Trophy Hunter, No More!? Before I load a game, install the multi-gig day-one patch and see the title screen the first thing I delve into is the trophy list. Thanks to PlayStationTrophies.org I’ll have a spoiler-free roadmap, time estimate to platinum (1000/1000 for the Xbox fans out there….ummm…cool stamps [sometimes] if on Nintendo), glitched tasks to avoid and a list of dreaded missable accomplishments to be on the lookout for. I don’t like that I’m compelled to do this… I’ve rallied against the spoiler-filled nature of trailers, preview fueled news-cycle and the importance of making your own opinion. But my addictive personality wants to collect as many shiny widgets that I know don’t mean anything as possible and will inadvertently spoil a small portion of the game in my goal to make certain I don’t miss anything. This is a contradiction in my coding. Hunting trophies never ruined a game for me but it has made some gaming sessions less enjoyable. I transition from playing in the moment to experiencing a low-level anxiety that I will open the wrong door and am locked out of collectible 47 of 212 unless I replay a two-hour section. I don’t think this is the emotion the developer was hoping to elicit and it’s not why I purchased the game (or downloaded it from PS Plus). There are numerous trophies which I’ve earned not in the spirit of the game design; I’ve left my console on overnight with the controller rubberbanded so a character would walk in circles, restarted checkpoints multiple times to grind-out kills or followed a video guide on how to climb the environment and ignore hordes of near-invincible enemies. These aren’t ideal behaviors—these aren’t choices I’m exceptionally proud of. Trophies are optional and I made the choice to become a trophy hunter. But like anyone with a compulsion they continue to feed, I’ve recognized the negatives of my behavior and am trying to reform myself… When Uncharted 4 released, UC4 for the cool kids, I knew it would take multiple playthroughs to earn every trophy; I turned off pop-up notifications and went through an entire run without peeking at my trophy progress. It was a pleasant change of pace and allowed me to focus on the adventure of without worrying about the meta-game within the game. I still went on to play with a collectible guide during my second run, but I kept that first experience untainted by the distractions of trophies. I started Day of the Tentacle recently because it’s an ‘easy’ platinum that is a beloved gem from yesteryear. However, the point and click adventure from 20+ years ago didn’t jive with my modern-day sensibilities. The humor wasn’t there and the game was clunky…it wasn’t worth even 3 to 5 to earn electronic-doodads. My entertainment time is more valuable than a trophy. To many, this is a ‘duh’ moment because they always ignored trophies but to someone who constantly collects trophies and compares levels with friends this is an eye-opener. There are plenty of games where I didn’t enjoy the experience and all the ‘fun’ was more from watching the progress bar fill up from 0 to 100%. I stopped playing the game for its own sake and more just to beat it. But that’s not the point…gamers play what we play, not for Game Over but rather for what we take away! I now choose to take away fun memories instead of a pile of hollow achievements. I’ll still chase trophies for games I enjoy, I’ll still be frustrated at times that I missed a collectible or didn’t do everything in the “ideal” order to maximize time. However, I’ve shifted my concept of ideal – it’s more important to enjoy the game because it’s fun first and not focus on the OCD completionist aspect. I want my trophy list to be a representative of the game I enjoyed (or didn’t) and not just a monument to how much free time I’ve wasted. Have you ever played a game just to boost your trophy score? Do you have your own guidelines and rules for when you go after every achievement? Level Up, Friends!