Mr. Sandman

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 6 • 15G • 7.73% of gamers unlocked this

A bit of an opportunity session this morning, and while I still had Minecraft: Story Mode on the recently-played / pinned list on the Xbox, I figured it was a good a chance as any to grab an achievement and liberate myself from trying to squeeze in a gaming session tonight. Because, to be honest, I could really go for a few more hours sleep.

Unlike yesterday, I actually sat and watched a bit of this episode. Not through any great desire to engage with the story, but more out of a sense of ‘nothing better to do’. The morning wasn’t entirely wasted, I still managed to get my son dressed while tapping whatever input I felt like at the time to keep the story going, and the lack of a huge combat scene helped … though Chapter 2 largely concentrated on the death of a character (that’s not a spoiler … we meet him for about 30 seconds), and the subsequent detective work that Jesse et. al. put in to learn ‘why’ he might have been killed.

I can kind of see what the intent behind Story Mode was. Almost like an episodic, monster-of-the-week style structure, that might have allowed it to continue in perpetuity. As Phil Spencer has alluded to in the past, the Xbox Game Pass is conducive to releasing episodic content like this, though I think it will take a different title to get me on-board after (and I know I’ve already whinged about this yesterday) the Story Mode season pass debacle.

With that in mind, there are plenty of fresh IPs waiting to be tapped, or even some older titles that could do with a reboot. If anyone has the sharp business mind needed to make it happen, it’s Phil Spencer.

In Phil We Trust.

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Invitation to Die For

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Episode 1 of Chapter 6 • 10G • 8.19% of gamers unlocked this

I think I’ve shared my deep-rooted disdain of Minecraft: Story Mode in the past. The bait-and-switch if the ‘season pass’ and needing to buy extra episodes to ‘complete the season’ and all the rigmarole associated with it still makes me bitter to this day – unknowing whether to be angry with Mojang/Microsoft or Telltale or both. Either way, a later sale meant that I was able to complete the collection, but it still stings and I’ll never be able to play Story Mode without feeling the slight sting of bile on the back of my tongue.

Alright, enough hyperbole. Tonight was all about an easy achievement. It was after training, I had two tired kids, and I had only a few minutes to spare between dinner and bedtime – so I tried to slam through the first chapter while I ate. Of course, some glitch required me to stuff around in the Microsoft Store, check the game files, and then eventually restart the game in order to begin the episode, but I got there in the end. I’m not sure how and why I got up to Episode 6, but I did a quick achievement check before I started to make sure I was on-track, and then kicked the episode off.

And then I ate my dinner, providing only the occasional button press for a combat scene, but leaving the dialogue pretty much on its own – particularly if there were viable silences to use. I pretty much do that for most of my Telltale games now, but the developer has smartly cottoned-on to attempts at set-and-forget gameplay, mixing movement scenes with terminal fights should you miss or miss-hit a button press.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s going on with the Episode 6 Story. The team are breaking into a house, I know that, but really I’m completely oblivious to the big picture.

My guess is, at an 8% completion rate … so are a lot of other people.

Daub Stamper

Xbox

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 6_10_36 PM

Microsoft Bingo • You have daubed 500 cells across multiple Bingo matches • 55G • 27.76% of gamers unlocked this

Firstly, Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate it, and my sincerest thoughts to those who might find today difficult for whatever reason.

Today’s achievement is another Windows one, but I elected to go with something a bit different today and locked in a Microsoft Bingo achievement. There’s probably a few other ‘achievable’ ones that I’ll be able to strive for in the future when I’m a bit pressed, but for now, I tapped out at the first opportunity to grab something for the day – and that one is Daub Stamper.

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I have to say that I think daub is a terrible word. Surely they could simply use ‘marked’ or almost any other word to refer to putting a circle on the page that would mean the same thing – but I guess it is what it is.

And ‘daub’ is what it is.

I feel like a lot of these games – like Microsoft Solitaire or Majong – were developed at the height of the Windows 8 era, but hit their stride post-Surface. The UI is decisively built for a touch screen, but the Xbox integration and greater focus on the Windows Store means that they have found a bit of a niche life in the achievement-hunting community.

Anyway, I’ve locked this in for the night and I’m going to pack it in, ready for another week.

Icons of History

Xbox

Age of Empires: Castle Siege • Unlocked any 6 heroes • 50G • 15.19% of gamers unlocked this

As promised, I went with a Castle Siege achievement today. I thought I might be able to keep this one in my back pocket and grab an iOS Minecraft achievement, but the closest thing that was on offer appeared to be was creating an enchantment table – and after a hunt around a Minecraft Wiki, I knew I was nowhere near assembling a table without some serious hand holding and, if I was lucky, a pre-prepared, achievement-specific world.

This achievement cost me a bit of in-game currency, which was fine – I still had some leftover from upgrading my archery tower last time I needed an emergency achievement, and in the meantime I have another three heroes to experiment with in-battle (I’d already unlocked a few others).

