Monday, July 9, 2007

Where's the fun in cheating?

Where's the fun in cheating?

I mean. Seriously. I play to have fun. Sometimes I enjoy the defeats just as much the victories. The more spectacular the better. I'm not saying I'm a saint now. In the early days I needed a little help otherwise I would have quit and never looked back.

I don't know how many nights I was left frustrated on some level in Super Mario for the SNES. Usually the water levels. There are warp pipes available and when I saw them I took advantage. After all if the programmers didn't want you to use them why put them in the game to begin with? But with other games I need just a little bit more help.

Then I discovered Game Shark. Actually my brother did and pointed me in that direction (like a lot of my video game choices as well). I would be stuck in a room with no exit . . . or up against a boss with no apparent weakness . . . and I would just want to quit the game and never play it again. After loading up the Game Shark and then the game I could get past that one hiccup to me fully enjoying the game. But after awhile it just got to be too much trouble for what little gain I got out of the experience.

I like that feeling of exhilaration after beating a particularly difficult part of the game. Using a cheat code well . . . cheapened the experience. Even if I beat the game I didn't feel like I won. A little part of me always knew that the effort involved wasn't all mine so neither was the victory. So I just pushed through those stubborn spots and got better.

Soon I found that those little Game Shark cards and dics were collecting more dust those fluffs of whatever that seem to collect under my bed. It might take me longer to beat a game . . . and I might even put it aside for longer periods of time when I get stuck . . . but the victories are all mine.

I finished my first Xbox 360 Arcade game a while ago. Jewel Quest. There are times in the game after you've lost a level for a couple of times that a message box pops up and asks if you want to move on to the next level (at the cost of one life). As tempting as the offer was I knew when I got to the end the victory would be hollow. So I declined the offer and played every level. Some levels took 8 or more lives to get through . . . others only one. But when I finished I knew I had beaten the game. All me. No one else. Those 200 Achievement Points were all mine. It felt good.

So why do gamers want to cheat? What glory do they get out of finishing a game or being #1 on a leader board if they know they didn't do it all on their own?

I will never be able to get some Achievements in ChromeHounds for the Xbox 360 because there are players and squads that cheat. It's called boosting. Instead of playing against other humans or the AI they play against a second account of theirs where the enemy just sits there. Yes, it's a legitimate battle in that they haven't circumvented the rules of the game but it doesn't take much skill or effort to beat an opponent that doesn't do anything. They get another victory. More experience. And a boat load of renown to dominate the leaderboards. And the corresponding Achievements to go with it.

Take those same players and put them in a match with real humans to play against and they'd probably get their butts kicked. Where's the fun in that?

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