Friday, December 24, 2010


   For most people that know me, it is no surprise that I am a PlayStation fanboy. PlayStation and I have been a happy couple since my early teenage years. When PlayStation 3 came out, my wife was wonderful enough to buy me one; even though the price tag was rather exorbitant. The early life of the PlayStation 3 was filled with turmoil. There was not much of a library. Nobody knew for sure whether or not the Blu-Ray format would catch. I stood by my PlayStation though. Slowly but surely, functionality was added and the library caught up to match. Then, the final push towards widespread acceptance was the death of the HDDVD format. With following price cuts, it was no longer a large gamble to develop a game for the PS3. Instead, it became known as the standard. One idea that Sony undoubtedly "borrowed" along the way to current-generation fame was the achievement system out on the XBox 360, called trophies. Everybody that plays PlayStation 3 earns at least a few trophies in the course of gameplay. Here, I present my ideas on trophies, trophy collecting, and trophy hunting.
   In basic terms, a PlayStation trophy is an indicator of a completed objective. Some of these objectives are completed during the course of normal gameplay. Others require extraneous gameplay. Some objectives are defined in the trophy list. Other objectives are hidden; only discovered after being completed. The trophies come in four flavors: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. All disc-based games have at least one platinum trophy, which is usually awarded for obtaining all other trophies in the game. Most PlayStation Network games offer a gold trophy instead of a platinum, due to their smaller nature. Trophies are great in general. They offer immersion into games on different levels. First, you are able to show your trophies to all of your PlayStation Network friends; as well as post your PlayStation ID with trophies on various websites. This lets people see how well you are doing. If they feel so inclined, they can check out which games the trophies were earned in. On another level, trophies really add to the gameplay experience. They act as a set of secondary objectives to all games. For the people that are obsessed with earning trophies, this can mean many more days of play time per game. I believe that everybody feels at least a little excitement from earning trophies, regardless of the degree of which they actively go collecting.
   Trophy collector would definitely describe my level of trophy obsession. I go into a game with a very specific purpose: game completion. However, I will go out of my way to earn the majority of the trophies along the way. As you can see though, (in my sidebar), I do not hold a single platinum trophy. This is because earning all the trophies in a game requires a level of devotion that I simply do not have time for. Some games have trophies that are easier or more fun to collect than others. Therefore, in some games, I have a great majority of the trophies, while in others, I may have less than half. Some games, I actively continue playing after completion to earn some of the trophies. Other games go straight to the shelf. I will sometimes even cross the lines to trophy hunter and do things such as keep multiple save states for the purpose of returning to an earlier point in the game at a later time to try to get trophies that were maybe easier to obtain earlier or not possible to obtain later. I would love to earn some of those platinum trophies; however, due to my ever-growing game library and current backlog of games to play, it is highly unlikely you will see my moniker with a platinum trophy for some time.
   I have a deep admiration for the trophy hunters. Whenever I see somebody that has several platinum trophies, I know they worked hard for it. Even in the games that are known for being easy to collect trophies in, there is always at least one that they make you work for. No matter which game these guys play, trophy collection becomes much more than just a secondary objective. Collecting all the trophies actually becomes the point of playing the game. They will work for hours just to collect a single, seemingly impossible to obtain, trophy and the thought of shelving the game would be an act of heresy if they had not yet accomplished the task. They will even sink to low levels, such as playing the kid games, just to earn some easy platinum trophies. Again, while I would like to earn some platinum trophies at some point in the life cycle of the PlayStation 3, I simply could not fathom putting in the time needed to do this. Most of these people are the same people that were online the last time you turned your PlayStation 3 off and still logged in when you turned it back on the next day. Not only are they dedicated, but they have very little going on outside the world of PlayStation.
   All of us that own a PlayStation 3 earn trophies. Some of us feel the experience of earning trophy is more rewarding than others. No matter if you just earn the trophies that you get from playing the game, you actively go trophy collecting from time to time, or you are a true trophy hunter, it is hard to deny the pleasure you get when you hear the little ding associated with the unlocked trophy in any game.

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