Right now, though? I’m enjoying a local beer from the Bright Brewery (for international readers, that’s in Bright, Victoria, Australia – at the foot of the Alpine region, and the gateway to our snowfields) and I plan on enjoying a few more before the night’s over. I very much doubt there’ll be any more achievements today.

Except, perhaps, in Untappd.

Heavy Cavalry

Xbox

Age of Empires (iOS) • Built a Stable • 50G • 24.14% of gamers unlocked this

What an absolute flustercluck. I absolutely pushed and pushed and pushed to get home, get in front of the TV, turn it on, load up The Wolf Among Us and grab a guaranteed achievement. But as I watched the clock tick closer to midnight, I decided at 11.57pm that I was going to have to make a decision – do I ride out the risk and hope that it all comes good in the end? Or do I use my one remaining emergency achievement from Age of Empires and lock it in.

It turns out that I made the right decision.

I’ve had an absolutely mammoth, mammoth day. It’s Good Friday here in Australia, and so I’ve gone from a morning workout to lunch to cooking for a pot luck dinner, to the pot luck dinner and then home again. I walked in the door a little past 11.30pm and was quick to turn the console on – but just not quick enough it seems.

Dear Phil Spencer – I am now out of last-ditch achievements on iOS since you’ve removed Halo. Send more please.

I’m going to bed with the expectation that The Wolf Among Us‘ story will carry on and tick-off the achievement I was going for. Still … spilt milk and all that.

It does mean that I’m sorted for tomorrow though!

What in Tar-Nation?

Xbox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Fell into a tar pit • 5G • 6.38% of gamers unlocked this

I think I confused my kids by being happy about getting this achievement. I suppose stating that you need to fall off an edge and dive into tar to get an achievement is kind of confusing – the reward for doing normally complicated tasks being diluted with something as silly as this brings me great joy as an adult, but I empathise with the sideways glances and the twenty post-tar pit questions.

The tar pits themselves don’t unlock until about the final third of the third world, so I’ve actually been playing a whole lot of Lucky that didn’t yield an achievement this morning. For instance, I completed every one of the statue move challenges, one of the race challenges, a whole bunch of levels and just general coin collecting today, none of which yielded me an achievement. I mean, it’s all ‘progress’ I guess, but I had hoped for something a bit more substantial a bit earlier on.

I also can see some achievements tied to coin collecting, but other than that – their purpose in the game remains confusing. That being said, I’ll never say ‘no’ to an achievement, so if it gets me a day off I’ll take it.

Last thing I want to mention today is that we’ve booked a weekend away in about a month’s time and I don’t think it’s going to be PC-appropriate … Xbox really need to step up their efforts to get me that iOS Halo port, or some Microsoft Solitaire achievements are going to be desperately needed. I’ll be spending some time in preparation for the weekend, so don’t be surprised to see my account spike with a few heavy sessions on Solitaire. Worse case scenario is that I downgrade an old phone or iPad for Halo, but we’re not quite at that crisis point yet (plus I really wanted to save those achievements for an Indonesian holiday later in the year) – so watch this space.

Rabbits in a Maze

Xbox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Retrieved King Bunny’s carrot within the Garlic King’s maze • 40G • 10.79% of gamers unlocked this

Before I begin, I have to say that the description for this achievement sounds like something you concoct out of a night of drunken philosophising around an old table on someone’s back porch. It’s actually one of the simplest achievements you can ever earn, and involves grabbing a carrot and heading to the left of the maze where you can find King Bunny eagerly awaiting his fix of Vitamin C.

I actually started the night off with a bit of Skylanders. I went to Chapter 8 on Trap-Team (don’t ask me what level that is – it’s one with Dream catcher) with the intent of doing some achievement clean-up, but I was blowed if I could find the waterfall area I was supposed to go to, let alone the little gold balls to knock off their platform. I’m not too concerned with any sort of completion of Skylanders, but when I have a chance to play with the kids, I like them to somewhat influence the decision about title.

It just so happens they chose wrong.

With some subtle suggestion, I managed to get them excited about playing some more of Lucky, and after a few levels, we’ve arrived at the final stage of the Vegetable world. Time and inclination got away from us to finish the whole level, but I am certain that it’s only a short replay to get back to where I was earlier.

Tonight I hope to finally capture/kill Predator on Ghost Recon Wildlands, but it’s certainly been a frustrating few hours over the course of the long weekend, and there’s ostensibly no achievement attached to it, so I’m treating this more as a feat. Of course, it could all be for nothing if I have another frustrating night of being shot in the head by an alien, so we’ll see whether it ends in a pleasing victory or a controller through the TV.

They See Me Rollin’

Xbox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Completed a Marble Mingame • 10G • 13.90% of gamers unlocked this

Some more Super Lucky’s Tale today. I have a lot of other games that I could be playing – but let’s be honest, it’s a long weekend here for much of Australia, I’m tired, and having the kids get a bit excited when I earn a clover or finish a particularly challenging level is kind of rewarding. And when I say ‘kids’, I really mean me.

