Ok, ok. I admit it. I’m an addict. Hunting achievements and trophies has become an obsession!
I’d owned my Xbox for well over a year before I understood the appeal of achievements and it wasn’t long before all the games I’d already completed were dusted off and replayed religiously to boost my gamerscore. Now, I’m a shell of a man – replaying the same section of game over and over until that familiar chime and the little achievement icon pops onto my screen.
Many balked at the very idea of this kind of points system when it was first unveiled by Microsoft but its appeal proved so great that Sony soon introduced its own “trophy” scheme for the PS3. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, eh?
Like millions of others out there, I no longer place my games back on the shelf when they’re completed; they remain in my console until I’ve eeked out a few more points. It may be slightly sad but it represents fantastic value for money – and I must admit that it has helped me enjoy my gaming more.
I don’t just play to see those end credits drift down my screen anymore, I play to find my 500th agility orb in Crackdown, my 50th gargoyle in Fable II or complete a ridiculously long wheelie in GTA IV. I now don’t rush through a game but inspect every square inch of my 3D environment, checking every nook and crannie for a collectable. As a result, I no longer overlook half the game; I get to see everything the designers lovingly created.
Achievements have added an entirely new dimension to gaming and it certainly appears to have mass appeal. There are plenty of websites out there that host tips and guides to help you top up your points, or encourage likeminded gamers to get together and boost their scores.
According to an interview with the Official Xbox Magazine a few months back, easy achievements can increase a big game’s sales by up to 40,000.
However, it is important that developers get the balance right – make a game ludicrously tough or too simple and it might deter potential buyers. No doubt you’ve glanced at your friends’ scores in the past and ridiculed them for playing dismal titles just for the sake of a few points? Come on, you know who you are… you’ve got Avatar on your roll of honour (requiring you to just hit a button a few times), or King Kong and Terminator: Salvation (play through the game for guaranteed 1,000G), haven’t you?
On the other hand, someone who has attained the Seriously 2.0 achievement in Gears of Wars 2 for 100,000 kills demands your utmost respect.
It appears, however, that some of us are a little more committed than others…
Pity/admire Stallion83, for example, who currently has a whopping 408,000 gamerscore (I wonder how many RRODs he went through to get this?!) and is on course to reach his ambitious target of one million points. More to the point, by the end of May he wants to have reached the half way mark! Writing on his blog a few days ago, he calculated that to meet this challenge of 100,000G in 159 days, he’d need to gain about 5,000 each week!
I’ll be revisiting his blog in the coming months to see how he gets on – and am wondering just how he has so much time on his hands. As far as the majority of achievements go, they are by no means easy to obtain and are often pretty monotonous. Good luck to him.
In comparison with some of these die-hard gamers out there with scores reaching into the tens or hundred of thousands, I’ve accumulated a rather lowly figure to date – around 15,000 by last count. But I’m determined to get more! And what’s more, I’m enjoying it immensely.
Even for the doubters out there who despise all things achievement related, it’s great to get a metaphoric pat on the head for doing well and accomplishing a feat that few others have, be it completing Mile High Club in Call of Duty 4 on Veteran difficulty or getting a 40-strong combo in Batman Arkham Asylum.
Whoever came up with the idea deserves a slap on the back and a hefty bonus.
Making me play a mediocre game over and over again? Now, that’s an achievement in itself!
What achievements do you feel most proud of and which are the easy ones you wish you could wipe from your gaming history?