It’s in the Bag

blue green and purple poker chips
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Microsoft Bingo • You have unlocked 50 Luggage of any type • 50G • 19.87% of gamers unlocked this

First thing’s first: Yes, I have used a stock image for this achievement, because I really couldn’t be bothered posting another Microsoft Bingo screenshot from my other achievements because – frankly – they all look the same. Instead, in the absence of a good Bingo picture, I’ve gone with something generic to gambling, so you can enjoy that particular aesthetic while reading today’s post. Oh … alright, let me throw a couple of old screenshots into the mix as well.

Today’s achievement is largely the result of a mistake. Last night, while setting up my new PC, I wanted to make sure OBS was working correctly, and would be able to handle a stream – so I set it to broadcast a clicker (AdVenture Communist – a spin on AdVenture Capitalist) to run overnight. Sure enough, this morning got a bit away from me, and so even while I write this – AdVenture Communist is still broadcasting to my Twitch Channel, silently clocking-up potatoes and medicine while I’m beavering away at work on a Friday lunch-break.

And so, this left me with a fairly ‘lite’ selection of games to choose from. Anything from Steam would automatically disconnect the stream, and with still half the day left, regardless of whether anyone was watching or not, I didn’t really want to be faced with a blank screen pumping out across the internet airwaves with my name on it – and so I hunted for a good ol’ fashioned Xbox PC game to play.

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And, well, because I was short on time, I settled on Microsoft Bingo.

I’ll be perfectly honest, this really was a quick-and-dirty achievement for me. I even went so far as to hunt through the achievement list to see what I could grab quickly. I settled on just smashing through a couple of games, splurging the coins that I had on whatever I needed to, and landing something. Two games in, I had enough bags to get me over the line for this 50G … this is classic achievement hunting at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

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And so, this frees up my Friday night to play something a little more ambitious on that shiny new gaming PC. I have a new webcam, a new set of speakers and a whole lot of enthusiasm to put it through its paces … watch out world!

Glasslands

Halo 5: Guardians • Completed Mission 3

I felt like playing something ‘meaty’ tonight. Something that I could really sink my teeth into – an epic story with characters that held meaning, a winding narrative arc and a hand crafted world that offered the pinnacle of escapism.

That game was going to be Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, but with a 30GB update, I’ve managed to play a few different games and even now the update has just ticked over 22%.

Malcolm Turnbull’s National Broadband Network, ladies and gentlemen.

I decided to venture into Halo 5, purely following some discussion, nothing in particular, but loose comments made about Halo Infinite. I am fairly confident that I’ve got another 2-3 years before I need to be across my Halo lore (which I’m still terrible at), but even still it seems like a glaring omission on my nerd, and especially my Xbox, credentials.

Here’s the honest truth, though: Halo isn’t really my cup of tea. I understand it’s influence on gaming culture and why it might hold the hearts of many a gamer, but the cartoony style graphics, the gunplay, the pacing, none of it really tickles my tits. I play these games so that they are ticked off my insurmountable pile of shame, but give me a mindless puzzler or even a more solid shooter any day.

Will I continue with it? Sure, I can’t see why not. I offer no promises as to how quickly though. If it is any indication, it’s been about one year and two weeks since I last picked it up.

Perhaps that Halo Infinite date isn’t looking so far away after all …

Sharp Dressed Fox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Equiped your First costume • 20G • 4.75% of gamers unlocked this

And now, the end is near. Today is the final achievement in my challenge. Super Lucky’s Tale takes the cake for offering up achievement number 365 I have written about on my journey throughout the past twelve months. Actually, we all know that’s not true – I’ve gotten carried away and written much more about other achievements over the past twelve months – but this one is ‘official’, and while it perhaps doesn’t have the same shine on it like a Destiny 2 Raid Achievement or a ‘game completion’ achievement for the likes of Dark Souls, but I was able to get this achievement with my son beside me as we laughed about a silly little fox putting on a policeman’s outfit and sunglasses – and you know what? That was perhaps the best achievement I could earn today.

I still really love Lucky, I feel like that he is as good as the likes of Banjo-Kazooie or Ratchet and Clank, but he is stuck down the back of the room and flagged as an ‘outsider’. Much the same way that any publisher has trouble breaking into an established genre, up-to-and-including characters, Lucky isn’t really talked about in the same breath – if at all. I would be very surprised if most people have heard of him – and judging by the rarity of some of the achievements in the list for this game (including today’s!), I suspect that there’s a fairly small percentage of people who have felt inclined to pursue a illustrious career playing Super Lucky’s Tale.

I’m going to publish a few thoughts about the year that was in just a minute, so I don’t want to wax lyrical about earning an achievement every day here, other than to say that it’s been a great ride, and I’m pleased I could find a few silver linings in my gaming life as a result of it.

Thanks to everyone who has read, commented – either here or privately – and supported the journey (whether you knew you were or not!) This blog will still be here for a while yet, with some small changes to how I’ll be doing things.

More to come on that soon!

In the meantime – thanks again. In the wise words of one of my favourite former television personalities: May all your games be good ones.

Wanderlust

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Microsoft Bingo • Complete 25 Bingo matches • 100G • 25.75% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve actually had a few different games just running quietly in the background of my laptop for the day. I played a bit of Imperia Online earlier – something that is supposedly connected to Xbox Live on Windows 10, but even when I earned an achievement (seemingly for a certain population figure), there was no record of it on the Xbox App or my account – and so I kicked that achievement to the curb and went hunting for something else that I might be able to obtain.

Of course, the temptation for something really mindless is hard to pass-up – particularly at this stage in the journey, and even more importantly, at this stage of the week. Tonight promises to be an excellent episode of The Handmaid’s Tale if it stays on-par with the rest of the season – and there’s some not-insignificant cliffhangers to wrap-up tonight that I’m very, very keen to see.

