Theme ratings – according to me

Posted by
May 8th, 2015 8:02 am

As a (hopefully) discussion starter I would like to begin by sharing with you the method I use for giving “Theme” scores to Ludum Dare games.
1 – Game is completely unrelated to the theme

2 – Game is extremely loosely related to the theme by a tangential graphic/sound/mechanic

3 – Game is related to the theme (here: it contains an unconventional weapon) but replacing that particular weapon with another unconventional one (it does not shoot BULLETS, it shoots POTATOES! – not much would change with BANANAS! instead of potatoes) causes no change in the gameplay or the feel of the game

4 – The theme is integrated into the game – if I removed/replaced all theme-related elements then the game mechanics/story/mood would fall apart and become senseless. In other words, the game relies on the theme to work

5 – The game IS the theme. Not only would the game fall apart but it would do so in many respects and all mechanics require the theme to make sense.

I usually give 2/3/4s as a Theme score because 1 and 5 are rather outliers.
Now, here is the question:

How do YOU rate Theme scores? Just a personal ‘feel’, a guideline system you made or something else entirely?




Shameless self-promotion because if I post something why not include it anyway:
The Drunken Quest for the One Vodka!

3 Responses to “Theme ratings – according to me”

  1. pi_pi3 says:

    I rate similarly.
    1 – Theme not implemented at all or implemented in a very bad way
    2 – Reskin of something (including bananas shooting potato projectiles), a.k.a. The Valve Method
    3 – Reskin with a mechanic
    4 – Reskin with a innovative mechanic
    5 – Something that blows my mind
    Since I already wrote something, here’s my shameless self-promotion.

  2. KaiseanGames says:

    I do it very similarly:
    1) what theme?
    2) theme is only mentioned, not integrated in any other way. Also, misinterpretations of the theme: example is a weapon that is not at all unconventional, like blue sword or a tank)
    3) the weapon is unconventional, but has no meaningful integration. Like you said, you could switch it with anything else and nothing would be different except graphics.
    4) the theme is integrated with the game either thru story or a mechanic in a reasonable and concrete way.
    5) theme is used in a more abstract sense, which makes it all the more unconventional, like time, color, pain, fear or words.

    I didn’t follow this as a rigid rating system, more as a framework for rating.

  3. Druid says:

    Well… I rate just 1-4 most times. 5 is hidden for gems 😀

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