What Does Your Gamer Score Say About You?
Whichever evil genius thought up the concept of rewarding geeks with numbers just for simply playing games deserves a ruddy medal. They have single-handedly found the videogame equivalent of chrysopoeia; a formula that turns nothing into pure gold. It also proves just how hilariously eccentric and addicted some people can really get, while giving Microsoft enough free consumer intel to wave a spoon at.
The internet has taught me that it’s not safe to assume anything, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you lovely people reading this are just like me – I play games to complete them, to have as much story as possible, to enjoy the narrative or kick someone’s arse. But most of all I play games to HAVE FUN. However, I am acutely aware that some people disagree with this; to some, playing videogames is an insular part of a bigger whole, that as well as completing a game they also have get all achievements and then roll around in their putrid sweat-stained, crotch-worn kickers, shouting at their TV’s and writing incoherent nonsense on the internet.
I would hope the main reason behind achievements being created was to reward the player; a nice little pat on the head, a smile for a job well done. I would also like to think that achievements add playability to games long after you’ve completed them, in the guise of secret story-driven locations or unlockables. Alas, the unfortunate reality is that this is rarely the case. Gamer score is more commonly used as a quick-look status symbol between online aliases and friends, a beacon or shrine to our own personal greatness; an achievement to oneself. As I am no better than a bit of self horn tootin’, I thought I’d add point-breaks to show how I consider people’s personality via their scores.
This score is normally reserved for two types of people: noobs who have just bought a console or hardcore 24/7 online players. Hardcore-gamer-low-score syndrome is mainly found in fourteen year old kids with gamertags like ‘xXxEl1T3_SN1P3RxXx’ who constantly hammer their two favorite games until a sequel comes out. Main symptoms include randomly screaming homophobic or racial slurs for no apparent reason. Sufferers can normally be found in ‘online boost matches’, a rare location designed to further their own in-game content, and is subsequently used to show off to other carriers of this disease. Luckily this problem is not airborne, but it is often contracted by victims physically as they all seem to have ‘fucked’ each other’s ‘mothers’. Side effects include lack of general motor functions that connect the brain to the mouth and the inability to understand why anyone would ever want to play different games to themselves.
“Why the fuck are you playing some faggot 2D scrolling game? I fucked your Mum, faggot.”
Standard middle of the road, casual/normal gamers, these people may have broke a few games’ 1000 point cap after some DLC has come out. Perhaps they got the high 800/900 cheevos, when a title really takes their fancy. Rarely going out of their way to get any achievement that requires effort or deviates from the actual plot, they may have just mustered up the effort to give a game with multiple endings a second play through and would have almost certainly played it on the ‘good’ setting first. The score is relatively respectable because these guys/gals are most often long-time gamers from back in the day that simply do not have the time to invest in becoming a super-nerd. They are most likely to find a series or genre they like and stick with it, whilst every now and then having a peak outside of the box and finding something new to love.
This section is where we start getting onto ‘proper’ gamer territory – the kind of crazy people who were still playing Final Fantasy 13 after 30 hours, even after admitting it wasn’t all that good. It’s a poor excuse but to these poor souls it’s imperative to find the best in a title, or at least do what ‘games journos’ on Twitter tell them to. Often found reposting Yatzee videos or ranting about how good The Walking Dead or Spec Op’s is, these people strive to understand games in the best way possible. Although probably having Gold since day one and owning a shitty gamer tag like ‘Soulless Beef’ or ‘Space Helicopters’, you cannot deny that these people are the core demographic of home console players, the backbone of the society we live in.
Now we’re starting to tread into dangerous territory, around the 50,000 to 75,000 mark; we begin to find the kind of people who squashed all the bugs down the Antlion tunnels in Half Life: Ep 2. These people have the acute, almost mindless dedication to go out of their way just to find achievements, with no regard of the game’s pacing or story. These inhabitants are the most likely people to comment on this post, or any post on a gaming website. They posses an inhuman drive to get as much out of a video game as possible and are extremely prone to unashamedly defending their position as, well, a bit of a nutter. These people are not at all bad, just a little misguided, and can often be heard using the phrase “well the achievements are part of the game” to justify any form criticism, whilst simultaneously convincing themselves that being a hardcore completionist is ‘fun’.
The complete freaks of nature that show off their cocks via gamer scores. I can’t help but think that people with high-end scores like this may genuinely suffer from a bit of OCD. I’d go on to say that as soon as you break the 100,000 mark you really have to start looking at why you even like computer games. Why have you played Lego Harry Potter three times over when you don’t even like the films? Why you stopped playing CoD online once you realized you can’t get any achievements and just pesky banners that do nothing?! Soon you move onto playing Battlefield, but once you’ve leveled up your classes your insatiable addiction for points will cause you to move on yet again.
A fantastic example of this type of person is a work colleague of mine who genuinely claims that once a game has been in his Xbox (and thus becomes visible on his profile) he feels duty-bound to collect as many points as possible, no matter how crap the title is. The worst part of this individual’s problem is that he thinks it’s completely normal.
These strange, husk-like shadow-beings have developed the same mutated, claw-like features as Jeremy Beadle – evolved by holding a joy-pad in their hand 24/7. These fragile beasts are the original ‘Cronix1′ gamertag bearers of this world, who only come out at night to scurry around the kitchen looking for crumbs to take home to their semen-encrusted nests.
Of course, many of us gamers feel we do not have an issue with the amount of achievements we collect, be it reasoning that this console generation has lasted far longer than usual or for the simple fact that you play a lot of games. However, if you feel you are showing symptoms of point-itus and are unwilling to seek a professional Xbox doctor’s opinion, please take the self evaluation below:
- How many joypads have you almost broken in anger when a game “doesn’t do what you pressed”?
- Are you jealous of your friend’s gamer score?
- Do you ever restart a level once you realise you have missed an achievement?
- Do you suffer from calluses on your thumbs or fingers?
- Do you genuinely want to 100% a game even after you’ve completed the main story twice?
- Do you visit achievementhunter.com?
- Did you not buy one of the original Assassin’s Creed DLCs just because it didn’t have achievements?
- Have you ever eaten two MacDonald’s in a day?
- Have you simply asked yourself what is the point of all of this?
If your answer is yes to more than three of the above, you should probably chill out a little bit and remember that games are exactly that – ‘games’. The moment they stop becoming fun, interesting or meaningful to the player, they are not doing what they were created to do. I feel the same should be said of achievements points; the clue is in their name too – ‘Gamer score’. Tongue-in-cheek article aside, if you are a bit of a crazy points collecting whore and you’re genuinely having fun speed running through Monkey Island HD for the whole 10 points it gives you, then fair play. Shine on you crazy diamonds. But please, don’t go around thinking your better than anyone.