Tag Archives: gamerscore

Writing the story as I go with 50,000 Gamerscore

grinding down 50000 gamerscore achieved

There was a time when I was immensely interested in unlocking Achievements and watching my Gamerscore grow in length and size. No, really. Just look around this very blog of mine, through the archives, and you’ll see my thoughts when I hit 10,000 Gamerscore on the dot, followed by 20,000 Gamerscore, and 30,000, and, interestingly, 41,000 back in September 2013. I even had a weekly feature for a bit there highlighting a sample of Achievements I unlocked over seven days. Yeah, remember that craziness? Now we’re lucky if I can put up a single post in a week’s time, but that’s a topic for a different day.

I was pretty devoted to the cause early on, but slowly, bit by bit, I stopped playing my Xbox 360 as much, and you can blame that on my acquiring of a PlayStation 3 in January 2013, a lot of good games on the Nintendo 3DS, and digging deep on indies and point-and-click adventure games on the PC (well, in my case, a laptop). There’s another reason, which involves a cold living room and expensive oil bills, but that’s drama in the past, and now I am able to stay cool/warm to any degree.

Well, here I am, once more, with 50,000 Gamerscore on the nose, attained on July 31, 2015 thanks to an Achievement in Lara Croft: Relic Run, which involved shooting 25 projectiles from enemies out of the air. It’s fine if you don’t believe me; that’s what pictures are for, anyways. Here, take a gander:

wp_ss_20150731_0001

Well, that’s a big screenshot. Did you know I had to Google “how to take a screenshot on Windows phone” in order to get the image above? Yeah, I may be decent at unlocking Achievements–well, no, not in the grand scheme of things given how many there actually are out there–but relatively simple technology actions still require some learning on my part. I’ll get there, I promise.

Here’s the thing. I both care greatly about Achievements, as well as don’t care. Let me explain. There is no race to the top; I’m not in a hurry to grow my Gamerscore and watch those lists of locked Achievements get whittled down, all for the sake of boasting, showing off my bulging e-muscles. For all I know, I might not hit 60,000 ever. Still, I can’t resist pulling up a game’s list and scanning through the Achievements, seeing what looks “do-able” versus what I’ll have to give up on from the very start. They occasionally bring me back to a game or give me the motivation to try something else, especially if in a rut, like going after all the skull collectibles in Motocross Madness.

At this point, I’ve already moved past the clean, nicely rounded 50,000 score, popping a few more Achievements from Lara Croft: Relic Run. The magic is over. You can’t stop a leaky faucet from dripping. Some other cool-sounding phrase that relates to all this. There’s also a laundry list of Xbox 360 games, all full of future unlockable Achievements, sitting in my download queue, waiting until there’s more room on my internal hard-drive. Here, let me name a few–Just Cause 2, Thief, Gears of War 3, and Metro 2033. Lastly, Fallout 4 comes out in a few months–what a strange sentence to write after so many years of day-dreaming–and I need to make the leap to the current generation before the game drops; I suspect, thanks to the extra effort from Microsoft for backwards compatibility, that I’m leaning towards an Xbox One, which only means more Achievements and silly posts documenting all these non-milestones. You are welcome in advance.

Showing off my cultural superiority in Civilization Revolution

sid_meiers_civilization_revolution_profilelarge copy

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution is one of the two free games Gold members get this month on the Xbox 360. It’s not particularly shiny or new, releasing back in June 2008 for all the expected systems from that time period, meaning the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and iThings. It’s a simplified turn-based strategy game that mixes historical figures and cartoonish graphics in a fairly addicting manner, seeing that I only played a single round so far, and that entire fight saw Rome dominating all the other cities after just under two hours of back-and-forthing it.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve never actually played a Civilization game before this. Hey–please don’t throw rocks. Oh, sure, I bought Civilization V back during Thanksgiving or Christmas last year when a crazy Steam sale was running, but I’ve still not loaded it up once. Okay, okay…maybe throw a rock for that, but please, not the face. Back in the day, however, I did enjoy a lot of time with Age of Empires on the PC, watching brainless grunts evolve from the early Stone Age all the way to the late Iron Age. I’ve previously talked about my dislike for many RTS videogames, but those are usually military-based and tower defense-focused, and I do enjoy ones more about…well, teaching a group of people how to read or build a stone wheel or harvest crops from nearby fields. Yes, in Civilization Revolution there’s still combat and a need to protect your city while also possibly attacking another, but you can also just grow in culture, money, and fame, and that’s pretty dang cool.

