I had a hard time thinking about what to write today and, in fact, I didn't have a clear cut answer until I sat down in my office and stared at my blank screen for several minutes. I mean, I could've written about my thoughts and reactions to watching the documentary "Senna" on Netflix last night (wow!) or I could've written about my excitement in getting to travel to Southwest Missouri next week to speak at some schools (I'm VERY excited) or I even thought about having a dedicated post once again to get one and all to vote in Monsanto's Grow Saint Louis contest (have you voted today?) While all those are worthy posts the one that jumped out at me was an event six years in the making.
One thing I love trying to do with my blog is reference back to previous posts as much as possible. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes this is difficult (because I often don't remember what I write) but this time it was rather easy because yesterday was a special day. Yes, almost two years ago I wrote about my love of Microsoft's Gamerscore system for the Xbox 360. I didn't read it, but I did browse through what I wrote and when I wrote that post I was closing in on the milestone score of 75,000. Well, yesterday I got the next major milestone of 100,000. From the point I passed 75,000 I was focused in on 100,000; 80,000 and 90,000 didn't matter as those are hollow milestones compared to adding a whole new digit to the number.
Of course, as with everything I try to write, this isn't an empty post and I don't have a point in this. First off, I always imagined the moment of getting over 100,000. In the depths of my imagination I dreamt of lights, bells, whistles, and maybe ever a shower of ticker-tape occurring. I mean, 100,000!
Yesterday evening as I finished the game, "Child of Eden" I received an achievement of 100 points and that thrust me to the total of 100,003. It was done, milestone reached and there was... and there was... nothing. No bells, no whistles, nothing. What was six years in the making just happened without fanfare.
Of course, in all reality, there is no reason for any sort of fanfare, but there wasn't internal fanfare either. Those that know me know I have been looking at 100,000 for quite a while and back then I theorized that once I hit 100,000 I wouldn't care about Gamerscore as much as what else is there to get? 105,000? That's an awkward number and in terms of logical milestones the next one is at 250,000. It took me 6 years of a lot of playing, and might I add a lot of playing games that weren't any good just to get Gamerscore, to hit 100,000. To think of the journey ahead to even 150,000 makes me cringe.
This is the point in my blog that I make this story relevant to life; I think of where I'm at now with looking ahead to the next milestone and I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed? Aren't games supposed to be fun? Yes, but I'm seeing all the time of getting that many points at once. When the milestones were close together it was easy to stay motivated, but now that I'm at a point that the next milestone is, well, miles away it seems to far of a challenge. I think back to when I was in school and the same feeling I feel now is the exact sensation I had when I had too many papers or sheets due at once. If I took home more than three papers for homework I became overwhelmed because of this same concept. Three papers was short, but add that one extra and I would think that the entire evening would be wasted away. When I would miss a lot of school and get seven or more sheets it was torture. There was no sense of passing milestones because the completion milestone seemed like it was beyond the horizon.
That is where I'm at now and maybe, unlike when I was in school, it is a good thing. I will no longer make my purchases solely on the ability to get Gamerscore. No more will I take time out of my life to play a game that isn't worth playing. Maybe I can return to life before Gamerscore. Maybe I can play those PS3 games now as I have had a hard time getting motivated to play anything on it because time on that meant time wasted because there was no Gamerscore (don't get me started on trophies.) Maybe once again I can sit down and enjoy my time instead of trying to go for big point achievements (I once spent a month on one achievement. It was FIFA World Cup 2006, or maybe Road to the World Cup, but it was worth 500 and was the hardest thing to achieve ever). In any event the milestone has come and gone and I feel better as if a weight as been lifted. Today is a new day and I feel a sense of freedom now. Don't get me wrong, I loved being engrossed with the Gamerscore system, but I did what I wanted and I want no more.