Day Twenty-Six – Trophy Unlocked

26 01 2010

There was a time when I wasn’t playing video games very much. I just got, as my brothers and I have coined, “video gamed-out”. Everything began to feel pointless. I would beat game after game and get no sense of satisfaction from the exchange. I played so many games beginning to end that eventually, I just stopped all together.

I was enjoying the new-found free time I had. I started reading books. I was writing a bit. I had time to go to the gym and get a workout in. Then, like Michael Corleone, I got pulled back in.

The elusive Platinum trophy really means nothing, but provides a rush like no other when obtained.

The Xbox 360, created by Microsoft, caught my attention as the first console to usher in the HD era. That was enough to draw me in, with its seductive and colourful visuals. What made me stay was an odd sound and on-screen acknowledgement of my progress called achievements. In reality, I’ve done nothing but played a video game to kill time as I always had, but now I had something to show for it. A list of all the games I’ve completed.

Were it not for my enmity towards the Xbox 360 as a console, my gamerscore would be a triumph of sorts. However, gamerscore was not enough to convince me to pay for the ability to play online or to bear with the faulty console. I moved on to the Playstation 3, and for many months, my virtual successes once again felt hollow.

Game after game, I would wait for some type of acknowledgement in the form of a score. Sony eventually heard my silent prayers and created what they would call “Trophies”. Rather than a numerical value, the trophies were split between Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. My sense of accomplishment renewed and my time again wasted, I would spend hours to get my fix and be acknowledged for my achievement.

The Playstation 3’s trophy system added another level to the ever addictive, yet useless system of rewards. A system of Levels. With each trophy, I would become closer to the next level. It is essentially a class system. These trophies were no longer achievements on their own, but a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of classifying myself above my peers.

Now, as a Level 8 on the Playstation Network, I see look down upon those at their mere Level ‘s and Level 6s and realize that I’ve been out foxed by the video game consoles. The experience was nothing new, yet I was enamoured with a false sense of accomplishment from my very first trophy. I should feel cheated of my time and of my youth…

…but I am only a few trophies away from Level 9.

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