Remember back in the day? When you used to play Little League or Pee-Wee Football with your friends, and no matter how bad your team sucked, you still got a nice (plastic) gold trophy at the end of the season. It was like the league went up to you and said “Hey, Hey…. Good Job.” Granted, the trophies were awarded as a token of completion of the season, not necessarily individual accomplishments, but at least it was something. In the world of Sports Video Games, trophies are awarded few and far between.
For the longest time, I wondered why my friends would have a higher gamer level than me, when it was obvious I played more than they did. Then I can to the realization that because I play so many sports games, I don’t get nearly the same amount of trophies as they do. So I decided to check out why this was:
Most games that incorporate the trophy or accomplishment system do it so you can achieve these goals during gameplay. What annoys me is that some of these tasks are ridiculously easy. You can play a game when you get a trophy for beating the first level, or using a special move, or even watching a tutorial. Many of these games have a story mode where you can advance with your character and along the way do certain tasks to earn trophies, but what about in sports games?
In sports games, the only “story” mode is a career mode of sorts. But there’s no ongoing story line that you can place trophy opportunities in. Usually, in career modes, the trophies are awarded for stats. However, many of those trophies are reserved for players who play the games for an extended period of time. For example, in MLB 09: The Show, one of the trophies is to hit 300 home runs. Granted the trophy itself is titled “It takes time” but that’s a little ridiculous. In the Road to the Show feature, there are very limited trophies that you can get with your character, get called up to the MLB, win an award, win MVP. Those three are doable. But when you have a trophy for throwing a perfect game against the computer on All-Star or higher difficulty, you’re asking for the controller to be thrown at the cat.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having some difficult trophies in games, but when I’m playing my career mode for about 10 seasons and I still only have 3 trophies to show for it, it’s a little annoying.
NBA Live 2010
It seems, especially in sports games, that the focus on achieving trophies is playing online. Personally, I think online trophies should be a separate category. Have more of a base set of accomplishments for the game itself, then add another set of accomplishments for playing online, because if you think about it, playing online really limits the player to all of the other features available in the game.
I just feel that there needs to be a different mindset when creating the tasks for trophies in sports games. Have different level trophies for stats like bronze for 100 HRs, silver for 200 HRs, THEN you can have the gold for 300 HRs. Give a little bit of a pat on the back to your players for actually attempting to achieve these goals. Is that too much to ask?