No Stone Unturned

State of Decay 2 ā€¢ You searched 100 containers ā€¢ 20G ā€¢ 48.22% of gamers unlocked this

The journey continues this morning … well, not really ‘continues’, it was a case of loading up the game and seeing this achievement with literally 99% progress against it, and so with that in mind, it was a matter of dragging my fatigued character across the road to a car that was sitting in a ‘red’ zone, and giving it the ol’ once-over.

In-and-out in less than five minutes.

With that in mind, there’s not a lot to talk about today. I think I’ve worn the path out talking about State of Decay 2, so what I might do – if you’ll indulge me – is rift a little bit about where I see this blog heading into the new financial year.

Platinum Polish

First of all, I think God of War may have actually won me back to the PlayStation family. Hear me out, hear me out … I’m not willing to switch to the dark side entirely … but the quality of the game has just left me with nothing but pure lust for exploring this world in greater detail and working towards an ever-ambitious platinum trophy. For an achievement hunter, the Platinum trophy is really something special … and for all of Microsoft’s work enhancing the Xbox service – far more regularly and more in-line with customer expectations – I’m surprised they haven’t replicated some sort of completion indicator beyond the flawed (thanks to DLC) percentage. I am fairly certain that I heard Mike Ybarra talk about something like this years ago, but anything I search for bounces back with the official line to log your request and vote via the Xbox Feedback service.

Uh huh, sure Microsoft. I’ve worked in and around surveys long enough to know that a vocal minority will always win-out against a slow and steady shift. I suspect you might know that too – given the backtracking that the company had to do after the initial Xbox One Mattrick-launch. If anything, the feedback mechanism is a way to make people, as individuals, feel like they’re having a say – rather than contributing to any real decision-making. I’m not saying that in-and-of-itself is a bad thing, it’s important to make people feel like they’re being heard, but that’s all it really is – feelings.

Portable Gaming

The other thing is, as I’ve alluded to in the past, portable – or mobile – gaming. Xbox’s efforts to expand the platform into mobile has been met with mixed success. I say this because (i) I love the products that they develop for iOS; and, (ii) they don’t seem to be developing any more – even abandoning ones that no longer comply with the iOS architecture. That really stings for someone who loves gaming-on-the-go, or – perhaps more importantly – needs to be able to find a source of an achievement when away from a gaming console, or stuck with a six year old potato of a PC which will run a great deal of games for PC (Steam) achievements, but almost nothing that’s been released in the last year without incredible graphical sacrifices and a terrifying burden on the processor. While Sony have announced that they’re getting rid of physical Vita game manufacturing for the Western market, the Vita still enjoys some success in Japan – hopefully long enough for whatever Sony’s next portable gaming project turns out to be.

So, this leaves me with either my laptop – which has saved me a few times but is hardly acceptable for a quick 15-minute session while stuck at the in-laws for Christmas; or the Vita. Small, portable, great fun, and a solid library to-boot.

And, more importantly, achievements (or trophies). I’d love to give the Nintendo DS a whirl, but without the all-important ‘career tracking’ that I crave, it still remains off my immediate purchase list.

Keep it PC

From time-to-time, I think of the PCMR Reddit Community, and having read their ‘Why PC’ article some years ago … I have increasingly found myself siding with their cause. I think any gamer will objectively tell you the benefits of PC gaming … but the ease and speed of console gaming means that sometimes it’s just, well, easier.

A look at my Steam library will quickly tell you that there’s no shortage of games to play there. Though, I suspect that the volume of games available belies the games that are actually playable. If anything, a subscription to the Xbox Game Pass gives you a fairly good insight into that, but either way – I don’t think there is a shortage of options available to me being considered a PC gamer.

My only issue with this is that there is still a few tweaks that can take place on individuals’ profile pages (and here I’m thinking Steam specifically), that will enhance the achievements aspect of gaming. At this point – we’re talking incredibly minor quibbles with the whole setup – Steam has a perfectly functional service behind it – it just feels a little dated – but in terms of substance vs. shine, Steam certainly has the former stitched-up.

What’s Next?

I think what this all boils down to is that next year, I’m going to spread the love and attempt an achievement a day across all platforms. That’s not necessarily one achievement on each platform every day – but rather one achievement from the three major options – PC, PlayStation and Xbox. Nintendo remain absent from the party for the previously-mentioned reasons.

I hope this gives you a good insight into where I’m thinking we’ll go next year, and I hope my few – but loyal – readers will join me for the journey. I’d like to still keep my options open for any surprises at E3 … but from what I can tell, it looks like it’s going to be another year of more-of-the-same: a bunch of game announcements that will be lucky to hit the stores by 2020 without a snifter of new hardware.

Lucky us.

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