The Man With 600 Platinums & Why You’ll Never Have That Many
Take a look at your Xbox Gamerscore, or your PSN Trophies. Little pats on the head for walking in the right direction or killing the right person, and a pretty decent indicator of just how badly this industry has you by the short and curlies, as you watch the Gamerscore or Trophy count rack up.
They’re also a good way to artificially lengthen whatever terrible thing you’ve spent your hard earned cash on.
Most people aren’t too bothered by them. It’s a fluffy little extra bolstered onto the main experience, but then you get the Trophy and Achievement hunters.
Hakoom is one of them, and probably the most famous.
You see, Hakoom has racked up 621 platinums since Sony introduced Trophies to the PS3 back in 2008. This basically means Hakoom has fully completed over 600 games, doubtless going through them again and again on higher difficulties in order to unlock everything.
To say it’s a Sisyphean feat is an understatement. He’s basically the leader on the PlayStation board, like some Web 3.0 Spartacus. Hakoom describes what he’s gone through.
“I have also played over 1000 games by now and obtained more than 31000 trophies and lvl 100 on PSN. I have played over 20k hours in the past 5 years and sacrificed many opportunities in life to reach where I am now.”
20,000 hours. A quick perusal of Google reveals that that’s the equivalent of 2.2815423 years.
Of course, the first thing you have to ask Hakoom is how does he find the time? He’s already revealed that he’s sacrificed ‘many opportunities’ in order to get all those Trophies, so what else has he missed out on? He graciously breaks his day down mathematically for us. Here comes the science bit.
“I sleep around 5 to 9 hours per day, sometimes I stay up an entire day without sleeping too.
“As far as food, goofing around, errands and socialising are concerned I waste 2 to 4 hours a day doing those things, but not every day of course. On average that’s about 3 hours spent doing non-gaming, so 600 platinums in 5.4 years (2018 days) is humanly possible with the correct time management.”
While Hakoom claims it’s humanly possible to get all those platinums with ‘correct time management,’ it’s obviously not possible for people with jobs or families to look after.
After all, correct time management to most doesn’t entail playing and replaying a video game until you’ve unlocked and seen every single bit of it. It’s perhaps most telling that Hakoom describes the time he goofs around, socialises and eats as time ‘wasted.’
It should come as no surprise then to learn then that Hakoom is currently without employment, but he has managed to monetise his compulsion to a degree.
“Since I am jobless, I craft my living out of Trophy services, YouTube and my website. I offer some users help to obtain Trophies in return for cash, which is working out to be great. I upload videos on YouTube and get cash from being a partner. Surprisingly virtual poker websites offer me cash to place some articles/ads on my site which I first thought was fake or scam, but surprisingly they paid up front. The rest comes from fan donations.”
It’s nice work if you can get it then, and Hakoom’s at least shrewd enough to take advantage of a burgeoning business environment that’s (for better or worse) seen Let’s Plays and Walkthroughs on YouTube garner millions of views and easy money.
But this isn’t how it used to be.
Growing up, games weren’t about Platinums or Trophies or getting a digital thumbs up; games were something you played for a bit of fun after you did your homework (or while you were meant to be doing it).
You didn’t need validation by means of a small note popping up in the corner saying ‘congratulations, here’s a Trophy for pressing Start.’
Besides, there are some utter shockers being released. What happens when Hakoom is confronted with something truly diabolical to play? And what are the worst things he’s had to go through?
“Kane and Lynch 2 is the most painful. I hate this game from my heart, I nearly thought about committing suicide by jumping out of the window! Other games would be Leisure Suit Larry, Naughty Bear, Eat Lead and Modnation Racers.
“Meanwhile, these are a few painful games. They are nice games which I enjoyed playing, but I got owned while going for the platinums. Max Payne 3, Ninja Gaiden 2 and 3, Street Fighter 4 and Super Street Fighter 4, King Of Fighters 13, Blazblue Continuum Shift.
“When I play a really bad game I feel like jumping out the window, but then I stop and come back and finish it because that’s just how I am. Especially when the game is bad, it’s more of a challenge to me.”
It’s at this point you have to wonder just why anyone would suffer through the likes of Naughty Bear or Leisure Suit Larry just so they can sign off a digital tick box. It’s turning a fun way to kill a few hours into a gruelling chore, isn’t it?
Even if you’re playing a proven commodity like Street Fighter 4, surely you’d get sick of it eventually. And what of huge RPGs? Hakoom divulges his tactics for allaying frustration when playing a game for Trophies, and talks about how the likes of Dark Souls and Skyrim surprisingly aren’t so bad.
“Dark Souls and Skyrim aren’t a big problem. There are longer, harder and more daunting games than those like Ninja Gaiden and Max Payne 3 for example, which could make you lose a lot of nerves while going for the trophies.
“For me though I like the challenge and just take it.
“I speak to the game while playing. In other words I am in a boxing ring fighting my opponent which is in the ring with me. I try my very best to knock him out. To be a good Trophy hunter you have to go all out on the game and never hide your anger or feelings inside or else you won’t win or finish it.”
For all his… combative talk, Hakoom does acknowledge that Trophy hunting can be ruinous to the experience. After all, how many of us have played Halo online and had to put up with some grotty little urchin asking you to do stuff or stay still while he shoots you just so he can boost his Gamerscore? This never happened in Goldeneye.
“I agree. Trophies ruin a game and it removed the old days of simply enjoying them. Most Trophy hunters buy a game just for the Trophies, which I find to be a good marketing thing even for bad games.
“But on the long run Trophies could damage a game’s value especially with the online portion. But again developers should stop putting stupid online Trophies if you don’t want people to boost!”
It’s an endless cycle of enabling. Trophy hunters will buy terrible games for the Trophies, and developers have a backup plan if their game is turning into a turkey; just make sure its Trophies are easy to get. That way they’re guaranteed to sell a few at least. Just how else would people buy a staggering, brain-dead clown of a game like The Golden Compass?
Hakoom seems happy enough doing what he’s doing and he’s clearly a determined and tenacious chap. He’s also smart enough to be making money out of it, so it’s hard to begrudge him that.
It is however difficult to really understand why he and countless others go through hours and hours of frustration for Trophies, when most others would turn off and get on with something else. Especially with Naughty Bear, because bloody hell.