By Taylor | August 10, 2012 | 2 Comment
While video games are just a hobby for some, others play with a heightened sense of a determination; completing in-game tasks when they are no longer fun, or repeating a challenge over and over again just to receive a trophy or achievement. This article is for the gamers that have faced and overcome difficult trials in the world of video games, those that carry a sense of pride for their accomplishments even though they aren’t technically real. Take a look at my greatest video game accomplishments, with five more additions to my personal gaming history.
Description: Kingdom Hearts introduced the world to the strange notion that American cartoon icons could co-exist, and even prosper alongside Japanese RPG symbols. This bizarre fusion not only revitalized a key piece of Americana, it paved a modernized avenue for these lovable characters to return to the public consciousness. Though undoubtedly strange conceptually, gamers embraced the idea wholeheartedly and have continually for the past 10 years.
Kingdom Hearts graces my greatest gaming accomplishments list with a very specific one-on-one battle against none other than Final Fantasy’s numero uno villain, Sephiroth. Residing in an ancient coliseum, players are forced to endure a total of 5 tournaments, tallying up to over 80 individual fights to reach him. While there are technically more challenging bosses in the game, the secret Phantom Head and Kurt Ziza for example, Sephiroth sure does take a lot of work to kill. Boasting three different phases, teleporting moves, long distance attacks, AND a move so deadly it reduces Sora’s HP and MP to 1, besting the silver-haired, champion is truly a feat to be celebrated.
Game: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Description: Halo is a title that many gamers hold very dear to their hearts. The original on Xbox catalyzed a first-person-shooter revolution that has been in action since 2001. Halo has become a household name, an icon for the gaming community, and one that has warranted over 7 games, with a new trilogy in the works. Fans of the series can recall stepping into Master Chief’s shoes the first time, and lucky supporters were able to relive the moment again with high definition graphics and remastered sound in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Beyond the visual upgrade, the anniversary addition introduced another facet to the original story, the inclusion of an achievement list.
As someone who has completed 100% of the achievements, gained a big fat 1000 bonus to my gamerscore, I’d have to say that perhaps the most difficult achievement of them all was completing the terrifying level Library on the highest difficulty without dying. What did this entail? Well to summarize, patience, anger, RAGE, retry, retry, retry. For those that have never witnessed Library, it forces players to traverse a massive facility infested with parasitic organisms called The Flood. Not only do they appear in swarms, the creatures often pop out from behind, are equipped with rocket launchers, and must be killed 2-3 times before actually dying. The layout is confusing enough, with nothing more than occasional arrows on the ground to act as your guide and a completion time that’s 30+ minutes long. Frustration is an understatement when discussing this challenge, one that in completion makes me feel slightly better.
Description: In the 1990’s, Pokémon was simple, innocent, and fun. Catch, train, and evolve was the trifecta of the Pokémon world, a simple formula that proved addicting to the masses. In 2012, Pokémon is no longer a game for children; it requires the planning, strategy, and a RPG affluence to truly master. What was once straightforward is now the pinnacle of complication, complexity, and vastness. Newer titles boast double and triple battles, breeding, contests and did I forget to mention, nearly 650 Pokémon species! I haven’t played an installment to the series since Pokémon Crystal, and even though the species count has quadrupled since then, I still appreciate the countless hours spent traveling across the world in search of Pokémon rare and common, and gaining that satisfying feeling of actually catching them all.
Acquiring 150 Pokémon is not as simple as beating a frightened animal to a pulp then forcing it to live in a tiny red and white ball. While that tactic works on most occasions, completing the collection requires not only determination but also a friend. Trading is a key component in the Pokémon universe which adds another layer of intricacy to the task. Luckily for me, my trading partner was no distant neighbor or random friend, my brothers had alternate versions of the game and we all traded, bartered, argued, and schmoozed our way to catching all 150 Pokémon.
Description: Most games feature hard mode, advanced difficulty settings, and tricky challenges but none quite compare to besting European Extreme mode in MGS3. As a testament to the stealth aesthetic, the highest difficulty introduces challenges that the average Metal Gear fan won’t ever experience. European Extreme is a true test for a master of stealth for several reasons. For one, entering an alert phase instantly triggers a game over, meaning being spotted whatsoever will end your game. Also, ammo is limited, Snake takes more damage and is injured easier, every area is granted an additional guard, health regenerates more slowly, and of course, bosses are much more deadly.
Why I set my sights on this challenge is a brazen mystery to me. Who knows how many hours were spent gripping the dualshock in complete silence, scanning every angle of the environment before moving an inch. As a long time fan to the Metal Gear series, I was compelled to hone my sleuthing skills for the Super bowl of stealth, and after much trial and error, I succeeded.
Description: Viva Piñata is a franchise that is cloaked in deception. The bright, colorful visuals, and “everyone” rating lends to the perception that any child or casual gamer can pick up this game and excel. That is simply untrue. Viva Piñata is one of the most detailed and deceptively complicated simulation games that I’ve played. Players take control of a garden with the goal of attracting wild piñatas to make a home within its walls. Of course inviting a living candy animal into your paradise is much easier said than done. Specific garden requirements must be completed in order for a piñata to gain entry which range from producing certain plants, having certain piñata residents, and altering the terrain of the land. Of course, it’s still not that simple. Viva Piñata is a game that revolves around cause and effect. Plant some flowers and a bee-themed piñata may join your garden, but this will attract an animal higher up on the food chain that will eat your new tenant in the blink of an eye. Maintaining the garden is a constant game of checks and balances one that introduced more challenges than I had expected.
While most native piñatas echo members of the animal kingdom, there is one legendary creature that differs from the pack. His name is Choclodocus. This prehistoric piñata is the most valuable, demanding, and time consuming addition to the garden. Adding Choclodocus to the family flock requires unearthing his bones from the mine, finding an amber gem from the wishing well, placing them all together to magically form an egg, hatching the egg with the help of a Cluckles wearing a Jurassic Hair accessory then feeding the baby dinosaur three other piñatas and two additional items. Again much easier said than done. The good thing is, now I can brag and say that I’ve unlocked the most difficult challenge that Viva Piñata: TIP has to offer, the bad thing, most people don’t know what a Choclodocus is.
Have you ever received a great sense of pride from completing a difficult boss fight, challenge, puzzle, or trial in a video game? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
Taylor Stein is a recent college graduate and freelance games writer. You can find her work on Destructoid, G4, Bitmob, 1UP, Pure Nintendo, Honest Gamers, and more. Beyond the arena of geekdom. she is a fitness freak and lover of sushi. Don't judge this book by its cover, let's talk games! Google