Crew View: Confessions of a trophy enthusiast
We’re putting another member of the DLC Crew, our awesome community, under the spotlight. Meet Adin Shepherd, a recovering trophy addict who’s using this post as his confessional to get his feelings about digital accolades of his chest. Take it away Adin.
Yeah, that’s right I’m a trophy enthusiast, I don’t really consider myself a trophy ‘whore’ [but we do, sorry Adin – Ed]. You won’t see a Hannah Montana, Terminator Salvation or (insert Disney game here) platinum in my collection, although, thanks to the kids, there is the odd EyePet or Carnival Games trophy.
With a modest 69 platinum trophies and a 57% completion rate, I wouldn’t put myself in the completionist category either.
I’m just an average gamer who got caught up in the never ending quest for more digital silverware.
It was mid-2008. Following the success of achievements over on the Xbox, Sony patched in trophy support for the PS3. At the time, I didn’t really think much of it. It was little more than a token for completing various in game tasks you could share with your fellow gamers. I guess they always have been, but for some of us they became more than that. They were a status symbol, a badge of honour even.
It all started out innocently enough. Nothing had really changed. I played games like I always had only now I would occasionally hear a little ding and see a notification on the screen of my latest accomplishment. Then I decided to try and earn my first platinum trophy.
I figured Fallout 3 was as good a game as any to pop my platinum cherry. The trophy list wasn’t too taxing, the exception being trophies needing a certain level of good or bad karma. While a second playthrough wasn’t really a deal breaker, I stumbled on a game save exploit which let me get them all in a single playthrough.
It sounded pretty simple, and it was. Just keep my karma on the side of good, save when near the required level and back it up on a USB . Then I just had to be a dick until my karma dipped, hit the level needed and “ding!” Followed by reloading the backup save, hit the level again with good karma and another “ding”.
There was obviously a bit of mucking around, stopping and restarting the game to back up and reload saves, but it was quicker and easier than a whole second playthrough and I earned my first platinum.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but going through this really changed the way I would have normally played the game. Most of my attention was focused on monitoring my level progress and karma so I didn’t mess up the exploit. Decisions were made based on balancing my karma rather than what I actually wanted to do. I still enjoyed my time in the wastelands, but can’t help but wonder if my experience may have been greater if I had played just for the sake of playing?
From there things snowballed, albeit slowly. It eventually reached a point where if a single trophy stood in the way of the platinum I would boost, glitch or whatever else it took to get the job done.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops II, I used a glitch in zombie mode using split screen and a second controller. In Tomb Raider, I earned the shopaholic trophy using a glitch to save reaching level 60 three times in its shoddy multiplayer. I farmed the final boss in Borderlands 2, night after night, until he finally dropped the Conference Call shotgun I needed to make Terramorphous the Invincible vincible. I even resorted to earning the Portal 2 co-op trophies solo, with a controller in each hand, using split screen during of the great PSN outage of 2011 (actually, that took some skills).
It wasn’t all bad though. For every platinum I earned this way there was another that took some hard work and commitment, such as Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Call of Duty: World at War (I still hate you Heart of the Reich! [a punishingly tough chapter of the campaign particularly at higher difficultly levels -Ed]), Dead Space 2, Rayman Origins and Guacamelee (Tree Tops had me shedding big manly tears – see below) among others. All had some seriously difficult trophies and were very time consuming.
With a new generation of gaming upon us, I stopped and took a moment to look back. I thought about the hours spent earning those platinum trophies and the games I never got around to playing because of the chase.
I asked myself why? What was the point? Aside from a few digital trophies, what did I really get out of it? Bragging rights? Ego fodder? A slightly lager e-peen? I couldn’t think of anything to convince me it was worth all the effort.
So I have made the decision to go back to playing games for the sake of the game. I’m not saying I will never earn platinum again, just trophies will not be a focus.
There are a lot of great games I need to catch up on with many more on the way and only finite time to play them. Whether it is spent playing new games or another late night session of Battlefield 4 with friends, I’m going to be making better use of that time.
Are Trophies and Achievements detrimental to games and how we play them or do they benefit from their introduction? Thats a discussion for another day.