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Elsa's blog
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Elsa avatar 1:15 PM on 10.18.2011  (server time)
This is my story...

So, I completed Fallout New Vegas over the weekend and finished my story of siding with the NCR and bringing order to the wildness of the west. I got the Brotherhood of Steel, the Boomers and the Great Khans to help me out. Most factions liked me and the few that didn't... well, in my eyes they were the bad guys in my story. I accidentally killed Ceasar and the Van Graffs early on in the story, and the Powder Gangers were my nemesis through most of the game (those guys really, really hated me!). Still, in the end, everything worked out and my own story was told based on choices I made. I had the handsome Boone, with his touching lovelorn story, as my companion throughout the game and I also picked up Rex the dog part way through the game. In my story it was my gal, Boone and our dog... kind of a family unit.

... but now there are a ton of trophies sitting there telling me to go back and replay parts of the game in order to "actually finish" it. This is one of the reasons I want to entirely opt out of the trophy system. As far as I'm concerned I did finish the game. To go back and replay the game to get alternate endings is an option, but not one that should be encouraged by the trophy system. It's essentially telling me that the game is incomplete if I don't see all the options the devs provided. Dump those companions and try out all of them. Make different choices. Play the game over and over again, or just reload earlier game saves and play a meta-game of "get all the trophies". This is fine for some people, but for me, it entirely ruins the game. I made my choices, I only want to see my one story. I won't give in to the trophy pressure and re-play my story to make choices I didn't make.

Too many games do this. They put the game over the story and by doing so, they actually ruin the story. Options are nice, but why do I have to be a bigamist in Fable 2 if that isn't something I wouldn't normally choose to do in the creation of my own story? Why do the devs want me to go back and make alternate choices in Dragon Age: Origins? Why do they have to mess up MY story, just so I can see THEIR story?

Now I do understand that Sony and Microsoft basically enforced a policy that games MUST have trophies or achievements. I don't necessarily agree but I understand that a lot of do gamers find pleasure in this meta-game. I do however, wish that there was an opt-out option or that there was at least a way to turn off all display or reference to these trophies/achievements. I don't want to know that I can, or even should, sleep with these three other characters to get a trophy. I don't want to see a little message pop up in the game reminding me that it's a game and apparently I did something to warrant an intrusion. I definitely don't want to have a niggling feeling that I should be re-loading earlier game saves and running around dumping my current companion to take on a new one... essentially spending 30 minutes or so doing nothing to advance the game or story, but simply to add some inexplicable points to my gamer score. A gamer score isn't an indication of how good a gamer someone is... it often seems to me to be more of an indicator of how anal-retentive some gamers are and how willing they are to be told by a developer what they should be doing.

I do have one platinum trophy, and I did.. things. I did things that made me feel dirty. I have well over 1000 hours in MAG and went for the platinum trophy and did things like sniping paratroopers from the spawn with little regard or care for how the rest of my squad or team was doing. I didn't care if my team won or loss... as long as I got a few more paratrooper kills for the stupid trophy requirement. I almost teamkilled some poor dickhead who had the nerve to steal MY turret when I was so close to getting the turret kills needed for a trophy. I felt like a whore, selling my gaming integrity to the developers for a virtual pat on the head. I won't do that again, but the unfortunate fact is that other people will, and chances are good that I will suffer for this in most any team based game.

Now I don't really care if devs want to include the usual "find all the feathers, snow globes, or other useless collectibles" in a game, it has no effect on the story. I don't even care if they want to include a replay on hardcore/badass/superhuman mode... as long as it has no effect on how I choose to play the story. I don't want to know about the choices I "could" have made. I don't want to know that there are five alternate endings that I should be seeing. I don't want a list of trophies that tell me how to play my game. I don't like that I can't help but find myself looking at the trophies when I get that intrusive message while playing a game. I would like them gone. It's like a box of chocolates just sitting there... it's easy to say "just ignore it"... but chances are strong that I'll give in to temptation and have one or two.... or the entire box (damn my parents for buying us those chocolate covered macadamia nuts... but they sure were good!)

I want a game to tell my story, the story I create with the choices I make. Isn't that the purpose of playing a game with a story? Developers should take this into consideration when designing their trophies so that they don't give away plot points or options. They certainly shouldn't force the gamer to replay the game making alternate decisions, playing evil instead of good, or good instead of evil. It's like watching a movie with an incredibly powerful ending... then being forced to sit and watch the other alternate endings where the main character lives instead of dies, or everyone dies or everyone lives. Alternate endings should be strictly an option - for those that want it. For the rest of us, we just want one story - our story.

Devs, quit being so self centered. The joy of playing a game with alternate endings and choices is that everyone plays a different game and the story they get is unique to them. To encourage us to go back and see all the alternate events you created for the game is like saying "look at me... look what we did". It entirely lessens the impact of the original story and ensures that no one has a unique story, but instead we all see the same entirety of the game. Yes, it does add re-playability, yes it does add time to a game... but at a cost. Surely there are ways to better design trophies that can add time or replayability without sacrificing MY story?

Meh.... for me, Fallout: New Vegas is done. No changing my story... I like the one I got.

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