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On a Scale From One To Ten, this is the subversion.
Basically, Off the Scale applied to reviews: the movie/video game/whatever has made such an impact on the reviewer that he is willing to break the usual rules of classification of his medium to rate it. Usually done when something is bad, though there may be exceptions; it may be a Crowning Moment of Awesome if the score is higher than anything on the scale.
There are six categories:
- Type 0: This is discussed—that is, the reviewer openly admits to being tempted to go outside the established bounds of the rating system, but ultimately the reviewer adheres to the rating scale.
- Type 1: The score is simply outside the established bounds of the reviewer's usual ratings scale (compare Rank Inflation and F Minus Minus);
- Type 2: The score is paired with a nonsensical or unusual unit of measure;
- Type 3: The score is itself a nonsensical value (and quite often a Take That);
- Type 4: The reviewer admits to having no idea what score to give it (this is essentially a shrug);
- Type 5: And the Logical Extreme, the reviewer simply—and often explicitly--refuses to assign a rating at all. This can be because the reviewer found the work downright repulsive, or the reviewer found the work to be unworthy of a rating, or it could be because the reviewer decided that a rating was otherwise inapplicable. Sometimes overlaps with Dancing Bear.
- 1 Type 0--We don't hand out 0's, but maybe we should have for this.
- 2 Type 1--On a scale of 1-5: 0 (or 11)
- 3 Comic Books
- 4 Film
- 5 Live-Action TV
- 6 Music
- 7 Professional Wrestling
- 8 Video Games
- 9 Western Animation
- 10 Other
- 11 Film
- 12 Live-Action TV
- 13 Video Games
- 14 Web Original
- 15 Anime and Manga
- 16 Film
- 17 Literature
- 18 Music
- 19 Professional Wrestling
- 20 Video Games
- 21 Web Original
- 22 Aniime
- 23 Comic Books
- 24 Music
- 25 Video Games
- 26 Comics
- 27 Film
- 28 Live-Action TV
- 29 Music
- 30 Tabletop Games
- 31 Video Games
- 32 Western Animation
Type 0--We don't hand out 0's, but maybe we should have for this.
- "This game officially received the lowest score in the history of Game Spot: a 1.0. And by lowest, I mean it can't go any lower. We don't hand out zeroes, but maybe we should have for Big Rigs Over the Road Racing" — Alex Navarro, Frightfully Bad Games
- "I might have to modify our grading schedule and give it a Z except that the poor letter Z did nothing to deserve being permanently stuck on a Cassie Edwards novel. " — SB Sarah, reviewing Savage Moon, which got an "F".
- When rating God of War, The Official Play Station 2 Magazine (Greek edition) Commented that they would give it an 11/10, but weren't allowed to, so instead they settled on a 10/10
- Film critic Leonard Maltin claimed the movie "Tarzan: The Ape Man" starring Bo Derek was so bad it nearly convinced him to create a rating in his book lower than BOMB. Eventually, he just gave it a regular BOMB.
- JesuOtaku usually gives out unusual review scores (see below), but when reviewing Master of Martial Hearts, she only gave it "one greasy burger out of four" "because frankly, I don't have a lower score."
- To quote IGN's commentary regarding Panzer Dragoon Orta: "If I could give this game an 11 in graphics, I would. Actually, forget the number you see below. Consider it an 11. This game is unbelievably gorgeous and the screenshots don't do it justice. If this is the tip of the iceberg for Xbox, I pray I never go blind."
- GameCentral's 0/10 review of Postal III begins with the reviewer wondering whether the game's self-awareness should push it up to 1/10, or if the fact that the developers clearly knew they were releasing a terrible game should push it into the negatives.
- Present in snakesonasora's famous sporking of the Kingdom Hearts badfic "Naga Eyes". The rating scale (sometimes more a warning scale) is typically 1 to 5 Shadows. For particularly terrible fics, there exists a rare rating of Ansem, which includes everything from 5 Shadows plus extra-high doses of WTF-ery. "Naga Eyes" earned an Ansem, but with this addition attached:
snakesonasora: THE ANSEM IS ONLY A FORMALITY. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH SHADOWS, BEHEMOTHS, ANSEMS, OR XEMNASES TO PROPERLY ILLUSTRATE THE LEVEL OF HORROR PRESENT IN THIS FIC.
