Gone are the days where I bought a game for the hype or lust for wanting to play it so bad just because it was the next big thing. If the game doesn’t have frequent trophy pops during gameplay I tend to get frustrated because I think that I am not progressing well enough or I am not doing the right things. Why is it that elements such as Trophies and Achievements are causing gamers to buy cheap games that we normally would never touch in a million years? The answer is simple: we want to have more of something than somebody else.
When I was a kid I used to collect hockey cards. I collected them with a friend of mine and we were always comparing who had a certain shiny card and who had more. The more the better it seemed. Now those cards sit in a dusty old box under some stairs where the human eye hasn’t seen them in over 15 years. Was it worth it? At the time I would say yes but after learning about how much I spent on them I was saddened and wish I had that money back. The same thing can be said about my Playstation Trophy collection.
I am actually one of the people who look for super simple Platinum Trophy games so I can get my quick fix of satisfaction. Most recently it was “Survive! Mr. Cube” because the Platinum Trophy took under an hour. Before that was a game called My Name is Mayo, which also took around an hour to achieve the Platinum Trophy. These games are cheap and simple to finish but is this a good reason to get them? My Name is Mayo isn’t even much of a game because all you do is mash on the X button over and over until all 50+ trophies pop. It made me feel good after seeing all those different trophies appear but it came with a later feeling of wasted time and money. Sure, it was cheap but I could have just saved that hour for something else.
Platforms that give a reward system such as Trophies, Achievements, or whatever else there is to offer, can be placed under a type of addiction that people can really become obsessed with. You can look at your friends’ list and see how many “points” they have gained and compare it to your own. If you see that your friend has passed you then you will want to find the quickest way to pass them. Is there a game on the marketplace that is a dollar but can give me more points than I know what to do with? Heck yes there is. There are a ton of them and I want them all (but only if my friends are doing better than me, right?). This addiction can become quite scary at times because the developers know that there are people out there that want more and more in terms of reward systems and they are dangling that carrot waiting for us to bite.
The advantage to Trophies and Achievements is that players can now look at what they can achieve in a game that they would have otherwise glossed over. Some mechanics or hidden areas or even quick tricks can be recognized from looking at a list of Trophies or Achievements. Game instances that you didn’t even realize was in a game that you had completed can be discovered and make the game an entirely different experience.
I can’t even fathom the amount of money I have spent on cheap games only for the quick and easy Playstation Trophies. Even though I see that there are a ton of other people in the world with way more Trophies than me it isn’t about that. It is about my personal friends list and keeping in front of them. Sure, I would love to be one of the best in terms of collecting Trophies but that will never happen. I just wish that I saw games the way I used to see them. Playing a game for games sake. Looking forward to a title without thinking about the Trophy list that comes attached. My hockey card addiction is coming back, I can feel it.