So I've had this bubbling around in my head for some time now so I figured, why not post a short(ish) blog about it?
If you cast your gaze to pretty much any trophy thoughts thread on t'interwebs, you will usually see the following things come up:
"No Plat No Buy"
"Shame this game doesn't have a Plat but I'll give it a go anyway"
"Look at all those Gold trophies! Gonna get it for an easy Plat!"
"Remember a time when people actually played the game for fun instead of pointless trophies?"
This is just a summary of the many differing posts you'll see but it pretty much works out the same on every thread, doesn't it?
Of course, for the purpose of this blog, I'll be focusing on that last quote right there but the other quotes can also be applied to this topic in a way as well.Trophies = Not fun?
So this kinda confuses me, in all honesty. The amount of times I'll see people say that they play the games just for fun as opposed to going for trophies. Maybe it's an unintentional thing but this heavily implies, if nothing else, that going for trophies CAN'T be fun. That it supersedes the joy of playing the game if you *do* go for trophies.
Why does it?
In order to come to a reasonable conclusion, I shall now tackle both sides of this argument. Trophies ARE fun!
Speaking for myself, of course: I'm a completionist at heart and always have been LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG before trophies/achievements ever became a thing. Trophies/achievement are a means of publicly showing how far you've got in a game and what feats you've accomplished. Often they'll include getting 100% in a game.
So when I got 100% in a game before they existed, I wasn't having fun? That's what that line of logic would imply to me.
Quite often as well, they also encourage you to try things out in games that you would NEVER have done without them. Things like playing as a bad guy if you normally play as a good one (or vice versa, indeed), seeing multiple endings or beating a game on Hard mode without dying (though granted, I would've done this on a few occasions...), without trophies/achievements, you might not really see the point of doing so, esp. how big our gaming backlogs seem to be getting these days...
Trophies/achievements offer a means to further expand the fun you can have with a game and also might give you an appreciation for a game you might not have had otherwise.
They can feel rewarding to get if you go for difficult ones and equally, can be quite gratifying if you knock out a few quick and easy ones in a matter of hours.
Looking at some of the completions I have, without trophies, I doubt I would ever have got:
for example, I would have beaten the game and found the secrets/stickers but probably, that would've been it because I'd effectively 100%'d the game and I didn't like the game enough to do it otherwise but by having that to aim for, I actually found that I *did* enjoy it in the end, well, apart from Level 24, that one was a bitch. :P
Equally, there are many good, if not great games I've played that I would likely never have even considered without having trophies to show for it, such as Lara Croft GO Trophies
, Color Guardians Trophies
and even something like The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character (Vita) Trophies
(though ignore the 5 star rating I gave it, that was back when I rated games differently, will correct that at some point). :P
Of course, it's not all positive, so let's look at the other side of the argument.Trophies are NOT fun!
So while trophies can offer more replay value, equally, this can actually turn out to be a negative.
For example: many games will have some truly boring trophies on offer, often, they'll be a grind to get.
Now, in the JRPG genre, I would say that this is largely OK, heck, even a borderline necessity because most of them will require you to do some at some point, mainly in the post-game, so why not include some shiny trophies to show that you put the work in?
However, there are many games that have truly arbitrary grinds aimed at artificially extending the gameplay. They can range from having to play a certain number of hours (not usually so bad as you can idle those) to getting so many kills with x weapons and whatnot.
It can also be a massive problem when the game doesn't actually tell you how many you've reached, this sadly happens with an annoying level of frequency and I wish that devs would start to add stats in as a standard.
In any case, the worst one I've personally done, however was:
The game itself is alright, quite fun for a while, actually, until you go for this trophy, then you realise just how flawed the design of the game actually is...
The reason being that the scoring is so heavily reliant on the frenzy waves or w/e they're called and there's RNG in there also (another scourge of gaming which should just NOT happen in supposedly skill-based games but that's for another discussion...), which effectively means that if you don't get the rub of the green, you WON'T get the highscores because eventually, it gets that bit too quick to realistically handle on a consistent basis.
This effectively renders the idea of going for a LB score a futile exercise because instead of it being 90% skill, 10% luck minimum (like it should be), it's pretty much the other way around.
So that trophy was not only boring to go for and gave NO indication of how far I'd progressed with it but also isolated the flaws of the game too.
Probably the most obvious negative, however, is that people can get obsessed/addicted to getting them.
In order to get the most trophies, you would have to buy a LOT of games and play a LOT of rubbish ones just for that rush of easy points/Platinums.
So obviously if you have an *actual* addiction, it could be a problem but even if you're obsessed (which I'll admit, I am a bit :P), then instead of playing games you actually like/normally would, you might find that actually, you end up playing a lot of games that you DON'T like just for trophies, which is where the bone of contention lies for many non-trophy hunters for sure, I think.
Why else would people play games like Orc Slayer (EU) Trophies
, Eekeemoo - Splinters of Dark Shard (EU)
and games like My Name is Mayo Trophies
even exist without trophies? Or certainly, they wouldn't sell that well by and large.
Finally: online trophies, 'nuff said.
OK, OK: there are some trophy hunters no doubt who will like them but I've yet to meet any of them. :P
Most people in my experience HATE online trophies, trophy-hunters and non-trophy hunters alike because they mostly get boosted (meaning people can't play the game properly), force you to play/co-ordinate with other people (not everyone is a socialite) and worst of all, they become unobtainable when servers are closed.
It also doesn't help that often, they're arbitrary grind-fests as well so needless to say, I don't like them and wish that, besides MP only games, they'd either stop putting them in or make it obtainable in another way, esp. for when the servers go.Conclusion
So I think that sums it up. Of course, this is subjective on my part and we all have our own views but I just don't see why trophies in themselves can't be fun and why if you're not going for them, you're playing the game: "just for fun", I feel like that's a bad way of wording it, though IDK how else you would so I do see the dilemma there.
This blog kinda came about because tbh, I get sick and tired of the threads I mentioned at the start. So many people are so eager to tell people how they should and shouldn't spend their free time with their hobby and it's getting annoying frankly lol.
The way I play is kind of a mix of the 2 ideas: trophies DO matter to me in many respects, esp. when trying to decide on a game so if I'm unsure about 2 games, one has a Plat and one doesn't and they're both about the same price, then why would I pick the one that doesn't have one? My backlog is large and time is limited so I don't think it's unreasonable to potentially shun games that don't have them.
If, however, I REALLY want the game, I'll get it regardless of the trophy list but if people want to decide what games they play based on the list, then that's up to them, not my (or anyone else's) place to tell them how to spend their time.
The main thing is that you enjoy whatever it is you do. If you want a load of easy trophies, go for it, if you're all about that TT ratio, go for it, if you won't play a game because of unobtainables, go for it, if you play a game regardless of trophies altogether, then just damn well do it and enjoy it, don't tell everyone that they should play games the same way as you, we're all different and enjoy different things, embrace that instead of trying to make us into you V2 please.
I think that about covers it! I hope you enjoyed reading that pretty long waffle there.
So what do you think? Have trophies/achievements changed our gaming habits for the better or worst? Are they fun or not? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!