Monday, September 20, 2010

GI's Editor-in-Chief: Massive Tool or Most Massive Tool ?

Lindsey feels an instant rush when she hears the beloved chime when a new achievement unlocks. My sister Lumpwad and I both brag about the constant growth our "Xbox penises" in direct correlation to our gamerscore. So I was less than thrilled when I opened one of the latest Game Informer magazines and read an article denouncing achievements.

The article was written by Editor-in-Chief Andy. He described starting a whole new account and how liberating it was. While that sentiment may be justifiable, his following arguments blew me away. He talked about how achievements shouldn't be in a game at all. That they are a superficial way of keeping score and most people boost or cheat to get achievements. There was definitely an implication in the article that if you go out of your way for an achievement, that you are basically an idiot and playing for the wrong reasons.

I completely disagree with this logic. Since the beginning of games, video or otherwise, people have wanted to achieve a score, level, or other established definition of accomplishment. While a lot of games are driven by stories, others thrive on score. How big is your kill streak ? What level did you reach ? How quickly did you finish the race ? All of these are what make the game fun and competitive. Without the concept of reaching a number, what would the point of playing online multiplayer be other than just blindly shooting ? His argument is akin to saying that Basketball players shouldn't care about counting baskets, they should just make shots over and over.

The Xbox gamerscore is a way for people to keep track of their games. They can show off what they accomplish or have completely finished. Its just like any other game, you get an unexplainable thrill from reaching a number. Of course we all acknowledge that the number is without actual value. We know it doesn't make us a better person or provide us with money or other goods. But it makes us happy and that is all that matters. After all, who doesn't love having bragging rights ?

So Andy McNamara, get off your soap box. You are not better than us for not caring about achievements. You have not reached a zen like state, you are not cooler than us, and you are not more of a "true gamer" than the rest of the gaming community. You are just some guy with a pen that feels the need to bitch and feel superior. Welcome to my world.


Linz said...

I am so glad you wrote this because I read that article and it totally stuck in my craw. I couldn't believe that a game magazine editor would go so far as to belittle an additional service that game designers/programmers/developers offer us. Aren't they always complaining about wanting MORE AND MORE?
He often belittled the achievements you get from doing some menial task X number of times. Clearly he never plays a game just to play for fun and space out. Sometimes getting the urge to shoot 150 rabbits in Red Dead Redemption is just what you need to kill a slow Tuesday night. He mentioned wanting to play a game and finish it to move on to the next great score... well, I'm all about getting into and immersing myself in the game. Don't hate on people with different play styles, Andy. I'm the last person with lots of time, but I will hold off on new games to finish one I am truly enjoying.
All in all, Debbie, I totally agree with you and think you should probably send this in to GI.

Debbie said...

I really just might send it to them. But I think GI has gotten to be really demeaning to a lot of their readers. If you read their letters to the editors, they are constantly making people feel stupid, even the ones that have valid points. The whole magazine gets more and more about what it takes to be a "cool gamer" and less about the games. People game for different reasons and play different types of games and as a publication they don't respect that at all. Not to mention the fact that their reviews are so completely driven by advertisers, just like G4.