So back in the day, before the Xbox 360 and a couple of updates for the PS3, the idea of getting something to show for time spent in games was maybe a quick pic on your phone or an in-game stats page showing completion ratings. Then something changed.
Bragging rights were only a matter of time!
They weren’t the first adopters of giving players tangible evidence of time spent in game, but Microsoft added a feature to track, update and (eventually through updates the console’s dashboard brag) about what you’ve done in game.
My God! What have they done!!
Keeping tabs on what you’ve done in game, whats left to do and the possibility of hidden things you’ve yet to find has, for a lot of people I know turned, into friendly competition, obsessions and (in some cases) turned into highly successful Youtube channels.
Achievements (or trophies if you are a fan of Sony) in most games tend to evolve around story progression and displays of skill mastery through a steady difficulty increase. There are however exceptions to this, more common are multiplayer based achievements and secret achievements. But every once in a while you get a set of achievements that are either satirical in nature, or too overwhelmingly difficult to unlock that it can take literal years to finally nab them.
Surely you jest? Examples I hear you cry…
Satirical is easy.
There exists a title called “Eat Lead: The Return Of Matt Hazard”. Now for the most part this game is composed of gaming and pop culture references from multiple decades, and this game, for the most part, is enjoyable.
However, I can honestly say I fell off my chair (seriously) laughing so hard at the fact that I got an achievement pop up from pausing the game. Worth a cool 5 achievement points (or a bronze trophy on the PlayStation), pausing the game earns you a “Take 5” pop up along with a comment from Matt Hazard himself.
Overwhelmingly difficult is another story entirely.
There are some very hard Chevos/Trophies to unlock, Metal Gear Solid 4’s platinum trophy, Dead Rising’s 7 Day survivor and Ghost Recons Advanced War fighters World champion to name a few.
I have personally only attempted 2 out of 3 of these challenges, being that I’m not very skilled at third person or first person shooters. I have, on the other hand, attempted something that tests not only skill but fortitude. I am talking about the Bladder of Steel Award in Rock Band 2.
Oh the agony, the blisters and the stupid hopping dance of the person denied a toilet break!
All those who have tried this feat know full well the preparation and determination needed.
Playing every song on the Rock Band 2 disc in one sitting… About 3 and a half hours non stop. No pausing. No breaks. Just constant rocking out on your 5 buttoned axe – which by 2 hours on starts to get a bit dirty with all the dried sweat.
The last time that I attempted this one solo, I came so close to achieving it – at just under 3 hours done.
My eyes had started to go a bit funny before I threw in the towel.
My personal advice if anyone wanted to take up this challenge? Do it in a team, practice quickly swapping the guitar between your team members.
If your going to sing all of the tracks then you’re mad, plain and simple and if you want to drum all of the tracks…
Are you INSANE?!
Did I ever succumb to the draw of achievement hunting?
Short answer is yes.
I made it my mission at one point to get a minimum of one achievement per day. However I made it a point to never make game purchases where just progressing through game got me easy points. I put some serious dedication in when I was hunting.
No Hannah Montana games, or anything like that. We’re talking Skyrim and Mass Effect.
Surely your not like this anymore… are you? Good grief! How many times do you charge the batteries for your controllers per week!
Hunting in games for me was something I did in the past. Nowadays I’m more partial to good gameplay mechanics, longevity of story and a sense of time well spent. With varying challenges either imposed by myself or after a good Google-Fu search.
I have to admit however that if a childhood favourite is released onto a store, whether its PC or console, I tend to snap it up out of nostalgia and have a good time hunting those illusive achievements. You know the ones, they’re the ones that you found hard to prove to friends when the game was first released.
Did you ever get like me? Was it a bragging rights war with your friends? Did you ever manage to get the Bladder Of Steel Award? Let me know some of your most proud achievements in the comments below.
One I never got was getting killed by a chicken on Resident Evil 5.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post about Achievements.