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The following was sent out

Plenty of adventure is coming for Villagers & Heroes fans. With the new Starfall expansion comes brand new locations to fight, quest, and craft. Starfall’s seven zones include The Rye, Pools of Andorra, Glendergan, Dartrey Woods, Turnapin Peak, Gortrin Passage, and the Zorian Marshlands. Starfall will ship with four of these zones, while the rest will be released post-launch to ensure plenty of content for players over the coming months.

Starfall takes place across multiple zones as players journey to the mysterious Crux ruled by Queen Zoria. Along the way, players will gain assistance from The Lumineers: a group of renowned Heroes also searching for the Crux for (currently) unknown reasons. Players will travel with the Lumineers through vast landscapes and embark on epic adventures to uncover the schemes of Queen Zoria.

The new expansion is the most ambitious to date which not only adds in tons of new content but Starfall will revamp many features of Villagers and Heroes as well, including a new talent, loot system, crafting, cleaner UI, and plenty of smaller fixes.

 

Alongside all new zones, level capped players will be able to start questing once more with the cap being raised to 90 and the opportunity to progress to a new 5th rebirth for even greater rewards. Prepare for all new challenges and tough elder bosses to test your party against.

Starfall will be a free update for Villagers and Heroes coming soon to PC & Android devices.

This is a great update to the game, and should add to the experience greatly for players. Will you be checking it out?

 

Source: PR Email

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 4 Jul, 2017 At 03:41 PM | Categorized As NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Here is some awesome news.

Inti Creates revealed at Anime Expo today., that Shovel Knight and Shantae are joining Blaster Master Zero as new playable EX characters.
Shantae will be available between July 6 and July 19 for free. Shovel Knight will start between August 5 and August 16. After these periods, the characters will cost $1.99 / €1.99 as with all DLC characters.

 

 

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No GravatarE3 week has rolled around yet again and that can mean only one thing:  It’s the perfect time to look at your backlog!

Wait, what?  But Days Gone is coming and there’s  Anthem from Bioware and Destiny 2 and Super Mario Odyssey and The Last Night looks fantastic and and and ad nauseam!  This isn’t when you want to look at old games!  Or is it?  The average gamer has more games than they have time to play these days.  On top of that, the industry has normalized the idea of preordering games up to several years in advance just to get your foot in the door when they come out, even though virtually no preordered titles get under-printed.  So with E3 just getting underway, I thought I’d take a look at all the things I still haven’t played yet…and that’s a lot.

I’ve been collecting since the mid-nineties, ever since I sold my copy of Final Fantasy III for the SNES, decided I wanted to play it again, and then couldn’t find a copy for months.  Ever since then, if I buy a game, I keep it until I play it and decide if I like it.  But in the 90s, games came out much more slowly.  By the time you’d rented the game (yes, you could rent games at a corner mini-mart or video store back then), played it to death, and moved on to something else, the next game you were waiting for still wasn’t out.  That simply isn’t the case anymore.  There are so many games out and coming out that it’s hard to even keep track of what might be interesting, let alone everything that’s been released.  And that’s why backlogs are such a problem.  There are more good games coming out than most people have time to even try, much less play through.  Most people simply buy what looks good, get sidetracked, and end up with a bunch of things they don’t even have time to open.  It’s a ridiculous consumer feedback loop that doesn’t benefit anyone but game companies and retail stores.

For example, I still have Super Nintendo games that I haven’t gotten around to playing yet.  I bought them in the nineties!  It’s a habit that becomes a compulsion; the fear of missing out on the next Suikoden II or Shantae or Panzer Dragoon Saga.  What if you don’t buy it and when you go to get it, you can’t afford it anymore?  But will you ever play it?  Do you even have the time?  Assuming you work a 40 hour work week or go to school full time, you likely have limited time for gaming.  Add a commute, a relationship, or even a child to that equation and you have even less.  You might get three to five hours of game time in a week.  The average game takes around 20 hours to complete.  That’s ten weeks to finish one game, assuming you don’t play anything else or get bored of it.  You might be able to finish five games a year at that rate.  Round it up to ten for people with summers off or extra free time.  But even at ten games a year, you aren’t remotely scratching the surface of what comes out in any given year, and that’s just looking at mainstream titles!  If you have PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, you get four to six games free every month on top of what you purchase.  If you have Steam, GOG (Good Old Games), Origin, or uPlay, you might get another 5-10 games free a year if you pay close attention online.  That’s well over a hundred games excluding retail purchases if you use all of those services.  At an average of 20 hours each, you’re looking at roughly over 2000 hours of gameplay, and following our formula that says we have five hours a week, that backlog becomes 7.7 years of gameplay.

