review, but also pay particular attention to things like graphics, frame rates and controls — which are often pain points when playing N64 games today — to provide you with an honest and informed breakdown that’s not hindered by nostalgia.

I try to avoid discussing a game’s development history, impact or legacy in our reviews. A game that made a significant impact or achieved critical acclaim when it was originally released may no longer be a good experience in today’s context, so I believe it shouldn’t factor into my reviews (although you may, of course, still find it interesting to check out because of these things).

Scoring system

I’ve come up with a simple scoring system to clearly classify the N64 games I review:

Great

This game is still highly enjoyable to play. There are no major issues in terms of the gameplay, graphics, control, sound, and so on, or the issues are so minor that they do not impact your enjoyment of the game.

Good

Still an entertaining experience today. A game in this category will still be playable today but may feature some problematic elements that cause frustration or aren’t entertaining or interesting.

Flawed

This game has major flaws that negatively affect your enjoyment of it, but may nevertheless be worth exploring if you’re really curious, are a big fan of the genre, or a hardcore N64 enthusiast.

Bad

This game is just not fun to play. It suffers greatly from game-breaking bugs and/or technical, gameplay or control issues that make it too frustrating to enjoy whatsoever. Chances are that this was a bad game back in the day, or at least an average title that has only gotten worse with age.

Do you review Japanese N64 games?

Sadly not.

I write for an English-speaking audience, and I feel that reviewing Japanese games would be problematic due to the language barrier. While some Japanese games are inherently easy to understand (or decipher) and play, others are text heavy and require a solid comprehension of Japanese to fully enjoy.

That said, I still cover Japanese N64 games, and may at times recommend you give certain titles a go if I feel the language difference doesn’t hinder you from being able to play them.

There are some fantastic Japan-exclusive games that were sadly never localised or released outside of Japan that you should definitely check out.

Do you review N64 hardware?

I occasionally review hardware, accessories, peripherals and devices, but do not use a scoring system for these things.

Where can I find your reviews?

Check out the N64 game reviews page.