Why the Hell Do We Care About Gamerscore?
Seriously though, why the hell do I even care about my gamer score? I really started thinking about this when I started collecting all the items in Brütal Legend. Using the internet and a handy map I had found on Achievement Hunter I set off on my quest. Over the course of a few hours, I managed to clear off nearly half of the collectibles when I realized I wasn’t having any fun. It honestly felt like I was somewhere in another realm of existence turned on a shop-vac and sucked all of the enjoyment out of the game.
So I turned off that game and decided to finally run through the Half-Life episodes on The Orange Box. So I hopped on Xbox360Achievements.org to see if there was a way I could pull some points through my gaming. I saw there was an achievement called “The One Free Bullet” for Episode 1. I just would only be allowed 1 bullet to fire throughout the entire episode. Needless to say, I decided I had to try this.
I thought that if I got to a part that was too difficult to get past, I can just use bullets and skip the 40 points. I don’t know if it was tenacity, or sheer stupidity, but I fought through a couple tough parts and earned those 40 points. In the process of getting those points, my “Curse jar” had devoured a significantly large amount of quarters and for what? Higher blood pressure, the urge to smoke cigarettes and 40 gamerpoints? Sometimes I even astound myself.
Even when those hallowed words, “Achievement Unlocked”, showed up I didn’t feel like someone poked me in the pleasure center of the brain and made me happy. It was more or less a feeling of “What’s next?” I wasn’t doing these achievements because I wanted a challenge, I was doing them because I wanted those stupid, valueless points.
And they are worth nothing. Unless you think having a huge e-penis measuring contest is worth something. This is something I never really thought about until hitting the 25k mark when I achieved the 1000 points from Modern Warfare 2. I thought it was so neat to break the 25k gamerscore mark by 100% beating the biggest game of 2009, that I had to tell my girlfriend.
With her grasping to understand why I was excited she asked “What can you do with those points? Do you get stuff with them?” You cannot buy anything with these points, you don’t get a discount, or a thank you from anyone. They are simply bragging rights and just like any sort of bragging rights, there will always be someone bigger and better than you.
Regardless of the bragging rights, the entire point system is flawed. The achievements aren’t properly weighted to give a good value of how good the gamer is. Let’s take for example the achievement in Trials HD of Marathon, which is to complete the Ultimate Endurance Challenge without faulting. There are only a handful of people in the world who have accomplished this task. It is worth 40 gamer score, which is practically nothing in the world of gamer score.
Just look at the reigning champ of easy gamer points, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth can render a gamer with more than half a functioning brain an easy 1000 gamer points in a matter of 5 to 10 minutes. So how can one take gamer score seriously when there exists this massive fault in the gamer score system, there needs to be weighted achievements. Although this idea would present another problem by trying to determine how many points achievements should be worth.
The biggest problem I have with gamerscore is that I am utterly, hopelessly addicted to it. Every time I put in a new game I look at the achievement list to see what can be feasible on the first run through. It truly is sad. It is so sad because not only does it prove that I do care about my gamerscore and my e-penis, it is sad because some of these achievements are not how the game was meant to be played. Valve did not design Episode 1 to be completed with only firing one bullet. They wanted you to run around and bust caps in the skulls of many combine soldiers, but instead I sat there wielding a crowbar and a gravity gun just to get those points. So I could say, “Yeah, my e-penis is this big.”