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

 

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Just a few days behind

Red. Dead. Redemption. 2.

YES. OH MY YES.

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Sorry, I’ve got a hold of myself now. The funny thing is that the reaction isn’t even based off of the trailer. Which, granted, was pretty exciting though incredibly brief as per the Rockstar usual. But it just looked so amazing. Waves of nostalgia just swept over me. Back to the end of the first game and that heartbreaking moment and for the first time I saw GTA V.

And yea, I know this came out a few days ago, and I’m just getting to it, but I wasn’t writing then, and I am now. So lets talk RDR2:

Watching a true current-gen offering from Rockstar is like watching Cirque de Soliel for the first time. It’s beautiful, unique and stirs up a million questions. What can we expect? Unlike the majority of the articles that are kicking around the web, I’m not as concerned with the whole “Is it John Marston?” debate. Whether or not it ends up being him, or if the game focuses on a new/series of protagonists, is secondary in my opinion. What I want to know is: What has Rockstar got up it’s sleeve this time? How, pray tell, could the possibly out do themselves this time around. I mean, Red Dead Redemption is iconic. There are few games that have come out in my lifetime that are so universally loved. The only other series that has generated that kind of universal acceptance and admiration is the Elder Scrolls series.

So what can they add? The online was prolific for the time. It was one of the first online games I actually engaged in. The range of activities was pretty vast, and of course had the standard “oh look, there’s another person, I better just shoot them”. So, I’m not sure what they can add to improve it. I mean, I’m sure they’ll have something new in the offline game that will translate over to the online. My big concern with the online side is that they go the same was as GTAO has. Where only the online aspect of the game gets all of the DLC. And this is coming from someone who actively plays the online in GTAO. And given the extremely high quality of the DLC for Red Dead. Undead Nightmare – despite being yet another zombie DLC in a time where that had sadly become the norm – was incredible.

So far the single player looks like it’ll be true to form. The hunting will likely return and looks like they’re putting a greater emphasis on it. Of course, everything at this point is speculation. More of the same would really hit the spot. I trust in Rockstar. I know a lot of people have gone down the path, likening Rockstar to companies like EA and Cashcom – only being about the moolah via micro transactions. But it’s not the case. I mean, I know GTA hasn’t gotten any single player DLC like they did for GTA 4. That being said – every piece of GTAO DLC has been free. And let’s face facts – they haven’t disappointed so far. I haven’t played a Rockstar game since GTA 3 that wasn’t good.

The one thing I hope for is more fun little things like some of the trophies and the horses of the four horsemen. Dastardly  was probably one of my favourite things in the entire game – and that’s not just because I always root for the villains in the movies. Hunting the Chupacabra, tracking down the pale horse – also pretty damn awesome. I always find it’s the little things that make Rockstar games great. Like when you realise that Donald Love is a cannibal in GTA 3.

So this week past begins the countdown to fall 2017. That’s the one thing they do that I can’t deal with – tease (in the most literal sense) a game a year in advance. It’s hard enough waiting in between releases, but it’s worse when they give us just enough.

– The Ego

 

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