Achievement Hunter Reaches Her Ultimate Goal

Last year, we profiled Kristen, the stay-at-home mum whose 165,000 Gamerscore made her the no.5 female worldwide. She set 200,000 as a retirement mark. On Monday, she reached it. Will she put down the controller?

"I do but I don't want to," Kristen told me yesterday. "I've been gaming for so long, I'll never quit - I'll probably keep gaming until I'm 70. But as far as achievements, I plan to cut back a lot now."

Kristen's achievement-hunting compulsion led her to buy foreign consoles, foreign games, and some of the worst shovelware ever released, just to plunder it for the Gamerscore. When Kotaku profiled her, there was a sense that what she was doing wasn't even fun, though Kristen did take tremendous satisfaction in racking up a six-figure Gamerscore.

She plans to return her focus to playing for fun, letting the achievements fall where they may.

"I'm not going to sit there for hours on end like I did with Call of Duty 3, playing for 60 hours to get the general rank," said Kristen, who went over 200,000 with "The Vigil", a 20 Gamerscore achievement in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. "I like music games; I do think they're fun," she said, which is why she went out with that one. She traded in six old games to get it a couple of weeks ago.

Kristen had been a part of an ultra-Gamerscore collective that swapped around easy-to-beat games or foreign versions of hits like BioShock. Once she finishes off two easy Japanese games and sends them along to the next person on the list, she'll be largely done with the "boosting" culture, Kristen said. "If it's a quick jump-in to a game, 'Hey, help me out', I don't have a problem with it."

The long sessions that took her into the early morning wondering why she was playing a game will be no more, though. Kristen points out that it took nearly a year to cover the final 35,000 of Gamerscore on the way to her 200,000 goal. She was able to get her first 100,000 in less than a year.

It means, Kristen says, that she's slowed down her gaming even before hitting her so-called retirement goal. Five months ago, she and her husband bought their first home, she said, and moving into that has taken plenty of time and work.

She was taken aback by the commenter reaction to last year's profile, though, especially the extreme judgmental reaction that her Gamerscore alone is proof she's an addicted gamer, or worse, a bad mother. "I think it opened my eyes, really, that gaming, mostly, and pursuing achievements is still not accepted for a female," Kristen said matter-of-factly. "People don't know me, or my lifestyle, or my family, where we're comfortable with [her husband]having a job only," Kristen said.

As for the talk of games addiction, "No; it wasn't like there was an eye-opener, 'oh my gosh, am I playing too much?' No. The house is clean, dinner is on the table, my daughter is fine, and I don't get yelled at for playing video games. Too much."

Her plans now involve Kinect, which she's looking forward to as a game to play with her family; Call of Duty: Black Ops and, curiously, Gran Turismo 5, whose endless delay may have been partly responsible for her Gamerscore getting this high. "I love Gran Turismo, it's why I bought a PlayStation 3 [back in 2008] ," Kristen says. "When that comes out, I'll definitely be spending a lot of time with it."

But silly games like Spongebob, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and Japanese visual novels are over. "I wanted to get to 200,000, so I started playing some cheesy kid games," Kristen said. "Now that I've hit it, I can't wait to just play Black Ops."


    See.. i'm odd... I don't mind getting gamerpoints.. in fact there have been a few occasions that i hunt them out.. but once i finish a game, i'm finished.. i don't go back to try and 100% it..

    But this causes some subconcious problems for me.. My gamerscore is only around the 6000 mark.. so when i look at pretty much everyone elses, i have a REALLY small gamerscore... Especially considering i have around 67 games on my 360, plus a few more in arcade.

    Does this make me any less of a gamer, or does it make me a more classical-sense gamer, that just plays for the fun of it and because i LIKE playing games..

    what a tangled web we weave...

      It took me 2 years to reach 20,000. And now that I look back at it. I don't really care anymore I just play it because I want to and that I enjoy it. So Ditto with you.

        i'm personally sitting on around 52-53k at the moment... i have played games just for the GS... i have boosted online achievements and done things that would drive a normal person insane...

        i love achievements... but with a collection of over 100 games i'm now telling myself to stop trying to achievements if it isn't fun! serious some of the shit you have to do takes ALL the fun out of the game...

        i know people that do some painful stuff for hours and hours... just to "complete" a game... stuff that!

