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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Deirdre Northrup-Riesterer April 17, 2024

Gamers play for wrong reasons

Staff Column

I will never forget the first time I was introduced to video games. I was only 4 years old and my dad was playing “Pac-Man” on his new Atari 2600. “What are you doing?” I asked with impatience and at the same time, admiration. “I’m just playing Pac-Man,” he said. “Would you like to try?”

Even as simplistic as the “bleeps” and flashing lights on the screen were, it was magic to me. I remember dropping the controller multiple times as I attempted to “chomp” away at these little yellow dashes as a floating ghost tried to hinder me from my goal. It was awe-inspiring.

But the key thing that video games really brought out in me was a sense of accomplishment. I would always go out of my way to defeat games on their hardest difficulty settings and attempt to acquire every item and finish every quest in a game. I didn’t need to do this, but it made my gaming experience more fun.

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Needless to say, when Microsoft introduced achievements for the Xbox 360, I was ecstatic. Finally, a way to show all my hard-earned efforts and increase the value of game play in a video game. I thought all was right with the world.

However, I found that my reasoning for playing games had changed. Achievements were now my primary focus, rather than the previous “drive” I used to have when I strictly played a game for its in-depth storyline or non-stop action multiplayer mode.

I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. For years, the one thing that really bugged me about video games was the lack of a feeling of accomplishment.

For instance, if I had a really high score in “Street Fighter 2” or I found this secret ending in “Chrono Trigger,” unless I had friends there playing the game with me, my accomplishments never saw the light of day.

Then it finally hit me when I was playing, “MLB 2K6.” I have never really been a big fan of sports games, aside from the Madden series. I just found myself bored one day and saw that “MLB 2K6” was dirt cheap on e-Bay. So I purchased it and started playing.

I remember my roommate saying to me, “I didn’t know you were a fan of sports games.”

“Well, aside from Madden, I’m really not,” I said.

“Then why are you playing them?”

“Do you see how much Gamerscore points some of these achievements are worth?” That last sentence echoed in my head over and over.

No longer was I playing for what achievements stood for, but how much achievements were worth in Gamerscore points. It really put my whole perspective of gaming in check. I spent money on a game that sole purpose was to increase my Gamerscore.

The way Gamerscore works is that achievements are assigned a net value anywhere from zero to 500. How those numbers are assigned vary on a lot of things, such as difficulty, finding secrets or even something as simple as pressing the start button. Then, add up all your achievement points you’ve earned and your grand total is your Gamerscore.

I went through the other games I had in my playlist and found several more that had fallen victim to the same fate. It really hurt my ego and image as a gamer for many reasons, but one really stood out. Gamerscore reflects your skill as a gamer, and there is no skill when it comes to pressing the start button for an achievement.

I wondered what had made me get to this point. For the most part, it was competition amongst friends. We may have never initiated a bet saying, “I’ll get to 100,000 Gamerscore before you.” But at the same time, you could almost sense that in the back of our minds, we were saying, “Game on.”

From that point forward, I refused to buy a game on the sole purpose that it would increase my Gamerscore. You’ll know you’re playing a, “Gamerscore games” when you’re more focused on the achievements net worth rather than the game itself.

I’ve finally started to get that drive back that I thought I’d lost. The truth is I never really lost my drive; I was just playing games for all the wrong reasons.

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