[UPDATED] Biography of an extreme trophy collector, nearly 10,000 trophies!
Since 2008, trophy integration forever changed playing games on PlayStation consoles. Firmware update 2.41 for the PS3 brought this amazing new feature as well as the in-game XMB.
PS3 Attitude spoke with PlayStation gamer Will Voss about how he became hooked on trophy collecting and what his girlfriend thinks of his habits. We also get a closer look at how to better our own trophy collecting abilities.
Are you a trophy collector or know someone who is? The next “Biography of an extreme trophy collector” could be about you!
[PS3 Attitude] Right now you are at Level 38 with 9610 total trophies, and 166 platinum trophies. That’s an average of more than 200 trophies per month, 50 per week, or 7 per day since the inception of the trophy system back in July 2008. When did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
[Will Voss] That sounds about right. I didn’t realize the numbers were that high, but the math works out. I don’t know that it was a conscious decision. I was playing through the first Uncharted. I saw that trophies were pretty much the same as the rest of the in-game unlockables and figured I might as well get them too. Trophies started unlocking and I’ve just kind of kept at it.
[PS3A] Would you call yourself a trophy whore or trophy collector?
[WV] Probably “trophy collector”. I use “trophy whore” when referring to those guys who’s list consists almost entirely of easy and short games and people who try to pay other people to get trophies for them.
[PS3A] What do your friends, colleagues or significant others think of your trophy hunting? Do they help out at all?
[WV] Since most of my friends and co-workers work in the [gaming] industry, a lot of them find it somewhat impressive. There’s still a good amount that can’t understand how or why I do it though. My girlfriend just kind of accepts it, as long as I can pause the game.
I don’t have a huge amount of help. I have one friend that helps me with most of the local co-op stuff and my girlfriend will assist me if she’s interested in a game (LittleBigPlanet), but that’s about it.
[PS3A] How do you choose which game you want to platinum next? What compels you to get so many trophies?
[WV] Usually I try to play one really long game and one short game at any given time. I do tend to favor games with less grinding and less online, but overall I just play what I want. Western RPGs and sandbox games probably get priority since I find those the most enjoyable. Of course, sometimes games get priority for other reasons, like I borrowed it from someone or if I can flip it for a profit.
This may sound weird, but I’ve always tried to 100% every game I play. Even before trophies, I tried to beat the highest difficulties and unlock whatever unlockables games have. I guess trophies are just a more public version of that. I even used to upload completed PS2 saves to GameFAQs a few years ago.
[PS3A] If you buy a AAA game with difficult trophies and a widely denigrated game with easy trophies, which game comes out of the plastic first?
[WV] Probably the widely denigrated game. I think it’s more to do with the “AAA game” vs “widely denigrated game” aspect. I honestly tend to have more fun with games that get lower scores. Maybe it’s because all the hyping of the AAA title sets the bar way too high so it falls short and feels like it wasn’t as good as promised, while the “bad” game ends up being surprisingly acceptable. I don’t know.
The trophies in the “bad” game being easier probably do tip things more in favor of that one. Easier trophies usually mean a shorter game, which means that if it really is bad, it’s over with faster and I can sell it before the price drops too much more, while the “AAA game” will probably maintain value a good while longer. If the game ends up being good, even better.
[PS3A] Since platinum trophies are actually worth zero points in the grand scheme, what do you think is a respectable trophy level?
[WV] Level 15 or so shows that you at least play a number of different games. Platinums don’t really matter too much since a lot of games don’t have them but take just as long to beat. I don’t think the number of trophies matters as much as what the trophies are. I have way more respect for someone that completes something like Zen Pinball than I do for someone that has nothing but platinums in really easy games and Modern Warfare 3 half done.
[PS3A] If someone told you five years ago that you’d be playing Hannah Montana or Toy Story 3 with the singular purpose of earning intangible rewards, what would you think?
[WV] I think it would make sense. About five years ago, I was mostly purchasing the lesser known Japanese games like Chulip and Steambot Chronicles. At around the same time, I was working in the QA department at Sony and sometimes higher up people would end up with less desirable games like Mary Kate & Ashley: Sweet 16 Licensed to Drive and they would trickle down to us. Most people would just be mad that they didn’t get a triple A title, but I and the people I was friends with figured that a game is a game, and it’s free. If I remember correctly, I actually got Hannah Montana in the same way, and I still have it.
