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What's your greatest gaming achievement?

Posted on 3rd Aug 2009 at 10:43 by Joe Martin with 48 comments

Joe Martin
It seems strange but some of my proudest moments are ones that I’ve lived through virtually. Some of the best things I’ve done are things that I’ve never really done – though I don’t mean that in the fantastical “I’ve saved planets and won wars” way that projects in-game experiences as being real.

Yes, I’ve made millions trading star dust and I’ve stormed castles and heroically held the line…but those aren’t the moments I’m proud of, not really. Instead, my greatest achievements in gaming recognise games as something I’ve actually done, not a virtual experience. My mental list of great achievements doesn’t include the time that I saved the world from an evil Vizier, but it does have space for the time that I fought through the climactic elevator battle in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time without dying.

I’m being careful here not to fall into the all-too-familiar trap of getting carried away with my own story by the way and I can still draw a distinction between my greatest gaming achievement and my greatest actual achievement. The time that I made it all the way to SinTower in a HardCorps run (i.e. all in one go) in SiN Episodes is a highlight, but it pales next to the first time I got published. There’s a Everything2 quote that comes to mind on this topic – “the most you ever dream of is not better than the least you ever accomplish.

Even so though, I’m at the moment readying myself to embark on something that could be a great achievement for me both in terms of gaming performance and personally. I’ve been building up to it for a fortnight.

What's your greatest gaming achievement?

I going to complete the entire Baldur’s Gate trilogy, plus expansion packs back-to-back. I’m going to play Baldur’s Gate 1 and Tales of the Sword Coast, carry my character over into Shadows of Amn and then push on through Throne of Bhaal for the win, so to speak.

You might not think that sounds like a particularly big task, especially for someone who plays games at work, but if that’s your immediate reaction then I’d be willing to bet you’re not terribly familiar with the Baldur’s Gate series. There are bigger gaming achievements out there (a hardcore Nethack run, completing Civ IV on max difficulty or completing every quest in WoW, for example) - but this is the one I've chosen. This is the mountain I've elected to climb.

Playing all the games in one long run is something I’ve actually wanted to do for a number of years, both because it seems an impossibly big task and because I love what I have played of the series and want to see everything the series has to offer. My motivation for actually undertaking the endeavour though (as opposed to just reading Wikipedia and playing the final expansion pack) is something a bit more personal. I’ve discussed my short attention span before and it’s something that I’m actually deeply regretful of, but part of me theorizes that if I can actually manage to get through all these games then I might be able to prove something to myself. If I approach it seriously and in the right way then this could be a life changing experience and I could point back to this and say “Well, if I can do that…”.

What's your greatest gaming achievement?

Life changing experience”? Maybe I’m losing the perspective I was trying to hold on to at the start. Maybe. Then again though, I invested more than 200 hours in just the second game the first (and only) time I actually played it through to completion with a single character. I’ve never fully got into either expansion pack and only skimmed through the first game – so if I can force myself to push through all four games fully, deeply, properly then maybe I actually can use gaming as a form of self-improvement.

200 hours. That’s a huge and somewhat shameful amount of time. You could direct a play in that length of time or have an entire relationship. I know that because those are both things I did when I played the game. What I’m setting myself up for is potentially upwards of 400 hours spent in a single game. Suddenly achievement doesn’t seem to quite cover it.

Note to self: Make sure you back-up your save games.

The fact that this could be both a great personal achievement and a highlight from my gaming history is obviously a bit idiosyncratic – people rate and monitor themselves differently. I know university graduates who are more proud of the time they came 44th place in a downhill mountain bike race than they are of their degree, for example.

Still, it’d be an interesting thing to put your greatest gaming achievement and the best thing you’ve done in the real world side by side and seeing how they compare. I think it would anyway, so drop your comments below and let me know what you are most proud of doing both in and out of gaming – though I can only promise to read them until Throne of Bhaal arrives in the mail.

Oh, and if anyone has any Baldur's Gate tips, recommendations or suggestions about which class to play then sling them in the comments too.

