For most people spring represents a time of renewal. A period of the year that is suited to resolving outstanding issues, sorting out the old and unwanted. Making a new nest in which to, well, nest. They call it Spring Cleaning. Practically everyone does it.
It may well be a sign of renewal as the average person perceives themselves emerging from the winter grayness and perceives the bright light of sunshine, life-granting rain for the flowers they just know will suddenly burst out of the ground, and the promise of if not warm and pleasant days at the beach, at least a renewal of all of the things that seem to make life in the summer fun.
For gamers though, that does not quite describe their annual position as properly or accurately as you might think. You see for gamers – and especially serious gamers – spring is simply the marker for the approached END of the game season – not a renewal.
The renewal period – Gamer Spring if you will – doesn’t arrive until September, which is traditionally the start of the new gamer season which runs from September to May.
The months of June, July, and August are simply the fallow period between game seasons.
When Microsoft set out to create the new LIVE experience for the then new version of its games console – the Xbox One – a major element in that effort was to bring together in a more cohesive manner the basic presence of a set of resources that, arguably, Microsoft could claim to have pretty much invented.
I am, of course, writing about the Achievements System and how spectacularly it succeeded in creating a niche that – at the time of its conception – Microsoft had no idea it could fill.
Even Microsoft willingly admits that its Xbox LIVE Achievements system was created more accidentally than on purpose.
In fact it very nearly did not get created, as there were elements in the power structure of the planning committee who both didn’t grok the point of recognizing Achievements in games and, ironically, could not see how that sort of thing might appeal in any way to the gamers who were ostensibly the customer.
Hindsight being 20/20 it is easy to see now how the Xbox LIVE Achievements system and the manner in which it feeds into the whole rewards and recognition concept – and how it essentially provides to gamers on the Xbox platform a means by which their prowess and success – even their own notions of their value as a gamer – might be measured.
We’ve covered that part of the story quite well in the past – no need to go there now.
In fact the reason for bringing the subject up again is mostly due to an odd pattern that has emerged that has to do with a rather twisted version of spring cleaning.
The Achievement and the To Do List
Any gamer who has been even a little involved in online chat boards that service the gamer community has encountered the whole Achievement Hunter subculture in gaming.
These are gamers who quite literally believe that every “G” matters – a “G” being a Gamer Point.
It is entirely normal to find that members of that subculture display their accomplishments in terms of Gamer Score and Game Completion Status as a badge of honor. The signature line for their accounts on games chat boards and, for all we know, on their email client, carefully lists every game that they have managed to fully unlock the Achievements in.
They call it one-hundred-percenting and list the games under that heading. They often brag about the effort that went into acquiring that distinction – especially when it is for a game that had difficult Achievements – often nearly impossible to unlock unless a gamer is willing to literally train up their skills to do it.
To these gamers there are no Achievements that are simply not worth the effort. But that is not what this post is about.
This post is about the odd left-over Achievements that seem to linger in games that, by all rights, should have been unlocked ages ago.
These are not difficult to unlock Achievements mind you – they just never… Somehow… Ended up being unlocked.
If you examine the typical gamer’s Achievements you will find these – often a lot of them actually. I am just as guilty as most gamers in making lists of left-overs and devoting at least some time to completing them too.
Just the other day I found myself reviewing the whole left-overs situation for my own Achievements List on Xbox One, and without even actively seeking to, formed a plan to address the left-overs and get them out of the way and unlocked in less than 20 minutes a day! And yes, I do worry that I suffer from some form of OCD.
Before I knew it, I had assessed the situation and created my list of left-overs to be consumed – of which the sampling below is just that – a sample:
- Angry Birds Star Wars – Block Buster (15g) Smash 25 blocks with a single flight of Boba.
- Angry Birds Star Wars – Probe Gatherer (15g) Find five Droid Levels.
- Assassins Creed IV – Devil of the Caribbean (40g) Defeat all 4 Legendary Ships.
- Assassins Creed IV – Sharing is Caring (10g) Share each type of discovery with friends once.
- Dead Island – Death Incarnate (50g) Survive Wage 30.
- Dead Island – There and back again (30g) Explore the entire island.
- Fallout 4 – Benevolent Leader – 20g) Reach Max Happiness in a Large Settlement.
