The Value of Victory

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Whether or not trophies and achievements are a good or bad thing has been a topic I’ve tossed around in my head for quite sometime. On one hand you get global recognition to an extent for your achievements. On the other you might find yourself ignoring certain aspects of games because there isn’t any incentive attached to your accomplishments.

Before achievements and trophies were standard in games I would find new ways to challenge my skill level in a particular game. Simply beating a game wasn’t good enough for me. I had to do it convincingly on the hardest difficulty or in the most stylish way possible. Walking away from the arcade cabinet just as a super connects against my opponent in Marvel vs Capcom 1, knowing that it would K.O. them, was common for me. One of my fondest moments in gaming was beating someone in X-Men vs. Street Fighter with one hand, using Wolverine & Sabretooth and getting a perfect in the process. Getting a perfect in XMvS will shatter your opponents health bar completely. It really was an amazing moment. Past glories aside, lately I’ve noticed a change in the way I game.

No longer do I do things just because. If there is something I don’t have to do to get a trophy, more often than not I won’t do it. For example getting S rank on every stage on all difficulties in RE5 gets you absolutely nothing. To this day not having S rank on every stage doesn’t bother me in the slighteest and yes I do have the platinum trophy. For whatever reason I did feel compelled to get S rank on every stage for all difficulties in DMC4 though. Go figure. Even though I don’t game as “hardcore” as I used to, thankfully there are still games and a few individuals that can really get me into the spirit of competition. I can remember when someone on my friends list got a higher score than me in Super Stardust HD and then bragged about it. No matter how nice you dress up ‘you-suck-I’m-better-than-you’ it’s still ‘you-suck-I’m-better-than-you’. That one comment got me to annihilate his score so bad he never mentioned SSHD again.

I’ve never really been much of an online gamer except when it comes to fighting games. I don’t really have the time to care too much about online leaderboards so my online ranking doesn’t matter a great deal to me. I get most of my satisfaction from single player experiences. Recently my brother and I have started playing Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the first time. What I’m finding is that, even though there are no trophies, I’m getting a much more rewarding experience as I progess through the game than I get from a lot of games that come with trophies. I guess that’s because not every trophy is something a 5 year old couldn’t do. The competition between my brother and myself only adds to the overall experience of NGS1. Bragging rights over someone you see and talk to on a regular basis is so much better than being ranked higher than a stranger halfway across the country if not the world. Unless of course you’re ranked in the Top 20. I hope that with NGS1 I can start to go back to those days when playing the latest FF for hours on end for at least a year is the norm and not just a fond memory.

Whether or not trophies and achievements do more good than bad or visa versa is ultimately up to the individual. For me they are a nice addition, but I tend to try harder and and go that extra mile in the games that don’t have them. Where as others might not have invested as much time in a game without them. I sincerely hope the majority of you won’t turn down the opportunity to play a great game, new or old, if the only incentive is knowing you got to play it and beat it. There are literally thousands of games out there without trophies or achievements that could easily populate dozens of Top 10 lists.

Retro Game of the Week:
GigaWing by Capcom

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