Mr Granstaff1,016,019 (534,770)Georgia

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Mr Granstaff

Mr Granstaff's Blog (72 followers)

Nov
04
PermalinkLost Our Way or We Adapted
Ever since achievements and GamerScore were introduced back in 2006, it was a game changer. For me at least as the system peaked my interest right away when my first achievement unlocked in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare:

Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareNew Squadron RecordMr GranstaffThe New Squadron Record achievement in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare worth 28 pointsComplete the cargo ship mockup in less than 20 seconds


Here's the quick and dirty synopsis of GamerScore from Wiki:

*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***


This begs a question though. Do we still play games for fun and have some of our gaming roots intact or does GamerScore dictate how we play, thus making gaming possibly resemble a part-time job and just becomes another daily chore?

Personally, I did become an achievement junkie right away. Earning achievements were fun and rewarding. It encouraged me to play games I normally wouldn't have. Some were hidden gems, some were knowingly mediocre, while others were absolutely abysmal. They played so poorly, it was the equivalent of the rating Deadpool's face would have gotten on Hot or Not.

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Nowadays, I'm rediscovering that my backlog is bigger than what I make it out to be (well, my digital collection since it sometimes goes unnoticed). It's almost as if I'm playing Katamari Damacy and it's constantly growing and getting bigger.

With that said, I've become more selective with my game purchases this generation in an effort to stop adding to the pile. Of course, if the game becomes free or was a gift, then those are going to be exceptions to the rule. For instance, Dawn gave me an early birthday present: Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. That said, I need to go ahead and wrap up the original Borderlands so I can dive into the rest of the series. And, can I say that I'm really enjoying playing as Brick? Maybe it's because it makes the group I play with laugh out loud when he goes into berserk mode or the fact he sounds like a smoker when he's jogging alongside them. I really wish I could stream our interactions. It would be quite the show!

Anyway, back to the main subject. So, did the introduction of GamerScore change our gaming tendencies where it's all about getting achievements by any means necessary, but more importantly, do we even enjoy doing that anymore? Is it an addiction that took over us that we can't pry ourselves away from?

I'm aware that GamerScore may be new to some people, so it probably appeals to them more so versus the veterans, but my question is more geared towards those veteran gamers that have been at this since the beginning or at the very least, at it for a few years now.

GamerScore still affects my playing style to this day, especially when I get dragged into these contests, like the GTASC, and forced to tolerate a few wankers. Ha.

Nah, I enjoy joining these competitions. It's a good change of pace and gives me a valid reason to go out of my comfort zone and play some of these more obscure titles for quick score.

Pre-GamerScore, I used to own a small collection of games that I would play over and over again. Nowadays, if I know that I have a game completed in terms of achievements, rarely do I go back to it. My brain interprets it as a pointless task because it won't increase my score and that it is time to move onto the next objective. Then again, once I watch a movie, I normally don't watch it again once I've experienced it. Perhaps games doesn't have that replay value as it once did? Food for thought.

Here's the bottom line: if I'm looking at the mirror and completely honest with myself, I feel like I've evolved to what gaming has become. I don't know if I'll ever go back to my gaming roots per se, but I do know that I'm enjoying myself and I suppose that's what ultimately matters.

Realistically, if I ever get to a point where I feel like I'm caught up with my collection, then I may venture out to older titles, play casually more often and maybe even try out a Steam game or acquire another console.

Life's too short to worry about things outside of our control, so for now, I'm just along for the ride and I have a feeling it's going to be grand.

As always, would love your thoughts on all of this.




[UPDATED: November 1, 2015]

Want to boost? Play some co-op? Trade games with me? If so, click the spoiler tag below:

*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***


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Posted by Mr Granstaff on 04 November 15 at 15:22
TangerineGamer Mr Granstaff said:
Nowadays, if I know that I have a game completed in terms of achievements, rarely do I go back to it.
I do the same as this, like you I feel that my gaming style has changed - I enjoy playing a variety of games I wouldn't have played previously, but what I enjoy more than playing is getting the achievements and completing it, knowing I never have to play that game again

I have gone back to games before to for the story, like re-watching a film (movie), but it is rare. Recently I was thinking about re-playing RDR for the story, but haven't yet as it's a long story and it wouldn't increase my score.
Like you say it's harder to see a benefit to do this when I have other games to complete that will increase my score.