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And so I went with Microsoft Bingo. It’s not some AAA action shooty bang, it is a simple game where you mark off numbers as the balls roll up with the respective digits on each of them. It’s Bingo. Plain and Simple.

And daub is still a ridiculous word.

Jet Lag

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Microsoft Bingo • You have endured five numbers that cannot be daubed, called in a row during a match • 40G • 65.75% of gamers unlocked this

I have a fairly severe case of the can’t be bothered’s tonight – my darling children have been doing a red-hot job of keeping me up overnight, and so I could do with a much needed few extra hours sleep, so instead of watching some Netflix and then smashing out an achievement, I let the good times roll in Microsoft Bingo instead while Shameless played out in the background.

I still think ‘daub’ is a strange word, but it gets me an achievement (and a not insignificant GS addition for the day). I have quite a bit of time to dedicate to a solid bit of gaming tomorrow, so with that in mind – I’ll try something a bit more substantial then!

These Dreams

State of Decay 2 • You destroyed 5 plague hearts. Gross. • 20G • 25.46% of gamers unlocked this

I took advantage of the Xbox UI’s ‘closest achievements’ feature to decide what I’d play tonight, and it turned out that State of Decay 2 was second on the list (behind a pesky Diablo III achievement that I’ve struggled to get since the game launched).

In the tune from Frozen: Do you want to kill a Plague Heart? Well, I wanted to – so I did. One of the things that achievement hunting versus just ‘playing the game’ does is it forces you to risk a little more and play a little differently than if you were trying to – as the game dictates – keep your community alive and build. Instead, I found my character at near-death a couple of times, and infected with the blood plague, but instead of retreating and patching my character up – I doubled down and swung my crowbar at that plague heart like there was no tomorrow.

I’d be terrible in a zombie apocalypse.

Now that my achievement is out of the way, I’m planning on a bit of a session in Destiny 2. No reason, other than I’ve been itching to play a good shooter recently, and this should do nicely (still no additional achievements added with expansion pack 2, sadly).

Two days left until Xbox E3 press conference … someone call the Rocky Horror Narrator … I have such antisssssssssssssssipation.

Road Warrior

State of Decay 2 • You killed 50 zombies with your car door • 15G • 39.85% of gamers unlocked this

I am actually a bit time-poor over the next couple of days, so I wanted to just try and polish off the rest of the easy State of Decay 2 achievements before I move in with my life. Turns out, I ended up earning two achievements tonight – which would normally be fine – but part of me is also a little bitter that I couldn’t store one up for tomorrow.

Another example of why expanding the repertoire is worthwhile. I have played quite a bit of Vita today, and I’m sure the host of trophies I earned on my lunch break would have been equally good reading if I could have found time to document the experience!

The other achievement I earned tonight was for killing a juggernaut, which would probably pose a pretty big challenge, but really – I just rammed him a few times with the car I’d used for the titular achievement. I have to say though, killing the juggernaut was far more satisfying.

The other thing I tried tonight was a quick online game. My motivation was simply to try and grab an achievement, but there was nothing on offer before the network connection dropped out (on my host’s end, I suspect), and booted me back to my own game.

Insert shoulder shrug here.

No Stone Unturned

State of Decay 2 • You searched 100 containers • 20G • 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.

Wax On, Wax Off

State of Decay 2 • You chose a specialization for the Fighting skill • 15G • 46.77% of gamers unlocked this

I know that I’m on a real State of Decay 2 kick this week, despite my less-than-glowing review of the game, but I have to insist that I’ve still only essentially finished the tutorial and the intro ‘how to’ levels on two out of my three communities – and I’m sitting on 300G/1000G. The simplicity of these achievements is what keeps me coming back … so I feel like this game was built for, well, me, rather than the majority of ‘hardcore’ gamers who insist that they ‘don’t care’ about achievements (but secretly we all know that they do because they’re human and we all love being rewarded).

There were actually quite a few achievements I took away from this morning’s session – one for relieving a fatigued community member, who it appears was fatigued simply by virtue of the game not pausing when the Xbox One goes into suspend mode, and when I turned it back on today it was the in-game middle-of-the-night and my protagonist was where I left him standing on top of his tower where he clocked in yesterday’s achievement.

Whoops.

I also picked up an achievement for killing screamers and another for destroying a horde, so it was another example of high reward, little effort. I’m going to keep going with this community for a bit and see what else I can milk from them in terms of achievements, but I’m sure the gravy train will run out eventually. Heck, I mean they’re already a little miffed with me for not having any resources.

A guy can’t catch a break – apocalypse or not …

Silent Cartographer

State of Decay 2 • You surveyed 50 sites from high places • 10G • 31.82% of gamers unlocked this

My intent this morning was just to grab a quick State of Decay 2 achievement – given it’s my daughter’s birthday and we had an enourmous day planned. Sure enough, as soon as I grabbed this achievement, we were pretty much on-the-road for the day – so I’m pleased that I was able to just grab something this morning and take the pressure off this tired old dad at the end of the day.

I’m still enjoying my session as ‘the Odd Couple’ far more than any of the other communities I’ve played at this point (not altering my stance on the game that this still feels more ‘1.5’ than ‘2’). Noting that it’s still incredibly early-on, I feel like I’m likely to keep my main characters alive, and while I’ll give the others in the community a red hot go … I have developed a warm and fuzzy feeling towards my heroes, so when tough decisions need to be made, they’ll be first to get the good stuff.

Again, three playthroughs of the tutorial and opening levels seems to be enough to get a not-insignificant amount of achievements, so this is simply one of another in the mix. I guess – if I keep playing – it’s more exploration and onto bigger and better bad guys.