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Trophies – Do We Really Need Them?

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Seriously?? Yeah, staring at the screen for 2 minutes will net you a trophy. Unfortunately, this is not even the bottom of the barrel.

And another one:

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Yep. Just spin in a circle and a trophy will pop.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….wait. Oh right. Back in the day, you played to win the game

You played Mario and your goal was to beat Bowser. You played Jaws and your goal was to kill Jaws. If you beat a game, you moved on to the next game. There was no leveling every character to max level (most games only gave you one character slot anyway), you did not have to go back to uncover the whole map (the map served as a tool and not something that had more secrets once you finished the final boss) and you did not go back to finish up sidequests (in most instances, you could not backtrack anyway).

Now, games have trophies or achievements. After beating the game, you then realize you only had completed 52% of the trophies. Depending on the game, you may not want to play again. A trophy hunter myself would have no qualms about doing this. Hell, I beat DOOM four times so far because a single trophy glitched and I had to delete my save and try from scratch. For what? Some platinum colored trophy? If you really think about it, it is pointless. You get nothing for acquiring all the trophies (there are rare exceptions but more on that later).

I probably should explain why I am a self-proclaimed trophy hunter before I continue my rant. I have always been a completionist. Just beating Final Fantasy III on SNES was not enough. I made sure I had every single Rage for Gau and that all my characters were at max level. I beat Mario 64 with all 120 stars even though it can be beaten with only 70. I am sure I am not the only one but I had every cheat unlocked in Goldeneye 007. I completed every Star World in Super Mario World and even unlocked Darth Maul in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

My first foray into trophies/achievements was with World of Warcraft. It was right before Wrath of the Lich King launched in 2008. Of course, you had your run of the mill achievements of clearing each dungeon and hitting max level. Then you got a little more complicated with PVP achievements and faction achievements. Some achievements were easy and a max level player could breeze through them. As the game progressed, a max level player could even complete the raid achievements on their own. There were also achievements that were tied to in-game events but were only seasonal so if you missed one, you had to wait an entire year. Finally, you had your outright crazy, insane, ridiculous, who in their right mind would even attempt this, achievements. I present to you: “Insane in the Brain.” For those unfamiliar with World of Warcraft, the TLDR version is that you had to be in good standing with certain factions. The catch was that your average player would be hated by these factions just because of how the game played out. Of course, I completed this monumentally ludicrous task. At that time, I was one of the few on my server to do so. Was it all for nought? I did not think so as I could proudly walk around Ironforge, Stormwind, Dalaran, etc. as Gimpyjayy the Insane (fitting title right??).

Trophy hunting was not a priority at first on Playstation simply because I spent the majority of my time playing World of Warcraft. My first Platinum was Borderlands (1) in 2014. If you take a look at my PSNProfiles page, you will see that it took me 3 years to get the Platinum (time was calculated from the first trophy until the Platinum popped). Now, I am hooked. Before I even play a game, I will check for a trophy guide just to familiarize myself and make sure there are no missable trophies. Lately, I have even been going back and finishing up Playstation 3 games for those platinums. In the past two weeks alone, I was able to get Platinum trophies for Call of Duty Classic and Infamous 2. Infamous 2 alone has a 6 year gap between the first trophy and the Platinum.

As I mentioned earlier, what is the point? It is just a trophy. I don’t even fully understand player levels. Yeah, I am level 18 but what does that really mean? I cannot speak for others but I trophy hunt for myself. I am not in it to compete with the entire Playstation community. Sure, I have a friendly competition with friends to see who can get the most trophies in a month or increase their completion rate the most over a defined time period. I realized early on that I probably will not get the Platinum trophy faster than anyone or have the most Platinum trophies. I do it because that is the type of gamer I have always been.

Here is how I would fix trophies (Maybe Shuhei is reading this blog or listening to my podcast):

  1. Get rid of trophies altogether and add completion rates to games. The game can have in-game achievements and in-game rewards tied to that achievement system as seen in Diablo 3 (for those who have not played Diablo 3, you unlock different designs for your in-game banner as you complete the various achievements). This idea is less likely to happen than allowing for PSN name changes.
  2. My other idea and I think it is more doable is to reward players that are trophy hunters. For example, if you are able to get the Platinum trophy in Bloodborne or Horizon Zero Dawn, Sony will send you a special theme that you can use on your PS4. Platinum trophies could reward players with special themes or avatars. If the trophy levels are to stay, maybe players can receive different portrait frames for each level instead of the numbers that are in place.

For all my complaining about trophies, I plan on continuing playing games in the same manner. In fact, right after I hit update, I am going to finish off the last 3 trophies from the Diablo 3 DLC that released earlier this week.

I can be found on Playstation as Gimpyjayy and check out my podcast Nerds Gone Platinum in the Nerds Gone Rogue family on all available podcast services as well as YouTube.

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