      6000 is almost twice my score with my 45ish collection and a dozen or so arcade games accumulated over the last 4, 5 years?

      I do get some satisfaction when that achievement thingy pops up while I'm playing a game, however I don't intentionally seek them out. I too play for the the joy of the game and when I'm done, I'm done.

      In the end, I just don't care about achievements, period.

      Yeah, I'm sitting on around 15000.

      If it's something notable like "mile high" or the one in reach where you've got to land on the elite i'll give it a couple of tries... and if it's something easy i'll have a swing at it.
      But, I don't buy games for the achievements and I don't care for the multiplayer ones.

      They're bonuses... and once I'm done playing a game I don't harvest it for points.

        Mile High Club cheev on CoD4..... that still makes me twitch. It stands as my greatest achievement on my games list on 360, lol. That thing was an evil, evil bastard to get.

        Took me about 3 or 4 hours of hitting it repeatedly I think.... I've since met people who say 'Orly? I got it in like 15 minutes.' I say they're full of s**t or they're so lucky it doesn't count.

          My favourite is having all the achievements for Hexic. That one I enjoy looking at.

          I couldn't do it.

          I tried, lord did I try... but after 2 hours I called it quits.
          Still, I might try and do it this weekend.

      I got caught up in the completionist set where a game isn't done until it's a clean 1,000 about a year back. Man did I get over that quickly though.
      Now I'll go out of my way for an achievement if it takes less than 30 minutes otherwise I'll play till the game is done or I'm done with the game.

      I don't think gamerscore can truly be used to determine someones gaming abilities or dedication to their hobby. we all know you are a game crazed nut loops, so your GS does not reflect this. I think good on you for not being too concerned. Play games and enjoy them then move on.

      I agree with some others around here. My gs is almost at 19,000 and that has taken me 2-3 years. I have never really felt like i was grinding on anything however I do see the achievements as part of the gaming experience. I enjoy getting gs but only while it is fun or it truly feels like a mark of respect.

      Take the marathon achievement in Trials HD. You have to complete 20 tracks one after the other without making a single mistake. It takes about 10 minutes if done right but that is something that i was quite proud of.

      Fun should be the first thing. If you enjoy a game enough to go for the level cap or some other second playthrough type achievement then that is all about giving you something else to aim for on subsequent plays.. but if you do it for the gs, or send messages to your friends asking them to join a mp game and let me shoot you 100 times in the head (looking at you RDR), then no deal!

        Agree with this - achievements are all over the place. Some are ludicrously difficult, some are easy. It's just a bit of fun.

        Trials HD is insane though - has anyone here finished the 4 extreme tracks? I can only finish two of them.

          Check out my runs (FatShady Live) on all 6 (4 + 2 DLC) extremes. i have what I call speed runs with zero faults on all of them. Only in top 500 or so but I am pretty happy with them. Some are in top 200 i think.

          Which ones are you stuck on. Let me guess. Going up and infernoII??? I was stuck on inferno for the longest time. I figured out there was a 1/2 hour limit per track and a 500 fault limit, both of which i hit attempting infernoII. Now i have done that track in about 1.12 with zero faults...

          You only get better the more you play!

          how many bronze/silver/gold/plat medals do you have?

    Ahhh to be a completist OCD freak with 40 hours of extra downtime a week...

    Would she have been so motivated getting her PSN trophies & Level up I wonder? Seeing as PSN is difficulty-graded and all...

      As far as I know PSN Trophies are not exacly "diffuculty" graded, or if they are then so are the points assigned to Xbox Achievements.
      I have both consoles and the awards are identical on games that are released on both platforms. For example a Bronze Trophie may be worth a 5 or 10 Gamerscore Achievement, a Silver 20 or 30GS , and a Gold 50 or 100GS. The only difference is the Platinum which just means you have all 1000GS.
      As for difficulty a Gold Trophie is just as hard to get as a 100GS Achievement, like finishing story on Hardcore etc.

