Why are so many Japanese games score based?

Scores don’t really interest me at all, and never did. Even when I was a kid playing games in an arcade, I was interested in the experience of playing, the sense of progress, and hoping to see the end. Then and now, the grading and “numbers go up” to be detrimental to my enjoyment.

Eh, wake me up when they finally start “Translation 64”.

I went to kindergarten in Japan (“yochien”).

They devoted large portions of the day to playing games; there were these hats you could turn inside out to signify whether you were on the “blue team” or the “red team”. It was ruthless (not a value judgement). Cooperation and competition were taught ‘by doing’ from a very young age. I just remember being in a sea of kids trying to throw these little hacky-sack red and blue colored balls into a very tall basket. Nothing at all like basketball.

My teacher was pretty kind.

Well I played through the entirely of Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 and I couldn’t really care less about any sort of ranking score at the end of any given mission.

I am still not convinced this is a problem at all. Like ever. In fact I see this as “old man yells at cloud after rivet counting” sort of shit.

Moreover it’s entire superfluous and never impacting my actual gameplay experience at all.

Like, are you sullen because they rated your “gameplay style” a D- or something? Some sort of qualified marker that you are in fact actually playing the game wrong!

They dare!


You have to grind less for money if you got high rank. Much less actually, each rank doubles the money you get or something.

But since you gotta grind stupidly to get the random medals which are necessary to progress in the game: indeed, one should shrug!

This is getting pretty off-topic, but I still don’t see “the approach is fundamentally different”.

Obviously, there are culturally specific things in fiction from different countries, and issues of translation that can make a story confusing to foreign audience, but I don’t know how Zatoichi or I Am a Cat (I’m looking for examples that might be representative of of Japanese fiction without being particularly western influenced. Feel free to suggest alternatives) are different in approach from western counterparts.

Compare that to very old stories from any language or culture. A medieval chivalric romance feels far more alien than almost any contemporary story from Japan or east Asia in general.

I think it’s important not to get too stuck on specific games. There are always going to be poor implementations of systems that you can point to for examples of why something sucks but that doesn’t invalidate every other example where it’s fine.

As @roguefrog notes, the scoring system didn’t stop your completion of the objective and ability to continue playing. It just says, “Hey, you can do a lot better.” If you take it to mean you suck, well, that’s a you problem. You might actually suck, but they are letting you know you can do that mission in a better way.

It doesn’t even mean “hey, you can play better” in the specific Valkyrie Chronicles example: you are probably actually sucking when you get an S rank, as those were achieved by running like crazy to the last flag, while not caring about any casualty that might have happened on your side while at it.

Yeah, like I said, some bad examples definitely exist.

That’s the point and I don’t see how isn’t it obvious.

A bad ranking system devalues the game. The developer informs you about what actually matters in the game. You can play a game like Civilization and setting yourself a goal of making your people happy but it’s a game with objective measurement of success and world rankings will inform you that happiness doesn’t matter in itself.

Scoring system is a very important part of the design. It’s author’s way to evaluate if you play the game right. If you’re saying that ignoring authorial intent like that is necessary the you can explain away anything. Here’s a great game, only you have to ignore specific game mechanics. Or cheat to skip a specific level. And don’t watch cutscenes in that location.

My favourite similar take is “stop playing after XX hours because the ending sucks”. Which is my personal take on Dragon Quest V. Which I love. Hrrm…

Let’s make this thread more interesting: do any of you score haters enjoy achievements? (Maybe just a little, deep down inside?)

I do. I only rarely chase them actively, but I do like having them pop up. That’s a much better motivator for me than seeing some meaningless number go up. And it encourages a variety of methods/approaches/playstyles, whereas grades funnel you towards one specific path.

Achievements are nonsense, but sometimes I like a good score chase.

I don’t like grades, but at least they serve some sort of function for me. Scores do absolutely nothing for me, and don’t even register. They might as well not exist.

I used to think the same thing about scores.

What changed? It’s not that I like high scores. I simply enjoy games that have high scores now, and scoring systems are ways for me to explore the mechanics of games that I enjoy, in ways that I normally wouldn’t.

I don’t remember that at all, but it HAS been a very long time. I also don’t recall having trouble getting through the game, requiring I play the game some specifically weird way, tailored necessarily to get a high score. /shrug

Yeah…when it comes to gameplay, authorial intent can suck it. Gamers will skii, wave-dash, clip through walls, find shortcuts, find and exploit overpowered mechanics, do unconventional shit, often finding creative or even better ways through “emergent gameplay”.

Don’t see how a “scoring system” alters that. Unless the scoring has some intrinsic impact on game progression or something which it often doesn’t at all.

In case of Valkyria Chronicles it does impact the game cause the score has a huge impact on your XP making the following missions harder to play. You can always grind so it’s not a deal breaker. But it’s more than just a little irritation.

Twitch skill-based games like Devil May Cry or Metal Gear Rising are examples of good scoring systems. They have a set of requirements and not fulfilling some of them puts you out of S territory. In most of those games rank just goes in some table. If you really love the game you have a goal ahead of you that allows you to say you have mastered the game, you have hit 5 holes with 5 swings of your golf club. In this case the author tells me about their game through the scoring system, they think that excellence is in specific things.

Remember Command & Conquer with the post mission stats replete with a score and parser for entering initials?

Stuff like this never really mattered at all. If there is some resource benefit to getting a better score that’s carried into the next mission or what have you, well that is different but I think those cases are the exception to the rule.

Nope, couldn’t care less about them. I have no idea what my Gamerscore or whatever the Playstation equivalent is and I find people who buy games just to get easy achievements completely baffling.

That said, I don’t hate scores. I just don’t find them motivating at all. Progression is generally what motivates me in a score-based game. The only quasi-exception to this I can think of is Trials/Trackmania, where I do generally try to get gold. But if the medals weren’t tied to the progression system in the former, I doubt I would bother.