Thursday, February 5, 2009

For fun or Achievements?

That last post got me thinking about Achievements. Not real-world accomplishments, but those little flickering doggie treats you get from your XBox 360 when you do something in a game. If you've got a 360, you know what I mean. If not. . .well that's pretty much what they are. Very simple, but very addictive. Sometimes I feel empty when playing another system because there's no chance of getting an Achievement. More than likely, this was exactly what the Microsoft marketing team had in mind. In that case, good job MS. But this has seeped into the entire gaming experience for me. Case in point: Fallout 3.

I finally got a chance to catch up on some Fallout last night and I love that game. I played it for hours and finally got a rare Achievement. Considering how much I've played that game, I don't have many points to show for it. This is a lot like Oblivion, which was another gloriously life-draining game. I played Oblivion for well over 20 hours and barely scratched the surface of its potential. In fact, I barely took a nibble from the main quest which means I don't have many Achievements from that game. I often feel like I need to explain myself where this is concerned:

"So," someone will say, "you've got Oblivion / Fallout 3. Those are pretty cool games, huh?"
"Yes," I reply. "I've actually played a lot even though it doesn't look like it. I do a lot of wandering around, finding random places. You know, just exploring."
"Yes I know. It's / They're cool game(s)."
"Seriously," I emphasize. "I've played them a lot. I just haven't gotten into the main story. It's like I don't want them to be over."
"Ok," the poor person says, rather uncomfortably. "I get it. The game is fun. Relax."
"It IS fun! I just only have 45 out of 1000 points to show for all my time."
"Maybe you need to breathe or just get the hell away from me."

At least these games aren't like some of the earlier ones where designers were still figuring out Achievements. Like Quake 4 or Call of Duty 2. I played through the entire campaign of Quake 4 and earned under 200 out of 1000 points for the whole damn thing! COD 2 is an awesome game, but I earned TWO Achievements for it: Completed Training and Won The War. That's it.

I realize the whole Achievement thing is old news, but it's always with me.
They taunt me.

This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.

BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.