Racing to the End

One of these days, most of our good games will come to an end. The one new concept that the seventh generation of consoles has taught us besides cutting edge graphics and out of the box gaming experiences is a better work ethic. Every Xbox 360 game has 1000 gamerscore available, with numerous achievements to gain on the way towards the top. Each current PS3 title has different trophies and function the same way.

From one standpoint, a game isn’t finished until we gather every achievement or all of the trophies up to Platinum. No one’s perfect, and quite frankly, I personally haven’t gotten one Platinum Trophy yet and I’ve maxed out every achievement for two Xbox games.

We feverishly play, reaching every milestone and every new plateau. Suddenly or unceremoniously, we will eventually reach the top. After the cheers and the overall feeling of awesomeness of knowing we’ve arrived, it’s safe to say we’re finished. Take any game out right now. Modern Warfare 2, Street Fighter, even Mass Effect 2. They may be excellent gaming experiences right now, but we’ll always know in the back of our minds, “this will get old, this will become common, this will become tedious.” we’re driven to accomplish tasks and try our hardest to complete challenges for achievement points and trophies, but there’s always a point where we remove ourselves from the mindless dance and wonder, “What else is out there?”

That’s where real replay value lies. I spent this weekend in gaming watching Modern Warfare 2 become a lot less interesting right before my eyes. After reaching Rank 70, I already knew I’m not going to Prestige. To me, its just artificially making the game a lot longer than it already is, and more importantly, all the shiny new guns I worked to unlock will be gone again. Sorry, I like akimbo Model 1887’s. Of course, I’ll probably still be playing with my friends online for months to come, but I don’t have the feeling that I’m climbing anymore. Of course, I’ll become a marginally better sniper just from playing, but that familiar push to get “one more level” is gone. In hindsight, Infinity Ward did such a great job at establishing that sense of climbing. Every gun has a multitude of unlockables and other goodies, and once we’re five star generals, we can do it all over again! One go-around is good enough for me, though.

I hate when this feeling comes over me, because it’s the one time all the immediate games I own are a lot less interesting. All the climbing, all the exploration and discovery, had been done. I guess I’ve hit a wall. I bet Sony’s racking up on folks like me, since my newest downloads from the Store are Flower, Grandia, and Wild Arms 2. Hopefully they’ll give me a little cushion the next time I wander into a dry spell.

Sounds like a perfect time for a new game right? Only a few more days to go…

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