Greg Miller, CEO of Kinda Funny, recently tweeted, “I will abuse the PSN Trophy System for every cheap Platinum I can. I’ll do it without shame. I’ll brag about it. I’ll encourage others. I’ll watch the Trophy world burn and laugh while it happens.” I understand that this is a troll tweet designed to clap back at a certain subset of Trophy Hunters that came after him for exploiting a glitch with a trophy tied to difficulty in The Callisto Protocol. However, there is also something in this that slightly irks me.
I have no problem with abusing glitches for achievements. I’ve done it many times.
For example, Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered has a trophy very similar to the one Greg Miller describes within The Callisto Protocol for the epilogue mission Mile High Club. You can purposely cause a glitch whereby you can do the level on Recruit difficulty and then crash out in a specific way to make it, so it registers a Veteran (very hard) difficulty pass and awards you the trophy.
There’s also a way to glitch out The Witness‘ most difficult achievement by completing a puzzle at the exact same moment as a timer runs out to allow you to continue with the challenge without the added pressure of a ticking clock. I tried it so many times legitimately that I had “In the Hall of the Mountain King” seared into my brain for months. Alas, I resorted to trickery and deceit.
In Uncharted 4, you can likewise cheat the full game speedrun by performing specific actions in game and at the main menu.
All of these are trophy-earning glitches that I exploited, but not totally without remorse. For two out of three of the trophies I just mentioned, I spent hours trying to complete them properly, as the game intended. At a certain point, I bit the bullet and looked up hints. Those workarounds are what I found to pop the achievements.
Exploits are opportunities that, most of the time, require research and planning. There is a challenge in circumventing the intended way of completing the achievement. I have little issue with this sort of behavior.
The problem I’m having is with Platinum trophies that barely require opening the game to achieve. I use the word “achieve” here in the loosest sense of the word.
You’ve seen them, right? Those games on the 97th page of the PlayStation Store? The type of games that cost less than half a cup of bland coffee? Yeah, you’ve seen them. They’re shovelware of the lowest quality.
One day this summer, PlayStation Access had a stream entitled “PlatiFrenzy” whereby the hosts competed against each other to earn Platinums on specific games faster than each other. The amount of absolute trash they played was insufferable. It was great content for the stream, but these games are games in name only.
They came in three sorts of flavors…
This is my least favorite type of cheap Platinum trophy. One of the biggest developers of these types of games is Webnetic, and one of their most recent games The Rex T is one such of this type. The aim of the game is to hold a button down. That’s it. End of tutorial. Hold a button down until the trophy pops. Within a minute or so of starting the game, you could earn the achievement (if you can call it that). I would be embarrassed to have it in my trophy list.
And it’s not even just worth one or two trophies. The Rex T will award you, in around two minutes of playtime, one Platinum, nine Gold, five Silver, and six Bronze trophies. It’s a game that only exists to boost stats.
Ah, yes. The game that started all of this nonsense: My Name is Mayo.
If you could see me, I’d be shaking my head in pure incomprehension about why this is a game. My Name is Mayo was released in 2016 by Green Lava Studios and requires you to tap a picture of a mayonnaise jar multiple times to receive trophies. To be fair, they do mix it up a bit in terms of gameplay, though…
No, wait, they don’t.
Some trophies will require you to change the cosmetics on the mayo jar as you tap it if you can stretch to that level of effort. The only real challenge that you will face is potential Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). It’s a sickeningly simple game that will earn you one Platinum, four Gold, and forty-six Bronze trophies.
The success of this game has spawned countless clones and even two sequels. Sequels! To a tapping game! Just call it what it is: a way to boost trophy statistics.
Ok, so I know doing something slightly gamelike is a pretty vague category, but bear with me as it’s a bit of catch-all for the types of games I’m discussing.
I’m talking about games that will take most people less than ten minutes to complete but have a little bit of what you can call gameplay. Within the “PlatiFrenzy” steam, there were loads of examples. Chickens on the Road is a game where you are a truck on a road, and you accumulate a score by not getting squished by oncoming traffic and by saving chickens. The only trophy objective is for total score, and checkpoints are abundant.
Memory Lane is a match-two-card memory game that we’ve seen a hundred times before. A bunch of cards are turned face down, you click on two, and then you receive points per successful match. Clearing the board in fewer turns results in higher points totals, and all of your trophies are tied to that cumulative point total.
And finally, there’s Alien Destroyer, which is a first-person shooter and the most gamelike of my examples. Shoot a constant stream of bullets without the need to reload, and don’t die, and you have your Platinum trophy pop.
Come on guys! Where is the honor in cheap Platinum trophies? Where’s the sense of accomplishment? Where’s the journey? At least in old Telltale games like The Walking Dead, where you only receive progression trophies towards completion, they had a story and characters that you felt attachment to. I feel no attachment to mayonnaise or a journey of poking a jar of it thousands of times.
It might sound snobby, but games in these categories only really exist to sell units to people with a trophy obsession. I have an unhealthy obsession with trophies, yes, but honestly, I also have standards. You won’t be able to find these games on my profile. If you have them in yours, then you will be judged.
I’m not angry though. No, no. I’m just disappointed. And if any interaction with parents or teachers are indications, that’s so much worse.
Take that, Greg Miller.