Now, there are four roads to victory in Civilization Revolution:

  • Domination: Capture and hold each of the other four civilizations’ capital cities.
  • Technology: Be the first to launch a spaceship and discover the planet Alpha Centauri.
  • Cultural: Acquire 20 Great Persons, Wonders, and/or captured cities and build the United Nations wonder.
  • Economic: Amass 20,000 gold and build the World Bank wonder.

As I mentioned before, my one game so far took about two hours, and that’s seemingly just how things go. You begin by building units and buildings and Wonders, and each of those things take X number of turns to be completed. While that’s happening, other cities are growing too. Some may befriend you, and others will grow jealous or angry or scared and declare war. You can stave off some fighting by giving other city rulers money or technologies you’ve learned, but it’s never a guarantee for eternal peace. So it’s a lot of small planning and waiting, and I eventually began working on a Cultural victory, building the United Nations wonder to cinch the deal. However, strangely, I didn’t get the Achievement associated to fulfilling this quest, instead earning the one for a Dominance victory. Not sure what that’s about…

A couple quick side notes: I find it hilarious that the Xbox 360 shortens the name of this game to Civilization Revolut’n on all of its dashboard menus. Certainly they could have fit the whole name on there, right? There have to be games with longer titles than this. Or maybe this was just Microsoft not knowing what to do with longish titles back then, seeing as they also ditched Sid Meier’s name too. Also, while this might not matter to many, a few of the Achievements in this game are worth odd amounts, like 3 or 9 Gamerscore; initially, I was freaked out by this, but eventually earned all of them odd ones to balance my Gamerscore back out to a nice even number. That’s just how wild and loose those early days were with the Xbox 360.

I definitely see myself doing a couple more rounds with Civilization Revolution, at least to try out some of the other cultures, as well as attempting some different win victories. Unfortunately, none of this will happen until the weather gets warmer and the living room isn’t painful to sit in for longer than half an hour. Until then.

Top of the mornin’ to ya, 41,000 Gamerscore

41000 GS 4x1HurleyCanonBall

When I first got my Xbox 360 some three or four years ago and began racking up Achievement points, I cared very much about my Gamerscore. In fact, I was able to hit 10,000 points on the dot, and from that moment I knew that I’d always have the internal goal to hit such milestones perfectly. Chalk it up to some light OCD or strange compulsions or me continuing to focus on the things that matter the least, but there’s something so nice about a big solid number like that. I continued on slowly, but steadfast, earning 20,000 Gamerscore and 30,000 Gamerscore a year apart from one another.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get 40,000 Gamerscore perfectly. Yeah, I know. Boo. Big boo. A big boo-hoo doodie doo. We can blame Fable III, as it suddenly awarded me an Achievement worth 85 Gamerscore points, which I was not banking on, putting me well over 40,000 in one fell beep. And so the tradition broke. I was saddened, but not completely sad. My love for Achievements and desire to unlock many of them has certainly withered, but I set a new–if less lofty–goal for getting 41,000 Gamerscore, and hit the mark last night. No, really. Check it out:

PaulyAulyWog 41000 GS

The free games Doritos Crash Course 2 and Magic the Gathering 2013 helped me get there. For DCC2, just some light grinding got me two Achievements, and they just hand you a bunch in MtG2013 for playing the first few parts of the campaign. So it wasn’t exactly a challenge, but that’s okay.

And I still plan to go for 50,000 Gamerscore because chances are very low that I’ll be moving into the next generation of gaming consoles this year. If I do, it’ll probably be with the PlayStation 4, but I have plenty of games in my collection still to plan and unlock Achievements in. Like Dead Rising 2, Assassin’s Creed II, and many others I’ve yet to even touch.

But for now, let’s just bask in the unconventional glory that is 41,000 Gamerscore.

30,000 Gamerscore, and I feel fine

I never really planned to hit 10,000 Gamerscore on the mark, but it happened, and I thought that was kind of a neat milestone. Then came the time for 20,000, and I actually went out of my way to figure out the best combo of Achievements to hit that nice ol’ rounded number on the dot. It became very meta, and that’s okay, as doing some math and using these fickle things called Achievements for an actual purpose was certainly refreshing. Also, as someone in the comments mentioned, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas played a crucial part in both sets of fireworks, and there’s no beating that. Now, here we are again, a year and change later, some 10,0o0 Gamerscore richer, with a total paperweight of…30,000. Take a look:


Yowza.

