Yes. Yes! YES!
Damn that feels good!...
Last night I achieved the ultimate climax.
And also the greatest release.
For the past year I have been having an affair. Next week will see the first anniversary of the day I first picked her up in that brightly lit shopping centre and took her home with me. Since that day, my mistress, whom I shall call Alice (for that is her name) has always been there for me: whenever my children were tucked away in bed and my wife fell into an early slumber or on those rare occasions when they all ventured out of the house without me.
Alice is slim (but without the unfeasable proportions of some of her peers), young and pretty (in a sullen, Gothic kind of way), and she definitely carries a weight of emotional baggage. She is always responsive, fearless, and more than holds her own in a battle of wits or of might. When I ask her to jump, she replies ‘how high?’. She has captured my imagination and is beguiling in a fashion that has kept me coming back for more in a way that no previous dalliance can lay claim.
But, sadly, last night we also reached a point of such resolve that I don’t know if I shall ever call on her again.
So before I render any further damage to this tortured analogy, I will get to the point of my musings. Last night I completed the final task which rewarded me with 100% completion and my first ever PS3 platinum trophy for the game ‘Alice: Madness Returns’.
I remember being completely taken by the original ‘American McGee’s Alice’ from my youth, and so was all over this belated sequel almost as soon as I could lay my hands on it. Once again I was completely transfixed. Whilst journeying through its twisted worlds I searched everywhere locating all of the secrets and quirks it had to offer.
Interestingly enough, when I now look back at that initial play through, it was actually quite a long, hard slog, but when I did eventually reach the end, I had a feeling I don’t think I have ever had before; I wanted to play it again. Typically, when I finish a game, I am keen for the next, new challenge. However, this time I cast an eye over the Trophy list and noticed I had only managed about half the list of those available. I also noticed that those remaining were actually quite feasible as well. Suddenly, I found myself with a brand new plan which would see me sink a whole lot more time and effort into my relationship with Alice.
Half a dozen of the trophies required me to actually complete the entire original ‘American McGee’s Alice’ again, which was helpfully included with the new game. This was no real problem because I had not played it for years and had nothing but fond memories of it. So for the first time ever, I set about replaying a game I had already played and beaten before. The mechanics and scenery had certainly dated in the intervening years, but the world was still as engaging as ever, and it allowed me to revisit some of my rainbow tinted past.
With that done, a quick check back to the Trophy list saw my completed percentage had noticeably improved (to around 65%, my highest value for any other PS3 game). But I wanted more! So I did a couple of things that in 35 years of gaming I had never done before: I started second play through of a game I had only just completed, and I ramped up the difficulty level to ‘Nightmare’.
Man, did I have fun!
I found I made steady progress through the game, not needing to worry about hunting down collectables (I already had all of those), and that the battles were more challenging, but always achievable. And on the way the trophy cabinet continued to fill. Eventually I came to the end of my second play through, and found there were now only four or five trophies left unachieved. One of these required yet another complete game to be played. So I did what had until recently been totally unthinkable: I turned the Difficulty setting back down to ‘Easy’, and played the whole damn thing again: for a single Trophy. What was I thinking?
So I raced through the game again, almost blinded to anything other than charging forward and knocking any foes out as quickly as possible. My fervour was now almost uncontrolled and the obsession held tight until I heard the familiar trophy signalling ‘ding’. Finally, I was down to just 3 or 4 more level specific tasks to be knocked off, each of which I attacked and defeated, until I reached that momentous point, last night, when I defeated the final boss, the Dollmaker, without taking any damage – and the last of the trophies was mine, Platinum was the result. My whole reason for playing this game in the first place had changed into something completely different, but still I felt elated.
So now where does that leave me? Well, I can say I have ticked one of my own ‘things to do before I die’ trophy list. It gave me a wonderful feeling of satisfaction in achieving a long term goal; although I don’t know that I will ever do it again. (Unless another sequel is release) .I also got absolute value for the money I spent on a game 12 months ago.
I am also now on the lookout for a new mistress/game (better go pick up my Borderlands 2 pre-order).
So now it’s your turn, dear readers. Do you go chasing the ultimate Platinum awards? Do you have to get 100% before you can move on to the next thing? How many Platinum Level trophies have you earned? Or do you just not care?
Oh, and one final thought: Having a mistress like Alice is probably about as much fun as you can have on your own – without having to worry about the your wife waking up in the middle of a session!
- Martin Whitehead
Screen Play readers can submit articles game reviews for consideration in Your Turn and Your Review using the email address SPYourTurn@gmail.com. The best blog post published on Screen Play between 1 September 2012 and 28 September 2012, as judged by James Dominguez, will win a PlayStation 3 console from Sony Computer Entertainment. The PS3 has a 160GB hard drive and is worth $349. The next prize winner will be announced on Friday 28 September. Only Australian residents are eligible and the judge's decision is final.
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