For some bizarre reason, I thought it would be a good idea to continue my journey into the dark world of quick completions in a bid to compete in the Xbox Hall of Fame Gamerscore Champion competition. I previously racked up around 8,000 Gamerscore in roughly five hours or so but was left deflated after playing some questionable games (admittedly, just for the Gamerscore) and realising that after all of my hard work (it wasn't really hard work), I was still 13,000G off the leader. With the working week out of the way, no pubs for a distraction, and zero plans, I now had an entire weekend to unashamedly pop some easy achievements, and hopefully, reach the dizzying heights of first place in the UK leaderboard. That was until I had to tap a jar of mayonnaise 10,000 times and promptly lost the will to live.
I refused to look at the UK Gamerscore leaderboard throughout the weekend, as I was scared to see if Bond OO7 was continuing his reign of achievement unlocking terror. I started off with the easy Ratalaika title, Access Denied, which was only easy because it's a puzzle game and someone with much more patience and intelligence than I took the time to figure out each solution and detail them all online. Simple stuff. Easy 1,000G right there, on to the next one. Hyper Jam, I failed to do my research and didn't realise I'd need four controllers to complete the list, but still grabbed most of the achievements from it. Despite this minor setback, I was on a roll.
Then we went back to Ratalaika with Inksplosion. I don't like Inksplosion. I can never seem to get to grips with twin-stick shooting, and Inksplosion is just that. It's a pretty frantic game with vivid splashes of colour soon filling up the screen making it hard to figure out what was going on. It gave me a headache, and one achievement refused to unlock for me. Sometimes easy completions just aren't that easy, and a certain level of skill needs to be involved.
Next up was Asemblance, an easy one-hour completion, or so I thought. Asemblance has one of the worst achievements I have encountered so far on this journey, but I'll come to that in a minute. I really liked the game's premise. Reliving memories, and having to piece together the narrative was fun. Much like in my first diary with North, I wish I had played this game properly just so I could understand the story, although from what I've read now, it seems pretty confusing and might not have been worth it. Also, I'm on a mission here! No time for narrative, enjoyment, or happiness — it's only Gamerscore that matters now. The White achievement though can absolutely get in the sea. Now, I should preface this, I was on my fourth, very strong, Devonshire cider at the time, and things were a little hazy, but the White achievement alone took me nearly an hour to get. It has a ridiculous set of requirements where you need to open a drawer and grab a flashlight at a precise time in the game, and then leg it down a corridor to look at a hole in the wall, but only after 16 seconds has passed. I attempted this, well, I can't remember how many times now (we'll blame the cider for that), but it filled me with such a white-hot rage that I still haven't gotten over it. After looking at every possible guide and video online, I finally got it to pop using my phone's stopwatch to time the whole affair. I was going to attempt the game's sequel Asemblance: Oversight straight away but my cider-fuelled brain told me it probably wasn't a good idea to toy with my sanity in a such a way any longer.
I ended up completing 14 games in total on Saturday. Doug Hates His Job was a highlight, and surprisingly enjoyable, Castle of no Escape I completed in seven minutes, Blackwood Crossing was emotional, and Wandersong was blitzed using the game's scene select (Sorry, Sam). I also ran through Scalextric, or TRAX - Build it, Race it as it's known in the US. This is a bad, bad game. I loved playing with my Scalextric when I was a kid — I had quite an old set from the 80s that always smelt like something was burning when it was on. I vaguely remember licking the track, or some part of the set (I was left unsupervised a lot throughout my childhood), and getting a small shock, nothing major, but still unpleasant. I would rather lick that track again than have to play the digital version of Scalextric ever again. That's right. I would choose to experience a small amount of pain over playing that poor excuse of a game.
At this point, I had been sat in my chair for around 12 hours, but the hunt for Gamerscore had to continue. I fired up Mr. Massagy: Mayo Edition, knowing it was incredibly simple. I remember when My Name is Mayo launched on the PS4, and everyone was talking about how ridiculous it was to get the platinum, but I needed something where I didn't have to think; my brain was fried. Mr. Massagy: Mayo Edition is broken up into two parts: a clicker game (My Name is Mayo), where you tap on a jar of mayonnaise, and a dating simulator. I started off with the clicker. I needed to reach 10,000 taps to complete this portion of the game. I sat there hammering away at the A button, stopping every so often to put on a raunchy outfit on my jar of mayonnaise (yes, you have to dress it up in a bikini and other weird outfits to unlock more achievements). It wasn't long before I began to ponder my life. Why am I punishing myself like this? Is this what my life has become? Did the electric shock I received from licking that Scalextric track many moons ago fundamentally change my brain composition? Is that why I'm sitting here tapping this jar of mayonnaise? Eventually, after what seemed a millennium, I hit 10,000 taps and went to bed.
I woke up on Sunday and could barely bring myself to turn on the Xbox. I lethargically finished off the dating sim part of Mr. Massagy, which was humorous at times, and then checked the UK Gamerscore leaderboard. I was floored. Bond OO7 was still top and had hit around 70,000 Gamerscore. Do you not sleep, Mr Bond? Starting this experiment, I knew realistically I wouldn't be able to win, but I didn't think I would be so far off the pace. I was sitting in 15th having amassed 29,120 Gamerscore, which isn't too bad for a total of around 20 hours work — 20 predominantly unenjoyable hours I might add. Reducing a game to its basic form and simply ripping out Gamerscore from each title, became mind-numbing and, for me, a little depressing. The only real winner from this descent into quick completions was Microsoft, who made me, and probably several others, part with their hard-earned cash.
I understand, though. There is a serotonin buzz you get after unlocking a bunch of achievements and hearing that familiar achievement tone ringing in your ears, but grinding out quick completion after quick completion is laborious and tiresome. On Sunday afternoon, I switched off the Xbox, looked out the window at the overcast grey skies, chucked on my shoes and went outside. It started raining two minutes into my walk. The outside isn't that great really, is it? I quickly realised my mistake and ran home to sit back down in the chair I had just spent an ungodly amount of hours in and fired up The Long Dark. Not a jar of mayonnaise in sight. Bliss.