Over seven years of gameplay just in random titles from online services.  Then we add in the AAA titles that most people buy and tend to play more heavily and the average serious gamer has a backlog of up to ten times what they could realistically play at any given time.  A quick look at my collection made me nearly nauseous when I used this formula.  On Steam alone, I have 1003 games, many of which I have never even installed.  For the PS2?  128.  The DS?  101.  The PS1?  72 games.  That’s over 1300 games and doesn’t include about two-thirds of my collection.  And don’t forget about flash carts.  I have access to every single US and Japanese game for the NES, Genesis, Turbografx 16, and DS.  Thousands of titles.   My Steam library averages out to about 77 years of backlog.  Statistically, I will literally die before I can possibly play every game on my Steam account to completion.  An actual, honest-to-goodness lifetime of gaming is at my fingertips at any given moment.  And yet I still I buy games all the time, but I literally cannot play them.  I’ve talked to other gamers that have backlogs on Steam of up to 3000 games.  It’s almost a status symbol for them.

We don’t need this much media.  But as we buy more and more, faster and faster, we show developers that they don’t need to take their time or fully playtest a game for us to buy it.  Half the time, we stick it on a shelf and don’t get to it for six months.  Or a year.  Or five.  Or even ten.  The situation has degraded so much that there are even sites like www.backloggery.com that allow you to track not only your collection but your completion rate as well.  Steam does this for you automatically, and it can be rather disheartening to see right there in black and white.  I’ve been a Steam member for 12 years and I’ve only managed a 13% completion rate.  However, even that is inaccurate because that number is calculated on the achievements you’ve earned, not the games you have finished.  I wouldn’t hesitate to say that most people don’t end up finishing the games they start these days due to the nature and volume of the market, and it almost doesn’t matter that the developers haven’t properly programmed and playtested those games.

So what does all this mean?  To me, it means the market is utterly flooded; inundated with content ranging from indie games to AAA titles to the point where it’s hopelessly diluted and difficult to have a pure gaming experience.  Very few games end up being memorable and at the same time, we’ve created a sub-culture where people brag about all the items they own but never actually use them.  There are too many games and we can’t play most of them.  A lot of the most highly advertised titles end up being terrible too, due to compromises made to appeal to wider audiences.  Reviews are bought and sold like commodities and it’s very difficult to judge for yourself what might be good.  E3 is the perfect example of this, creating massive hype for titles that test well with audiences and critics, overproduced shows of products that won’t be coming out for some time, and generally driving a multi-billion dollar ad campaign that sucks dollars out of the pockets of hard-working people.  As I write this, Xbox has wrapped up their E3 presentations and already most of the bigger titles are available to preorder on Amazon, even though the release dates are as far away as next fall or later.  Money is flying into the pockets of companies as we speak for nothing more than a promise of things to come drifting on the wind.

Gamers need to stop and think about how excited they were for the items that are already sitting on their shelves when they were announced.  We can’t let that feeling of wonder end the second we get the actual product.  If we all stop to play what we already have, perhaps it will make the industry also reconsider the type of games it is releasing and the volume it is releasing them in.  Having a backlog says a lot about a person, but it also speaks volumes to the way marketing and consumer culture affect us as individuals.  That’s a message many of us need to heed more often.   So take a look at your shelf.  Make an effort to try that game you’ve always been meaning to but were never in the mood for.  You might just recapture the magic in gaming by popping in a hidden gem.  And you might find that the entertainment you’ve been scouring the net looking for is something you already had the whole time.

A Contest And An Addendum

In writing the above article and looking at my backlog, I also realized that in addition to a ridiculously large backlog, I also have a ridiculous number of games sitting about unused on my Steam account and other digital accounts.  These are extras I’ve gotten to give as friends, freebies that came with purchases, and just random extra codes I’ve acquired over the years.  I thought to myself, “What better use could I have for all these games than to give them away to people who will play them?”  And so, The Great Real Otaku Gamer Steam Backlog Contest was born!