- Nintendo Power editor Chris Slate responded to one reader that he had been tempted to award some games a 10.5 out 10, but won't because that will mess up the scale by making 10.5 the new standard. (At the time, only Resident Evil 4, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had received a 10.)
Type 1--On a scale of 1-5: 0 (or 11)
- Spiderfan.org, which rates Spider-Man comic books on a scale of 1 to 5 webs, gave 1998's 'The Final Chapter' no webs, citing Aunt May's being brought Back From the Dead with a truly absurd explanation, and general bad writing. The review concluded by saying the story was a waste of precious paper.
- When SFX magazine did their ratings from A to D-, rather than a star system, there was one object (a plastic, life-sized Grey embryo in a jar) which they decided was worthy of an E.
- The Dread Central review of The 13th Alley: One BILLION knives out of 5 (the review thought it was a So Bad It's Good masterpiece). Note: "Knives" are a standard unit for this site, which is why this doesn't fit Type 2.
- The book and film reviews in the Czech sci-fi/fantasy magazine Ikarie normally go from one to five stars, with zero stars reserved for "So Bad It's Horrible" ones. (And yes, half out of five was occasionally used as well.) There was one movie for which the reviewer didn't feel zero was enough, so it got a 00.
- IGNs DVD review of This Is Spinal Tap received 11/10 instead of a real score.
- 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting gives stars. It also gives negative stars to So Bad It's Good movies. Zero stars are reserved for films that fail even that test.
- Freddy Got Fingered received minus 1 star from The Toronto Star. No other movie has been rated so lowly.
- Gene Siskel once chose to remove the film Shoah from his list of candidates for the year's top ten. He felt it deserved higher accolades.
- Donald Clarke of The Ticket awarded six stars (out of five) to Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon 3D, an English-language remake of the director's own The White Ribbon. This was a joke: no such movie exists and the review was published on April Fool's Day.
- The Boston Globe gave The Human Centipede II no stars out of five.
- Video Hound Golden Movie Retriever will normally give movies a score of one to four bones. For some films that are either hilariously bad or horrendously bad, they will hand out a rating of Woof!
- Similarly, Leonard Maltin will give films that don't rate one star a BOMB rating.
- The New York Daily News gave Battleship zero stars out of five.
- SF Debris gave the notorious Star Trek Voyager episode "Threshold" 0 on a one-to-ten scale, with an added message 'May God have mercy on your soul'. This opened the floodgates, as it were, and he's since handed out another for Enterprise's "A Night in Sickbay". A few horrible episodes only missed this mark because another is worse and he tries to keep the zero for the single worst episode of each series.
- He has since also given this score to "Code of Honor" of Star Trek the Next Generation, and has strongly implied that it will also be given to the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode "Profit and Lace".
- A score of 0 is given to the one episode of a series that brings shame to the entire Star Trek franchise by association.
- Keith D.A. Candido gave the fifth season ender of Highlander the Series, "Archangel" a 0 out of a 1-10 scale, citing the episode's introduction of an ancient Zoroastrian demon into the Highlander universe, Richie's death scene happening as a result of him being handed the Idiot Ball, and a whole bunch of story elements that just don't make sense.
- The Zettai ni Oishii segments of Gaki no Tsukai Ya Arahende, which feature the cast's attempts at making a specified dish with unusual ingredients, already has built-in negative values on its ratings scale of -2 to 10. Positive scores are represented by stars, negative scores by skull marks. But on at least one occasion, a dish has been awful enough to get two full skeletons.
- IGN gave its second zero in the site's history (see below for the first) to the pilot of Work It, which was unwatchably terrible.
- In-universe example in How I Met Your Mother, for the price of a wedding dress. The scale given is "never" to "never ever". The rating is "never ever ever ever ever times infinity".
