Acheivement Unlocked: Blog written

Why do I love trophies so much? Or, why do we?

My guess, and since you’re taking the time to read my blog, is that playing games has traditionally been what most consider a pass time and the best of it and a waste of time at the worst.

I find now that I’m getting old(er), that given how little time I have, I end up getting pretty ADD when it comes to completing games. I strive to quell the war inside of me. Part of me says: Beat the game. Get the story done, enjoy it, but beat it and move on. Then the other side says: But trophies. And yea, I would love to be able to plow through games and score those sweet, sweet trophies. That sound is the ultimate serotonin inducer. It’s 100% joy.

But the issue at hand isn’t, is getting trophies time consuming, it’s: Why do we love getting them so much.

What it boils down to is that when time constraints are an issue, and making choices on how to spend our fleeting free time, getting achievements or trophies gives us a false sense of accomplishment. Not to say that it doesn’t take skills and time to complete games, but it rewards our worker-bee mentality that even in our downtime we need to be doing something “constructive”.

Getting that gamerscore, or platinum trophy gives us that feeling that we did something well. That we accomplished something on a number of others have done.

So is it worth it? It definitely makes us feel good, and it adds a level of quality that makes the game both more enjoyable and draws out the play time.

But what’s the point? It sometimes feels a bit like running on a hamster wheel. Getting that gamerscore or trophy levels – what’s it good for? It doesn’t really prove anything to others or ourselves. I suppose it can be an issue of pride. It is pretty nice when you look at your rank on a site like psnprofiles.com and you find out that you’re ranked in the top 50,000 gamers in the world. That’s not a staggeringly impressive number, but, considering how many people play games world wide – it’s pretty cool.

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really add much to the experience, except I suppose, to force you to experiment with higher difficulties and force you to do multiple playthroughs. And, to be honest, sometimes that second playthrough is a lot of fun.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, is a great example of that. I had to do two back-to-back playthroughs and I enjoyed it both times. I felt like the game still had a lot to offer even though beating it once, should theoretically have been sufficient. The story was over, and I knew how it would progress and end. But, the game’s features, like the Nemesis system, made the game so enjoyable, that ignoring the story on the second occasion, and focusing on the gameplay alone was totally worthwhile.

The inFamous series is another great example. Though the story’s ending will likely not affect the next game – especially if you chose the evil path (which, frankly, I usually do from the outset). It was still pretty cool to see the development of the characters with a different set of choices, and a different series of weapons.

That being said, I wonder how many of you actually strive to that end-goal?

I know I made a remark that was rather flippant, that trophies don’t change the game, and I still think that on the whole, it’s true. That being said, I think that some games do a great job at forcing you to explain more. Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. That’s an awesome game that speaks to exactly my last point. Leveling up characters gives you something extra to do, and also makes it so that you have to experiment with every class.

Let me know what you think below.

– The Ego

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