Category: Trophies and Achievements

There’s nothing worse for an achievement or trophy whore (see ‘achievement / trophy whore’ definition here) than when a game decides it’s a good idea to have some ridiculous type of collectible within the game as an achievement.  You know the type; those ridiculous pieces of paraphernalia that mean absolutely nothing to gameplay, storyline, or character development.  Nothing that furthers the actual plot of the game.  No, the only value to these random items is the achievement.

These things are as important to gameplay as the name of the designer who created Kratos’ hair.

…exactly.  They are that important.

God of War: Kratos

Why can't the flag achievements be as nonexistent as Kratos' hair?

I decided that I wanted to finish Assassin’s Creed before I started Assassin’s Creed II.  I know, I know, a little behind.  But I don’t mean story-line-wise.  I wanted to finish all the achievements.  I had pretty much all of them, except for the flag collections, Templar kills, and killing 25 guards.  After a few tries in which the guards hysterically became scared of Atair and ran away from him, I was able to lure and kill enough guards to get the achievement.  Which left the achievements for flag collecting and Templar killing (which is essentially collecting).

I set myself up with the laptop and the game, referring to the laptop for the flag locations online.  First of all, what a time waster.  The flags are sometimes hidden in tricky locations, causing the player to hunt around an area.  Thank goodness for the ability to place a ‘Player Marker’, otherwise I’d be doomed.

Assassin's Creed Flag

These will haunt my dreams.

Secondly, the cities are BIG.  There are three districts, and two of the flag achievements require the player to hunt down 100 flags total, without keeping each district’s flags as a separate achievement.  As I’m going through Jerusalem, I check off each flag starting at 1 all the way up to 100, without skipping any so I don’t mess up the count.  This whole process probably took around 2-3 hours.  And before you go off and say ‘Wow, you must be the slowest player on the planet’, I just want to say that I get easily distracted and want to kill every guard I encounter.  Anyways, as I head to the 100th flag’s location, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I’m at 99 / 100 flags.  There’s 1 damn flag left.

And it’s not where the 100th flag should be.

I had a meltdown.  Threw the controller, swore like a sailor, ranted to Wadoobie about it.  Because there’s no way I’m spending that much time to go through all 100 flags a second time…just to find ONE MISSING FLAG.  No way!

So, to make myself feel better, I’m tossing AC1 aside and digging in to AC2 immediately.

But it would also help to hear other horror stories.  What’s given you the biggest headache?  Skulls, Packages, Flying Rats, Dog Tags, Gobbos, Audio Diaries?  Whatever your poison, I want to hear it.

Oh, and if you need help with flag locations, these AC maps are worthy of an Ass Stamp of Approval.

-Kat

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A few weeks back my family and I were having a discussion about video games. I was going on a rant about how Heavy Rain was amazing for the sheer fact that it had so many potential outcomes. I made the mistake of saying “…the first time I beat Heavy Rain…” and the question was asked “Well…if you can have so many different endings then what constitutes beating a video game?”

Mario Brothers Box Art

Back when the only decision was to jump now...or jump now

Back when I was a young whipper snapper the 8-bit Nintendo came out. We were shown a world of plumbers, pipes, and princesses with a very definite beginning, middle, and end. Even as gaming progressed video games had very specific and classic sense of novelization that took the user through a world that they had little real control over. Yes one could argue the point that the death of the main character was in fact a decision that a player could make that could indeed affect the outcome of a video game. However the main point holds true that you had to live within the confines of the main character and do what needed to be done to progress to the next level…literally.

As gaming went on it never changed. Then we began to see video games like the first Black and White and The Sims which allowed to user to make some decisions or (in the case of The Sims) all decisions that affected the life of the character. This concept was revolutionary but seemingly slow to reach maturity. In fact it may still be in its maturation phase.

Video games like Fable offered a very distinct ability to play in a variety of ways. Whichever path you chose to take (be it good or evil) would have an effect on those around you. More specifically how they reacted to you and interacted with you. If you want to grow devil horns and have everyone run away screaming, kick every man, woman, child, and chicken you see. But lets be honest…who didn’t love a good Chicken Kickin’ every now and again?

Video games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins, while not the first, were quite good at establishing very distinct paths of right and wrong. You actions and reactions altered how your party interacted with you, or even hung around your character. The downside is that you could clearly see which path you were going to take. You could easily mold your character into the saint or bastard you wanted them to be without much of a challenge.

Then comes a video game like Nier. Nier’s beauty is not in its imagery (far from it) but in it’s ability to coerce the user into playing again once the game has been beaten. It tells more of the story, provides more of a background. While it doesn’t force you to make decisions on the outcome, it (at the very least) makes you question if you’ve actually beaten it, or merely completed it.

Heavy Rain decisions

Heavy Rain's decisions can be confusing yet have strong outcomes

With video games like Heavy Rain the player has the ability to totally help or hinder the goals of the characters they control. While there are a finite number of endings, it is still a rather lengthy endeavor to witness all potential outcomes. So does beating the game mean seeing an ending? Does it mean seeing the specific ending you were attempting to see? The trick is that there are no right or wrong choices. There are simply choices. You won’t know what the outcome of your actions are until it’s all said and done. Ultimately this is part of what made it so interesting to play.