My 2 cents anyway, good post and sorry I didn't do the proper thing to quote the blog at the top of my comment
Posted by TangerineGamer on 04 Nov 15 at 15:44
Boots Orion As someone who has been around this hobby of ours for several years, I think I'm feeling the same way you are about all of this.

I still enjoy gaming and all, but achievements have really taken over how I play games. I like completing games, but most wouldn't call me a completionist (55%). Still, I have gone out of the way to get certain achievements that really added nothing to either the gameplay or my enjoyment.

Lately, I'm trying to distance myself from these long pointless grinds (either SP or MP) and I refuse to run through a campaign more than once. I also have tried to get" unaddicted" to as many stats as possible, slowly over time so that I don't feel like I'm quitting it all cold turkey.

I've tried and failed (mostly) to stop buying as many games as my backlog is already larger than anything I could realistically conquer. Pointless stat...I had a list of all of my unstarted games that I bought (I've never included free games in my backlog - unless they were gifts). Per TA estimates, it would take me roughly 2300 hours to complete them all. Never. Going. To. Happen. For the record....I'm currently at 91 unstarted games. This doesn't even include games I bean-dived. #ihaveaproblem

I'm kind of rambling here. Haha

All I really wanted to say is that I empathize with just about every sentiment you wrote here. Nice blog. :)
Posted by Boots Orion on 04 Nov 15 at 15:53
Mr Granstaff @ TangerineGamer - Ha. No worries about the quote. Looks a bit strange because it's almost as if I left a comment, but with your gamer pic. laugh

Anyway, thanks for the post, friend. I should point out that should I ever replay a game or watch a movie for the second time, it's often not the same. I sort of know what to expect and the experience isn't replicated.

For instance, when I watched the LOTR: The Return of the King, I had a tingling sensation -- like my arm hair was standing straight up -- when King Théoden was giving his army a prep talk, right before that big battle. The second time, not the same feeling. I still got into it, but just didn't affect me as much like before. It didn't bring on the feels. Ha,
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 04 Nov 15 at 15:59
Mr Granstaff @ Boots Orion - Ah! Your post reminds me of something. I'm sort of in a "complete the main story first and move on" type of mindset myself, just so I can at least put all of my games on my card and then mop up achievements later. I pretty much do the same thing for online only achievements as well.

To be honest, I did have a good handle of things, my backlog, then Games With Gold came out, then the Xbox One was gifted to me and I got involved with Windows Phone and upgraded to Windows 10... my plans went all downhill very quickly and everything is now out of my control. laugh

I'm afraid to check my unstarted games! I used to complete all of my games in a timely fashion, but I'm already on the second page, if you know what I mean. D'oh!

And, feel free to ramble away, Boots! I appreciate the post.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 04 Nov 15 at 16:06
Xpovos I'm going to take the opposite tack for argument's sake. It's not that I think you're wrong, you're actually spot on, and even being a relative new-comer to the achievement hunt process, I've suffered the exact same problems you have.

But let me think back to my glory days of gaming. I played a lot of games and owned a handful. The ones I didn't own, but played, were often borrowed from friends, or video rental stores when that was still a thing. The games I didn't own I rarely beat. I played them and got what enjoyment I could, and then I moved on. "Beating" Battletoads for us meant getting through the tunnel sequence. We could die right afterwards and that was fine. We beat the damn tunnel, we were victors.

Even among the games I owned, I rarely beat them. I never actually beat Super Mario Bros. I never beat TMNT. Even these games that I loved and played OVER and OVER again I never beat. Nowadays, I'd beat them in order to get that end-game achievement. Having the achievement pushes me harder to beat a game I'm capable of beating, but otherwise might not be interested enough or willing enough to do even when I'm capable. When I think about all of the extra enjoyment I've gotten out of some games I've played "for GameScore" because I have actually completed them... well, let's look at your LotR analogy. Pre-achievements me: "Damn, that was a good speech he just gave. Awesome movie-making. Hey, I'm hungry, lets hit the snack bar, and oh, man it's getting late, I'd better get home now." At least the post-achievements me sees the denouement.

