Thunderbolt (website)

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The Thunderbolt homepage
Web address
Commercial? No
Type of site
Owner Philip Morton
Created by Philip Morton
Launched November 20, 2000

Thunderbolt is an independent videogames website that was launched on November 20, 2000 by Philip Morton.[1] Thunderbolt publishes reviews, previews and features covering the major gaming platforms, particularly consoles. The site is run by volunteers who reside in the UK, North America and New Zealand,[2] who have written over 2,400 news stories [3] and over 2,000 reviews.[4]


Thunderbolt was originally a personal web design experiment and first launched on November 20, 2000.[1] The first two versions of the website included sections which were subsequently dropped, such as humorous pictures, cheats and hints. The third and first serious incarnation of Thunderbolt was launched in 2001, sporting a green design. Two writers joined the site on the same day, which gave the website's creator the confidence to further improve it.

On October 1, 2002, the orange and white themed fourth version of Thunderbolt was launched. New staff members joined and the site's creator became more and more committed towards it. The site was still built on static pages though and in the spring of 2003, the fifth database-driven version was launched. However, the design was not visually strong and a professional graphics design firm was hired to work on the sixth version, which launched on July 29, 2004. It featured a new retro section, the addition of support for new consoles and a new managements system for staff.

From October 2005 to August 2006, the site's owner was away and so the site did not see any further development during that time. However, on his return, work began on the seventh and current version of Thunderbolt, which launched on April 6, 2007. A new version was recently launched, in which the site was tidied up and a simpler variation of the logo was used.

Scoring and aggregation[edit]

Thunderbolt rates games with an integer out of ten, which is spelt out at the bottom of each review in a fashion similar to how Edge Magazine used to. As of January 19, 2008, the average score given to games is 70.9%, which is 3.7% lower than the industry average for the games reviewed.[4] Issues surrounding the scoring of games were addressed by Philip Morton in an article entitled Videogames by numbers,[5] in which he explains Thunderbolt's choice of scoring system and the reasons why 7 is the site average.

Thunderbolt's review scores are aggregated at Metacritic,[6] Rotten Tomatoes,[7] GameTab,[8] MobyGames [9] and Game Rankings,[4] where it is amongst the sites that are used to calculate average scores.[10] The site is also referenced by game publishers such as Atari [11] and 2K Games.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b "Thunderbolt - an updated illustrated history". Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  2. ^ "Thunderbolt - Who we are and what we do". Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Thunderbolt - Site Statistics". Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  4. ^ a b c "Game Rankings - Thunderbolt". Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  5. ^ "Thunderbolt - Videogames by numbers". Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  6. ^ "Metacritic - Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing reviews". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  7. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes -". Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  8. ^ "GameTab - Thunderbolt". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  9. ^ "MobyGames - Shadow of the Colossus". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  10. ^ "Game Rankings - Media Outlets". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  11. ^ "Roller Coaster Tycoon". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  12. ^ "Call of Cthulhu". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  13. ^ "2K Games - Sid Meier's Pirates Reviews". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 

External links[edit]