Shortly after I had this conversation I noticed a post that showed up on Wired by Jonathan Liu titled “Why aren’t games about winning anymore?” and it got me curious. Is this never ceasing quest for achievements and trophies a byproduct of or a reason for the ability to play a game multiple ways. Either way I agree that (at least what I took away was) video games today are a little too much about the achievements/trophies than actually whoopin’ the piss out of a green fire breathing dragon…turtle thing that stole a princess. While the story wasn’t very robust I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a blast to play.

Am I just one of a few rare holdouts who say “beat a game” in world where “finishing a game” is more appropriate? Is there a Facebook fan page for people like me?

And Jonathan, about your removal of the line that games today were made for an “ADHD crowd” I would just like to say that as someone who was diagnosed with ADHD almost 20 years ago that line was perfectly fine, and you needn’t worry about uptight readers who don’t like it. I found it to be a very apt and poignant critique on how video games are quick to dole out rewards for virtually nothing.

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While playing our individual Dragon Age: Origins game files, Wadoobie and I stumbled across an interesting flaw within this BioWare masterpiece.  Arl Eamon apparently hates sex, and has banished it forever from his many castles and estates.  Yes, you heard me correctly, Arl Eamon has issued a “No Sex” rule in his household.

Arl Eamon

Arl Eamon hates sex

Not like you can really blame the poor guy.  His wife Isolde has got to be the most annoying character ever created.  I can’t imagine him wanting to have sex with her.  We have speculated that Arl Eamon actually went into a coma just to get away from that awful woman.  Either that, or I think Jowan was actually hired by Arl Eamon to poison his wife, and since we all know Jowan is a ridiculous incompetent mage, he screwed up and poisoned Eamon instead.  I mean, what’s up with Isolde?  She manages to ‘escape’ from the castle, tells Bann Teagan that he must come to the castle alone (hmm, already very suspicious), she’s very vague and refuses to answer any questions, even if they may aid you.  In my game, I flat out told her I didn’t trust her.  She was incredibly put off by that.

And by the way, did anyone else get the feeling that Bann Teagan wanted to murder her?  When you’re trying to come up with a plan to rescue Connor (or kill him), she says, “I could be the sacrifice,” – and Bann Teagan leaps to his feet, clapping and shouting “YES!”

…but I digress.

Dragon Age is a game where the main character is permitted to explore relationships that might develop along such an epic journey, and when two people are constant traveling companions, it’s only fitting that they might share a tent.  The fact that you are unable to continue these intimate encounters once you are camped in Arl Eamon’s estate in Denerim or Redcliffe is…frustrating, to say the least.  It really doesn’t make sense.  There are clearly plenty of rooms to choose from in the Arl’s massive estates, so why can’t you and your lover sneak off for a little pervtastic action?

I can see maybe the female companions being a little less enthusiastic about doing it in the Arl’s home, but come on, Alistair would be drooling if my character whispered in his ear a little naughty suggestion.  In fact, he’d probably get it on right in front of the Arl.  I don’t think I can describe it any better than how our first discussion went about the Ass Stamp Achievement –

Kat:  Surely (especially me, being female) you could convince your interest to sneak into another wing of the house and do it

Wadoobie:  nope

Wadoobie:  not even an option

Kat:  All I’d have to do is flash Alistair right?

Kat:  He’d follow me like a puppy then

Wadoobie:  technically yes

Wadoobie:  if this was reality

Wadoobie:  in fact if you flashed him then doing it on the erl’s desk would probably happen

Wadoobie:  with the erl still sitting at it

Kat:  The earl goes back into a coma

Wadoobie:  either that or puts a stamp on it to make it an official document

Wadoobie:  and for the rest of the game alistair has the early seal stamped to his ass cheek

Kat:  He would only do that for the regular sex though

Kat:  For gay sex he would return to a coma

Kat:  For girl on girl sex he gets even more healthy

Wadoobie:  starts applauding in the background

Wadoobie:  brings his son in

Wadoobie:  makes him watch

Kat:  He implements a ‘sex required’ rule

PtCStamp

The iconic 'Ass Stamp of Approval', brought to you by PtC

This discussion, of course, then morphed into a conversation about more tenting achievements.  And this was how the Ass Stamp Achievement was born.  To be honest, the Ass Stamp Achievement was basically the whole reason for our wonderful pervy blog, PolishTheConsole.  Our icon is based around the Ass Stamp.

And of course, I had to take a snapshot of my version of the Ass Stamp Achievement in action (and that’s Avaline, not Leliana!!).  At least, the closest thing to it I could get.

Don’t you think BioWare should consult us about pervy tenting action in their next game?

-Kat

 

Ass Stamp Achievement

Gotta love the fact that they still act like they're around a campfire. Makes this shot even more naughty.

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I will be the first to admit it. I am a whore;  a big big whore.

I spend hours grinding and grinding for that one oh so brief second of bliss. All of the sweat, all of the facial twitches, all of the spasms, and all of the emotion culminate into one gloriously worth it moment that leaves me breathless and delighted.

I am a trophy/achievement whore.

I am a trophy whore. I play Dragon Age: Origins for hours to receive the Ultimate Reward.

I am a trophy whore. I play Ghostbusters: The Video Game in the hopes that someone will ask “Are you a God?

I am a Field Agent.

I am a Head Hunter.

I am a Forager.

I am a total whore.

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