On Achievements and Trophies

To a very large extent, I consider myself to be a gamer.

Around the time the NES came out, my family picked up an Atari 2600, used. I don't know who sold it to us, but I can remember going with my dad to pick it up at my school's playground (that was the meeting place).

At a later point we picked up an NES, via my dad, and then my mom bought us a SNES. Nintendo 64 came after that, followed by the Playstation, Playstation 2, and Playstation 3, all of which I purchased. (I can't recall the N64 purchase, but I think that was a family purchase.) Finally the Xbox 360 and Wii. At some point there was a Game Gear as well, which our dad picked up for us at a Circuit City, if I remember correctly.

Anyways, with that kind of history, I've been playing games over over half my life.

Before when you wanted to play with someone you had to invite them over. Now you can play with people all over the world. Boasting about beating a game, or getting a certain score, is as timeless as games themselves, and there were (are?) books that even kept track of this information. But with Microsoft's Xbox came achievements, which, although possible to cheat, allows you to show anyone (with a Live account) just what kind of gamer you are.

Last month, or maybe the month before, I surpassed the second person I personally knew in Achievements on Xbox Live. I also surpassed the one person I personally know in Trophies shortly after they were launched, although being relatively new to the PS3, that wasn't very hard to do.

For the Xbox, one of those individuals (the first I passed) purchased their Xbox around December 2006, while the second purchased their's around January 2006. (I didn't dig into their information very deeply, and they don't track it as much as I do, so ... these are estimates.) I purchased my Xbox in December 2008. And in five months and change I'm approaching 9900 points.

Now some people might consider me an achievement 'whore,' in that I gained so many points so fast. However, I think it's important to look further.

As of now I have played 22 games on Xbox 360. Those games allow for 18775 gamerscore, if I were to get every point. (Although that's actually high, since they track points for games in which you can't get all the points yet, such as for Halo 3.) I have 9830, which is 52.36%.

Of those 22 games, I don't own 2 of them, having instead borrowed them. Those two games gave me 205 of 2250, and since I felt extremely ill after playing those games, I will probably be unable to pick them up again. Removing those 'bad decisions' would result in 58.25%.

There are two games that I own that I don't play, one of which came with another, and one of which I can't get the control scheme down. Subtracting the 120 of 2000 would result in 65.44%.

Of the 18 games remaining, I have beat (meaning the main story line) 12 of them. I am close to completing 2 others, and 4 I would consider endless (I consider Rez HD to have a story line).

I play games, and I beat 'em.

Trophies on the Playstation 3 are a little different. I have trophies listed for 12 games on the PS3 (although 1 additional game should be listed, and is not). Having four different types of trophies, I have 101 bronze and 18 silver, with no gold or platnium trophies. I have beat the story on four of those games (since I purchased Eden Encore, I'm missing those gardens, so that game is now 'unfinished'), and have not on 6. Two others I would consider endless.

Since they use a percentage of completion, doing the math gives a 23.8% completion rate across those games with trophies.

However, Metal Gear Solid 4, which has no trophies, was finished twice by me. Uncharted got beat three times, and the third time was for the trophies. And that's not to mention all the other games I've finished on the PS3 and PS2, before trophies (and for the latter, achievements) were about.

Do I go for achievements? Yeah, sometimes I'll do something and then re-load a save to continue with a game. Is that because the achievement is silly? Yeah. But if they feel it necessary to give an arbitrary value to something silly, I'll go with the designers on that point.

But I play the game to play the game. And if it's horrid, I won't play it. (But I will let the achievements keep me going, when I would otherwise give up - I've tried three times to finish disc 1/2 of FFXIII, and I just can't do it.)