For those of you that are interested and want to put in a minimal amount of effort, I’m going to give away my extra Steam codes!  But the rules for winning are something a bit different.  The winners for this contest will be the entrants with the smallest uncompleted backlogs!  After all, in this day and age with everyone oversaturating themselves with media, maybe the person who actually finishes what they start deserves a reward!  So please take a moment and head on over to The Great Real Otaku Gamer Steam Backlog Contest right here on Real Otaku Gamer and drop an entry my way!  You might just win a new game to play…and it might even be good!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 Jun, 2017 At 02:43 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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EA sent out the following

 

Pilots on the Frontier frequently use simulator pods to train, using life-like recreations of historical battles as combat scenarios. The all new War Games map highlights the civilian shops, tall buildings for window-to-window fighting, and city streets for Titan combat from the Battle of Angel City, and the large, open tank garage facilities for hand-to-hand Pilot combat from the Battle of Airbase Sierra.

 

Starting on June 27 the 6th DLC drop for Titanfall 2 called The War Games will be available for free on all platforms on June 27th.

 

In addition to the War Games map, players will also be able to jump into a new Live Fire Map, Traffic, a weathered test site where pilot positioning is pitted against mobility across two busy thoroughfares. Also included in the DLC will be a new Shadow Boxing [Holo Pilot] execution and a 3rd weapon slot for Pilots. Titan Brawl will also be added to the permanent list of game mode and Free Agents will be a new featured mode.

Source: PR Email

 

This is an interesting add on to the game and  could bring some great variety to the gameplay. Are you excited for this?

By Wade Hinkle On 20 Jun, 2017 At 05:30 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe “help desk” at Gun Media and Illfonic has been quite busy when server issues reared their ugly heads since the release of their game, Friday the 13th: The Game. Yesterday, Gun Media sent out a quick video which you can see below, apologizing about the incident and bearing peace offerings.

According to the video beginning today, a free DLC will be available across all three platforms. The DLC will include two new outfits for each counselor, 13,000 customizable points, and includes a Retro Jason Skin with original chiptune track created by Mitch Murder for each player.

Last but not least this coming weekend, June 23-25, Friday the 13th: The Game is scheduled to host a double XP weekend.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Jun, 2017 At 06:21 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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EA sent out the following

 

Lead the charge with early access to the Star Wars Battlefront II multiplayer beta and an epic Yoda bonus! This fall, players will be able to jump into a galaxy far, far away to experience the epic scale of the Star Wars universe with the Star Wars Battlefront II multiplayer Beta on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Origin for PC.

 

Fans who pre-order any edition of the game (or have already pre-ordered it) will be able to start playing the beta early and will get instant access to Yoda’s Epic Lightsaber Mastery Star Card, available while supplies last. Fans who pre-order will also receive:

 

  • Exclusive Star Wars: The Last Jedi outfits for Kylo Ren and Rey
  • Instant access to six hero and starfighter epic Star Cards
    • Kylo Ren: Power Reach and Solid Freeze
    • Rey: Far Sight and Deep Mind
    • Starfighters: Enhanced Auxiliary Power and First Order ship upgrade
  • Instant access to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Millennium Falcon with updated sounds and appearance

 

Additionally, pre-orders of the Star Wars Battlefront II: Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition Deluxe Edition come with up to three-day early access to Star Wars Battlefront II and upgraded versions of all four trooper classes.

 

This is cool news, and the preorder bonuses for the game sound awesome. Hopefully we hear more cool Star Wars news from EA at E3.

 

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 6 Jun, 2017 At 02:36 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, has released The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, a massive new Chapter for the wildly popular The Elder Scrolls Online, worldwide today for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac. The brand new entry for the online RPG introduces more than 30 hours of fresh Elder Scrolls story content; a new playable class, the Warden; a new 4v4v4 fast-action PvP mode, Battlegrounds; a new 12-player Trial; and a return to one of the most beloved locales in the Elder Scrolls universe, the iconic island of Vvardenfell from the award-winning RPG, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

 

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is the biggest addition to The Elder Scrolls Online yet and redefines the traditional MMO expansion by delivering vast new content and features that are equally accessible and fun for both existing and new ESO players.

 

New players can start a character without completing any previous ESO content and head straight into Vvardenfell, with hundreds of hours of original ESO content available to them at any time. ESO veterans can upgrade and immediately journey to Morrowind to start the new epic adventure with their existing characters or with a new Warden.

 

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind adds a host of new content for the game’s millions of players, including:

 

  • A Massive New Zone — Vvardenfell: The largest zone added to The Elder Scrolls Online since launch is also a nostalgic trip through one of the Elder Scrolls’ most beloved lands. Utilizing the same geographic footprint as The Elder Scrolls III, including all key points of interest from the classic game, Vvardenfell is painstakingly reimagined 700 years before the events of TES III, from the docks of Seyda Neen, to the volcanic Ashlands, to dense, mushroom-filled forests, and through the glory of Vivec City, still under construction in this time period.