And as for the other point. The going back to games. Let me talk about a few games.

Super Smash Bros.
Final Fantasy II/IV
Final Fantasy III/VI
Dragon Warrior/Quest IV

I played the daylights out of Smash Bros. I think I legitimately logged a thousand hours there. Sure the game has a 'story' mode, and I beat that with every character, but that wasn't the point. The point was the multiplayer brawler aspect of it which was where I spent almost all of my time. If this game had achievements they would have been a distraction, and MAYBE they would have helped me quit playing the game once I'd earned them all. I'm not saying I regret my decisions to play that much Smash Bros, because I always had fun doing it. But I am saying my grades probably would have been better. There is such a thing as taking a game too far. I've done that more recently with games like Diablo 3. If you want to see what a game like this can do to me as a gamer, look at my Gamerscore progress between 5/2012 (when D3 was released) and 4/2013 when I started to come out of my Diablo coma. That's nearly a year of pure obsession right there. And Diablo has achievements, it's just not GamerScore. At least not until Diablo III.

Then there are the RPGs. These are my formative years of gaming in a nutshell. I have played each of these games multiple times. But even in that... the comparison to pre-/post-GamerScore isn't that impressive.

Yes, I've beaten all of them, but I didn't beat Final Fantasy VI until many, many years after release. I'd start the game, get to this one point and then I'd stop playing. And when I came back, I'd start a new game. And then I'd get stuck at the same point. The game was released in 1994, and I got it that year. I finally beat it in 2001.

I beat Final Fantasy IV pretty much as soon as I got it, and this is the game, among all, that I have gone back to the most. But even then it's a nostalgia trip more than anything. I still love the game, but again with the LotR analogy, the feels aren't there. I don't break down crying at that one scene any more. It's not even as strong a reaction as when I re-watch a good movie or re-read a good book. This is already too long a post responding to a blog to go into details as to why, but my replays of this game never take very long, and have rarely ended with a completion. I relive a key moment and move on.

Much the same can be said of Dragon Warrior IV. I've beaten it twice, just to see if there was any significant difference between the genders at the end. In essence, that second completion was achievement hunting. I was looking for something new in the experience, an extra reason to keep playing the game when I was otherwise finished. I've played the game far more than twice, though. But the other efforts, like other efforts at Final Fantasy games, stalled out at various points in the game when whatever was driving me to re-enjoy the game dissipated.

When I look at my collection of games played "for Gamerscore" there are a handful of really good games I want to replay at some point. The most obvious to me is Alpha Protocol because what I want is one more run through where I'm NOT focused on any achievements just to see how the story plays out for me when I make certain choice combinations I couldn't do when I was playing for achievements. Really, the goal is more new content, not a rehashing of the content I already played.

I never used to sell games, because I would often go back an play them over again. But when I did, it wasn't the idyllic thing we're remembering. It was because I never really finished the game in the first place.

So... wow. Sorry for the mini-blog on your blog.
Posted by Xpovos on 04 Nov 15 at 17:01
Geoffistopheles In my latest ragging on Project Spark, I mentioned possibly my favorite statistic on this site. I have started 443 games, and I've only regretted 2. For my case, that's my definitive answer of "Have achievements fundamentally changed the game?" No. They've altered how I play the game, they've extended life on games I normally wouldn't fanatically pursue, but at the core, I am still playing for fun.

Going to leave it at that before I go on a huge blog kick myself. wink
Posted by Geoffistopheles on 04 Nov 15 at 17:39
Mr Granstaff @ Xpovos - I'm sorry, but I could've swore this was my blog. laugh I'm kidding! Thanks for the counter argument -- I guess we can call it that.

"I've suffered the exact same problems you have."

It's definitely a good problem to have, am I right?

"...or video rental stores when that was still a thing."

I definitely hopped on board that train with GameFly. I looked up "Quick 1000s" one day, as I used to call them, and went to town for close to a year, maybe even longer. I'd like to think that I would have played more of my backlog if it wasn't for that and would be more manageable to get caught up.

