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.


Day Nineteen – A Gameboy Without Buttons

19 01 2010

I realize that referencing the defunct Gameboy isn’t the cool thing to do, but for my purposes, it works. The Nintendo Gameboy was the last handheld to completely dominate the market in my eyes. Yes, the Nintendo DS isn’t a failure by any means and remains dominant to this day.

The future of handheld gaming can do more than just play games.

I just think the market is shifting.

I recently got the Apple iPhone and after a couple months of using it, I can see it becoming the new handheld king.

Don’t get me wrong. The Nintendo DS is a far superior device for handheld gaming; it’s built with that in mind. Where the iPhone has an advantage is the same that the Playstation brand gave to DVD and Blu-ray. If I already have the phone, I may as well try a couple games on it.

My phone is always on me. My DS is not. It’s that simple. I’ll probably be spending a lot more time playing Flight Control on my phone than I would playing Brain Age on my DS. I can pull out my phone at any time when I’m bored and fire up a game. I need to plan to be bored in order to bring my DS.

At this current moment, the last advantage the DS has is the games. However, that looks like it can change very soon. The #1 game on the App Store since its release last year is Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. This is a game that could have been on the DS.

Today “could have been” isn’t even relevant, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was released for the iPhone as well. According to Touch Arcade, it’s pretty much the same game you can find on the DS – at a third of the price.

This is only the beginning for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the gaming realm. The one thing they’ll need to avoid is becoming like the Atari. They need a system to limit the amount of crapware that becomes available on a daily basis. Though the quality will come through, the poorly made games will find there way around as well and creates a danger of defining what the new handheld era will become.

Before I got my iPhone, I didn’t think that a device that’s primarily a iPod and a phone could bring any threat to the handheld market. Now that I have had some time with the device, I’ve been converted.

In a matter of a few short years, I expect to see the iPhone, or similar devices, to be the only handheld gaming devices on the market. Multi-purpose is the future of technology and gaming is no different.

I hope your thumbs are ready.