The Arrival of a Milestone - 500K: Batting 500
I have hit 500,000 GS on the nose with a "fun" achievement
The whole thing took only about two minutes to get the last bounty done. Pretty much the entire friends panel changed as new people logged in. The 360 is not dead.
My previous work on these subjects seems to have had a history of burying the lede, so I wanted to lead with the headline this time. Having done that, here are some links, and dates, of those previous milestones if you want some history.
50,000 GS :: 2014-05-16 Xpovos' blog post - 50K
100,000 TA :: 2014-11-25 Xpovos' blog post - Six Digits
75,000 GS :: 2015-04-22 Xpovos' blog post - 75,000 GS - Achievement Master
200,000 GS :: 2018-04-11 Xpovos' blog post - 200,000 GS - The Stuff of Legends
300,000 GS :: 2019-07-08 Xpovos' blog post - As the Crow Dies - Volume 9
(I REALLY buried the lede here)
This milestone has been a long time coming and I've already spent a lot of time in previous blogs explaining portions of my setup. The goal at one point was to reach 500,000 GS at the same time as I hit 500 completed games. This ended up becoming impractical, and my final tally was 465, which is still solid, but 35 away is also significant, particularly given my starting position. I could have done better, but it would have required sacrificing too many other gaming goals, including, perhaps the most important one: fun.
I game for fun. Sometimes I do crazy stuff, like make sure that I hit 500,000GS on the nose with an amusing-to-me achievement that is a meta representation of my gaming. I do that because it is also fun. It's work, too, don't get me wrong. I put a lot of effort into making sure everything lined up the way I wanted and that unlike at least one previous attempt
. But I had fun doing all of this.
Sometimes I game in such a way that the work overtakes the fun. In short bursts, when there is a fun meta outcome, such as this 500K milestone, then it might be OK. But in reflecting on it as I've gotten close, I wonder if I sometimes miss the bottom line point of gaming in this meta hunt. Am I not playing the fun games? I'm certainly, on occasion, playing unfun games.
The hunt for the completion drives me. But I'm a miserable "completionist." I have 465 completions, but I have 872 started games! That means that in my entire Xbox "career" I have only completed 53% of my games. Obviously, this is "so far," in theory I plan go back and finish more. The ones I can--the ones without discontinued achievements. But then I look at the pile, and not only am I immediately distracted by the new shiny game (here comes 873!) but a lot of the ones on the pile don't get played because they're not that fun. Worse, some on the pile don't get played because while they ARE fun, they're more effort, while having fun, than a less fun newer/easier game in terms of the completion.
Over the past few years I've done a much better job of completing games I've started. When I first started tracking this CAROTS
idea (Completions As Ratio Of Titles Started) I was in the low 40s, and had a clear visible path to substantially lower numbers in my recent gaming history. Since then, it's gone up by 10 percentage points. Nothing to scoff at. But it has come, in part, because there has been so much easy to complete trash since then. I don't want to overshadow my own efforts in actually starting more difficult and older games. My ratio has also gone up substantially, and more than would be accounted for by just inflation from new members. But I have to admit that in the final analysis, at least part of my progress comes on the back of Ratalaika and eastasiasoft. Of my 500,000 GamerScore, 33,000 is from Ratalaika-published games that I have completed, generally 0-3 hour games, and while some of the ones I've played in particular have been better than average, because I try to be discriminating in my selection, that's a whole lot of GamerScore. I think the Rats tend to be the highest quality of the quick GamerScore buck games, and my history seems to show that inclination, only 3,000 more GamerScore in completions is from Xitilion, Flying Islands and eastasiasoft combined. But there are other easy publishers. And it's hard to truly measure how much those easy games have impacted my scores. Even one as simple to calculate as GamerScore. But even with just the above information, regardless of the source, those easy titles are at least 7% of my score now.
That's not so bad if these games are fun, and I genuinely do enjoy a few of those game. For example, one of my most recent completions is Rise of the Slime
. That's a game published by Rataliaka and in the same vein as Slay the Spire
, but much easier and much faster. It took me about 5 hours to complete Rise of the Slime, as opposed to over 100 hours for Slay the Spire. But there's no denying that as far as Rats go, Rise of the Slime is substantially longer. And it's not a bad game. It was a very fun way to waste 5 hours when I wanted some more Slay the Spire like content, but wouldn't get any more achievement value out of Slay the Spire. It also helps move me along on some leaderboards I care about, etc. Therefore, on balance, it was a very good experience for me. So the problem isn't, precisely, the easy games. Not when they're good. It's when I play bad games, or games I'm otherwise not enjoying, for the purpose of meta progressions, when genuinely good games remain untouched for years because they cannot assist me with the meta progression.Rise of the Argonauts
(we're going to talk abouut "Rise" games now?) is a game I started in my 2014 Bean Dive (Xpovos' Bean Dive
) after having first played a demo of it and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is absolutely no reason that I haven't played it except that I've been too busy doing something else. Always something else. And usually something else that is probably less fun. Or Hand of Fate
, one of the most innovative and fun explorations of gameplay mechanics that I like, that I haven't put nearly enough time into, in large part because it would require time, and focused time. This, like Slay the Spire, is a game I will have to get good at.
I can do it. I've completed fun, hard games, like Slay the Spire. Like GoNNER
, among many others. I've forged my own path, playing and becoming the first to complete the challenging, but not hard and very fun Cardpocalypse
. Littered throughout the 465 completions are some amazing gems. It's not all bad news. But as I look to beyond the 500,000 GS mark and at the now plausible 1,000,000, that lofty height that seemed impossible not so long ago, I'd like to know that my second 500,000 was even more fun than the first. That my completions grew because I played fun games to their end, and overcame challenges, rather than because I was chasing the million for itself, or an arbitrary number.
I'm not sure if I can pull that off. I am constantly distracted by the new shiny. And I have so many games, many of them fairly easy trash--but hopefully fun trash, in my backlog now, started and unstarted, that it may be impossible. That's the thing about goals, though. We can only really reach them if we set them, and measure them. It's hard to measure fun, and so I think I'll succeed if I pay less attention to the measurable numbers this time around. And I'll probably end up needing to be a lot more focused on only a game or three at a time, rather than bouncing around. That may be the hardest part of all.
In other words, I doubt I'll be blogging 600K or 700K. Maybe not even 750K. I do have something planned for a million. And maybe that plan belies all of this already. Maybe I should just follow my own advice: Xpovos' blog post - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love GamerScore
I do seem to be running myself in circles on this, both currently and historically.
So for now, I'm just going to play. After a short break to revel in the joy of hitting this target.