I earned a few achievements with Lucky today – there seems to be a few achievements designed to reward your ‘firsts’. I finally managed to obtain some mastery of that challenging 2D level that was bothering me yesterday, and I also managed to clean-up achievements for earning all of the L-U-C-K-Y letters on a level and for completing a ‘Burrow Run’.

But the achievement I chose for today was for completing a Marble Minigame. My first thought for this game was: ‘thank God I’m not trying to complete this with sixaxis’, because while the level wasn’t the most difficult thing I’ve ever tried to accomplish in gaming – the aforementioned tiredness has certainly lowered my threshold for making frivolous mistakes.

If I’m perfectly honest, I still made the odd mistake – certainly there were a couple on the second of two Marble Minigames I accomplished – but they were more the result of trial-and-error than my lack of concentration. I managed to stay just on my own good side long enough to complete the two of them, so ‘bully’ to me.

This is also a good chance to welcome any newcomers to the blog who might have found it via the new Instagram page: @achievementaday. I found that my account is filling up with a whole raft of quite good gaming screenshots, and it seemed a waste to tuck them away on Facebook, Twitter and this Blog, so why not expand the scope a little and use an actual medium dedicated to visual content? Anyway, if you’re new here – welcome. Check out the ‘About‘ page for the details of the challenge as we rapidly approach the final quarter.

This afternoon I’ll be broadening my horizons again with some more PlayStation and PC gaming. I’m not sure what I’ll fill in my time with the most, but I’m a man of much whim and flimsy – so it’ll be a surprise for us all.

Lost in a Book

Xbox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Completed the Prologue • 5G • 86.37% of gamers unlocked this

It’s nice to try different things. Yes, this is overtly a kids game, and yes, this is pretty much the knock-off Crash Bandicoot that you think it’s going to be – but it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and played a nice, mindless kids game (with the exception of Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions, and everything else that my kids like to play). Alright, fine. I love kids games. This one is no different – it’s good, harmless fun.

Well … it seems harmless, until I ended up needing to turn it off for a while after a particularly frustrating little platforming section that caused me to fall off more times than have a successful run.

This achievement in-and-of itself doesn’t require you to do anything. It pops within twenty seconds (give-or-take) of the opening footage starting, which makes the 15%-odd percent of people who haven’t earned this achivement just … well, strange. It’s not the first time I’ve commented on strange statistics around achievements, so I don’t think there’s much value re-litigating it, but it makes you wonder about the value of percentage earned, and likewise on PlayStation, the rarity of particular achievements.

I wouldn’t say I’m enjoying Super Lucky’s Tale, but I may get to the end of it just by virtue of having ‘not much else’ to play while the kids are around. It’s tiring, and messy, having to get a whole heap of portals and Skylanders or LEGO or whatever Toys-to-Life game the kids want to play out and setup and playable, whereas at least with Lucky I can just hit the button and go.

It does seem like an unusually big game though – but that might just be clever game design that gives the appearance of depth. The race will be on to see whether game length can outlast my attention span …

… or my kids’ attention span.

Crushed Colors

PC, Xbox

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Halo Wars 2 • Improve your Score in any Campaign Mission • 10G • 6.19% of gamers unlocked this

Air rapidly escaped from my nostrils when I saw this tweet …

As I said from the start, this wasn’t designed to be a competition. I think anyone at this stage trying to chase an ‘Achievement Streak’ will be far behind the likes of professional gamers such as Stallion83 or Rand al Thor 19. Guys who have taken the risk and been successful at making a career out of gaming. Hell, having these guys on my friends list means that I am permanently pushed to the bottom of the leaderboard each month. If I was to have a moment of self-reflection, I guess my incredulity comes not from the seemingly low ’45 day’ streak … but more the lack of recognition that my own challenge has in the face of other, potentially established brands. (read: I’m not trying to mock their effort – I applaud it)

But why should it have recognition? There’s little doubt that I could turn this into a full-time job if I could sustain a healthy salary and it sought enough web traffic to result in a premium site. But, as I have long said, this is a creative outlet. I need to consider it as such. I have a busy job, a young family, and a growing company to manage – we can’t have it all!

What we can have, however, is an achievement a day. And today’s achievement comes in spite of a full-day at the office and my mother staying with us for the second night in a row. Even lunch today was occupied with a quick catch-up with the family … as much (I think) to give my wife respite as to actually undertake a loving family activity, so working to get this achievement required that I be a bit bastardy in order to earn an achievement, and then have time to write it up.

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Despite my whinging earlier today about tethering my phone to my computer just to be able to connect to Xbox, I ended up doing just that and re-powering through the second level in Halo Wars in order to ‘improve my score’. I’m not really sure how much I improved it by or what measures are used for a good score – Kills? Time to finish level? Units built? Either way, I managed to get a silver medal from Mission 2, which was clearly a step-up from the bronze I earned last time, and enough to trigger the achievement.

And, for the record, today is officially Day 241.