 

  • New Class – The Warden: Players will harness nature-based magic to master the powerful new character class – The Warden. The Warden is the first new class since launch of ESO, and true to ESO and the Elder Scrolls franchise, the player will have the freedom to select from a number of abilities that enable a variety of play styles. The Warden also introduces a devastating new combat ally – the War Bear – a ferocious fighter will stay by the Warden’s side through the most intense battles.

 

  • New PvP Mode – Battlegrounds: The Elder Scrolls Online is renowned for open world PvP battles, pitting hundreds of players in a massive battle for supremacy in Cyrodiil. The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will introduce a new PvP mode – Battlegrounds – intense 4v4v4 battles in arena-like environments. Players take the battle to the Ashlands to claim their place among the fiercest and most accomplished combat veterans in Tamriel.

 

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is now available worldwide for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac. For more information, or to purchase the game, please visit http://www.elderscrollsonline.com.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is a very welcome addition to the game, and a great chance to once again experience the areas we explored back in Morrowind, and there is a lot to offer players here. If you loved Morrowind, you will want to check this out.

 

Source: PR Email

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

The Elder Scrolls: Legends has launched on Steam, Mac, and Android tablets and added key new features, including Spectator Mode and a new recurring competitive tournament mode, Gauntlet.

 

New Platforms: Steam, Mac, and Android Tablets

The Elder Scrolls: Legends has launched globally on Android Tablet and on Steam for both PC and Mac as a free download, joining previously released versions on PC via Bethesda.net and on iPad. Players who wish to switch platforms can do so seamlessly by signing into their accounts on any of the available devices. Players will retain all progression – and are even able to continue in-progress games – when switching from one platform to another.

 

Gauntlet Events

Legends’ new Gauntlet mode introduces organized global competitive events, during which players will compete in a series of matches, battling for top spots on a worldwide leaderboard.  Top performers in Gauntlet will earn rewards that include Card Packs, Gold, and other special in-game prizes. Gauntlet events will vary in size, entry cost, and prizing, and will challenge players showcase their performance with their favorite decks.

 

Spectator Mode, Version 1.0

Bethesda has also launched the first iteration of Legends’ Spectator mode, allowing players to view the live games of players on their Friends list. Now fans can showcase their skills and learn new strategies from friends from within the game itself. We’ll be iterating on and refining Spectator mode based upon player feedback over the coming months.

 

The Elder Scrolls: Legends is now available as a free download for PC via the Bethesda.net launcher, for PC and Mac via Steam, for iPad, and for Android tablets. iOS and Android phone versions of the game are expected to release this summer.

 

More information on the previously announced major card set expansion will be revealed at the Bethesda E3 Showcase (BE3) on June 11 in Los Angeles.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends is an amazing strategy card game that has a lot of unique features. It stands out above all others and has a lot to offer. If you have not checked this game out yet, then you really should do so.

Source: PR Email

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 30 May, 2017 At 04:48 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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EA sent out the following

 

Get ready to roll out the red carpet for the latest DLC pack coming to Titanfall 2: Monarch’s Reign. This DLC features the addition of the 7th multiplayer Titan: Monarch, the IMC’s attempt to reverse-engineer the Militia’s Vanguard-class Titan with a decided focus on flexibility through survival and support options. The Monarch is unlike any other Titan and features a unique Upgrade Core, which allows her to improve her combat abilities during a battle based on options set by her Pilot. Monarch also has an impressive ability to draw power from enemy Titans to recharge her own shields, or the shields of her friendly Titans. 

Monarch’s Reign also brings the return of Relic; a classic map from Titanfall set among the old wreck of the IMC carrier IMS Odyssey. This remastered map features a worksite where Pilots have created clever wall running routes by hanging pieces of the wreckage between buildings. 

The Monarch’s Reign DLC pack also brings new cosmetic items for purchase, including the debut of Ronin Prime and Tone Prime. Ronin Prime charges the field with a samurai-inspired aesthetic including a visual-upgrade for his sword so he may more stylishly pierce the heavens (and enemy Titans). As the cherry blossoms fall across the battlefield, don’t forget to check out the Monarch’s Reign Camo Pack, inspired by World War 2 “dazzle camouflage” with broad patterns and striking colors to keep your opponent guessing. New Art Packs are now available for each Titan, as well as a new Callsign Pack.

Titanfall 2 has gotten some major additions since it came out, and it just keeps getting better. More people should give this game a chance  and experience an FPS game that actually tries to do something new.

Source; PR Email

By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

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