Monday, September 3, 2012

Originality: 2 Out of 3 Stars

There's something about the scoring system in some games that kind of gets to me.  I don't mean "gets to me" in a positive emotional sense.  I mean in the way that something gets under your skin, gnaws at your spinal cord, burrows into your soul and implants the thought/feeling/knowledge that you are an inferior human being that cannot reach the potential that the Creator intended for you to strive towards.  There are many games that fall under this category, but they all fall under the category-like category of "Stared" scores.  You know, like in Angry Birds, when you kill the last pig with your kamikaze standard Red Bird, you score 47,620 points and BANG!, you earn yourself two out of three stars.  You are a worthless, ugly bag of mostly water.

You might as well just kill yourself now and save humanity the humiliation of your continued existence.
It's not just Angry Birds either that have a star-like system of judging you on your performance that is visually separate from the score.  Yes, I know that the number of stars is directly related to your score, but it's still separate.  You have your score, then you have the visual representation of that score, just in case you didn't know that your score is quantifiable in star currency.  There're also games like Pilotwings Resort, Super Scribblenauts, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Super Meat Boy, Hidden Objects: Gardens of Time where you're not only scored numbers, but with objects as well.

You can "complete" a level with only one star, but that's like skating through school with a D+.  "You didn't fail, but we feel that there's so much more you can do."  You can move onto the next level, but you'll feel a sense of shame if you don't earn at least one extra star, and by one extra, we mean all three.  In the case of Super Scribblenauts and Crayon Physics Deluxe, you only get the three stars (or crowned star in the case of Scribblenauts) if you're "original" enough.  You mean you used a chainsaw instead of creating a Rube Goldberg device with only two objects to fell that tree?  You only get a star.  No crown.  Shame on you.  Shame.

And I do honestly feel slightly shamed whenever I pass over a level if I haven't officially "completed" it yet.  In the BIT.TRIP.RUNNER level "Odyessy," I've gathered 78 of 93 gold bars and I'll be damned if I try and beat that level without missing a single gold bar.  After my um-teenth time trying to get any specific bar and "dying", I told myself that I'll work on passing the level first and "maybe" come back and get all of the gold bars when damn well good and ready.

I do realize that the star currency is partly there for bragging rights and in some games you need a certain number of stars earned in order to unlock other areas/missions to complete, which is the case with Pilotwings Resort.  In PR, you usually only need to earn two stars on each level to unlock the next series of missions.  If in the previous series you three stared all the missions, you won't need as many to unlock the next set.  This line of thinking/scoring I'm okay with I guess, at least for the most part.  In CPD, I still feel bad if I'm not able to score three stars if I haven't been clever enough and I know that missing that one extra star consistently will add up over time and I won't be able to access the last level; or something along those lines.  It'd be like if in Super Mario Bros. 3 your score gave you up to three gold mushrooms and to access the airship stage you had to have a certain number of mushroom, and then to fight Bowser, you had to have 170 out of 216 golden mushrooms.  That might actually be a thing in New Super Mario Bros., but I'm just guessing here.

I feel that's enough ranting/commentating.  You get my point.  I'll bust my butt to a certain point, but I won't kill myself over it.  And that's why Preparation-H exists.  Goodnight everybody!

Publicizing Gaming Impotence Since 2012


  1. Hmm, hmm, thoughts, thoughts. I am currently going through Angry Birds, trying to get three stars on all the levels. I had previously completed five campaigns, and when I got to the sixth, I just didn't like the new puzzles, so I started back at the beginning. I am now 2 and a half campaigns through with all 3 stars. It's fun, I think this is actually where the "real" game is at.
    However, I don't think I could ever have gotten here without all that practice. My point is: I like to use an approach akin to smoothing out cement or kneading dough. Just go through the game once. Great, you beat it, do you love it? If so, go through again, try to do better. Repeat until you've either gotten everything, or gotten distracted. Few games are of a quality that will keep me there long enough.
    Yikes, I think I may just have to do a response post.
    Also: sorry I was out of commission. Again.

  2. I wrote a sort of response to this post - a 'strategy guide' to Angry birds.