    Good on her! I've a bit of an OCD freak myself, but never to this extent. I only ever find myself achievement hunting games that I really, REALLY enjoyed (I 100%'d Batman: Arkham Aslyum and Bioshock, and i'm working on Fallout: New Vegas ATM).

    It might have to do with the fact that my achievements are split over Games for Windows: LIVE, Blizzard (WoW and SC2) and steam, meaning I don't really have a unified gamerscore. God help me If I was only an xbox gamer...

    Still amazes me she could be in denial about being an addict. I mean seriously, how can anyone manage a gamerscore like that with a husband and child, and not be neglecting their duties somewhere along the line?

    And as for her interpreting all the criticism as women gaming and achievement hunting being unacceptable - what the hell? Open your eyes.

    Having the house clean and dinner on the table doesn't mean your duties as a stay at home parent are done - how about spending some of that 200k gamerscore with your daughter, instead of just making sure she's just 'fine'?

      I think that comment is a little unfair. You are assuming a lot with that, and though I personally believe that it is more likely true than not, I don't think we have the right to judge based on what little information we have. I don't think anyone can say she is a bad parent.

      A gamer addict, perhaps, but the term is a little vague much like the information about her habits. She may only play for a couple of hours in her free time a day, or she may play for 8 hours a day every day, we don't know.

      However I do agree that the comment about “I think it opened my eyes, really, that gaming, mostly, and pursuing achievements is still not accepted for a female” is completely untrue. You just have to ask yourself what people would think if the sexs were reversed. What would you say if you heard about a father that was at home all day playing games while his wife went out and got the sole income for the family. He would be judged even harsher than her.

        You know, I drafted a comment to the above post along similar lines, but then thought I was being too critical. I think you are spot on however. Especially the part about female gamers. I actually think the sex makes little difference to this conversation, anyone who has the time and drive to get a gs of that level can not possibly be gaming 'just for fun' and there is something else going on here. Even if I see people with a GS around 60-70k, they are usually the ones who send messages out to everyone asking for help with this or that... They usually get booted from the friends list pretty quickly.

    I think the "Stay At Home Mum" part says it all really. It's pretty much a big sign that says "You can't be this much of a completionist unless you're unemployed"

      Wasn't there a guy in Britain recently who hit 500,000?

      I didn't look to hard into it, but I thought he was working.

    If your in it for the achievements, then your not a gamer. Yer, its cool getting them, but the thing is, there there to get as you play the game, not the main reason to play them. Yer, some you have to aim for, but there still a side track to the main game and as such, they really don't deserve the amount of hype they get.

    News Report:
    "And in todays news a new WW2 game came out"

    Gamer reading reprot:
    "A NOTHER WW2 game.... WHY!"

    News report:
    "It has achievements"

    Same Gamer reading the report"

    Tho, if Kristen is able to still play games after sloging it out like that, and being able to look after her kid, then all is cool. What else is a stay at home mum suppose to do when she has some down time? go an party?

    Tho, I do have a challenge for you Kristen. I challenge you to play a game that has no achievements in it at all. XD

    “I think it opened my eyes, really, that gaming, mostly, and pursuing achievements is still not accepted for a female,”

    I think this is a half assed attempt at a "they hate me because I'm a woman". I just don't like boosters in general, when you buy crappy games that arn't fun and play them for hours on end to get a score that no one cares about besides you - you can't tell me you're not obsessed.

    Achievements for me are an added reason to keep playing a game or try out new things. I have my games like NHL and Fallout that I'll play even though I've either 1000'd them or got all the achievements I can be bothered getting. But they give me something to aim for in most games to try and get my money's worth.

    That being said, I dont go so far as to play shit-tastic games solely to increase my score....I've been tempted, but yeah. Blood Stone just put me over the 63k mark from about 130 games played, think I've only 100%'d 18 or 19 of them.

    Either way, Achievements are a fun way to encourage people to try new things in games they sometimes wouldn't.

    I'm on 16100, or around that. I'll farm games for some Achievements if I've only rented them or if I'm close to a completed game. In other cases I'l go for difficult ones, like Mile High Club (which I got after not too much difficulty). But I'd never buy a game just to farm Achievements, especially shovelware ones - that's just not fun.

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