The lights are on
When you’re playing a game you get achievements and trophies for (mostly) the good things you do. But sometimes we all do things we’re not proud of. Sometimes we do it just to survive during the heat of the moment, while others are more ingrained habits. Or – let’s face it – we’re probably just not that good at games.
Saving Like It’s Going Out of Style
You save every chance you get, constantly living in fear of an untimely death or the threat of a faulty or ill-timed checkpoint. While your paranoia might not be entirely unfounded, you should try enjoying the game itself instead of just its pause menu.
The Redux Times Deux
What do you do with all those saves? You use them, of course, to unscrupulously right all of your wrongs. Many games offer multiple endings, but you truly bend the game to your will by using saves to re-do certain decisions after you’ve already seen the outcome. Time travel is a privilege, not a right.
My personal vice is the accidental power outage. Let’s say – strictly for the sake of illustration – you’re playing a sports title that punishes mid-game quitting with a forfeit. It’s times like this that it’s particularly unfortunate when the main power button is accidently pushed, taking me out of the game without a loss. Or my dignity.
Death Becomes You
Many games can tell when you’re not good at them, and after you die a pre-determined number of times, they’ll give you the option to change the difficulty. My personal favorite is in Punch Out!! on the Wii. After you loose 100 matches in the single-player mode, the game gives you headgear to give you more protection from punches. While playing it, I may have started to intentionally lose around the 60th knockout.
A coward’s sense of survival is particularly strong, and when the going gets tough, the not-so-tough get running. Sometimes the best way through a particular level is to simply high-tail it and bypass the danger. This works particularly well when a game lets you trigger a cutscene and continue on after it like nothing happened.
The good news regarding the fact that most games don't include full manuals anymore is that nobody was reading them anyway. Of course, when you don’t read the instruction manual and/or skip all the tutorials, you often don’t know all the game’s controls. This isn’t your fault (no, not at all), so you’re left to stumble your way through the game using the same two attacks, cheesing bosses, and not availing yourself of all the game has to offer.
This Isn’t A Movie
If you wanted a good story you’d read a book, right? You think cutscenes just get in the way of the action, so you skip past them and simply cut to the chase, missing out on good storytelling and all that other needless junk.
I’ll never understand playing games you don’t like simply for the achievements or trophies. That has to be a shameful practice in and of itself.
Have some other examples? Please share them in the comments section below – and be honest!
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I think the saving thing is just fine. There's nothing wrong with wanting to save your progress repeatedly so you don't have to redo certain sections of a game. There were so many times where I quit a game because the checkpoint/save system was so sparse that I'd have to redo certain parts that were anywhere between 45 minutes to over an hour long.
I like to save much more often in Metal Gear games then others. I also die a lot more in MGS 4 on The Boss Extreme, which would explain the save habit.
Gotta say, I definitely do not skip cutscenes or jump into a game without the tutorials. I do, however, save like crazy and use saves to experience other paths. I can't remember how many guards I killed in Oblivion on a single save once. I acted like it was a dream or something.
The only thing worse than playing bad games for achievements is cheating by getting the game on PC and then transferring that 1000 points you didn't earn to your gamerscore. Some people...
The saving I don't think is necessarily a bad thing. Unless you do point #2 with them. I used to skip all cutscenes to get back into the game when I was younger, but now I like watching them. Especially when playing games like Mass Effect or Fallout.
I am guilty of trying to get the most trophies and achievements in my first playthrough. This leads to all sorts of strange behaviors from saving multiple times, reloading after a trophy unlock and doing another path, to sometimes playing the game in a way that I wouldn't normally play.
I sometimes try to get through a game without killing a single enemy if possible and have the greatest satisfaction if there is a trophy for doing so (mirrors edge, deus ex).