June 02, 2013

The State of Playstation Trophies

Since 2009, Sony has required all PS3 and now Vita titles to have trophies. Should game developers follow guidelines when making these? More thoughts inside…

You’re playing a game on your PS3 or Vita and then…Pling! That Pavlovian sound that occurred indicates you achieved some parameter programmed into the game.  But what was it for, exactly? And do you really care?

I was having a conversation with a peer the other day about trophies and other achievements. We talked about how some games have a fun trophy earning system, while others feel like they are just putting trophies in because they have to put trophies in.

For example, should trophies follow a certain system? I mean, I played through Terminator Salvation just for the gratuitous trophies and it was simply pathetic. You just had to trudge through that game on hard difficulty and earn nothing but gold trophies and a platinum; just for completing levels. Sure it is great to add to your trophy collection, I get that, I’m a bit of a trophy collector myself, but that’s like saying to any kid who takes a class: “Pass this class and you get a trophy.”

Sony hopes to make trophies more sociable with the PS4
That way of thinking doesn’t work in schools. Those that do something spectacular are the ones awarded with a meaningful trophy. Should it be that way with the Playstation network?

Trophies earned for just completing a level? I tend to feel less attached to those, but am particularly proud when I do something meaningful to get the thing.

Those trophies we remember are the ones that made us do an amazing thing in the game. Something that you thought you could never achieve. I am particularly proud of the “Toxophilite” trophy in Far Cry 3: to get a kill with an arrow from 70 m.

Let me set the stage: A truck of enemies was retreating from me and I pulled back on my recurve bow and then I launched an arrow. As the arrow and the truck both disappeared over the hilltop, I thought, “Well too bad I missed…”

“Pling!” Toxophilite trophy. Money.

Have you gotten any platinum trophies?
The possible future of trophies
I sure would’ve liked to have seen that arrow hitting my target. I hope to see on the PS4 the option on the “Share” button to be able to look around a map or screen when you are done with the game. That way you could see when a trophy occurs so you can witness the glory of it again and again. And to show other people, of course. Imagine being able to create a short video of your greatest gaming moments with trophies?

Another possible future
Trophies in the future could show a percentage of the game types a gamer plays. On my gamer card you would see my level and then the “type” of gamer I was based on trophies. Perhaps I am an “Adventurer, level 8.” Or “First Person Shooter, level 12.” I wonder what our personal PS4 or Vita screens of the future will hold. Being able to customize our id through the PS4 would be nice.

So, trophies. They’re here to stay. What do you think of them? What's your favorite trophy? What is the future of the trophy system? Comment below!

This is me. Where did my life go?

PS Vita Hub ®