Alas, I didn’t get there with the help of Fallout: New Vegas, instead using the recently acquired Jurassic Park: The Game to up the ante and then two planned Achievements from Rage to seal the deal. Unfortunately, the last Achievement to tip the scale was based on luck: in Rage, there’s a mini-game called Tombstones, and if you roll four attacks on your very first turn, you get an Achievement. Since rolling is random, it just required sitting on the couch, petting my kitty cat, and hitting A over and over until the dang thing popped. When it did, I shouted in jubilation to Tara that I was successful and immediately shut off the Xbox 360, worried that I might accidentally unlock something else and ruin such a pretty, pretty number.

And I know–I mean, I kn0w–none of this matters. Some of you have probably already pre-judged me as an Achievement whore, but I think there is most definitely a difference between someone playing Rapala Tournament Fishing! just to get more Gamerscore points and somebody who looks at the whole process as a mini-game in itself, going after the ones worth going after, and celebrating little milestones along the way. I have to wonder if I’ll hit 40,000 in about one year or so as well. Maybe not as there just does not seem to be too much coming out this year on my “must buy” list, other than The Witcher 2 and A Game of Thrones: The Game. Keep following Grinding Down to find out how my turtle race to the top continues on…

Achievements of the Week – The Debunked Mr. Oddjob Smells Funny Edition

Last edition of Achievements of the Week was all about Saints Row: The Third. That makes sense to me, but I do aim for variety throughout the week despite my limited hours, and so I am pleased to announce that this week’s entry is about Saints Row: The Thirdand Rage. Hmm. So, two games is better than one. Maybe I’ll cover three next week as I am itching to play a little more Mass Effect 2, what with that newest space romp hitting stores a few days ago and everyone talking about it like there’s no tomorrow. Spoiler: there’s a tomorrow.

All right. Let’s get this non-televised show on the road.

From Saints Row: The Third…


Flash the Pan (10G): Destroyed all Gang Operations.

With the F-69 VTOL, this was easy clean-up work, though it did take me some time to figure out there was one gang operation on the roof of a tall building.


Your Backseat Smells Funny (20G): Completed all instances of Escort.

There, there. Nice, tiger. Calm, tiger.


Bright Lights, Big City (80G): Completed all City Takeover, Steelport is yours!

From Rage…


Passive Aggressive (30G): Get 3 kills with a single Sentry Bot

I love the name of this Achievement as it describes me and my play style perfectly.


Debunked (10G): Complete Shrouded Bunker in the Campaign


Mr. Oddjob (40G): Complete 5 Job Board Quests in one play-through

I have now crossed the 29,000 Gamerscore checkmark, with a perfect 30,000 definitely in sight. Less than 1,000 points to go. As I’m wont to do, I’m going to try to hit that number on the spot, so watch from afar as I creep closer and closer and pay even more attention to the number of points each Achievement gives me. Oh yeah, it’s gonna be wild.

What have y’all been up to? Want to share any cool Achievements from Mass Effect 3? If so, you know where to do it. Psst. Right below here.

Achievements of the Week – The Gambling Rear Entry Escape Edition

Weed, soup, faux air hockey, and Zombine attacks. That about sums up my week on the Xbox 360, but for further clarification, let’s take a look at some Achievements that popped. I’m getting close to 30,000 Gamerscore, which is exciting to nobody but me, and that means I will have to try really hard to get it to land on 30,000 exactly for blogging purposes. You may all start waiting in anticipation starting…now!

Okay, let’s do this.

From L.A. Noire…

So, back duringthose tempting Black Friday sales, I purchased some Microsoft Points and downloaded the remaining two DLC cases I’ve yet to play so far for L.A. Noire. Namely, they are Reefer Madness and A Slip of the Tongue. As always, they were enjoyable and strongly plotted, but far too short again. I finished both in one sitting. I guess, ultimately, this is the type of game I just want more, more, and more of. Sigh…


Femme Imbécile (20G): Correctly branch every question in the interview with Jean Archer.

On my first try, too, without even knowing this Achievement existed! Love that.


Forcible Rear Entry (20G): Enter the Las Palmas stash house via the back door and kill Juan Garcia Cruz.

NO COMMENT.


Soup in the Pot (20G): Open both soup cans in Juan Garcia Cruz’s stash room.

My OCD to check everything lead to this popping. Mental sickness for the win!

From Beyond Good & Evil HD…


Gamble King 2 (15G): Win 3 times in the pellet game against Francis

I think I built this minigame in my mind to be tougher than it actually was. Haven’t played it in so long, and I do remember a lot of grumbling at one point. From me, that is. Francis was loving winning all of Jade’s money back then. But beating Francis three times in 2011 did not take long, just persistence and a keen awareness of where all the pellets are at any given time. Will need to play again later though to win his pearl, but that’s for later.

