Pop culture and its effect on Achievements

Over the weekend, I unlocked a very random Achievement in Borderlands:

You’re on a Boat! (15G): I bet you never thought you’d be here.

Well, it seemed random at first, but then it slowly dawned on me that it was actually an inside joke based off of the song “I’m on a Boat” by The Lonely Island, a silly yet extremely catchy tune made popular (and somewhat viral) last year on Saturday Night Live. Basically, while wandering around the coastline on Pandora, you’ll see a docked ship all by its lonesome, and upon hopping aboard and exploring it you’ll pop the above. There’s some money and I think a gun cache there, but then there’s also some…uh, porn magazines.

So, yeah, a bit random. Well, it’s a bit random today, being that of May 2010. I’m sure when the game was being produced and “I’m on a Boat” was just about everywhere last summer, this little Achievement got a lot of chuckles in 2K’s offices.

However, give the game a few more years, and I suspect no one will even know where this stemmed from. And that’s my problem with pop culture, especially when it invades music and games. It’s not forever. It’s only concerned with the now and current, and making a quick impression on you, trying to grab your attention with something that oh so recently already grabbed it. I believe there’s a Jason Mraz song where he sings about the love of his life and also drinking from a Starbucks cup; now, I am under no authority to say whether this coffee company will still be around in 2075 (it will), but who’s to say that someone listening to his album then might not get what he’s saying. Because they don’t know Starbucks. Or cassettes. Or payphones. Or whatever. They were not alive to see the culture to pop. It’s a great reason why The Beatles  and games like Suikoden II are timeless, and I now I’m meandering here–and especially over something so silly and trite–but I’m a planner, and I just don’t think You’re on a Boat! was planned out to be amusing in the longrun. If you didn’t pop it fast when the game launched, you didn’t get the joke when you were supposed to.

Y’know, I’m probably the only gamer to overthink something like this…

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