Master of My Domain
Sunday, 16 January, 2011

I continue to play a very great deal of Skate 3. Because it’s just a game that I connect with on some special level. A blend of nostalgia for when I was a terribly ineffective skateboarder, an enjoyment of non-violent video games, and my fondness for highly technical control schemes all feed into my extensive playing.

In fact, I like Skate 3 so much that I’m quietly undertaking the bid to properly complete it. As in, to get all the “achievements” available. That’s not something I’ve ever done with a game before, and it seems like one of those “at least once in a lifetime” kinds of things for someone who plays as much as I do. My major caveat is that I’ll only require myself to get all the achievements that rely solely on me – I’ll have a go at the ones that require online play, but because the game’s been out for a while, it may be a little challenging to pick them up.

My continuing grind through the details of Skate 3 has led me to a deeper appreciation of “hardcore” gaming in general, I think. The process of trying to do everything, rather than just playing and enjoying the game, has changed my perspective quite a bit. Most importantly, it leads me to think about just how hard it is to say generally meaningful things about games. With such a huge amount of depth available for most major titles (and many minor and indie titles too), you can’t really come to a “full” understanding without making the game your life for an appreciable amount of time.

In conflict with that is the rather simple truth that we generally don’t have time to subjugate ourselves in that way. To the extent I want to write interesting things about video games, I have to skim over the top of them a bit. What it generally suggests to me is that video game criticism and writing needs to be surprisingly personal to be honest and effective. I cringe more than a little when I read reviews or analyses which make large proclamations about the nature of a game – it just seems so unlikely the author really knows it that well, has spent all the time that would be required.

So anyway, my plan to complete Skate 3 continues as I slowly piece my way through the large remaining number of achievements, some of which require hours of play to obtain. I’m currently working through the “Own the Lot” challenges, which are of truly massive scale and. I’m moderately confident I’ll get through it all, but it’s an interesting issue to think about the idea that I may just not be capable of getting all the achievement – what if I’m not good enough? To this point, that hasn’t been the case, and the moments when I finally nailed a trick which seemed impossible and which I’d screwed up up to 100 times previously.. those are some great moments.

So I skate on, scabbed and weary, into that good night.

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