From Half-Life 2: Episode One…

After Half-Life 2 glitched out on me and ruined all my progress, I said “frak it” to no one in particular and moved on to the next game in the series, which is more of a bite-size experience, but still fun since the gravity gun mechanics remain pivotal to surviving.


Citizen Escort (15G): Don’t let any citizens die when escorting them to the escape train.

Only had to reload a few times due to this one silly citizen constantly getting stuck on a ladder and getting a chest full of bullets for it. Silly citizens.


Escape from City 17 (20G): Escape City 17 with Alyx.

On to Half-Life 2: Episode Two…soonish! I swears it.

How did y’all do this week? If you don’t tell me in the comments section below, I’ll never know.

Avid reader and avid button-masher in LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7

Tara, as LEGO Hermione, was running around Fred and George’s newly opened joke shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, blasting things apart for studs and solving yet another extremely cryptic puzzle. It took her at least five minutes to realize that I wasn’t with her, let alone moving LEGO Harry around the map.

Where was I? On the store’s ground floor, right in front of a Quibbler dispenser, reading. Laughing and reading. Well, LEGO Harry was doing that–in truth, I was just mindlessly mashing the B button to earn this little zinger:


Avid Reader (25G): Use a Quibbler dispenser 25 times

The Achievement’s description is displayed just above, but it could totally say “Press the B button 25 times” and call it a day. Because that’s all I did. You press B, LEGO Harry pulls an issue of The Quibbler out of the dispenser, glances at it, chuckles, and tosses it into some invisible void where it disappears completely. Then you press B and start it again. Do that 25 times total, and you “earn” an Achievement.

I dunno.

The Quibbler, for those that don’t know, is a tabloid within the Harry Potter universe. It’s published and edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna’s father, and is often considered odd and full of rubbish. Many don’t take it seriously. However, I’m now imagining an alternate time and place where, like in L.A. Noire, picking up a newspaper/The Quibbler kicks off a mini cutscene that fills in some plot exposition without slowing the pace down during the main missions. Given The Quibbler‘s love of strange, random stuff, which is in line with the LEGO videogames, the developers could have done something similar to this. Maybe not 25 times, but 10 or less, and it would make picking up The Quibbler so much more special. Alas…

The LEGO videogames do have moments of genius when it comes to their Achievements, but more or less, they fall into generic tropes of do X action Y times. Those are never exciting. I loved hiding in a barrel as Professor Snape and unlocking Solid Snape in the previous title. Doing five backflips in a row in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a feat worthy of Try Wearing a Corset. The Achievement Shot to the Goon (defeat 8 goons in 8 seconds) from LEGO Batman at least makes doing X a test of skill and not simply a test of mindless endurance.

I guess the thing that bothers me so much about this Achievement is that it takes the place of the what-could-have-been. Like, give us something for falling to our deaths a lot when navigating the moving staircases within Hogwarts. Or how about a slice of Gamerscore for enlarging Hermione’s head with the Engorgio Skullus spell? See, it’s really not that hard, and unaware gamers can earn just plenty from playing the story levels and so on. That said, if you are reading this and work for Traveller’s Tales and need helping designing the Achievements for LEGO Harry Potter 3: Out of Retirement, I’m available for hire.

Achievements of the Week – The Correct Party Position Edition

Well, here’s a new Grinding Down segment that I am going to strive to make a thing. Every Friday, when I remember or care or feel like it is necessary, I’ll round up some of my favorite Achievements that I unlocked during the week. Not all of them, mind you. Just the fun ones, the ones with some story to them, the questionable. Alas, there might be some weeks where I unlock zero Achievements, with the blame either on my gaming skills or lack of playing time or me spontaneously combusting. Yup, you read that right. I don’t want to get all predictable on y’all…

From Portal…


Partygoer (5G): Make the correct party escort submission position decision.


Terminal Velocity (5G): Fall 30,000 feet.

It’s a little after one in the morning, and I have to use the bathroom. I’m currently playing Portal in total darkness, the ceiling fan humming overhead, dulling GLaDOS and hypnotizing me towards sleep. In a tiny alcove, I create a blue portal overhead and an orange portal on the floor, and then I fall–I fall continuously, gaining speed and momentum, turning my TV screen into a seizure-inducing weapon. I leave the room for some quiet time on the throne, and when I return, I’ve unlocked the above Achievement.

