You can place the blame for my achievement-hunting ways firmly at the feet of two people: My co-worker Petey and Ken Levine. Petey got his 360 about a year after I did, and it didn't take long for his Gamerscore to eclipse mine. According to him, to achieve Gamerscore greatness, all you needed was a laptop to access achievement guides while playing, the ability to stomach mediocre games, and a penchant for grinding. As for Ken Levine, he created BioShock, the first game I ever undertook as a serious achievement-hunting endeavor. Armed with an audio diary guide and a desire to see if I had what it took, I ended up with 960 points and a new obsession.


Funny thing is, I'm a pretty terrible gamer, but I'm not a bad achievement hunter. Over the years, games had conditioned me to become a collector and achievements simply stoked that desire. They became the game within the game, a way for me to see more of what the game had to offer and at the same time approach playing entirely differently from how you would to complete the story. When a game had achievements obtained via glitches, it was even sweeter, like I was getting away with something.

I was the first at work to pick up Left 4 Dead and didn't plan on getting all of the achievements, as they seemed well beyond my abilities. For Petey though, if a game went on his tag, he was getting all of the points, an attitude which explains why his score is fast approaching 200,000 while mine is far, far behind. The problem with Petey's plan for Left 4 Dead domination was the achievement "What Are You Trying to Prove," which asks you to "survive all campaigns on Expert". It's worth 35 points, not a lot considering the amount of effort required, but it might as well have been worth 1000 points. The main stumbling block was that to survive a campaign, you had to play the whole thing in one sitting. For us this was easily a four hour endeavor. Multiply that times four campaigns and our schedules simply couldn't handle it. It looked like Petey's goal of 1000 points was doomed to failure.

Then he discovered a glitch that fooled the game into thinking you had completed the whole campaign on Expert when all you had to do was play the finale. As glitches go, this was the Golden Ticket. The only problem I saw was that even with this glitch, we still had to do the finales, all four of them, on expert. "Don't worry," Petey said, "we can so totally do the finales on expert."

We so totally could not.

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