Trophies, why do I even?

The title sort of speaks for itself. In other aspects of life, like when I used to play hockey, I never cared for trophies. I actually loathed going to the ceremonies. And it didn’t matter to me that I didn’t win MVP, or most goals scored, etc. I didn’t even play hockey like the rest of the team. I was in it for the contact, not the goals (what a shocking stereotype – a Canadian who plays hockey *gasp*). Even when my team won 1st place, or I made All-Star and we won that game – I didn’t care about a hunk of plastic or a cheap medal that said I accomplished something that others hadn’t. And yet, when I game, man do I love that ding!

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So, if I don’t care about the accomplishment per say, why am I level 21 and constantly struggling to get the platinum?

Let me preface the next 500 words by saying, I’m not one of those gamers who buys the easy platinum games just to get the trophies. You won’t find Hanna Montana on my trophy list…I generally will only go through the (often painstaking) effort to collect them all on a game I really enjoy playing.

Right now, for example, I’m playing through Dishonored: Definitive Edition. I played the original on PS3, loved it, decided to play it again on my PS4. Now, I already got the platinum the first time, and this time is proving to be just/if not more difficult because I made a couple of mistakes on my playthroughs that meant my two playthrough situation is now a four playthrough situation.

Now for the reason why. Why I do it, even when it turns out to be way more effort than it’s worth (case above).

Well the obvious answer is it definitely promotes a sense of accomplishment. In a time where most aspects of life don’t offer that, seeing that complete list, knowing that you put in the time and dedication to complete something (and complete it well) is a really fulfilling thing. The simplest thing I can juxtapose it to would be the futility of trying to keep the gaming section in order when I used to work for Bestbuy. Even if I got it to the point where I thought it was perfect – all it took was a day or two before it was torn asunder. And constantly working on it was Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Part of it may be that I have some OCD tendencies. There is just something really satisfying about seeing a completed list of trophies for a game. That 100%. That nice platinum. All of the (intended to be seen) artwork the developers produced for the trophy images. Mmmmmmmmmm. Seeing the games completed, knowing that I’ve done it all and never have to look back, and to some extent – more importantly, I can look at that list and not have to say “Oh, I just need that last trophy to finish” and have it eat away at me while I do other things. Yes, I have admitted I have a problem when it comes to gaming. If you read this regularly, you already know this.

Finally, I’ll say this: It can be really fun. Some trophies, I know I’ll never get. Games that requires 100 hours of online play (especially fighting games…I’m looking at you MK9!) will almost certainly remain blank. But those trophies that require you to learn the skills the game has to offer and then use them in an application that isn’t fundamental to the core game itself – fun. I also really like the trophies that reward you for exploring the game beyond the linear path. Because nearly 30 years of gaming has taught me there is always something around that corner or on that floor that you could otherwise skip.

So there you have it. A peak behind the curtain of The Ego and his eccentricities. Let me know why you do or not, in the comments.

– The Ego

 

Less sometimes means more

This is part two of (who knows how many) my thoughts on games and censorship.

Without further ado, here is the second encounter I wanted to share.

Second:

It’s late and my shift is nearly done. I’ve had a good day, so when a mother and her (fairly) young sons come into look for a game I’m happy to help them. They look around for a few minutes before coming to ask me directly to help them find a specific game. They wanted Mortal Kombat X for Xbone. Since the mother had asked for it, I happily did my job and collected the game, and proceeded to bring it back to her. Now, I’ll admit, given that (some) mother’s can be pretty irate and irrational about violent games, I couldn’t in good conscience just let her just walk out of the store with the game without at least giving her a heads up as to the nature of the MK series.

Now, it’s definitely not my job to make sure that parent’s are paying attention to what they’re buying their kids, nor is it my job to tell them how to parent. That being said, I do make sure that the subject is broached. Of course, I certainly I’m not going tell anyone not to buy something, especially not a game, simply because it contains violence. However, I feel like I’m bereft in my duties if I don’t at least acknowledge it. Usually, it’s met with thanks, and they’re pleased to know that someone who knows a lot about the material is there to guide them. And, beyond that, that their children won’t be arbitrarily be able to purchase an M rated title without them being present.

Now, this is where the story hits (the somewhat common) [the] twist.

I proceed to explain that the entire point of the game is essentially to beat your opponent, and then dismember them is the gruesomest ways imaginable. We began to have, what I consider to be one of the more intelligent, discussions of violence in gaming. I’m beyond impressed to see a mother, despite having fairly young children in mind, that she is taking an incredibly rational approach. Which, simply, was: I know my kids aren’t violent, and no amount of playing a videogame is going to turn them into sociopaths who intend to harm people because of some (hi-res) digital sprites. That being said, the weird part of the conversation happened at this moment.

She had, essentially, shooed her children away, and began to question me, in hushed tones, as to what the sexual content was like in the game…So, the track jumped a bit. She is content and care-free discussing violence on an acceptable level, but sex/nudity = bad.

Basically, her argument:

Totally normal, admissible:

Whole-heartedly bad:

I just don’t get the hang-ups about sex in modern media. Once I had reassured her that there was little, to no “sexualisation” in the game, she took her children and purchased MKX.

I wish, I really do, that someone could rationalise for me, why tearing a body apart, and then cannibalising it is something that any age can both enact and witness, but bare breasts or simulated sex is a taboo still?

In this case, I just didn’t engage. I learn my lessons well. I generally know better than to question people’s decisions, especially that of a mother. Simply because I know it’s a futile choice – like ice-skating uphill.

But why is it that nudity and sex are reviled by the masses, but the worst elements of our society, violence and such, are so widely accepted?

Now, don’t mistake me for someone on the side of violence being worse than sex. Honestly, I could care less. So long as it’s not sex or violence for the sake of it. Generally, in games like God of War, I always found the sex to be pretty dumb.

Well, looks like this will be a three-part’er.

– The Ego