No one gets the prize
After picking up a Switch shortly after launch and being very happy with it so far ( Zelda on the toilet!) I came to realise there was something missing: trophies. While I certainly don’t consider myself a trophy enthusiast – I only have two platinums out of a library of 40 or so PS4 games – they were very much noticeable by their absence and I was happy to hear the news that Nintendo were looking to introduce something similar in the near future.
While trophies (or achievements, for my Xbox brethren) are decisive amongst core gamers, I think we can all agree they can enhance a gaming experience when implemented correctly. They can also instil brand loyalty: a close friend of mine couldn’t bring himself to get the PS4 over the Xbox One because of his gamerscore on Xbox 360. He now plays by himself.
Imagine a trophy list for Breath Of The Wild that encourages experimental play. I was very conservative for the first 20 or so hours before realising that the game truly lives up to the term sandbox. Think of how many people played through the whole game without any clue as to what is possible. How about the rewards you could earn though winning trophies? This could be the new Club Nintendo, with wallpapers and screen savers for the more casual and maybe even Amiibos for the most dedicated.
And finally, I would love to see trophy support added to games on Virtual Console. I would begrudge shelling out for Super Mario 64 for the fourth time a lot less if it gave me new challenges to achieve. Phil Eggins
“The hunt for trophies has often meant deviating from the core experience I wanted”
Well, look. Some of us like the fact that we can just play a game without our progress being tracked and measured in often rote, arbitrary ways. Like this Mike fellow:
The Switch is a magnificent console, and far from being my ‘second’ gaming device as I thought it would be, it has left my PS4 gathering dust. Obviously Zelda is key here, but other titles such as Arms and Splatoon 2 have also kept me thoroughly entertained. It’s that unique ‘Nintendo difference’ that people tend to mention. Nintendo’s refusal to follow industry norms has also been more charming than frustrating to me – aside from the whole voice chat thing.
However, recent rumours of a trophy or achievements system have me worried. Many have been crying out for this for a long time, but the hunt for trophies has often meant deviating from the core experience I wanted in the first place. Rather than enjoy the narrative and action of the Uncharted games, I run around looking for treasures knowing full well I’ll never find them all. I hate myself for it, but I can’t stop. The only platinum trophy I ever got was for Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, which involved making friends with people I have never had any kind of interaction with since, and taking a picture of a certain car at night. I heard the chime of the platinum, but it rang hollow.
It’s a personal problem in many ways, but how many others feel the same as me? Breath Of The Wild was an absolutely fantastic and absorbing adventure which didn’t need trophies to artificially extend its lifespan. Korok seeds should keep completionists busy enough. I hope we don’t start seeing trophies in Nintendo games for trivial achievements that distract me from the main event. Mike Watson
If we have to pick a side, we’re on yours. Achievements are brilliant when done well – but they so rarely are. Sadly, your new PS Plus subscription will introduce you to a year’s worth of additional trophies. Sorry.
Got to be real
Transgender protagonists are a rarity in videogames, just kidding, they don’t exist. It saddens me that a medium so dependent on the idea of choice has so far failed to recognise an oppressed minority who just wants their choice recognised. To assume this is a conscious decision in the games industry would be rash. So far I don’t believe the lack of transgender protagonists, or characters for that matter, come from malice. On the contrary we’ve seen some encouraging signs. Recently The Sims 4 introduced a gender-fluid system where your sim’s ability to have a child does not depend on their chosen gender. Gender is a choice, and it’s time the game industry at large recognised that. The time has come for a bigbudget game, a la Uncharted or Overwatch, to star a transgender character. Failing to do this would be a blow to the transgender community, and the LGBT movement at large. Over and over videogames have shown us the power of choice – it’s time for them to take the next step. Seth Draeger
We don’t doubt it’s happening behind the scenes, but these things take time. Once one studio does it well, others will surely follow.
A recent letter to Edge suggested that the magazine would benefit from some new features. You’re all too busy playing the SNES Mini to think about mundanities like that, so I have some suggestions for you.
We all know at least one idiot voted for Brexit because they believed the bus that said leaving the EU would fund £350m per week towards Half-Life 3: how about an ongoing feature on the development of the game until Valve get so annoyed that they have no choice but release it?
Another idea: more features on the pixels of parenting. We are expecting a new baby in October, and so it would be ideal to have a rundown of games that can be played one- handed while bottle-feeding, and also the do’s and don’ts of playing VR while holding a newborn. (Interesting fact: we haven’t need to buy a playpen because I’ve got enough raw materials to create one with stacks of Edge magazines). Finally, how about staff writer profile pages? Your likes, dislikes and a big, smiley photo. You may as well do it now while you can, because Edge will eventually be written by AI anyway.
I’ll be sticking with you regardless. As our baby grows bigger and bigger, the “Future of Interactive Entertainment” playpen is going to need higher walls. Ben Bulbeck
Thanks, Ben, for that succession of quite terrible ideas. Except the Half-Life 3 thing, anyway. It’s mad, yes, but it might just work.
Don’t leave me this way
I am now in my early 40s, and have in the last year or so fallen out of love with gaming in general. It started slowly in a creeping fashion; even the games I love just did not give me the same thrill and enjoyment as before. I’ve been gaming since I was 12 with the Amstrad PCW with Head Over Heels, having to play using the keyboard, me and my brother struggling – we never even knew about joysticks at the time. We never did complete it, even though I printed out a walkthrough from Amstrad Action magazine. It didn’t help: you had to do it all in one sitting as you couldn’t save. The golden days. Daniel Chambers
We’ll keep this brief, Daniel: head to p98.
I thought it was you
A few months back in E304, I lamented the fact that a frantic, slightly unhinged Nintendo was a poor standard bearer for the company’s hometown of Kyoto, the restrained and peaceful Old Capital of Japan. My opinion has now changed. I have come to regard the emptiness of retail spaces allocated to Switch products as having an almost zen-like quality, the rows of bare shelves, sparsely and randomly punctuated by the odd physical copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris, seemingly aspiring to the nihilistic poignancy of a stone garden.
At this point the reader might be excused for believing that I’m being sarcastic, and I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they would be entirely mistaken. However, there is also genuine appreciation in my comment. I am fed up of the uninterrupted hail of new titles competing for my attention (and spare income) on other platforms. It would be okay if they were just short little games that could be completed in a few hours, but many are enormous beasts: triple-A behemoths that require true dedication to be fully appreciated. As a result, and with a few notable exceptions – such as the sadly underrated Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – I usually end up losing interest after having completed 10 or 20 per cent of the main story arc. Let’s not even talk about side-quests.
In contrast, the scarcity of new titles reaching Nintendo’s latest console almost feels like a blessing. Every new release is like a small event, worthy of notice if not necessarily fireworks. Faced with the lack of alternatives, I even ended up giving Splatoon
2 a spin and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite my usual loathing of shooters. So, I think the guys from Kyoto may be wiser than I realised: every Switch game is what a delicious otoro nigiri is to a tempura buffet, something to be savoured and remembered instead of wolfed down and forgotten.
Now if we could still work on these bubble-gum aesthetics and produce something more mature for adult gamers who don’t have a toddler regression fetish, I’m sure we’d be onto something. Fabrice Saffre
There’s something to be said about a nice, steady flow of new releases, rather than the constant tsunami found elsewhere. Speaking of which, it’s review season, and the mailbag is bulging. Please, someone, send help.