Trophies and achievements: how they have changed us as gamers

It is always fascinating to reflect on the way in which certain elements belonging to the scope of best before date, or in any case both of business, they manage to rise in a certain way, coming to represent something totally different from their origins. Starting from the common attitude of to project their emotions and feelings about objects, a whole series of reflections and reasoning on interpretative possibilities of the human being, who succeeds - through his own individuality - in translating anything by reinterpreting it on a level etymological. All this also happens with video games, of course, and curiously also with their characteristic elements, such as i trophies he target. These, over the years, have become an essential element of the general use, even going so far as to transform themselves from an additional aspect to a real one. identity definition, not only of the medium but of a specific type of player.

Since their appearance with PlayStation 3 e Xbox 360, trophies and goals immediately transformed the general conception of completism, dragging it into new clearings, perhaps hitherto still unexplored. The desire to complete a title at 100% and beyond, of course, was by no means something new at the time or never seen before. Many enthusiasts have always been doing their utmost in such enterprises. In fact, just think, for example, of the endless hours spent on video games such as Spyro o Crash Bandicoot, to collect gems to unlock paths or entire bonus levels, or to approaches in style Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in which the player had the possibility, once discovered, to collect all the identification plates of the various enemies; for the simple taste of collecting. How not to mention the third chapter of the homonymous saga, in which it was necessary to find the very famous and hated Kerotan, cute toy frogs scattered throughout the game, even in the most unthinkable plot moments, to hit for some unique prizes.

The evolution of the Trophies, from secrets to speedruns

If once there was a fight for the scores higher and unattainable, subsequently the focus has increasingly shifted towards secrets and impossible challenges, up to complex completion percentages. Video games have always been based on competitiveness desire to explore, to learn. Here, starting from all this, perhaps following a sociological study of these already existing attitudes, trophies were introduced. These on the one hand led to one reinterpretation of the use of the medium itself, with an increase in the general commitment, and on the other to attitudes that transcend the limits of the private dimension, arriving in fascinating social developments.

There are various types of trophies, or objectives, to be played to reach the final prize (with Playstation this is the famous Platinum). There are titles, for example, that require more runs, or the need to start over at certain difficulties for certain objectives, but we also talk about the collectable, objects scattered throughout the game, perhaps positioned in hidden and unthinkable secret places, difficult to reach or see (this is one of the most classical of the medium, also present in older titles, functional a prolong its temporal use). Then there are the speedrun, or games where every millisecond counts, as specific trophies require particularly tight completion times for the various objectives. Finally, there are the challenges that require the multiplayer mandatory, with a gigantic unknown: the other players, and to add a little pepper we also find the so-called secret trophies, which can be found with patience and curiosity, or through the use of specially made guides.

All this has inevitably impacted on the players, on the fans, not only from the point of view of the video game itself, also because it is not something mandatory, but from a point of view purely social. Obviously, the evolution of the communication field in general, with the various ones, contributed to increasing this phenomenon social networks. Through these, enthusiasts began to to compare oneself, to compare one's own results, magnifying the typical dynamics that at the origins remained harnessed in the context of the arcades. Here the trophies have become something else, the concept himself has returned to the territories of the primordial use of the medium, deepening it, re-elaborating it and making it iconographic. The reconceptualization of trophies and objectives has therefore led to new social constructions, to unprecedented concepts of the meaning of the word gamer, leading to the birth of a real one separate category, which has much in common with the very early pioneers of the medium.

The path to perfection

It is not difficult to find on the web groups of fans of these dynamics, the so-called "trophy hunters", Who concentrate all their strength and pride precisely in this search for numerical perfection (also linked to seeing their personal profile evolve on the various consoles, or PCs), now also connected to lexicological terminologies precise as "Platinate". The collect the so-called platinums, the final trophies resulting from the collection of all the other trophies, is the most typical example of the phenomenon, with people who have elevated this particular terminology by transforming it into a verb, into a real status symbol. The number of platinums inevitably and immediately defines what kind of player you are, even if the social value changes from game to game, from challenge to challenge.

Some platinums in specific communities, for example, alone are worth the admiration of all other enthusiasts. In that of Bloodborne, to name one above all, we often talk about the platinum linked to the title and the award linked to it. By obtaining all the trophies in the game the player can request a theme special as a testimony of his efforts and his value, which has acquired over time a value that transcends the simple concept of completism. It is this kind of gimmicks that impact on the conception of these dynamics, perhaps starting from completely different objectives on the part of the developers. It remains the player himself to bind, in a certain way, to these details, attributing gods to them meanings that transform e reinterpret, also leading to the genesis of real personal "stories" - then shared on the web - or of groups who organize themselves by finalizing all their efforts towards obtaining them, once again deviating their original meaning and leading to unprecedented social attitudes.

In these days we have returned to talk about the trophies in relation to some unofficial leaks that they would see, come on Playstation 5, a mutation of the trophies themselves and their weight. Some speculations would suggest that from the next generation these will not only be unlocked according to new parameters, but that their obtaining will lead to some special prizes, perhaps even in-game. Of course everything remains vague, but the answers generals of enthusiasts, and theirs fears, especially with respect to some potential choices that could be made ( the obligation of grinding, or facing some challenges), remain fascinating. It is the tangible result of an initial change within the medium, now experienced as an indelible dynamic, but always linked to the dimension of non-obligatory possibility.

What, then, should we expect from the future? What further changes might we see applied to the medium? The mutative potential of video games, and their market, remain multiple, and with them also the possibilities responsive enthusiasts who will surely find themselves having to face something new, be it with this one new generation or with the next ones. Therefore, the latter remain the real "fil rouge" that connects everything, leading to the genesis of a real commercial culture that over the years has known reinvent itself in various respects. Her identity original however, it never faded, as if it were a voice that delicately echoes in every development, in every step forward, a trademark that defines not only us, but also the market itself. It is the market that moves accordingly to the player and his needs.

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