Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I want my Gamerscore on my tombstone

My Xbox Live Gamerscore is going to be the death of me.

I'm a competitive person by nature so I was expecting a little competition among friends when it comes to our Gamerscores, but now I've been consumed by the beast. Is it healthy? Probably not. Do I care? Not as long as I keep unlocking achievements. But that's the rub.

When I first got my Xbox 360 at the beginning of the year I was embarrassed about my Gamerscore. 25 points? For Hexic? That wasn't anything to brag about. But I was just learning about and messing around on the whole online dashboard. Then I got in to some actual gameplay.

Now I want to hear that little bleep. I need those achievements. It was all well and good while I was one of the early people from my old original Xbox friends list to get a 360 (we were having too much fun playing Star Wars Battlefront to worry about a new system, besides I wanted some time for them to get all the bugs worked out of the new system's launch). My 120 Gamerscore beat their big fat zero any day. And that was just for starters. Then one by one they all started to get 360s.

I still have a few holdouts that are content with their original Xboxes but they'll come around in time. One of them just got his 360 last weekend. Now Ice is a very nice guy and a good player but I wasn't all that happy to see him go from zero to a 115 Gamerscore in just a couple of hours. Give him another week or two and he'll be busting my butt again in whatever games we happen to be playing together. He's just one damn good player. I'm thrilled that I'll finally get to test my mettle against him in Gears of War, but in no time at all he'll leave my paltry Gamerscore behind.

Now I know I could hatch a plan with my friends to set up a ranked match in Gears for just us so we can work on all those 100 kill ranked achievements in the game but to me that's just cheating. If I get an achievement I want to earn it. Fair and square. But I'm not against hedging my chances though. I set up a Hearts game last night and invited my brother (someone who hasn't played Hearts but whose Gamerscore is climbing faster than mine) thinking I could use him to get a few wins and hands in towards an achievement. What does he do? He shots the Moon . . . and the Sun in the same game. What do I do? Come in last place. So while I walked away with ZERO points for my Gamerscore he walked away with 40 points without really trying.

I remember when I broke the 1,000 point barrier. I was excited. It looked more like a serious score than the laughable 990. Why? I don't know. With all my friends getting 360s and increasing their Gamerscore my competitive nature kicks in and says I need to stay ahead of them. My brother, once more than 300 points behind me is now only 20 points away from matching my score. I have too many other friends creeping up behind me . . . and some passing me that all I want to do is play video games and listen for that bleep.

When at work, I check out my friends list hourly on just to see who's recently unlocked an achievement and in what game. I take notes of what achievements I think I can unlock that night when I get home. I've sent messages out asking friends for advice on how to unlock those pesky ones that I can't seem to do on my own. But despite my best efferts I don't always get to hear that blessed bleep. I need to hear that bleep. I need the points for my Gamerscore. It's consuming my life and I don't know how to stop it.

My Gamerscore will be the death of me. And even if it is I want it carved on my tombstone, but only if it's better than everyone else's.