- Fallout 4 – Docile (15g) Have 5 Tamed Creatures in a Settlement.
- Far Cry Primal – Gotcha (10g) Eliminate 10 enemies using hunting traps.
- Far Cry Primal – Inflammable (10g) Eliminate 50 enemies with fire.
- Forza 5 – P1 vs Nordschleife (20g) Finish P1 vs Nordschleife Rivals event w. lap time of 7:15.
- Forza 5 – Sidewinder (20g) Earn 20 Perfect Drift Scores.
- Forza 6 – Cashing In (20g) Earn 50K cr from the community using your Design.
- Forza 6 – Making a Name (20g) Earn 50K cr from the community using your Tune.
- Forza Horizon – Covered in Mud and Glory (20g) Win a Horizon Rally.
- Forza Horizon – Stuntman (25g) Complete every Horizon Outpost PR Stunt.
- Forza Horizon 2 – Horizon Enthusiast (25g) Complete 100 Championships.
- Forza Horizon 2 – Well Traveled (30g) Complete 25 Online Road Trips.
- Halo 5 – Gravelord (40g) Find and claim all Skulls.
- Halo 5 – Warlord (20g) Win a match on all three original Warzone maps.
- Halo MCC – Big Time Gamer (10g) Complete 400 missions or multiplayer games.
- Halo MCC – Oh, These Baubles? (10g) Collect 6,000 campaign or playlist medals.
- Halo Spartan Assault – Immune (100g) Finish co-op mission without becoming infected.
- Halo Spartan Assault – Powered by MJOLNIR (20g) Use every ability in campaign at least once.
- Just Cause 3 – Forgive me Father (10g) Take sanctuary in a monastery to clear Heat Level 5.
- Just Cause 3 – Look at the Sly Fox (35g) Use barrel role to evade 10 missiles.
- Mad Max – Maximum Air (10g) Be airborne in a vehicle for 4s and land w/o dying.
- Mad Max – Up, Up and Away (10g) Fly the balloon at every Vantage Outpost.
- Mafia II – Explorer (10g) Drive a total of 1000 miles in Jimmy’s Vendetta.
- Mafia II – Massacre (20g) Kill 1000 enemies in Jimmy’s Vendetta.
- Microsoft Bingo – Everyday Explorer (50g) Reach Level 30.
- Microsoft Bingo – Mementos (40g) Complete three different collections.
- Microsoft Solitaire – Blizzard of Bliss (30g) Win 100 Klondike Games.
- Microsoft Solitaire – Web Surfing (30g) Win 100 Spider Games.
- Minecraft – Overkill (30g) Deal nine hearts damage in a single hit.
- Minecraft – Tie Dye Outfit (15g) Dye all 4 pieces of Leather Armor.
- Sniper Elite 3 – Sniping with Friends (40g) Complete the campaign in co-op.
- Sniper Elite 3 – The Everyman (20g) Complete all the challenge missions.
- Thief – Legend in Leather (75g) Complete 25 optional Thieving Objectives.
- Thief – Sleight of Hand (20g) Pick 100 Pockets in a single playthrough.
Now consider this – if you were a gamer who was very invested in your Gamer Score the sample above – which represents about a fifth of the left-overs I found in reviewing my Achievements – actually totals more than a FULL game!
The standard AAA title on the Xbox platform is required to have 1000g while games that are classified as “Arcade” titles only have to have 250g (I think – it used to be 200g). When I added up the g for the above I obtained a total of 1,040g.
Just to offer up a more complete set of stats I took a look at my games and Achievements list and discovered that I have played a total of 371 unique games over the course of my history on the Xbox platform beginning with the Xbox 360 (prior to that I was a fan of the PS2).
A quick check and I was surprised to learn that those 371 games have a total of 376,225g of which I had only unlocked 165,905 – less than half. Ouch. Of course that means I have plenty of opportunity in just the games on my list now, right? Right!
When I added up the rest of the list that I did not share above, it actually comes to 6,735g – which is more than 6 full games in basically, well, left-overs. But obviously based on the total sin the above paragraph there is more – way more – than 6 or 7 games worth of left-overs. Just saying.
What are your totals?