48 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Tyrmot 3rd August 2009, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
You might not think that sounds like a particularly big task
ha no, not 'big' it sounds like a mountain to climb! I remember trying the same thing a few months back and unfortunately my attention span wasn't up to it.. good luck with it joe. Perhaps try a totally different class than you played through first time?
SinxarKnights 3rd August 2009, 11:49 Quote
hehe. i am trying NWN2 with full PVP. Hard to be a sorcerer when my fireballs are hitting the tank too! Or webbing your entire party is not good!

More than a little bit difficult to get used to.

Want some fun - play a bard.
Paradigm Shifter 3rd August 2009, 11:53 Quote
Quote:
I know university graduates who are more proud of the time they came 44th place in a downhill mountain bike race than they are of their degree, for example.
Yeah, I know people like that. More proud of the fact that they were in the boat club than the fact that they got a first in Biochemistry. :|

...

Greatest gaming achievement, though? Hm... completing TIE Fighter Collectors CD without dying once? Or more likely the time I finally managed to complete a No Junction game of Final Fantasy 8...
mjm25 3rd August 2009, 12:04 Quote
mine are all probably megadrive based:
completing "the Story of Thor",
completing "Soleil" after getting stuck, then going back to it after 7 years and my brain finally clicking and going all the way to the end overnight (i actually did a victory dance, bad times!)
and when i was about 9 my mate wanted to see the end movie of the original "Batman" so i sat down and played it in front of him all the way to the end over about 2 and a half hours, i think he cried if i remember, weird!
CardJoe 3rd August 2009, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinxarKnights
hehe. i am trying NWN2 with full PVP. Hard to be a sorcerer when my fireballs are hitting the tank too! Or webbing your entire party is not good!

More than a little bit difficult to get used to.

Want some fun - play a bard.

I was thinking of going with a Wizard. An impossible challenge at the start of the game (I'm going with full, hardcore D&D rules btw), but by the time I reach Throne of Bhaal I'll be an unstoppable juggernaut.
MrJay 3rd August 2009, 12:31 Quote
Probably completing the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive with my cousin when i was about 7 years old! couldnt save progress, and we had the smallest TV ever!
Grimloon 3rd August 2009, 12:45 Quote
Good grief man, you're insane! :o Full credit to you should you succeed though.

Cleric was my favourite on those. There's just something so satisfying about seeing your character casting a reasonable damage spell then finishing them off with a mace :)
mjm25 3rd August 2009, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJay
Probably completing the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive with my cousin when i was about 7 years old! couldnt save progress, and we had the smallest TV ever!

i'll add Sonic the Hedgehog 2 completion to my list as well now you've said that! :D 2 final bosses with 1 hit deaths is not a good amount of stress and adrenaline for a young child!!

ooooh and World of Illusion can get added too... wow i completed more than i remember back in the day!
el_diablo_72 3rd August 2009, 15:40 Quote
Ah..what to choose?

Completing Dark Omen without cheating or Chaos Gate without loosing a single guy? Difficult choices but I think I'll have to go with finishing Planescape Torment without and hints, tips or cheats.

I may be inspired now to dig out the old Baldurs, it will probably even work on a netbook now!
yakyb 3rd August 2009, 15:42 Quote
defeating all weapons in ff7 was a good one esspecially ruby!!

for BG i would play a ranger it always pissed me off that i could never get my character near an enemy whilst my bro would just pop them off from a distance.

Joe what are the chances of you logging your BG journey with what attributes you assign etc

also thinking about it if you are going D&D hardcore does that mean you are only going to roll once for your character a very brave measure indeed?
cyrilthefish 3rd August 2009, 16:08 Quote
Nothing much really comes to mind from the past.

I started doing something recently though: playing through some 360 RPG's on hard mode (i usually go on easy mainly, for the story)

On Blue Dragon right now, the difficulty level swings wildly all over the place!
Got stuck on a small sub-boss for 45mins due to it being particularly evil (disrupt party formation then one-shots my caster characters!) but then steamrolled past the main Boss not far after it :D
DraigUK 3rd August 2009, 16:35 Quote
Getting Elite on the good old BBC. Was chuffed to bits :)
proxymoron 3rd August 2009, 16:38 Quote
Quote:
200 hours. That’s a huge and somewhat shameful amount of time. You could direct a play in that length of time or have an entire relationship.

