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The hunt is on: Why I'm a trophy hunter

I like trophies. They enhance gameplay, add a sense of accomplishment and competition, and broaden my horizons.

Some gamers collect trophies and achievements. Some do not. It all depends upon the person and what they want out of the game. As a trophy hunter myself, I understand why many don’t see the need to go out of their way to get some of the various achievements and trophies. But I have often been asked by gamers who don’t trophy or achievement hunt why I do. I’m here to explain my side.

Trophies are a part of games and enhance gameplay.

I want to embrace everything a game has to offer. Game developers go out of their way to add trophies. They have to name them, add descriptions for them, determine if they’re worthy of bronze, silver, gold, or platinum, and, most importantly, make sure they work. Trophies take a lot of effort, and it seems almost rude to completely ignore them - to ignore the work the developers put into making them for us.

I also mean “everything a game has to offer,” in the sense that trophies help direct the player to do extra missions, find a secret, or play a mission in two different ways to see different endings. Consider a game with paragon and renegade points such as Infamous. Based upon your alignment, you can get one of two endings. Trophies encourage you to get both of these endings and get a fuller experience of the game.

The trophies for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time encouraged the player to collect all 50 sly masks scattered throughout the levels. Upon collecting them, you unlock a new weapon: Ratchet’s wrench from the Ratchet and Clank series. It was a nice little easter egg that trophies helped me discover. Besides, games can be expensive. If you’re paying full price for one, you may not want to toss it aside after just doing the main missions. Trophies are another part of the $60 you just spent; they're another part of the experience.

Trophies that center on gameplay provide an additional challenge. 

Sometimes trophies require you to play on a certain difficulty (usually the hardest difficulty or all of the difficulties). Sometimes trophies will place restrictions on how you play (getting through the entire game without killing anyone, for instance).They make the game more difficult and, often enough, more fun. These trophies can be things you may not think of, too, which adds to the gameplay experience even more. When I played Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix, I never would have thought of playing the game with solely the starting equipment. The trophy for it helped add a new level of intrigue that otherwise would have been lost.

Technically speaking, you don’t need trophies to do any of these things. When you first start up a game you can want to play it on the hardest difficulty available without the pressure of a trophy. You can want to get all of the collectibles. You can want to do all of the side missions and fully explore the world at hand. I respect that, but trophies reveal information for the things you could do naturally. When looking over a trophy list you can learn what types of collectibles there are, if not how many.

When looking over a trophy list you can learn what types of collectibles there are, if not how many.

You can determine how many side quests there are, or at least get a general idea. If there are multiple characters or endings you can learn about those too. When I first looked over the trophy list for Mass Effect, I learned that there were a huge number of side missions and no collectibles. I even got a general idea of how many weapons and abilities would be available to me. In short, trophies provide extra information about the game that could prove useful when playing it.

There's accomplishment and competition.

Trophies add a sense of accomplishment. Some aspects of games are hard whether it’s completing the game on a certain difficulty or beating a specific boss that makes you want to tear your hair out. Trophies are a sort of reward for doing those hard things. It’s like winning the Super Bowl. It’s no easy feat and so whichever team wins gets a trophy. Likewise, I feel as if the developers’ themselves are rewarding gamers for doing the hard things, almost like a present for playing their games to the fullest. It’s a sense of accomplishment within myself for doing something difficult, but a sense of accomplishment within the game as well.

I can be very competitive at times, so I also enjoy the competition that trophies can present. Each trophy represents a certain number of points that are used to increase the level on your profile. As your level gets higher, you need more points to level up. In other words, the more trophies you have gathered and the more accomplishments you have done in-game, the higher level you will be. You can compare this ranking to other gamers in your country and the world. On my PlayStation Network profile, I’m ranked just over 30,000 in the world. Considering that there are over 2 million people with a PlayStation account, I consider that ranking to be very good. However, I still want to strive to be better. One day I would at least like to break into the top 25,000 and I will keep pressing to do so. As of right now, I’m competing with 5,000 other people to at least hit that 25,000 mark. Though I can also compare my trophies to that of other people. I can look up the rarity of a trophy and see how many other people have gotten it. If not many other people have it, then I feel very accomplished since I am one of a few that have managed such a feat. It’s not just rarity either. I can look at the speed at which a trophy was obtained, particularly platinum trophies. If I got a platinum trophy for a game faster than someone else, it feels like an accomplishment. If I got a platinum trophy after someone else, it feels like a failure and pushes me to get better so I can be faster for the next game I play.

Trophies broaden your gaming horizons.

Trophies can often determine what that next game will be as well. Regardless of trophies, I’m going to play a game that sounds interesting to me and I’m not going to play one that sounds awful. However, sometimes I just want to play a game with really easy trophies, something that I can fly through and not look back. Some of the games I have chosen were awful. Some of them were okay. Some of them were fantastic. Most of these I never would have played without my need to collect trophies though. Shamelessly, I played DreamWorks’ Puss in Boots. As a game designated for kids, it was easy, but it was also really good. It may be hard to believe that both an adaptation of a movie and a kid’s game can be good, but it was. There was a little bit of stealth, some action, some comedy, and even multiplayer and collectibles. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I put into this game. I never would have picked it up without such an easy trophy list though; I would have missed out on a good game and stuck to what I typically play. Trophies encourage me to break out of my comfort zone and try something new. Even when I don’t like a game I play for the sole purpose of getting easy trophies, those trophies are still encouraging me to play something new that I wouldn’t have otherwise been bothered with. Trophies are really helping me expand my horizons as a gamer.

Keep in mind that every trophy hunter is different though. For me personally, if I don’t like a game, get sick of it, or am just so bad at it that progression is nearly impossible, I’m not going to go out of way to get all of the trophies for it; I’m not going to waste my time on a game I’m not enjoying. Some trophy hunters will continue a game regardless of whether they like it or not and some will sit through pieces of gameplay they hate just to get the trophy for it. This is solely my experience and my reasons for trophy hunting.

Are you a trophy or achievement hunter? For what reasons do you go hunting? Let me know in the comments below. 

Published Aug. 11th 2015

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