An inconvenient truth
Modern gaming is pretty decent; we have some of the most beautiful looking games of all time and plenty of experimental experiences thanks to the explosion of indie games. However, while the grass is a vibrant shade of green, its hard not to notice one or two weeds starting to push their way through this heavy-handed metaphor. You see, games are great and all, but are we really making the most out of them? No.
This is where we get to Trophies. With Sony's virtual silverware now displaying how many people have earned each specific accolade, we can tell not just which individuals have played what, but exactly how the gaming populace as a whole conducts itself. And when we really start sifting through those challenge completion percentages, frankly, it all starts to get a bit bleak. Here are all the grimmest truths bits Ive gathered while scrabbling through the Trophy gold mines.*
*Due to the ever shifting nature of said mines, some of these stats may have changed since the time of writing. Hopefully for the better.
Alien: Isolation tells us that gamers arent fussed about finishing
When is a game finished? Is it when youve got a 100% sign flashing away on the save file? Or just once you hit the dreaded hour long credits sequence that accompanies most games? Well, its none of the above. Its apparently finished when you put the game down and forget it ever existed, or hurl it into the dreaded pre-owned black hole of your nearest game shop for maybe a few quid, if Alien: Isolation is be anything to go by.
Isolation might have been our 3rd best game of the year, but only 15.7% of PS4 Isolation owners can proudly display the virtual icon telling them theyve finished the game. Sure, that means 82.3% wont be having Xenomorph related nightmares anytime in the near future, but theyve also missed out on the pant-ruining terror that is a Working Joe who wants to explore the inside of your noggin. Also, the last few hours are insanely good. Fire it back up again, you fools!
The Walking Dead shows us that we dont mind not starting either
But why let finishing a game be a problem when you dont even have to properly start it? Telltales The Walking Dead is a fantastic game although its also one that doesnt require a great deal of actual playing. You hit buttons, but far less often than in other games, and the demands on your arcade skills are almost non-existent. In fact, to get the first Trophy you only need to spend 15 minutes playing. Should be a solid 100% collection rate for that one, right?
Nope; 93.2% of narrative zombie fans completed the arduous task of actually starting a game they spent real money on, according to the Trophy stats. That leaves an astounding 6.8% of players who maybe just saw a dog outside the window and forgot what they were doing. Who has an attention span like that? Wait, before I answer that, is that a French Bulldog..?
Tomb Raider teaches us that violence is always the answer
We all know the score by now, Tomb Raider is a pretty cool survival-action game where Lara Croft is both the victim and the monster. Its not all about the queasy thrill of realigning the facial muscles of some poor goons on a deserted island though. There are also some tombs to have a poke around in as well. Hey, considering that the game has Tomb in its name, you would think that would be a pretty big deal, to be fair. Lets get raiding then?
Nope, turns out us gamers really just crave the violence. For instance, only 20.4% bothered to get all the optional tombs explored, whereas 68% of gamers mistook this for archery practice and ensured 50 enemies croaked it at the end of Laras bow. Add on the 62.8% of sneaky assassins who ended the lives of 25 unaware guards, and it seems well forsake shelter in any old weather as long as theres something to kill out there.
Call Of Duty shows us that its single player is just about clinging on
Who plays Call of Duty for the single player, eh? Isnt the series now just an online playground for people without filters to vent their frustrations while blasting seven shades of pixels out of each other? Well, sort of. On PS4 CoD: Ghosts, 57% of people own the Trophy for completing the first mission. Thats 56.9% more than I was expecting, admittedly. But still, the first mission.
CoD 4: Modern Warfare still stands as one of the best FPS campaigns of the last generation, but since then, the series multiplayer offerings - both competitive and co-operative - have become increasingly dominant. This Trophy stat really hammers home the possibility that a good proportion of people have now stopped buying the series for its story. To look at what CoD campaigns have become - Kevin Spacey parachuted in to paper over the linearly scripted cracks and all - is a sad reminder that its single player has basically become a six hour tutorial for all the new toys in the online death grounds.
Burnout Paradise is evidence that no matter the challenge, people will ignore it
Life is full of contrasts. Some trophies, for instance, demand a commitment usually reserved for monks in a brothel. Others only require that you understand how to move your thumbs. In Burnout Paradise, your first task after turning on the game is to bundle your wheeled wreck through an Auto Repair shop, or else find yourself stuck in a death defying junkmobile for the rest of all eternity. You would expect in a game based purely around the concept of driving really fast, getting your car into an acceptable state would be a priority.
