Confessions of a recovering trophy addict

What happens when something you once found fun becomes all consuming and takes over almost every minute of your free time? That was me and my relationship with trophies, now that I have overcome that particular addiction I have decided to note down a few words around this addiction that currently plagues many gamers.

It all started back in 2005 before trophies even existed when I got an Xbox 360. I remember the first time I saw that little achievement pop and I was instantly hooked. Nowhere before had we had this little record of what we had achieved in games to show off to the world? I dove in, I loved how I had this thing that at the time I felt made me a better gamer than the next person I saw with a lower score, but at the same time seeing other massive scores used to make me feel inferior so I ventured down the path of easy achievements. I would boot up games scrub out the easy 100-200 achievement points that were so easily dished out to you and move on to the next game not caring about experiencing the game I had just played anymore. If the points were too much work then as far as I was concerned the game was done.

A while later I bought a PS3 as a Blu-ray player and scoffed at the fact it never had an achievement system but that all changed with Super Stardust HD. Stardust was the first title to support Sony’s new trophy system and I don’t know what it was but there was something more satisfying about collecting trophies than collecting gamerscore and before too long PlayStation became my main platform for gaming.

I was again looking for an easy fix but instead of scrubbing out easy trophies it was all about easy Platinums and I ventured down the crap games route, playing the likes of Hannah Montana and Madagascar Karts just to pick up that easy Platinum at the end. It wasn’t all bad though as I was still playing good games like Arkham Asylum and the Uncharted games, I was having fun and the addiction had not fully taken hold as of yet.

Fast forward a few years to the Vita and PS4 and things started to get a whole lot worse. I was finding myself playing absolute garbage just to get the platinum and to make matters worse I was actually playing them multiple times from multiple regions just to build up that Platinum count. I would go online and see how long a game would take to finish and actually pass on quality titles just because they seemed like too much effort to Platinum. My gaming friends would tell me how stupid this was but I never listened and continued to do it, literally wasting money on the same games, playing and not actually having fun. Slowly gaming was becoming a chore that was about chasing this never ending trophy level and not actually having fun doing it. Then there seemed to be this spike of developers that were (and still are) releasing absolute shovelware onto the system and attaching fast easy Platinums as their selling point and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and I decided I was done.

Part of it was realising that I was wasting the time I had available playing junk rather than one of the many top titles I had available to me. But something about this new idea that companies could throw out any old junk and if it has a platinum it will sell kinda pissed me off and I realised by buying them I was part of the problem. Gaming is obviously all about choice but takes the Platinum out of half these games and no one would play them. I’m glad I kicked the habit.

Since then (going on 4 months now) I have stopped looking at the trophies I unlock. I don’t look up lists online and I have been enjoying gaming far more and actually getting through the backlog of quality games I left sitting untouched while trying to inflate my meaningless trophy rank. When they first launched I thought trophies/achievements were the best thing to happen to gaming but I have slowly realised that for people with addictive personalities like mine they could have actually been one of the worst things to happen in gaming and I’m just glad I’m back to gaming for the sake of gaming and not just chasing those Platinums.

My name is John and I’m a recovering trophy addict.

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