I will not have it said that gamers are a socially inept breed. We have relationships for ALMOST TEN DAYS.
paisa666 3rd August 2009, 17:00 Quote
Fifa 08 - Manager Career

I completed Barclays Premier League with 0 loses and UEFA champions League with 0 Loses in World Class Dificulty level on my 8 season with the team (Man Utd).

Somehow i was feeling so proud and happy about myself :D jajaja
Ending Credits 3rd August 2009, 17:43 Quote
Nothing I know of but my Pokemon games all seem to have like 200 hours play time (i'm probably into the thousands of hours including restarts on all the games).
awaham 3rd August 2009, 18:22 Quote
Im sure there are a few, but the one that stands out is completing the racing mission in Mafia without cheating, cracks etc on hard level.
Xir 3rd August 2009, 18:28 Quote
Hmmm, personally I think you'll fall asleep after the first 2-3 days but hey...
Is someone medically checking on you?
smc8788 3rd August 2009, 18:35 Quote
Most recent was probably 100% completion on Gran Turismo 3 & 4, purely for the sheer number of hours I put into those games (yeah, I'm not an MMORPG fan), particularly the 24-hour races which I would have to complete over the course of about a week hoping there wasn't a power cut and that someone didn't turn my PS2 off.

Though I generally seem to be a compulsive start-a-game-but-don't-finish-it person, so achievements are few and far between for me.
Elton 3rd August 2009, 18:55 Quote
100% Morrowind + Oblivion finish, that was difficult because Oblivion LOVES bricking saves after 100+ hours.

Civ IV on max difficult is an epic challenge in itself, and I've gotten 60% completion on Gran Turismo 3...I gave up purely because I could NEVER get that IA license.

100% on FFX twice..well once the 1st time i corrupted the save on about 90% through.

I have quite a few of them actually.
l3v1ck 3rd August 2009, 20:27 Quote
I'm a huge fan of the Baldur's Gate series and i replay it often too. In terms of achievement, I say getting a gold medal on all except one medal of Rogue squadron is my biggest game achievement.
l3v1ck 3rd August 2009, 20:28 Quote
That should have said "all except one level".
l3v1ck 3rd August 2009, 20:40 Quote
Oh yeah. Try installing Tutu or EasyTutu. It allows you to play Baldur's Gate with the BG2 engine. This means you aren't restricted to low screen resolutions, plus you can reach higher levels.
knuck 3rd August 2009, 20:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
being first on two UT99 1v1 sniper ladders simultaneously was quite cool and rewarding

my greatest gaming achievement was my overall domination of many UT99 communities about 5 years ago. The game was already old so there were lots of very experienced and extremely skilled players so the challenge was always amazingly tough

I was not the ultimate player (except maybe in sniper lowg non-zp) but I was always the go-to guy that the team was counting on. Those gaming days were freaking amazing. this game alone is responsible for my love of PC Gaming and my hate of consoles :D
pbryanw 3rd August 2009, 21:04 Quote
Joe, if you're going to be doing a Baldur's Gate marathon, I recommend installing the widescreen mod for BGII at least. Get it from gibberlings3:

http://www.gibberlings3.net/widescreen/

It lets you play BG & BGII in high resolutions. BGII, in particular, looks great in 1080P. Then, that opens the whole modding can of worms - whether to play through with mods, or just install the patches that were officially released for the games.

Anyway, playing both games in succession, along with the expansions should be interesting. You should get a good sense of the whole storyline expanding, and a sense of the history & people of Baldur's Gate.
CardJoe 3rd August 2009, 22:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Hmmm, personally I think you'll fall asleep after the first 2-3 days but hey...
Is someone medically checking on you?

Um, I'm not doing this all in one sitting, just so we're clear. That would be impossible. I am aiming for total completion though. I want to put this game to bed.

And to answer earlier questions, there may well be regular posts on my adventures in BG. Mark has said he'll be doing the same as me too, so there could be some fun comparisons.

