Every now and then, when a game’s natural progress and in-game collectibles edge me towards the game’s Platinum trophy, I am roped back into the trophy hunting game. Every time, I come to regret it, knowing that I the hunt is sucking the fun out of the game, but also knowing that I cannot stop until I get that trophy. Once I hear the final trophy chime and see the title of that last trophy, I am almost always filled with a spent and vapid empty feeling of disgust at both myself and the game.
Although that has become very rare as time went by, it still happens occasionally. I try and avoid looking at the trophy list, knowing that the moment I that look at it and see my trophy percentage below 50%, that my enjoyment of the game will suddenly stop. One solution could be attempting to change something within myself (something I do not know what is). Another, which is the one I adopted, is a conscious attempt at removing myself from trophy collection as much as possible. If there was an option to stop the trophy prompts from ever appearing, or even an option to relinquish all my trophies altogether, I would take both options in a heartbeat.
Some people see this as an overdramatization in my part, that I should have some degree of control over how I feel. They may be right at some level, but I simply could never help but feel this way.
To me, there is a simple compulsion to collect things, this is one reason that I generally dislike open-world games. Even after the point of enjoyment, I simply continue collecting for the sake of collecting. Filling icons and completing percentages is just something I “MUST” do. As long as I am able to, I will try and collect and complete everything.
Only ways to stop this compulsion is usually to be as ignorant as possible. If there are no in-game checklists or quests, then I wouldn’t be compelled to collect or play more of the game unless I enjoy it. The other way is for the quest or achievement to simply be very difficult so that I can be comfortable never attempting it.
Of course, I am lucky in that my compulsion is mild in comparison to others, and it had little effect on my non-gaming life (in gaming, spending more time not-enjoying a game is a time I could have spent enjoying another game). Others I know have become so addicted to trophy hunting, that it both physically and mentally affected their well-being. My own uncle is suffering from this, as his obsession with platinuming any game he plays means that’s what he spends most of his time doing.
It doesn't always ruin your life, but it can help you ruin it yourself
If anything, the lack of a trophy system in Nintendo’s consoles have been one of the reasons I enjoyed the Wii U so much. Suddenly, I was liberated from the chore (and I considered it a chore) of playing and getting a Platinum in my PS3 games. In fact, it was at the time of the Wii U’s release that I started getting more control over my compulsive tendencies, and was able to direct it towards more useful and fun activities.
For instance, that’s when I started my various review blogs. My obsession with lists and completion naturally led to enjoyment of going down a list and completing tasks. Except, in this case, the task was simply completing the game and reviewing. Completing games which had no trophies, which had no modern addiction trappings, which had no bullshit.
This is the reason I am firmly against Nintendo introducing a trophy or achievement system to their consoles unless I can turn those features off.
In my opinion, the entire system was introduced as a measure to keep people playing a game and not reselling it, and will eventually be a way to sell microtransactions (and maybe even the trophies themselves) to make earning the trophies easier.
In the blog opening, I mentioned that I am hinting for a trophy now. That would be Yakuza 0’s Platinum trophy. Fans of the series will know that there is a giant in-game checklist of activities. Being a fan of the series, and enjoying many of those activities, I naturally started filling that list. Once I completed the list, I realized I was a couple of trophies away from the Platinum, so I decided to get it.
While the experience is not bad enough to make me change my mind about the game, it showcases the poor (and probably intentional) bad design for these trophies. As I mentioned, the in-game checklist already takes care of the bulk of those trophies. However, one trophy, in particular, is designed to waste as much of your time as possible.
Time is the real finite resource that is being exhausted here
Beating the game on Legendary mode is easy enough if your character is upgraded enough. So, in a way to make it harder, Sega removes all of your upgrades and basically asks for you to play the game and grind for upgrades again. Doing it the first time was fun, doing it the second time is a chore and a compulsion I cannot escape.
*- In his usual style, Gamemaniac3434 mixes science and videogames in this blog that explores the accuracy of the plague-ridden locations of Dishonored, which is obviously inspired by the famous black plague.
*- It may be cheating a bit to put my own Review of the Wii console as a topsauced blog, but that's frankly warranted. The Wii Reviews project has been more than four years in the making, first starting in May 2015. Now, a little over four years after starting this, I am finally done with a proper review of the Wii and most of its great game. I will miss the plucky little console, which really had more than people gave it credit for.
*- At first, this may seem to be a blog about Cowboy Bebop, but it is more a blog about Nior himself and how watching the anime series at a difficult point in time in his life has forever cemented its place in his heart. This is a good blog about the power of media in enriching our lives.
B - For July's Band of Bloggers theme, Boxman214 asks us to consider heroes in video games. Everywhere we look in video games, heroes are all around us, and they come in many forms. This will also be Boxman's final prompt for the BoB team.
These trophies do not cost money to earn (for now) but cost a lot of finite time
S- It looks like Kerrik52 is back with his weekly reviews of past games in his "Traveller in Playtime" series:
Trophy addiction is intrinsically linked to gaming addiction (which for some reason people like to treat as a myth in gaming sites)
N- GC StandfordReisinger reports on several news items that may be old news by the time you read them. Check out his profile if you are interested in news that somehow is not already covered by Dtoid.
T- I honestly understand why there is overblown "outrage" every time a new game in a Nintendo franchise changes a bit, and Blazehero has a good explanation why there is this specific outrage directed against Pokemon Sword & Shield.
T- Far from the initial negative reception of Mass Effect: Andromeda, CorruptAI125 is going back to the game to see if the negative reactions were actually warranted and if EA and Bioware managed to fix what was clearly broken.
T- In an opinion that I am not sure is going to be shared by many videogame media sites, TroyFullbuster notes how Mario Maker 2's superior level crafting tools makes it the year's best game (if you know where to look for levels, which is easily done with something called THE INTERNET).
T- When it was first released, Dead Rising 4 was widely panned due to its many technical shortcomings. However, visiting it much later, CorruptAI25 finds a much-improved game that recaptures some of the magic of the series.
I really hope they don't, but if they do, please add a toggle option
R- Way deep in his backlog, Flegma picks up the obscure Monolith Soft game, Disaster: Day of Crisis, on the Wii and reviews it. That game is obscure for a good reason. Very much worth a read for fans of the studio.
Getting a Platinum trophy in Bioshock 2 was the worst waste of time activity I ever did in my entire life
M- PhilsPhindings continues his excellent series where he looks for similarities between famous videogame tunes and other music from different sources:
One of the reasons that I dislike microtransactions and such mechanics in videogames is that I know that they prey on people with a collection mentality who may not be in full realization of the economic decision of their actions. Personally, I am not actually diagnosed with OCD, but compulsion is more of a personality trait in my part. That doesn't make it any less effective, even if it does allow me to control it better than I could otherwise.
And now to struggle with Yakuza 0, hope I don't end up hating the game at the end
For this month's recap, I would like to thank Sharukurusu for his great help in recapping the early blogs of the month. You can also join this skeleton recap team and help around if you are interested.
To celebrate the recap of the entire month, give a hand to the following bloggers:
Comments of the Week and Band of Bloggers Team of This Month:
Blog Count: 58