Friday, August 27, 2010

The Benefit and Detriment of Trophies

As I was playing Transformers War for Cybertron, Levelling my classes, I was wondering why am I doing this? Is it to get the classes to max level or am I just doing it to get the Trophy/Achievement? (my primary gaming platform at the moment is PS3 so I will probably cite trophy more that achievement, but for the purposes for this the terms are interchangeable)

Back in the day before trophies, I tended to play games longer, granted I had less games to play but still. I rarely find myself just getting lost in the world any more, just exploring or seeing what's out there.

For example;

Metal Gear Solid - Love this game. I've actually purchased it three times, The Original Release, The Gamecube Release and recently again on PSN. I have no idea how many times I've completed this game, on all difficulties, unlocked all items. I used to do speed runs for fun. Listen to the codec conversations all over again. Today would that happen I wonder? unless there was a trophy for it?

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - I actually purchased an N64 just to play this game, Again i've purchased this one twice, Original release and the Gamecube "Master Quest" version. This game might possibly be my all time favourite game ever! Every detail is still ingrained in my memory even today Twelve years later ( has it been that long?) What would happen if this had trophies? would it have gotten the same love? Would it still have gotten its Perfect scores 10/10 from Edge, Famitsu, IGN and many others? The Fanboy in me shudders to even ponder this one.

Grand Theft Auto III - Possible one of the biggest time sinks I've ever played, My first taste of sandbox. I have great love for this game, I must admit though that I haven't played it in a long time, My copy was stolen so I don't own it any more. So I am unsure how it has held up to the test of time. I don't really need to elaborate on this one, even before trophies this game lived a long time, I remember it having an almost permanent position on Gamefaqs Top 10 games on the front page, while for me at least Grand Theft Auto IV has all but faded from memory.

Have trophies put a shorter life span on games? perhaps but maybe on "sub par" games it give them an extra incentive to be played, Some games have an increased popularity due to the sheer easiness to complete and get your Platinum Trophy, while others have trophies that are literally impossible to achieve.

From my personal experience, The Saboteur my first Platinum in fact. While a wholly under-rated game I would recommend everyone go out and get. I enjoyed it immensely, It recaptured the feelings I had playing Grand Theft Auto III and maybe even Grand Theft Auto (for those of you old enough to remember) Wide area to explore, weapons and vehicles to collect, Nazis installations to take out, The main character even shared my first name what more could I want. I had gotten most of the trophies without even really trying for them, just popped us as I was normally trying to complete things. But alas when that platinum appeared on the screen, I didn't realise at the time but something changed inside me. I kept playing, but after a day or two I felt I had no reason to keep going, So I moved on to the next game. So The Adventures of Sean Devlin is now up on my self and sadly will probably never be played again.

"I was unprepared for the power you would have over me"

Another example, soon after getting my PS3 I was online looking for an RPG to play I stumbled upon Agarest: Generations Of War, not only that it was a collectors edition ( I had no chance ) When it arrived there was lots going on in real life and I hadn't really enough time to fully immerse myself in the game and it has since been relegated to the backlog pile, and gets closer to the bottom all the time ;( I can't help but wonder that if it has trophies would this have been different? would I have made more time for it? Actually I recently learned that the US Version (Digital Download Only) has trophies and for a minute there I considered it but managed to slap some sense into myself.

It was these games that made me realise the power and significance trophies have come to play in gaming. They are no longer (if they ever were) a way to track what you played and could brag about online. They have a power over what, when and how you play. 

So gentle reader I urge to think about something next time you have a controller in hand, Are you playing this for you? or are you playing for trophy completion either consciously or subconsciously or is there even a difference?

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