From Half-Life 2…


Bone Breaker (5G): Kill 30 enemies with thrown physics objects.

I’m still not really that good with the Gravity Gun, but every now and then I am able to pick up discarded saw blades with it, and those slice through Combine like warm knives through walking sticks of butter. Um…what? Forget it. Used that method a few more times, and ping, Achievement unlocked.

From Fallout: New Vegas…


Make Up Your Mind (20G): Made up your mind… about your brain.

Not to spoil too much about this, but the conversation leading up to this Achievement is simply fantastic. Like nothing before. Really exemplary of how great this add-on is for the Fallout franchise. If only all DLC could be as strong as this old boy. I’m guessing this Achievement can’t be missed, no matter what your decision is.

From Bastion…


Pet Sitter (10G): Get four different domesticated creatures in the Bastion.

I unlocked a few other Achievements in Bastion, but they are all tied to the story and are pretty spoilerific, so I won’t broadcast ’em here. I’m getting closer to completing the game, and might even try for a full 200 here. We’ll see. I always end up getting distracted or losing interest (am I right, Torchlight?).

And thanks to all these Achievements, here’s a nice little surprise:

Nifty. Sure, it’s not a palindrome or a nice, solid round number with lots of zeroes, but I’ll take it for its uniqueness nonetheless.

That’s it for our very first Achievements of the Week! What do y’all think of this feature? Stunned silence will be interpreted as glorious, panty-throwing praise. And please share below in the comments your favorite unlocked Achievement from the week.

Odd Gamerscores are perfect for palindromic numbers

I had a busy day of pinging Achievements, unlocking several from a number of games: A Kingdom of Keflings, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, and Fallout: New Vegas. When all was said and done–and by that, I mean when it was time to stop gaming and make dinner–I noticed that my Gamerscore looked kind of special. It read 23132. Here’s the moment frozen in time too:

Oh boy! Zaaaany. There’s even a name for this crazy happenstance, and it’s called a palindrome. Basically, a sequence of units that can be read the same forwards and backwards. It occurs a lot in life, and I can now check off “palindrome the heck out of my Gamerscore” from my bucket list.

I know, I know. It’s all rather silly, but I found it amusing, and it’s probably never gonna happen again, at least not like this because I’ll be getting the 88G Achievement soon from LEGO Pirates which will turn my ‘score back to a nice, even number. In fact, I’ll probably do some more gaming tonight, messing up my ‘score most certainly by morning’s time, which is why I’m pushing this post out sooner than later.

Another fun example of a palindrome? This phrase: rats live on no evil star.

Welcome to the Caribbean, let me ruin up your Gamerscore

Gamerscore is a pretty fickle thing. It mostly adds up to e-peen though it is also nice just to see in another form your triumphs and kills, but ultimately it means very little. Only one guy so far seems to have made a living out of it. Points for most Achievements range from 5 to 100, usually equaling a nice even number or a number that can be easily made even by adding five more points to it. However, there are exceptions, and some developers like to slip in Achievements for 0 points or 3 points or 7 points or maybe even 59.437 points. I mean, it’s really up to them, so long as the retail game’s total hits 1,000 points, it’s all good. A majority of Achievement lovers hate these oddball pointers, as they “ruin” what appears to them to be a nice, neat, orderly number.

Me? Yeah, it’s a little irksome, especially because I like going after such milestones as obtaining a perfect 10,000 score and a perfect 20,000 score, but it can always be remedied. Which brings me to LEGO Pirates, and it’s very first level, Port Royal, taken from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl‘s storyline. Upon completing it, you unlock this wet bandana:


Welcome to the Caribbean! (12G): Complete Port Royal

Yeaaaaaaah, that’s a 12 there, not a 15. It was my very first Achievement unlocked in the game, but I can see others getting the one where you’re eaten by a shark in deadly water first. So, for me, it was kind of like a slap in the face, the kind Captain Jack Sparrow knows all too well, and after sifting through the whole list I discovered this was done so that Traveller’s Tale could make another Achievement based on some pirate lingo. That one is called Pieces of Eight, and it’s worth 88G, which would totally fix our little number problem. However, to get it, one must acquire a total sum of 888,888,888 studs. That’s gonna take some grinding and cheat codes, meaning my Gamerscore is gonna look wonky to me for a little bit. Oh well.

Let’s all take a moment of silence though for my Gamerscore, now forever changed, forever touched:

Gotta stay strong; time heals all wounds.