Running around in circles in search of a missing golden banana. Sound like an obsession or good fun? What if I told you there was an achievement at the end of the tunnel?
Well, some people might obsess over achievements to the detriment of everything else in their life. Others dismiss achievements as pointless or stupid. Still others, such as myself, like to earn a fair achievement after they finish a fair challenge. And I bet there are even more opinions on the topic of awards in video games.
Now it’s time for you to be the judge. I have three scenarios below. Two probably show someone having fun while earning an achievement. A third, well, it’s a bit extreme.
1. It Never Ends
After you spent 70 hours playing a game, you unlock an achievement. You didn’t look at every blade of grass. Instead, you wanted to explore the beauty of the world. After all, the digital world needs someone to appreciate it too.
2. The Merchant of… Zombieland?
You need to shred 1000 pounds zombie flesh, what’s left of it anyway, with your handheld Civil War era gatling gun. Ammo is scarcer than water in a desert. You’ll have to run around and look in every haystack to squeeze out every bullet. Then, you’ll earn a series of achievements.
3. Green with Obsession
You have to collect the last green gemstone to unlock an achievement. In your search, you stumble upon the stellar scene of a star’s birth but don’t even bat an eye. You repeatedly die and never progress in the game because the final gemstone is, figuratively speaking, lodged in your brain. You will never stop until the gem is yours.
Difficult and challenging games are always fun for me. An easy game will put me to sleep, but a challenging one gets my undivided attention.
Why is that? I know I can beat any human problem with a cup of patience and a tablespoon of strategy.
A good example are the comets that appear in Super Mario Galaxy. These comets create challenges, like racing against the clock. A couple of years ago, these challenges seemed daunting to me. After all, a busy life had estranged me from video games during my late teens and early twenties. Galaxy nudged me in the ribs and laughed at my lack of experience. At first, I gave in. I shook my head in disbelief, saying “This is impossible. I can’t do x, y or z.” I was wrong.
Sometimes I need to stop and think to solve the problem. Sometimes I need to plod through trial and error, rinse and repeat. Then sometimes I just rush in and things work out. Go figure.
When it’s all over, I feel pretty good about myself for having overcome all the game’s challenges. I sometimes like that an achievement cements that accomplishment for me. I’m left with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
What is that good feeling? I think it’s confidence. It’s feeling confident enough to solve big problems that seem impossible. After overcoming one challenge, I’m likely to try an even harder problem while believing in myself.
Beating a difficult game or part makes me think I can do anything. Hmmm tell me more about these Dark Souls games.
Bonus post: Goldilocks & the Three Games
Team Fortress 2 is one of the best aging video games of all time.
After a year or two, most other games age poorly. That’s when the wrinkles, laugh lines and liver spots become obvious.
You might think those wrinkles sprung up out of nowhere one night. In fact, the sad truth is that those signs of aging were always there. The developers just covered up the fine lines with a smear of rouge known as fancy graphics. Continue reading