- For a while, back in the David Tennant run, the Doctor Who website contained episode reviews from a family who gave them a 'fear factor' from 1 (mildly scary) to 5 (extremely scary), shown by the children of the family holding up scorecards. For both "The Satan Pit" and "Blink", the children apparently made or found scorecards with sixes on them - a rating given in-text as "Beyond Fear".
- Mark Prindle gave Madonna's American Life a zero out of ten. While he's known for often being a Caustic Critic, this was the first (and still only) album to get a zero, and to "commemorate" this he used a new graphic rather than representing the score with those tiny records as usual.
- Thrash metal band Flotsam And Jetsam's debut album Doomsday For The Deceiver got 6 Ks out of a possible 5 from Kerrang! magazine. Kind of a Crowning Moment of Awesome for a relatively obscure band, considering no other album in the magazine's history has ever received the honour.
- The late, great British radio DJ John Peel ranked new songs on his programme on a 5-star system. When he first played "Teenage Kicks" by The Undertones - a song which would become his favorite song of all time (lyrics from the song are even on his tombstone) - he gave it a score of 28 out of 5 Stars.
- When Gogol Bordello played Roskilde Festival in 2006, one reviewer gave them 7 out of 6 six stars, declaring that he'd draw the last star himself.
- The Rap Critic gave No Love by Eminem (featuring Lil Wayne) six stars out of five, possibly as much from shock that Eminem was on form after several years of mediocrity and Lil Wayne showed his poetic chops in the same song as much as anything.
- Wrestlecrap's description of the Black Scorpion's final appearance, where he landed in a spaceship, says, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the ultimate in stupidity, this rates 178."
- Bryan Alvarez, mentioned below under type 3, is more famous for his howl of MINUS FIVE STARS (if you absolutely must hear it, skip to 0:46), now used in the opening of Maffew's Botchamania.
- Apparently, Net Jak rewrote its code so that it could give Big Rigs Over the Road Racing a zero.
- For a fictional example, there's this Penny Arcade strip. After enough bribes have been heaped up, Donkey Konga 2 winds up with an 11 out of 5 at Gamespy... (see this page for more info)
- X-Play awarded that infamous E.T. game a "Zero" out of five, measured on a scale that bottoms out at 1.
- Guitar Hero got at least one 11/10 review.
- Polish magazine CD-Action gave Limbo of the Lost a negative score for plagiarism alone.
- When the original Wing Commander was released in 1990, it broke several scales in the positive direction. Dragon magazine, for example, rated it as six out of five stars.
- Half-Life 2 was awarded an 11/10 by Maximum PC magazine. At the end of a rare-for-that-publication exclusive 5-page spread. If this took place in a gaming magazine, it would indicate an incredible amount of marketing control over the content of the magazine; as it is, with Maximum PC being a hardware-centric publication that happens to review games on occasion, and the long spreads devoted to a single game being a rarity rather than the norm, it just stands out as extreme fanboyism.
- Computer Gaming World, which normally bottomed out at 1 star, had an "unholy trinity" of games that received zero: Postal 2, Mistmare, and Dungeon Lords.
- Averted by EGM—at the beginning and end of the column's lifespan, "Seanbaby's Rest Of The Crap" was for games that would warrant zeroes and negative scores on the normal rating scale used by the other reviewers. Pretty much the only reason he was doing this was for the humor value, since, as the very premise states, even the best of the games he reviewed were all the worst in Shovelware.
- Also played straight: The Guy Game, Mortal Kombat Advance and Ping Pals all received 0.0s from one of the 3 reviewers (with Ping Pals getting two zeroes).
- Hex and Bajo (of Good Game) gave Robot Unicorn Attack an utterly "ridonkulous" score of 8971 rubber chickens (a standard unit on the site) out of 20.
- Swedish gaming magazine Super PLAY gave Brütal Legend 11/10. There were likely a few reasons for this, one being that "this one goes to eleven" just fits the nature of the game, the other one being that it was the last issue of the magazine and they broke quite a few rules in it.
- IGN sometimes gives out a score of less than 1 out of 10, but only ever gave a zero once for a video game, for Olympic Hockey Nagano '98, because it was exactly the same game as Wayne Gretzky Hockey '98 with a Palette Swap.