"Having the achievement pushes me harder to beat a game... When I think about all of the extra enjoyment I've gotten out of some games I've played "for GameScore" because I have actually completed them..."

I should have mentioned that having achievements have treated me well -- minus the grinds of course. It usually encourages me go deeper into games, attempt the harder difficulties and things like that. I'll be honest, I was a "Can I Play, Daddy?" difficulty type of gamer, usually. I remember I loved GoldenEye so much, that I wrecked it on the hardest difficulty. I was L33T. Still surprised that I was so good in that game. That and old school wrestling games. Good times.

"If this game had achievements they would have been a distraction"

They can be, 100 percent. I suppose that's why I'm only focusing on main story achievements at the moment, to enjoy the ride, and then I can go back and mop up achievements later. Main Story achievements are earned naturally. so with that mindset, it usually doesn't affect me negatively.

"...when I started to come out of my Diablo coma."

laugh Awesome verbiage there. I played Diablo II A LOT when I was into PC gaming. I can't wait to sink my teeth into Diablo III after this contest.

"When I look at my collection of games played "for Gamerscore" there are a handful of really good games I want to replay at some point."

Yep. Same here. Deus Ex is one game I can instantly think of. I got all achievements in one go and sort of wished there were more so it would give me a reason to play it again. Alas, no more GS and my logical brain won't let me. wink

"So... wow. Sorry for the mini-blog on your blog."

Um. Too late.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 04 Nov 15 at 18:53
Mr Granstaff @ Geoffistopheles - Interesting. We have almost identical stats in started games. I know there was definitely one game I regretted playing and that was Damnation. I'm sure once I scroll through my started games, there may be others.

"[GamerScore] altered how I play the game, they've extended life on games I normally wouldn't fanatically pursue, but at the core, I am still playing for fun."

Great way to put it. I concur with that and have shared similar experiences.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 04 Nov 15 at 19:13
dlCHIEF58 I must say that the introduction of achievements has changed the way I play and what I play as well. I'm not referring to which games per se, but what I play them on. Even though I still have many games on my original Xbox, Dreamcast, Gamecube, PS2 and Mac (as well as a few other odd systems), I have difficulty going back to play those even with games I really enjoyed. For most people, this is because they leave their old systems behind once the new shiny one is out (like the SONY fanboys who bash the Ones's BC because "I didn't buy a new system to play old games"), but this is not the case for me - it is because those games lack achievements. I know this is the reason as I have no problems switching between my 360 and One to play games, even after 2 years of owning the One.

But by the same token, I have not become so obsessed with achievements to the point that I need to complete every game to 100% either (which can easily be seen by my measly 31% completion ratio). I'll rarely play a game more than once unless I really enjoy it (Diablo 3 and Destiny being prime examples of those), and that is probably more due to the fact I have such a huge backlog and collection as well as I enjoy a wide variety of games. But my ever-growing backlog and completion ratio I have been using as a meter recently to force myself to actually finish many games (not to 100% achievement completion though) I've started and set aside when I got stuck or something new and shiny came out to grab my attention. It has also helped me limit my purchases of late, telling myself I cannot by a new release until I finish more of the games I have had sitting.

To an extent, some achievements have hindered me from completing games as well. Since I rarely will replay a game (not referring to MP), most times I will try to get the most achievements I can in the one run through. But then I run into the tedious collectibles and similar task which may cause me to put down the game and not take it back up for a while (which is a problem in itself). Shadow of Mordor is a classic example of this for me - I could easily finish the game at this point, but there are a few achievements I have had to work to set up and the tasks became a little mundane so other things took precedence. Now since it has been a while since I played the game, I cannot remember how far along I was in setting those up (not referring to the hunting and collectibles in this one, I gave up on those long ago). That was a prime example of how gaming can turn into work, and I am starting to get away from that anymore. I'll still work to get as many achievements as I can, but I am starting to let go of the tedious, grindy ones and not let them diminish my enjoyment. At this point, I'll just finish up Mordor and see where my progress lies when done.