I am using EasyTutu and the widescreen mod too. I'm still debating whether or not to add on things like The Darkest Day mod.
Furymouse 3rd August 2009, 23:52 Quote
Me playing through the Half Lifes seems rather paltry now.
Best experience gaming was teaching a deaf friend of mine to snare at-ats on shadows of the empire. After he took one down ( after a very long time ) he started screaming at the screen and flipping off the empire. Great memory.
Elton 4th August 2009, 01:49 Quote
Anyone ever consider beating a Korean Guy @ Starcraft an acheivement?
Mentai 4th August 2009, 04:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghys
Quote:
Originally Posted by
being first on two UT99 1v1 sniper ladders simultaneously was quite cool and rewarding

my greatest gaming achievement was my overall domination of many UT99 communities about 5 years ago. The game was already old so there were lots of very experienced and extremely skilled players so the challenge was always amazingly tough

I was not the ultimate player (except maybe in sniper lowg non-zp) but I was always the go-to guy that the team was counting on. Those gaming days were freaking amazing. this game alone is responsible for my love of PC Gaming and my hate of consoles :D

UT was my entry into PC gaming too (though I moved on to 2k3/2k4), never looked back. I was never such a sharpshooter that I gained any competitive achievements in it, but it was still fantastic playing ctf etc.

My proudest has to be my mates and I making a L4D clan for the first Australasian online tourney. Over a month of playing every night we did not lose a single game, then we choked a little on the final against the aussies haha. That still left us the best in NZ but we disbanded once uni started back up. It turns out the team we were up against were made up of guys who had actually played CSS at WCG. I don't and will never have the talent to flick headshot hunters out of the air, which is why I'm so proud. None of us were exceptional players, we just happened to work together perfectly and it took us much further than I ever expected.
Bauul 4th August 2009, 10:55 Quote
When it comes to single player games, I'd wager most people's greatest achievements are from the impossibly difficuly, no-saving games of yor.

My proudest memories of these kind are certainly from my old Megadrive. Completing Rocket Knight Adventures so many times in a row (no saves, remember), I ended up on "Stupidly Hard Difficulty" was one, only finishing because my mother (quite rightly) insisted eight hours in one go was too much for a 12 year old. 100%ing Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles (every chaos emerald, and the master emerald, and Hyper Sonic) was another.

One thing I've never done, but am going to one day, is speed run Doom and Doom 2 on Nightmare with no saves. I personally think I'm up to it, plus it can (theoretically) be done in 10 minutes, lol.

Modern achievements I bet mostly stem from multiplayer. My two proudest moments are probably finishing off the last 5 members of the opposition on CSS alone, armed with only the AWP and doing it from the hip, and secondly coming top of the leaderboard in a school wide Q2 deathmatch tournament. Hand greandes for the win!

I'm surprised one of Joe's proudest moment isn't finally beating me at a straight one on one deathmatch in D3. What was it, 10 kills to 1?
liratheal 4th August 2009, 11:23 Quote
Getting to an acceptable level playing ArmA.

Everything else pales in comparison.
CardJoe 4th August 2009, 15:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul

I'm surprised one of Joe's proudest moment isn't finally beating me at a straight one on one deathmatch in D3. What was it, 10 kills to 1?

That would have been an achievement, had I considered you a challenge.

I remember I once got 50+ kills without dying in UT2004 using only the assault rifle against the hardest bots.
Krikkit 4th August 2009, 15:26 Quote
I suppose my best gaming achievement was when I was an obsessive CS:S player.

I was the last person on my team vs 12 of the enemy team on office. They all came at me in dribbles and every single one got pwnd. It took about half a dozen weapons and moving through half the map, but I managed it. It was totally awesome. All the players on my team were enforced speccing me too.

After that it's probably either finishing CoD4 on Veteran or completing all 4 L4D campaigns on expert... Not really big achievements, but I don't play enough to get really good at games anymore.
Artanix 4th August 2009, 15:31 Quote
Contra sounds like a good one on the SNES, complete that without dying.

or complete Mushihimesama futari (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nscP9QpXoFM), not on the PC unfortunately :(
docodine 4th August 2009, 16:27 Quote
Beating FFVIII before I turned eight was pretty cool. :p

