PlayStation 4 owners may have noticed that Sony‘s new console provides ample opportunities to cyber-stalk friends. Versus the PS3, which was content to tell you when a friend last signed on or what game/app they are currently perusing, the PS4 has opened up a world of invasive, restraining order worthy options to track friends. One of the many things the PS4 will tell you about your gaming friends is when they clock a new achievement or win a new trophy.
The trophy section on the PS4 is definitely an upgrade over its predecessor. In addition to quicker load times, the PS4 now gives a better overall snapshot of friends’ trophies and achievements including a summary of the number of each type of trophy (gold, silver, platinum) each friend has earned. Comparing friend trophies to your own is also easier on the PS4. After a recent browse through my friends and their trophies, I realized several things:
One, I really, really love smack talking my friends. I love the way an insult rolls off the tongue. I love rubbing their faces in my high scores like rubbing a dog’s nose in no-no poop. When I’m racking up kills in my favorite FPS, I love pointing out how much better I am than my friends. When my friends hop into a match and get assigned to an opposing team, I spend the remainder of that match hunting them. I relish the moments when I stealthily sneak up on them and bury my knife in their digital body. Some of my friends are pretty frickin’ fantastic at video games thus it is inevitable that I will be knifed, shot and beaten by friends. Regardless, I love the competition. Why is this relevant? When I set out to compare myself to my friends that day, not too long ago, a very big motivator was finding ammunition for my next smack talking campaign.
Two, I’ve played a helluva a lot of video games.
Three, I have not played even a fourth of the number of games that two of the other editors here at Gaming Illustrated have played (yes, I compared against them too). I had, in fact, not even heard of a quarter of the games that they had on their trophy lists. To be fair, I would challenge all but the most devoted and prolific gamers to give a plot synopsis of some of the rare Japanese imports these editors (who shall remain nameless but they know who they are) have on their trophy lists.
Four, and here we come to the topic that has more or less rocked the core of my gaming identity since that fateful day, I have no platinum trophies.
It was not my lack of platinum trophies that shocked me. To say that platinum trophies are hard to come by would be an understatement. The sheer number of tasks and random accomplishments one must complete to earn the average platinum is staggering. When a gamer earns a platinum trophy, they have spent untold hours trying to earn a platinum trophy. As platinum trophies require patience, fortitude, the inability to rage quit and a slew of other gaming skills, I initially thought that I was not alone. It was okay that I didn’t have a platinum trophy because most of my friends probably did not either. As I flipped through comparison after comparison, friend after friend, my swagger balloon deflated. Not all but most of my friends have platinum trophies, 75% of my friends have more than one platinum trophy and roughly 40% of my friends have four or more platinum trophies.
Until recently, I was content with the trophies and achievements I’d earned. I have never been a trophy hunter by nature and have generally viewed it as a pleasant surprise when a notification popped up informing me that I’d earned a trophy. When I browsed the list of platinums my friends have earned a number of things ran through my head. Does my lack of platinum trophies undermine my skills as a gamer? Would my friends view my gaming accomplishments differently if they saw a platinum in my list of trophies earned? Is there a trophy conversion scale for example, do thirty gold trophies equal a platinum? Am I somehow less of a gamer because I don’t have any platinum trophies? Is there a secret platinum only members club somewhere that I have missed out on access to all this time? Will I attain a state of gamer enlightenment if I earn a platinum trophy? After many, many hours spent pondering the platinum, I was left with only two questions. Why spend so much time trying to earn a platinum trophy? And, if I were to start my quest for a platinum trophy, out of all the games I have and haven’t played, which one should I platinum?
So why spend so much time hunting platinum? I really don’t know. I’ve never been able to justify the 100 plus hours it would take to platinum most games. After browsing through the trophies on a few of my favorite games, I found a number of pointless and time consuming tasks. Fetch this item by beating this monster with one arm tied behind your back. Obtain twelve legendary weapons and sell them to the toothless hermit in the red orange grove. Run around in circles for fifteen minutes until the robo-soldier arrests you and then break out of prison with a secret code. In short, one must do things that are unnecessary, add no entertainment or play value to the game or the gamer and seem designed to waste anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of one’s life.
Not only do many of the minor trophies one must earn to achieve a platinum seem redundant, they seem like they would lessen one’s enjoyment of a game. How much fun can it be to spend hours trying to complete one section perfectly? Many of the trophies I looked up on my favorite games would make me tear my hair out to earn one. How could I continue to love a game that made me bald? Would the countless hours spent grinding away turn my love to hatred? Is it better to hate and have platinum than to love for love’s sake?
Though I have decided that I’d like to earn at least one coveted platinum trophy, I haven’t yet decided which game merits the honor of the time it would take to earn one. What I keep coming back to is why platinum? Maybe it’s my ADHD but I’m a promiscuous gamer. True I favor certain genres but no one genre completely holds my gamer’s heart. There are so many lovely games out there for me to play it seems an injustice to spend so much time on one. Maybe I haven’t met the right game yet or maybe there’s a list of games that got away and I’ve never known.
Feel free to sound off on your platinum thoughts in the comments below. What made a game worth getting a platinum for you? Are there any games you regret spending the time to platinum?