Achieve This!
or How Polly Came To Hate Modern Gaming Part 74
by Polly


Well, son of a bitch, there's gotta be SOME reason I'm doing all I can to get all these points, right? I mean, it's not like I'm some kinda full-blown Asperger's patient stuck in a continuous loop of doing the same thing over and over again to experience the soothing sound of an "unlocked" jingle followed by a pop-up box telling me that I did something that was probably completely pointless. I just don't know what it is, man! My brain just keeps telling me I NEED MORE FUCKING POINTS!

XBox Live Achievements and PSN Trophies. They're absolutely stupid and can go buttfuck themselves with a cattle prod. A lot of my friends in both real life and on the interbutts seem to go batshit insane over these things. Worthless little point-based rewards for doing pathetically minor to likely equally pathetic "major" things in video games just for the point of raising a little score that other people see. I don't really understand it, and honestly I don't want to. What drives these people to go to such ridiculous lengths to raise a score that one day will be completely wiped clean, rendering all of those "achievements" into wasted time and effort? You could have been doing something more productive! Like masturbating! Hell, that's free! You don't have to rent or buy anything to do it. Sure, you can, but you don't have to. All that's involved in a small time investment and a little cleaning up afterwards. No money exchanged at all. You won't get any POINTS, but you'll probably feel a lot better and maybe actually have ACHIEVED something afterward.

Now, as you may already be able to tell, I'm not the biggest fan of this crap. Not only do I think this shit is entirely stupid, but I'm also not a big fan of systems that are forced and you're unable to opt out of.

These days, as soon as you throw a new game into your shiny digital entertainment software playing device and the pretty pictures begin filling up your moving pictures box, your console is immediately branded with an Achievements list or Trophy Set. Beyond deleting the profile or online account, there's no way to ever rid yourself of THE MARK.

No matter how much progress you ever (never!) make, you'll have a big fat online and offline account of what you did or didn't do in game. This shit just irks the hell out of me. It's like game companies are coming over, pissing and shitting on my systems, and marking their territory. THAT'S RIGHT! I GOT 0% OF THE TROPHIES IN flOw HAHA SUCK MY DICK! WHOOPITY-FUCKING-DOO! It looks stupid! Why does this have to be forced on me? Why can't I opt out of EVER having access to Trophies and Achievements at some point? Maybe make it a toggle option in the system's configuration? Maybe give me the option of installing Trophies and Achievements the first time I fire up a game? I DON'T CARE ABOUT THESE THINGS! I DON'T WANT TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN I GET THEM OR HAVE TO SEE THEM ON THE DASHBOARD ALL GREYED OUT AND LONELY BECAUSE I DIDN'T CARE ENOUGH TO GET THEM! I DON'T CARE AND I WANT OUT!

I've veered a little bit off track, so let's whip this baby back on the road, shall we? I don't think that necessarily all achievements are bad. Hear me out, though. I'm not backpedalling. It can be fun every now and then to have a game throw some added challenge at you. We did this back in the day by challenging ourselves to one-life games, beat them on one continue, see how fast we could do it with max item collection percentage. These are things that you really enjoy doing with games you love. I can't tell you the number of times I've done crazy "special runs" in games that I love. We didn't need some arbitrary points system, it was just done for the fun of the game.

That's the point I'm bitching about here. THE FUN! In the past with these little bitch-fests, it appears I may have come off as apologetic to some degree, or making excuses. I'm looking at this issue from the point of actually having fun. So when I compare what's done today to what I've done in the past, know that I'm just pointing out the distinct difference between doing busy work for the sake of a bigger e-penis and actually playing something you enjoy and having fun with it.

And that's one thing that really bugs me about this whole achievement craze. People are so fucking crazy to pad their gamer scores and trophy counts that they'll do just about fucking stupid thing in-game to get them. And sometimes taking on this great quest for bigger numbers just makes people dumber.

You see all these pretty Achievement prompts all over the article? The site I got them from actually had people thinking that you could somehow make up achievements and add them to your REAL gamer score. Guh....FULGLHSDFLK:HSDF:LKHSDKLFH:H I HATE PEOPLE! I WANT THEM ALL TO JUST DIE ALREADY! I PRAY NIGHTLY FOR THE NUCLEAR BOMBS TO FINALLY DROP!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. People will do a lot of really dumb things just for the sake of raising their gamer scores or amassing more trophies, including playing shitty games that they will in no way enjoy. Like, for instance, Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth on the XBOX 360. The only reason anyone and everyone played this game is because you can amass an easy 1000 G in a matter of a few minutes and a bit of button mashing. Nobody rented, bought, or played that game FOR ANY LEGITIMATE REASON OTHER THAN GRINDING OUT POINTS! Don't even try to tell me you did, because YOU are a fucking LIAR and I swear to god I will CUT you!

And can you believe some people played Phantasy Star Fuck Universe FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE of earning an easy 1000 G just for completing the game? PHANTASY STAR FUCK UNIVERSE PEOPLE! People chose to expose themselves to this game for an extended period of time. You don't need me to tell you that something has gone horribly wrong here, and that we as the human race are in some seriously deep shit.

Going even further into this madness, I have a friend who actually bought that god-awful Terminator: Salvation game that came out after the movie simply because he wanted a Platinum trophy and it was apparently the easiest game to get one in. The kicker is that his game list is chock full of GREAT games he could have been playing for that Platinum, including inFamous and both Uncharted games. Of course, he didn't even try for it in those games, even though I know for a fact that he enjoyed both games so much that he nagged me to buy them for months. But no, he couldn't be bothered to drag Cole MacGrath through Empire City while zappity-zappin' motherfuckers faces for the Platinum, nor could he give ol' Nathan Drake a hand. Getting the Platinum in those games took real effort and probably a fair amount of skill that he didn't really feel the need to muster. He had to go with fucking Terminator: Salvation. Ya know, the game that basically buried GRIN?