- An in-game example of a similar system, but not used for ratings: In Nethack, wands and other magical items that have magical charges normally have some whole number of charges, between zero and a positive whole number, inclusive. If they run out by being used down to zero, they can (usually) be recharged. If you zap a wand of cancellation (whose spell is meant to erase magical effects) at them, their number of charges is set to -1: They can't be recharged at all, even if you have scrolls of charging.
- Seanbaby gave the Challenge Of The Superfriends version of The Riddler a -1. He gave Aquaman a 1.
- Although he did explain the logic behind it: Riddler is as useless as an ordinary human being would be against the Superfriends, and then makes it worse by giving away the Legion of Doom's plans in his puzzles. He's actually a 2 for the hero's side subtracted from his basic 1.
- Kobe Beef can't be rated on the USDA beef scale, because it would be several grades above "prime," the highest grade.
- At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci obtained a perfect score of 10, while the scoreboard could only reach up to 9.99. Her score was displayed as 1.00. Whoops. And then, just for good measure, she proceeded to do it six more times. She left the entire gymnastics world gaping in awe as she turned the sport upside down and inside out, and then shook it just to see what came out. It's still reeling from the aftershocks.
- In the aftermath of the 2009 Australian bushfires, authorities introduced a new fire danger category above "Extreme", named "Catastrophic - Code Red".
- In physics, the Mohs scale of hardness is defined as capping out at 10 with diamond, which was at the time the hardest substance known to man. Aggregated diamond nanorod, or 'hyperdiamond', is much harder than diamond and thus goes off the top of the scale.
Type 2--On a scale of 1-5: 5 Bananas
- The Dread Central review of Birdemic: 5 out of 5 Exploding Eagles (same as the The 13th Alley review)
- In film critic Leonard Maltin's movie guide, he gives the movie The Naked Gun 33 1/3 a rating of 2 and 1/3 stars, the only time he does this. In his review of The Naked Gun 2 1/2, he gave it 2 1/2 stars and in parentheses he says, "What else"?.
- On Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update recurring character Aunt Linda (played by Kristen Wiig) gives such ratings as "seven "Ghaaas?" and one-and-a-half "Yougottabe Frigginkiddingme!" " (Note that those were both for one work.)
- Lampshaded near the end of season 3 of the American version of The Office: Pam is keeping track of the points that Michael gives various competitors, but Michael keeps changing the method in which he rates them (i.e., a gold star to the winner of event 1, 10 points for event 2, a checkmark in event 3, etc.). The end result is that Pam can't convert the scores over between events and has no idea who's actually winning.
- Dave Lister frequently talks about writing Michelin Guides or similar about various settings, resulting in Legion getting a psycho rating of "four and a half chainsaws, maybe five". Rimmer suggests that the G-Tower from The Tank in series 8 probably gets "the full five slop-out buckets" in the guide to Penal Hell-Holes.
- X-Play regularly gives its review scores nonsensical values, usually related to the game being reviewed, somehow.
- Inverted by JesuOtaku. She normally scores things with some sort of strange unit out of 4 (i.e., Baccano got "three and a half de-fingerings" and Princess Tutu got "four characters who just won't do what they're told"), but Now and Then Here and There was so depressing she couldn't bring herself to make fun of it and just used stars.
- In the words of Proton Jon: I have to give this... four Captain Falcons driving Sonic like he was an F-Zero car out of five.
- Another ROM hack he gave "Four Henshin A-Go-Gos out of five".
- In one of the Teen Girl Squad shorts on Homestar Runner, one girl's attempt at diving into the mouth of a live lion is rated at "3 noses?"
- I give Donkey Kong Country Returns ten golden bananas plus out of Shigeru Miyamoto.
Type 3--On a scale of 1-5: Up Yours.
