video games

The de-mystification of games through achievements

achievement ygotas yugioh yu gi oh joey brooklyn rage

“Brooklyn Rage Achievement” by Zuo-Ci

About a week ago, I had another great conversation with my friend Dis. Dis (which is just the abbreviated version of the nickname he likes to use) is a guy who ponders about the stupidest things, but sometimes I join him in his mad thinking sprees and together we can actually discuss some fascinating things. Sometimes we elaborate on the philosophical depth of the Manual of the Warrior of the Light, just to continue the next day with a topic like euthanasia. Lately though, we have been discussing an even greater topic: achievements.

Yes folks, those blasted cheevos. Since they have become a shtick of gaming, achievements have us doing the weirdest things just to get that “achievement unlocked” pop-up. We place masks on zombies in Dead Rising, enjoy orgies in Fable II or simply press Start in The Simpsons Game. Achievements reward us for both normal and really strange activities in our favourite games, and are a nice pat on the back for most of us.

However, Dis and I came to the conclusion that achievements also contribute to the “de-mystification” of video games. In a way, achievements are spoilers. Simply seeing an achievement like “Kill Boss X without using the yellow power-ups” tells you that Boss X will probably be hard, and it also states that X will be a boss. What if X is your buddy for most of the game? Haven’t the achievements just given away a really cool twist? Also, achievements tell you about things you might not know are there. Many RPG’s hide legendary items throughout the world, which you should only learn about by talking to NPC’s or by stumbling upon them. However, one look in the achievements list tells you that you get fifty Gamer Points by finding Glundragir, Bane of the World Tree (or whatever the epic sword in your favourite RPG is called).

Of course, one might argue that in a time where walkthroughs are free to get on the Internet and message boards analyze every aspect of every title, games are already de-mystified. Still,  walkthroughs and message boards can be dodged, while it’s harder to escape from a built-in achievement list. If I want to like, I like to keep a new game exciting and mysterious, and achievements certainly don’t help.

What’s your opinion? Do cheevos ruin your sense of discovery and exploration, or do you fully endorse them, planning your playthroughs around getting as many of them as possible? Vote below, and leave your opinion!

How I stopped worrying and learned to love gaming ADD

Focusing my gaming time on one title has shown me once again how much I suffer of a condition referred to as “gaming ADD”. Just like regular ADD, patients of this affliction suffer from an inability to play one and the same game for a longer time, being distracted by the beauty and “shiny factor” of new titles. To a degree, all gamers know this:  when a new game hits the stores, you want to have it and play with it. However, many of my fellow button-bashers are able to focus on one title for some time, while I’m already knee-deep in another game.

I haven’t been always like this, and for a time, this gaming ADD was driving me mad. However, I learned that it isn’t bad, and that you actually get more out of your gaming life when your attention span is similar to that of a hyperactive dog. This is my story (cue epic intro music).

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March Gaming, week 1 – a town full of zombies & a horny blondie

the secret world cassandra kingsmouth

Well, the first week of my March Gaming has gone by, and boy, did I have fun getting back into The Secret World. Even though I know Kingsmouth like the back of my hand by now, it still has its own kind of allure. The mist in the streets, the sun breaking through the fog in the morning, the smell of daffodils and rotting corpse, creating a unique boquet when the wind blows west…alright, considering the zombies and draugr, Kingsmouth is not such a nice place to be, but TSW is such a nice game to play!

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A self-inflicted illusion of choice

deadpool options marvel choice

“Here are your options:” by FonteArt

Ladies and gentlemen, let us take a moment to ponder a rather philosophical topic, namely the one of free choice. I’m sure that many great minds have already written about this subject, and that since the dawn of mankind, humanity has asked itself: are my choices made by my free, unchained spirit, or is every road I take predestined by my experiences in this world, thus making me nothing more than the product of my environment? Well, I can’t provide you with an answer to this larger-than-life question, but I can tell you this: when it comes to games, choice is just an illusion.

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