Also there are games I've completed to the point where the achievement flow dries up and that has forced me to put it aside or play something else instead to get my achievements/completion ratio up. The Bean Dives have had some effect on that as well as my desire to get my completion ratio up. This year that has become a more prevalent issue for me as I can actually see me finishing my Bean Dive this year, possibly months before the deadline if I really applied myself. It is something I'm trying to balance out, but meeting that personal goal will help in the end.

So in summary, achievements have changed my gaming habits for both the good and the bad. But I am now trying to limit the "work" portion of it when possible which can be difficult when you are trying to reach a certain goal.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 04 Nov 15 at 19:18
Sven0330 I agree with almost all the points all have brought up here, and as such my gaming habits have also changed for the good and bad. Like you stated Granstaff I also would normally hit the lower difficulties for most games and never even attempt the super crazy god modes that were put in there. Achievements have really made me push my gaming limits in that area and I think I became a better gamer for it.

Like Xpovos stated, I used to go back and play older titles for the nostalgia and because I just loved the story. I used to play FFIX once a year because I loved the story so much along with the characters. I haven't played that game since 2009 now ever since my achievement hunting started ramping up.

Achievements have also ruined titles like the NBA 2K series and the WWE series for me because I grew tired of the achievement lists being repetitive (and finally realizing they almost release the same game every year, but that is a different story). I used to anticipate and countdown to the release of those games every year so I could get the new players/characters and modes that were added and loved going through it. Those days are definitely behind me now as I have stopped buying the NBA and WWE franchises.

I still have fun gaming and that is what matters most in the end as the others have stated. Good blog and food for thought.
Posted by Sven0330 on 04 Nov 15 at 21:09
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - Your post made me think of something. We know that achievements made us alter the way we play games, but what about when finding out about this site, TrueAchievements? I know it made me more aware of my completion percentage and other statistics that I normally wouldn't care about, thus helping me get creative with some of my goals to keep things fresh.

"I have not become so obsessed with achievements to the point that I need to complete every game to 100% either"

I definitely was like this, but now I've become much more relaxed when it comes to that. I know one day, I'll feel the need to go back and mop up some other achievements, but for now, there's waaay too many games I want to experience.

"The Bean Dives have had some effect on that as well as my desire to get my completion ratio up."

I like that event too. It encourages me to put games on my tag whereas I normally wouldn't have. I try to make a theme out of it as well.

"So in summary, achievements have changed my gaming habits for both the good and the bad."

Yep. Same here. I'm always being mindful of not wearing myself out too thin with these achievements as I know I can get carried away with it all. There's just so many of them!
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 05 Nov 15 at 14:56
Mr Granstaff @ Sven0330 - Welcome back, friend! And, congrats again on that bun in the oven. Hopefully your wife, Lisa, left some candy for you this past weekend. wink

"I also would normally hit the lower difficulties for most games and never even attempt the super crazy god modes that were put in there."

Yeah... I was a baby gamer and used cheat codes all of the time. Ha. Achievements have helped me realize I'm not quite as bad at games as I once thought I was.

"Like Xpovos stated, I used to go back and play older titles for the nostalgia and because I just loved the story."

Pre-GamerScore, I did the same. I remember playing the living daylights out of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on PS2. I remember going for the highest ranks in hopes that would place the crucifix in my shed -- that one void on the wall where I stored all of the other guns. Never happened. Wasn't very happy about that.

I also replayed Diablo II on the PC quite a bit and tried all of the characters, even the ones from the expansion. Something to do with Baal, if I'm not mistaken.

"Achievements have also ruined titles like the NBA 2K series and the WWE series"

Fortunately, achievements haven't really ruined any series for me. Maybe outrageous DLC prices have put a damper on my mood, but that's for another time.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 05 Nov 15 at 15:05
Mr Granstaff Surprised no one mentioned my Easter egg under the spoiler tag. Who can find it first?
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 05 Nov 15 at 15:12
Xpovos Indeed. Well played.

[Needs citation]
Posted by Xpovos on 05 Nov 15 at 16:00
Mr Granstaff Ha. Thanks!

Noticed something last night too. These comments are longer than my blog! laugh
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 05 Nov 15 at 17:16