Lost in the Gamerscore Wilderness; Achievement Hunting.

By: Joe Strange


 

Inspired somewhat by Charlie’s most recent comic, I’ve been thinking about Achievements, or Trophies for our Sony counterparts. Nintendo, you still don’t have a trivial number with which I can vapidly judge other gamers, so you’re out of this discussion. I’ll show you the door, but please leave your excellent N64 Zelda games and Pokedex, I have need of them.

I’ve been called many things by people who watch me play games, one of which is A Team Killing F*cktard, but the other is an Achievement Wh-oman of the night. I’ve been more than known to try and rinse games for Achievements, and note the use of the word try. I may be an Achievement Escort, but I’m a really, really bad one.

A while ago, Microsoft brought in a new stats screen that’s really easy to lament over. It shows your gamerscore beside your potential total score. That’s getting every achievement in every game you’ve got. I’ve been sitting around the halfway point ever since I saw it, because even if I get a new game and total it then I’m not making any dent in the overall achievement tally. The only way to do that would be to backtrack my catalogue of games.

But there’s a few issues with that; broken achievements, lost games, those games you played for ten minutes got an achievement in and never touched again, and then there’s the ones that’re just plain difficult or time consuming.

I really wouldn’t have worried about these silly little numbers if it weren’t for two things; the aforementioned stats screen (which also has every game you’ve actually got everything there is to get in, I stand at a measly 12 out of I’d rather not say.) and the second is a little internet community called Achievement Hunter.

They’re an offshoot of Roosterteeth, the guys behind Red Vs Blue, Rwby and Immersion (which you should all check out), but have become something of a behemoth in their own right, releasing daily videos and having a very dedicated community of Hunters.

These people make me sad. They’re the equivalent to coming back from a fishing trip with a trout that you’re really proud of, and then seeing that everyone else caught a shark.

I know that achievements really mean nothing, and that they’re simply a nice addition to help replayability, or to give you an insight into how many different ways there are to play a game (The low chaos/high chaos achievements in Dishonored for example) but there’s something about that little x out of y figure that makes me angsty.

Sure I could get a new gamercard and only play games that I know I can total. There’s two things in the way of that though; first of all it’d mean replaying the games I’ve already completed all over again (because why miss out on something I know I can do already) and there’s no way I’m getting all those sodding feathers for Mrs Auditore again.

The second is more important though; that’s not what I got into games for. When I started playing games, we didn’t have achievement lists, at best we had a little tally on the Pokemon centre which showed us how many matches we’d won or lost, and I was totally fine with that.

Also, if I couldn’t play the games I never completed I’d have to avoid playing almost anything with multiplayer, that means no Halo or Assassin’s Creed. I couldn’t play anything with those DLCs with horde modes or challenges and nothing else, so that’s Dishonored and Bioshock Infinite out of my playlist. Finally, I’ve not even touched on those single player games I’ve not totalled because, Mass Effect, there’s no way I’m going to take on the Reapers on veteran and Spec Ops, your Fubar difficulty still gives me nightmares. Those games I just listed? All my favourite games.

So sure Achievements are great, and a lovely way to follow your progress through a game, but I’m no longer playing my games for them. I’ve not got enough time on my hands to do all those stupid radiant Thieves Guild quests, Skyrim. So take your skeleton key and shove it where Nocturnal can’t find it.

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