This week we’re talking about achievements in video games. That’s achievements, not Achievements. Although our biggest achievement might include Achievements, so I guess that doesn’t make it any clearer. Basically, imagine a thing in a video game. Any thing. Now imagine doing it. Now imagine feeling good about it. That’s the stuff we’re talking about today. Make sense? No? Great, now we’re getting somewhere. Anyway, we’re going to talk about all the proper hard stuff we did in proper hard video games, because we’re right proper hard gamers. That’s hard as in tough, not as in… you know what, never mind. We know what the Big Question is, so let’s move on to the Large Answers The Size Of A Small Answer.
Catching All Original 151 Pokemon, Kinda
I caught all 151 Pokemon in Pokemon Blue and yes it still counts if I used the Rare Candy cheat and traded my way to the top. I mean I guess that’s it. Let’s do some filler writing, eh? My favourite Pokemon back then was Zapdos but I have since decided that having a Legendary Pokemon as your favourite is desperately uncool, even more than having a favourite Pokemon to begin with, so now it’s Gengar. Yeah, I know that’s just as predictable. Anyway I guess that’s enough words. I was the very best like no one ever was.
Getting A Mirror's Edge Speedrunning World Record
Back in the Xbox 360 days, I got really, really into speedrunning Mirror’s Edge. I knew all the tricks, and while I was never a major contender for world records, I did shave my full-game run down to just over an hour. Of course, these days the record is at less than half of that, but 2010 was a different time.
The one big success I did get speedrunning Mirror’s Edge was in the often-forgotten DLC, the Pure Time Trials. Maps of abstract shapes floating in a void, they were the cleanest way to play the game, and I was obsessed. So much so that, after months of hammering away at it, I very briefly got the world record for the Kinetic map. A few days later the game was overrun by hackers and its leaderboards were ruined, but for those few, glorious hours I was someone.
Maxing Out Every Final Fantasy 7 Character
I’m an idiot, in the sense that I’ll always find a way to waste time that could be spent in more productive ways. I’m also a sucker for JRPGs, particularly of the turn-based variety. Put the two together, and there’s hundreds upon hundreds of hours of min-maxing characters to be ridiculously overpowered, for no other reason than I can.
This is especially the case with Final Fantasy 7, my favourite game ever. Emerald Weapon was a challenge to begin with, especially before figuring out the materia-to-damage correlation of its Aire Tam Storm attack. Instead of taking the easy option and just linking W-Summon with Knights of the Round and Mime, I spent far too much time farming Sources in the Gelnika and maxing every stat on every character. Not just the three I used to fight Emerald — all nine. Then I did the fight with just one materia equipped on each. Yikes.
Flying Every Airplane In Microsoft Flight Simulator
I’m extremely scrupulous about simulations. Whether we’re talking about racing or flying games, I’m always looking for the most accurate possible experience. This of course makes mastering each vehicle something of a game in and of itself. When it comes to flight simulators, I read the Pilot Operating Handbooks and only ever operate the airplanes in accordance with the relevant Aircraft Flight Manual, so I put quite a bit of work into just playing them. As a point of reference, this documentation can range from around a hundred or so to well over a thousand pages. Looking back on the last two years of playing the eponymous flight simulator by Microsoft, I have to admit that learning to fly almost every single airplane in the game is one of my greatest achievements. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication there. I don’t really consider this to be a waste of time because as a pilot in real life, I know that it’s made me a much better aviator.
Becoming A Gran Turismo Sport Pro
Over lockdown I decided to ‘git gud’ at Gran Turismo Sport. I’d played a lot of GT2 and GT3, as a kid, but then left the series. Sport was my return. It was a great learning experience to finally understand driving lines and braking distances and put them to use. The apogee was getting gold on the Lap Attack on Nürburgring Nordschleife in Circuit Experience. I proceeded to 100 percent the game. But I don’t think anything will ever top the feeling of conquering that mighty track. You can read all about my Gran Turismo journey here.
Being Far Too Good At FPS Games For Years
I was number one in the world on Call of Duty: Black Ops, Xbox 360, for Headquarters, Team Deathmatch, and Domination. I was also 15 years old and didn’t have any mates, except some weird guy from Belgium I met online and the two pals from down the road that kept knocking on my door to get me to come smoke in the park. During the lockdown, I was a top 5 Apex Predator in Apex Legends on Xbox. My sofa was a throne of cans—my friends over the headset could just hear a metallic crinkle every time I got up or sat down. All in all, I would not recommend playing FPS games for 15 hours a day.
Dominating The Guitar Hero Leaderboards
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I’m really good at Guitar Hero. As a teenager I was regularly topping worldwide leaderboards on Expert difficulty as I played alongside siblings and school friends across Legends of Rock and World Tour. It even led to me picking up a couple of real instruments (albeit with mixed success) and developing a reputation as that person who was really good at that guitar game with all of the old songs on it. I think my biggest achievement during this time came when I picked up the Snow Patrol DLC pack on release and topped the leaderboards and stayed there for weeks. I was untouchable, and cemented my place as a true gamer that remains true to this day.
Not Giving Up On The Classic Fallouts
I suck at games. Like, a lot. However, I also adore boomer RPGs made before a human made sure they were actually completable, so there’s a bit of a conflict there. Keeping that in mind, my proudest achievement is that I’ve been stubborn enough to beat games like the classic Fallouts and Baldur’s Gates. Fallout fans especially disregard the two isometric RPGs that got the series off the ground, and it’s their loss. If you stick with them, they’re the absolute peak of the franchise, and some of the best games you’ll ever play. Oh, I also almost beat Dragon Age: Origins on Hard, but that Broodmother fight was taking the piss.
100 Percent World Completion In Guild Wars 2, Back When It Was Even Harder
I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 for about a decade, with lots of long gaps in that time (as often happens with MMORPGs). One of my favourite things about it is the way it changes and evolves over time, even if that means that the Guild Wars I experience when I log on today is nothing like the one I logged into 10 years ago. It also means I get to flex on newer players with my experience (even though, depending on how obsessed with the game they are, they often know more than me). The thing I’m most proud of is that I reached 100 percent World Completion back when you still had to complete the World versus World maps.
A little context for those of you who aren’t Guild Wars 2 players: the game is broken up into maps across one planet, which is named Tyria. In each of those maps, there are quests to do, vistas to see, etc., and when you’ve done all that in one map you earn 100 percent completion. 100 percent World Completion, then, is obviously doing that for every single map in the game. Back when I first wanted 100 percent World Completion, you not only had to complete every PvE map, but also the World versus World maps – a special PvP area where members of each server compete against each other. In World versus World maps, areas I needed to complete were often occupied by the enemy servers, and I had to sneak in or bide my time until my server captured it. With four World versus World maps in total, this was a trial.
Now, they’ve updated it so no one has to experience my pain; the World versus World maps don’t count towards the total Map Completion. I’m happy for newcomers, but I also have a little old man inside of me, saying “back in my day” and shaking his cane.
Beating Halo 3 LASO
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Halo 3 LASO. I have never and will never do something that cool again. I’ve officially peaked, and that’s okay. And no, since I want to live a happy, healthy life, I will never complete my attempt at Halo 2 LASO. Two missions in and I had about 50 years shaved off my lifespan, one for every Jackal sniper that got me. Never again.
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