Saturday, September 18, 2010

Look at me! I'm awesome!

I've been playing Puzzle Quest 2 on my DS.  (And I never thought I'd say this about anything, but actually I wish it were harder and more difficult.)  And I rocked a completely awesome combination of spells, luck, and strategy, and in a single turn did over 100 damage to my opponent.

And the thought I had was, "Damn.  I kind of wish we had a 360, because I want everyone to know!"

I am not a competitive gamer, I'm really not.  I tend to prefer single-player games or, barring that, cooperative multiplayer.  If I absolutely must go head to head with someone, I prefer it to be anonymously or pseudonymously online.  Why?  Because I really, really hate losing to people I know -- and I also hate winning over my friends and spouse.

But even I understand the full appeal of achievements systems, and why XBox Live,Steam, the PlayStation Network, and Windows Live all have them: because if a totally badass event happens alone, at home, and no-one sees it... did it ever really happen?

There's a phenomenon I've touched on before, where all gaming to an extent becomes narrative gaming.  Tetris may not have a story, but we tell stories about our own experiences playing it.  "I totally hit level 9 and then, like BAM!  The blue piece I needed!"  And in this sense, we gamers are no different from people out there playing soccer, or watching football, or going fishing, or driving to work.  We assemble stories around us.  But instead of a photo of us holding up a 5' long fish, we have virtual achievements and scroll through pages of pixellated trophies.

Alas, I, on my DS at home, get no trophy.  But believe me, y'all: it was this big!

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