- Zac Bertschy from Anime News Network is infamous for these during the annual season previews, especially harem comedies and ecchi shows. He gave the first episode of Queen's Blade an animated gif of a smiley face shooting itself in the head out of 5. Kiss X Sis got a Picard facepalm instead of a rating. Infinite Stratos got a rating of "quiet I am trying to nap here", a preview that cut off into ZZZZZZZZ halfway through, and a video of a cute kitten as a better alternative for something to watch. Also provides an example of Type 1: Zac sarcastically gave Sengoku Collection a 10 out of 5.
- Hope Chapman aka Jesu Otaku gave Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Ja Nai N Dakara Ne a "GTFO" rating in ANN season previews. The second season of Strike Witches was given a shrug.
- CHUD.com's infamous "Fuck You Out of 10" review of the Halloween remake
- Dread Central reviewer Scott Foy's now trademark "FUCK THIS MOVIE" rating.
- Spill.com (an online movie review site) gives a rating of "Fuck You" for movies they absolutely hated. On the other extreme, movies they love get the rating of "Better Than Sex".
- Mind you, they've got "Full Price!!", "Matinee!", "Rental", and "Some Bullshit!", so this may not count.
- "Fuck you" is not in their rating scale. However, sometimes they find so bad and offensive that they can't even give it "Some old bullshit", instead resorting to this. Often accompanied with picture of Korey flipping bird.
- Howsoever, this definitely does count.
- ^ To those wondering how this video review is significant- Spill's video reviews are usually 4-5 minutes long and have the profanity spoken by the reviewers censored. The review (of Vampires Suck) is only 44 seconds long, consisting only of a clip from the film, which then cuts to a disgusted Korey staring blankly at the camera for several seconds before issuing his "Fuck You" rating, which this time goes uncensored.
- Victoria Jackson's tenure on Saturday Night Live in the late 1980s shaded into this trope. Her rating scale was "4: Pretty good. 3: Best movie ever. 2: Worst movie ever. 1: Pretty good."
- Sue at Mutant Reviewers from Hell gave Grave of the Fireflies a rating of GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!
- Phelous, a reviewer of bad horror movies from That Guy With The Glasses, described A Serbian Film as the worst thing he's ever watched. And he's watched movies like Birdemic and Five Across The Eyes.
- Smart Bitches Trashy Books has a grade of "DNF", for books they Did Not Finish.
- Pitchfork gave Jet's Shine On the rating "video of a monkey drinking its own piss".
- Their rating of Radiohead's In Rainbows seemed like this: instead of a score, there was an input box for users to submit scores (a reference to the band's "pay what you feel like" distribution method for this album). However, upon entering a score, the editor's score (9.3 out of 10) became visible. However, after a site redesign, only the reviewer's score remains.
- They gave Do You Like Rock Music?, the second album by English rockers British Sea Power, the rating of U2.
- Cokemachineglow's alleged review of Starflyer 59's Dial M (which began with the reviewer admitting that they could not objectively review the album, and immediately derailed into a rage-filled rant against Christian Rock) gave the album a score of "†%".
- Terrorizer magazine gave SunnO)))'s most recent album Monoliths and Dimensions the rating O))). They actually intended this as a compliment, however, awarding it a glowing review.
- Bryan Alvarez described the N Wo Souled Out Pay-Per-View from 1997 as "twenty asses."
- Sure, the rating scale of Screw Attack's VGR show is pretty idiosyncratic in itself ("Buy It", "Rent It" and "F it"), but they still do occasionally play with the scale for certain games. For example, Modern Warfare 2 was given a "rent it, just never return it" in protest of Activisions infamous price hike they demanded for that game.
- During his stint at Electronic Gaming Monthly reviewing horrible games, Seanbaby once gave a Trolls game a score of "a picture of a Troll riding a Hotdog."
- Highly divisive Shmup Space Giraffe received what Wikipedia describes as an 'unusual' rating of "Holy crap this is awesome hell yes / 10" from a review on Angry Gamer.
- A variant in The Grimoire of Marisa, wherein Marisa rates and offers her opinions on some of the many spellcards in the series. Marisa's rating scale itself is fairly normal, giving the spellcard a certain number of stars based on her perceived difficulty level. However, she sometimes breaks the "difficulty level" boundary and rates some by "Show-Off Level," "Temperature," "Believability," "Volume," and "Whimsicalness."