It takes some cars longer to get to 0-60 than it does to earn this Trophy and yet only 87.7% of gamers managed it. The only plausible theory is some Dark Souls level of self-imposed challenge. I refuse to believe 12.3% of players loaded up one of the best racers ever assembled and thought it sod it before they had even begun.
PES 2015 shows the fall of a once gaming great
Back in the days of the PS2, Pro Evolution Soccer was the critical darling to FIFAs mainstream, sales machine, and its genius was built on the Master League. You created your own team, inherited a squad of players and dragged them all the way to victory. Its basically footballs version of XCOM, just without the crushing moments of defeat when all your best squad members are brutalized into a coma.
This years Master League brings back exactly what you want; bizarrely named players to get far too emotionally attached to. Unfortunately, the PES buying public have seemed to move on, with only 32.1% registering one singular win in Master League. The last-last-gen version of the mode has become nostalgia fuel for plenty of gamers from that golden era, but its latest incarnation will be lucky if people even remember it by the time the next edition rolls around.
Half of The Crew's players ignore the whole point of its existence
Poor Ivory Tower. Years had been spent fine tuning its next-gen debut, an ambitious MMO for petrol heads where the entirety of the US is the play area. Its online-only, to convince people to team up and form some sort of gang when they race. A crew, if you will. See, its such a big part of the game, its actually the name of it.
So it must be soul crushing to find that only 52.8% of its racers have bothered to have raced in a Crew. I even got my Trophy when I accidentally accepted to join someones game. Not everyone wants to have other people spoil their fun, anyone who has ever played online will attest to that. Still, its a bit rough for only half your audience buying into the games concept.
Rayman: Legends shows you can have too much of a good thing
I cant really think of any reasons why anybody would not want to play every inch of Rayman: Legends. Personally, I love the game so much that I find it disconcerting that not every Trophy is 100% done. But I get it. Its pretty much impossible to Platinum the game unless you play its challenges every day for about fifty days. Its almost understandable that the big P Trophy is hovering around the 2% mark, even if a day with Rayman is ALWAYS better than a day without him.
But its the other trophies that make me want to weep for the gaming community. Only 50% have got the Trophy for completing the sublime Castle Rock musical level, where your actions sync up to a cover of Black Betty. If you dont automatically think that sounds like a good use of your time, then it might be worth reconsidering your outlook on life. Like, really, really hard.
Over half of Wolfenstein's players are heartless monsters
Early on in Wolfensteins Nazi-robo-dog slaughtering adventure, the game makes you to decide which one of your allies is going to be dissected by a mad Nazi General. And thanks to Trophy statistics, you can see that everybody made the correct choice in who to save in this scenario. Wait, hang on a minute. Somethings wrong here. You mean isnt it 100% for Wyatt? You beasts!
Wyatt might have been a naive urchin who was lucky not be sucking down lead every minute of Wolfensteins prologue, but who could resist his plucky optimism? 62% of Wolfensteins cold hearted, dead-eyed players, thats who. Fergus had a few things going in his favour - he was first on screen, you shared a life-or-death incident on a plane right at the start of the game, he probably likes the same things you like and smells really good - but its still not enough to condemn poor Wyatt to a brain removal. Those are a boys hopes and dreams youre scooping out there.
Singstar has given people hope that they can rap
Singstar might not be a game you particularly want to save for a marathon session, but round up a few people, add in some drinks, and its karaoke without the usual full quotient of humiliation. Or at least with a vague semblance of gamification to distract you from the humiliation. But, according to the darkest recesses of the Trophy list, you can also rap on Singstar. Why would Singstar do that?
Ill gladly partake when nobodys looking, but unless you are certified, actually-good-at-it rapper, that should be the only time any of us should attempt to spit some bars. We all make mistakes, and in the drunken haze of 2:45am, I could see how showing off your flow to something as innocuous as Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) could seem like a good idea. But to unlock Thats A Rap, just like 4.6% of real people did, you need to complete an actual rap song five times. A horror that great should not be allowed to exist.
Kittens! Mario! A nice brew on a Sunday morning! Feel better? Good. That particular tour of the depressing state of modern gaming could have turned most of us into Morrissey. Are there any gaming behaviours that send you into a spiral of despair? Or better yet, which ones have brought a wry smile to your face?
Looking for more features to consume, you rabid over-achiever? Check out 8 amazing moments every player has experienced (at least once), and What type of Achievement or Trophy hunter are you?, for there are prizes to be had!*
*There are totally no prizes.