While on his journey for that ever-elusive Plat, he was sure to let me know at every juncture while playing the game just how much un-fun he was having. "This game is barely playable," he'd say, while rattling off a litany of the game's issues, all of which included horrible controls, awful stage design, and the worst offender, game-crashing bugs that would set his grand quest back an hour or two at a time! He spent about 20 hours playing a game he'd never play under any normal circumstances just for a few percentage points and a "1" by his Platinum trophy total.

HE DOESN'T EVEN LIKE TERMINATOR for crying out loud!

Maybe it's just me, but I'd honestly rather be playing a game I know I'd be having fun with to try and scoop up trophies than trying to play some shitty licensed game that no one in their right mind should be buying.

And that's another issue I have with this whole achievement craze bullshit, and it's one I'm sure the developers are fully aware of by this point. People will actually waste money for the sole purpose of inflating their own ego over a few little numbers that are never going to mean anything. That friend I mentioned paid $59.99 for a game he knew he was going to hate and was based on a license he didn't even care about just because it had an easy trophy set. And that's only one instance of this idiocy.

Just do a quick google search for "achievements" in Google and you'll find numerous messageboard posts inquiring about games with easy achievements, how to get them, and if they can be bought for dirt-cheap or rented from GameFly. This is really only maybe a step above idiots who pay real life money for shitty items an gold in MMO's. It's only a step above here, because in most instances (not counting donwloadables) you'll actually have a physical piece of merchandise for your troubles. Shitty or not, at least achievement whores can sorta grasp what they're wasting money on. They're still stupid, though. So utterly stupid.

And just like people waste money to pad their achievement and trophy scores, renting and buying games that they're in no way enjoying, some people are so stupid and so obsessed with "showing them online" that they'd intentionally avoid buying a good game if a game lacked such miniscule and meaningless rewards.

This isn't much of a problem today, but back in the earlier PS3 days, when trophies were initially implemented, you'd almost always run into chants of "No trophies, no buy" if a prospective new release wasn't set to feature them or have them patched in day fuck one. Of course, there are still some people who will refuse to play older games because those games lack trophies. My most recent example is that I know someone who simply refuses to play Valkyria Chronicles because YEP! NO TROPHIES! I even offered to let him borrow my copy, but he refused saying that it would be a waste of time since he wouldn't get anything out of it.

Wouldn't get anything out of it? He's quite an avid J-RPG player, and especially enjoys strategic-type games! What's not to love, right? Also, Valkyria Chronicles is an excellent game! One of the best PS3 games I've played, and yet this dickhead refuses to play it, saying it has nothing for him, not based on the game's merits or even that it should be appealing to him based on his tastes, but because he can't extend the length of his internet penis just a little more. Seriously, what is wrong with you people? YOU ARE SICK! SO FUCKING SIIIIIICK!

Speaking of sick little fucks, if you haven't read this then I suggest you do now. Go ahead, I'll wait.

By the time this article hit the interbutts, I was already sick of the achievement hysteria, but this drove it to a whole new level. To sum it up, it's about a woman so obsessed with her gamer score that she plays whether it's fun or not, has wasted thousands of dollars on games and importing consoles from other countries, just for the sake of raising her gamer score. She also takes part in little "boosting" parties online with other people to help get achievements easily. Ya know, stand around and let people shoot you so they can rack up their number of kills to ding another achievement. It's a pretty common practice these days and you can probably find parties for every game released now for this sole purpose. How is this fun? Doesn't this seem in any way depressing to anybody other than me?

And let me point out that I'm in no way against people having fun and playing the games the way they want. Fuckin' have a ball! If you're playing a game you love and whoring for achievements, more power to you! But with each and every person I talk to that engages in this kind of behavior, the word "fun" never enters the conversation. They're fucking mindless robots. All they do is whine about how stupidly difficult an achievement was to get or how terrible the game they had to play to get it was. You're a fucking masochist! No, I take that back, you're a god damn moron. You have no idea what really having fun is! Don't we fucking play games for fun anymore?

I already know the answer to that, so shut the fuck up.

Let me hammer this home: I'm not entirely against achievements and trophies. I think games like Mega Man 9/10 and Bionic Commando handled them well. I still don't love them, but at least they're not stupid, and more based on the simple challenges we set for ourselves when these stupid systems weren't in place. These achievements either challenged your skills to an impossible degree or required some amount of creativity and knowledge of the game and how its specific mechanics work to pull off.

I'd love to see developers get their damn heads screwed on straight about achievements and trophies, but they won't, because they're fully aware that many people will buy and rent their shitty wastes of plastic and code simply to rack up points. Stop this pointless "you watched the opening cinematic" (Think I'm kidding? Check out BlazBlue) and "completed the goddamn tutorial" horse pucky. You haven't achieved shit by watching an opening movie, and completing a fucking tutorial isn't anything worthy of praise.

And you know what? No matter how big your gamer score or trophy level, you haven't achieved shit that'll last beyond the moment that Microsoft and Sony shut down the servers and move onto a new online platform. Your effort is as wasted as people who spend the same amount of time, agony, and money on shit like Final Fantasy XI. You will never get anything in return, so if you're going to achievement whore, (and I still hate you if you do) at the very fucking least do it for the love of the game, not because you think the next (first?) date you ever get is going to be based on how large a worthless number is or that your penis size is affected somehow.

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