- Jon Tron has given scores that do not make sense at all, such as an A/5 for Sonic Colors and 6 Golden Bananas+/Shigeru Miyamoto.
- "Horribifuckus", courtesy of The Nostalgia Critic.
- Ashens' guest Jon Blyth said "If you want me to give it a score, then I give Renegade III this noise: AAAAAWWWWRRRROOOO".
- Furcadia has a seasonal contest for minigames (called Dreams), and one well-known creator—known as Graphite—experienced a variation of this (as his creations were contest entries, there were no ratings beyond First Place, Second Place, Third Place, etc.).
Graphite was sure his creation ColdFusion would win because his creation was so innovative—it was a complete Interface Screw that didn't resemble Furcadia at all in either appearance or gameplay.
Unfortunately, this meant the judges had no idea how to rank it, and so placed it in a category all its own. To quote Graphite, "This dream was in fact so innovative that the judges decided to create a special category for my dream alone in which I ended up getting first place, last place, and every place in-between."
The judges did agree that the dream was So Cool Its Awesome and awarded Graphite handsomely for essentially taking DragonSpeak and Patching Up to Eleven and essentially turning Furcadia into a game of Atomica. To quote Felorin (one of Furcadias Moderators), "This dream is going to receive a special Puzzling, Mind-boggling, Patching and DragonSpeak Mastering Trickster award of Triwings for Life and a dozen Purple Roses. (Whew that's a mouthful!)"
Sadly, every update made to Furcadia since then makes the dream less and less compatable.
- In Something Awful's ROM Pit, games are normally rated from zero to negative fifty. The game Werewolf: The Last Warrior, however, was simply rated FUCK MEeeeeeee.
Type 4--On a scale of 1-5: What.
- Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network gave the first episode of Upotte!! a rating of "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT"
- Paul O'Brien of The X-Axis picked up Quantum and Woody #32, on the assumption that a relaunch of a title, which had as its gimmick that stuff had happened in all the unpublished issues since the cancellation, would be a great out-of-context jumping-on point. He was wrong, and rated it n/a, on the basis that he simply couldn't judge what someone who knew what the hell was going on might get out of it.
- Mixed with Type 2 in Jon Savage's review of Nurse With Wound's 1979 LP Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella for Sounds magazine, in which he gave the album "????? out of five" instead of the usual five stars (he couldn't decide whether it was "pure genius" or "sheer nonsense").
- Similarly, Pitchfork's review of Robert Pollard's Relaxation Of The Asshole gave it both a 0.0 and a 10.0.
- NGamer gave ??% to Bakushow (aka LOL), on the grounds that its score depends entirely on what the player makes of it.
- The British N64 Magazine and its successor NGC Magazine awarded a score of ??% to two Japan-only games that they found completely unable to comprehend- GiFTPiA on Cube (which they suspected was probably really good) and Get A Love: Panda Love Unit on 64 (with the mini-review reading "Impenetrable Japanese girlfriend simulator. No, hang on, That Came Out Wrong.")
- Similarly, the UK Nintendo Official Magazine gave a blank space where the percentage score traditionally was for Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution. The review essentially degenerated into a series of screenshots of humerous quotes sent to random online opponents.
- PC Gamer UK once gave a terrible University management game XX% and the review was written as a multiple choice exam so the reader could choose the final score. The highest possible was no more that 10% and the lowest was a flat 0.
- When TOM from Toonami reviewed Dropship: United Peace Force for the Play Station 2 the game game received a "?" rating. Tom had no idea how to rate the game since he could never get past the sixth level. This was accompanied by repeated footage of TOM losing on that level.
- Equestria Gaming has handed out "Ungradeable — ??/10" ratings on occasion.
- In a case of it being this trope or Readings Are Off the Scale, Symposium of Post-mysticism's author Akyuu gives ratings for friendliness and power. Unlike Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, which had definite ratings, she actually gives out "Unknown" ratings for when she cannot define the character. Reiuji Utsuho is a unique case: both areas are rated as "Unknown".