If I manage a complete Nethack playthrough before I die, that'll be the one.
thehippoz 4th August 2009, 16:47 Quote
probably for me.. when beat alternate reality the dungeon.. think I was 9 or 10 on a atari 800xl- man I was so addicted to that game- I hex edited the save to make my characters stats out of control.. it had a simple check to validate the save file I remember- figured out it was adding up all the ascii values of all characters in the file and storing them as a 2 byte (lsb, msb) value into a specific location within the file.. saved and compared different saves to find it

was my first real crack.. this was back in the early 80's =] I had just learned basic and binary reading ian chadwicks book mapping the atari- but I had trouble grasping 16 bit binary values at that age.. still had trouble until I was around 11 then it hit me like a load of bricks.. but that was my first real rpg.. 300 baud was the norm you could watch the data stream in off a bbs.. programming in 64k was simple and straitforward.. once you learned all the registers and what they did- then 128k came along and you had to bank memory back and forth to use all of it

remember even made a game about my uncle jerry who was this big fatass hehe.. he used to throw his keys at us cousins cause he couldn't catch us.. I put my grandpa in the game as a ninja lol so I had jerry boning his dog cleo and grandpa would come out and do a flying karate kick on his neck XD oh well.. showed my dad the game one time and he got mad- but my cousins liked it :D
RallyRoach 4th August 2009, 19:42 Quote
Its trite, but I think America's Army 2.4 gave me my proudest achievement in gaming. The first time I cleared a level solo after the rest of my squad was 'nade spammed into oblivion. 6 op-for kills. I was so damn nervous playing because you have no way of knowing how many are left until the game tells you you won. Every corner was death, every whisper behind me was death, holes in ceiling, well, death. I was so stoked when I won I could have run a marathon on pure adrenalin.
frontline 5th August 2009, 10:14 Quote
My greatest gaming achievement was uninstalling Daikatana about 5 minutes after i installed it.
Kúsař 5th August 2009, 10:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
My greatest gaming achievement was uninstalling Daikatana about 5 minutes after i installed it.

Seems like I can consider getting past first episode of daikatana as one of my greatest gaming achievement then :) . It's definitely one of the worst gameplay experiences ever but 2nd and 3rd episode are worth it.
B1ackbeard 6th August 2009, 16:14 Quote
Completing Chuckie Egg 2 on the Spectrum sticks in my memory. I still don't know how I did it - that game was nails.

I've had some pretty epic Counter-Strike moments too, though those days are behind me I fear.

Biggest fail - spending a stupid amount of time looking for the Thargoid ship in Frontier: Elite II. I even looked through the game code for a mention of it. Clearly had too much time on my hands back then :D
stoff3r 6th August 2009, 20:56 Quote
I finished Stalker: Clear Sky on master difficulty. That was insane. Other than that I don't have any achievements that comes to past. I had sex with a woman if that counts.
Fozzy 6th August 2009, 21:13 Quote
Beating the NFS Drift challenges on the hardest difficulty first time through without and practice or restarts.....naturally good.

Also beating a race (can't remember which track) in grid on the easiest settings without damage, or restarting in an f1 car (you'll understand if you play it.....)
CardJoe 7th August 2009, 08:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoff3r
I had sex with a woman if that counts.

Nope. That's a hadouken of an entirely different kind. ;)

And Stalker? Hell, beating that on EASY is a challenge within itself.
Cheapskate 11th August 2009, 19:37 Quote
During a two-player deathmatch in ShadowWarrior, both of us fired off 5 heat seekers at each other in a ~50 foot room. We both disengaged without a scratch.

My darkest moment was also in SW. The same guy killed me while standing on my head.
SpeedLegion 18th August 2009, 02:13 Quote
http://www.davemckay.co.uk/bg2/

^^ great for helping with BG2
Von Lazuli 14th October 2009, 14:50 Quote
I must admit, I own BG1 w. Tales of the Sword Coast and BG2 w. Throne of Bhaal and I have never actually played ToB... I just never get that far!

I know I could start there, but then that character wouldn't really be me...
CardJoe 14th October 2009, 15:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Von Lazuli
I must admit, I own BG1 w. Tales of the Sword Coast and BG2 w. Throne of Bhaal and I have never actually played ToB... I just never get that far!

I know I could start there, but then that character wouldn't really be me...

Exactly why I'm starting over!
Ending Credits 14th October 2009, 16:58 Quote
Got all race gold in Burnout 3 a few weeks ago. (Been delayed so many times.)
CardJoe 31st October 2012, 22:50 Quote
I'd like to go on the record and say I never did this.

I am a failure.
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