So yeah, five years ago I was already playing Lets Ride! Silver Buckle Stables anyway, so Hannah Montana isn’t much of a stretch.
[PS3A] You were once a tester for Sony First Party QA. How has that changed the way you play games?
[WV] One thing I do before I even start a game is check online to see what kind of issues people are running into, since they’re pretty indicative of what areas of the game have problems. As such, I’ve managed to avoid most of the more common issues with a lot of the games I’ve played. Also, my experience with software probably does help somewhat when I do run into problems.
I try not to get ahead of the game. I try to clear areas before progressing, make sure I actually follow objective markers so I don’t do things out of order, make sure the game is done saving before I move forward, and so on. I also try to do one thing at a time, if possible. To use Skyrim as an example, I’d try to do one quest string in its entirety rather than jumping around between the factions. Seems like a safer way to do things, since the more you deviate from what the developers designed, the more likely you are to run into a problem.
[PS3A] Do you ever feel the pressure to gain trophies inhibits your ability to enjoy playing games?
[WV] Yeah, sometimes. I hate having to be attached to a walkthrough for games, so games like “Hunted: The Demon’s Forge” where I have to keep track of 200+ collectibles in a linear game with no in-game counter can get pretty annoying. Also, I really dislike horde modes, so I pretty much never want to do any game with those.
[PS3A] What was the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to earn a trophy?
[WV] I don’t think I’ve missed any actual events, but I’ve definitely made myself useless for them by missing sleep. For close to six months I was running on about four to five hours of sleep a day because I decided that gaming time was more important than sleep time.
I ended up with chronic Tennis Elbow after Rock Band 2. I feel I can probably place the blame for that on completing the seven hour setlist without pausing for the “Bladder of Steel” trophy without any assistance. I definitely didn’t think that through before I did it.
[PS3A] If the PS4 did away with trophies and in-game rewards altogether, would that affect your buying decision? Would you consider gaming on a different platform?
[WV] Probably not. I like the Sony consoles for the first party exclusives and the Japanese developer support. While it would be confusing to see trophies go away, I would probably stick with Sony for the Yakuza franchise, Nippon Ichi JRPGs and first party shooters like Killzone and Uncharted.
[PS3A] Thinking back, what has been your favorite type of trophy to unlock?
[WV] I really like in-game checklists so I don’t have to spend time keeping track of stuff and I also like it when games actually make you work for the trophy and require you to complete everything to be done. So trophies like “Redeemed” from Red Dead Redemption and “City of Angels” from L.A. Noire are probably my favorite type.
[PS3A] What has been your least favorite type of trophy to unlock?
[WV] Trophies based on random chance are awful. I’ll go ahead and say “Treasure Hunter” from Final Fantasy XIII, since that’s the first one that comes to mind as being genuinely bad. Killing things over and over is repetitive enough, but not knowing how long it’s going to take to acquire the random drop just makes it that much worse.
[PS3A] Can you recall your most difficult trophy to obtain?
[WV] The “Still Alive” trophy from Portal 2 is a good example of one I actually managed to get. This type of trophy is why I don’t have Black Ops or Battlefield 3 completed.
[PS3A] Which was the most prestigious of all the trophies you’ve earned?
[WV] The “You Want Me To WHAT?” trophy on “BattleFantasia” or the Arcana Heart 3 platinum. I don’t consider myself particularly good at fighting games and I don’t have a fight stick so having completed those, I feel like I was able to go outside of my element and excel.
[PS3A] What advice do you have for newbie trophy collectors?
[WV] Go for trophies in games you want to play, not for a high count or to get “rare” trophies. I’ve seen a number of people retire from “trophy hunting” after boosting for what seemed like months trying to finish things like F.E.A.R. 2 and Far Cry 2 or getting the platinums in a dozen kids games with nothing else between them. I assume they got burned out from the boredom, and that’s not what gaming should be about.