Type 5--On a scale of 1-5: No. Just no.
- The X-Axis again: Paul didn't give a rating to the 2004 relaunch of X-Force, holding that judging its quality by any normal standard was beside the point - it was exactly what you'd expect a relaunch of X-Force by Rob Liefeld to be like and therefore, presumably, the people who bought it did so because that's what they wanted (whether to make fun of it or because they were genuinely fans of the Rob Liefeld style).
- Linkara refuses to review One More Day claiming it's so bad it doesn't even deserve a review.
Ebert: "Note: I am not giving a star rating to Pink Flamingos, because stars simply seem not to apply. It should be considered not as a film but as a fact, or perhaps as an object. "
Ebert: I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine.
- He also refused to give stars to I Spit on Your Grave (both the original and remake).
- There was a review of one of the Toxic Avenger movies that rated it "Stars? Who needs stars?"
- A fairly positive example: the website 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting will not give star reviews to movies that either predate the concept of film-making (Georges Melieres's "stunt films") or are not in any state to be objectively reviewed (the stills-based "reconstruction" of the legendarily-lost London After Midnight). These films are still reviewed, but their rating is "Not Applicable".
- A good-natured case of this was when Sci Fi Debris reviewed the TNG episode "Family". While he liked the episode, he refused to rate it because as he put it, the episode consisted entirely of plot threads which in other episodes would've been B plots.
- James Wolcott's review of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.
What's most distressing is the possibility that Metal Machine Music isn't so much a knife slash at his detractors as perhaps a blade turned inward. At its very worst this album suggests masochism. He may be, to shift weaponry images, moving to the center of fire so that we critics-as-assassins can make a clean kill. Fine, Lou, go ahead. Just stand there. Don't move, But [sic] damned if I'll squeeze the trigger.
- The writer of the tier system for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e refuses to give the truenamer class a rating - due to poorly-written formulas, after the first few levels it can't use its powers at all without extremely heavy Min-Maxing, and even then it's a Squishy Wizard with worse spells than some Magic Knight classes.
- X-Play refused to rate Big Rigs Over the Road Racing because their system only went down to 1, which would imply that it was actually a game—although as mentioned under Type 1, they did not do the same for E.T.. Other games featured in the "games you should never buy" segment, such as Barbie Horse Adventure or Flags (a "flag waving in the wind" simulator), also were not rated.
- Later they said they should've done this for Pokémon Channel, which, while not bad, is technically not really a game.
- Played for Laughs by Jim Sterling's "100% objective review" of Final Fantasy XIII.
- Played straight in Sterling's review of Velvet Assassin, where the game is so horrible he couldn't finish it and gave it an "N/A" score.
- Although The Video Game Critic typically grades on a standard A to F scale, he will occasionally give a game an "NA" (ostensibly for "Not Applicable".) This is typically for one of two reasons: Either the game is simply an enhanced remake of another one, or it's meant for preschoolers and thus it would be slightly unfair for him to give it a grade.
- When N-Gamer reviewed the infamous witch-touching game Doki Doki Majo Shinpan!, the rating for each category simply said "NO".
- Tomcat Alley, an FMV flight simulator on the Sega CD, was given no score on a scale from 0-100 by a magazine called Interface. "TA claims to be an 'interactive movie' and not something as lowly as a mere videogame. And since our business is games it gets no score. No arms, no cookies!"
- Again from The Grimoire of Marisa: Marisa outright refuses to rate the spellcards of Suika and Medicine.
- Kill Screen's review of Duke Nukem Forever probably stands as the most extreme example of this; not only did the reviewer refuse to give a score, the entire site decided not to give out scores ever again.
"We didn’t think it would be possible for a single terrible game to change our entire scoring system. Congratulations, Duke, you’ve broken us."
- Beavis and Butthead usually commented on music videos, but in two cases (Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice), they just stared in silent horror for a while before changing the channel.
- A positive variation occurred when they spent an entire Ramones video headbanging.
- Another video was so dull and cliche they simply turned the TV off. The home viewers' screen was also black, with no commentary, for the rest of the video-watching segment.