The Drive for Trophies
When I was younger my brother and I went through a number of different consoles, from PlayStation 1 through to Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 stuck with me for a number of years, with Halo and Call of Duty (back in the good old days!) being my top games to play. At some point I drifted off to PC and online role playing games before going back to my 360.
Originally, trophies and achievements were never important to me, I was more focused on completing the game itself and competing in online multiplayer. Recently though, I have found myself obsessing over trophies for games. Whether this is being able to complete Gone Home within a minute or obtaining the NieR: Automata Platinum.
This got me thinking, why am I suddenly obsessed with getting these? Why are trophies suddenly so important to me?
This is when I started looking back to before trophies and achievements existed, to see what it was in a game that kept me enthralled, whether it was to get X amount of skill capes in Runescape or own the most amount of thrones on Habbo Hotel or get top in every online match in Halo or Call of Duty. These may seem very different goals than achieving a certain trophy but the hours I would put into achieving these goals were considerably more than getting the platinum trophy in NieR: Automata was.
Specifically, if I am to look at the amount of time I used to put into Runescape and my Woodcutting Skillcape or my Agility level it was insane. I would go to college in the day then spend all night sat up chopping at the same group of trees for hours at a time or repeating the same Agility course over and over again.
Before this, and again after, I would spend hours in empty stages of Halo, with a friend or two, just looking for good hiding spots and practising one hit head shots. My brother and I would get so into this that we would both be sat in our rooms, with headsets, trying to work it out and getting frustrated with each other when we would go into a match and not get that new trick we taught ourselves right, that our mum would end up telling us off for being too noisy.
This same obsessive behaviour from my youth is what I think has recently started to take over me when getting trophies. With the aforementioned trophy in Gone Home, I have tried to get this trophy so many times now and I have been so close to the minute mark. The more times I run through the game the more I feel that I have to get it. Everyday I now feel that until I have got this trophy I must have at least one go at it, inevitably this will lead to me attempting it anywhere up to 10 times. Clearly, this is nowhere near the time I spent in my youth on Runescape and Halo but the obsessiveness I had when I played these games is something that I can see evident in myself whilst collecting these trophies.
My partner has always had a PlayStation and has grown up with trophies, so for him they are something that is a part of the game, something that if he looks at a games trophies and thinks ‘Ahh, this is something I can do’, he will go back and get said platinum. This isn’t because he has a drive necessarily to get these trophies but more because it has become a habit. This makes me wonder, if I had had a PlayStation 3 would I of been more concerned about trophies?
In contrast, I don’t think any of my friends or myself are at all concerned about getting an achievement on the Xbox. Achievements on the Xbox had never felt like a big thing. Until now, I personally had felt this way about trophies on the PlayStation.
This makes me wonder if there is something that PlayStation have done to make trophies more marketable for people to have that want to be gaining them? Is it that shiny platinum trophy or is it just more people with a completionist mentality are playing this platform?
I think for a lot of people, myself included, this is more down to an addiction. That feeling when you get your first platinum or finally achieve that trophy you have been working for is so satisfying that people start to chase this feeling (like gamblers when they win). I know I had an addiction to Runescape, it took me years to let go of not having a 99 agility cloak and to stop playing. This is the same mentality that I see creeping into my current gaming.
What is it that drives you to get a trophy?
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