Joystiq Gamer CardIt occurred to me, late last night, that I wasn't playing Need For Speed: Most Wanted to have fun. No, I was recklessly building my bounty score in order to challenge and defeat Kira "Kaze" Nakazato (#7 spot on the Blacklist 15), so I could net another 25 gamer points. With the introduction of gamer points and their accumulation into the "Gamerscore," Microsoft has invented a new level of gaming addiction.

The Gamerscore is actually a manipulation of one of the founding concepts of video games, the High Score. Until now, the High Score has steadily lost its importance in mainstream console gaming. Most games in the current generation don't even keep High Scores, and if they do, they're secondary statistics that often go unnoticed. After all, what good is a High Score saved on your living room Xbox or uploaded to an obscure leaderboard? No one sees it.

Enter the Gamerscore. A universal High Score plastered on your Xbox Live Gamertag. A measure of your overall skill. The ultimate bragging right.

Just consider Vladimir Cole, the man behind the "Joystiq" gamertag, and open Gamerscore addict. He practically forfeited his fall semester at Wharton in order to earn that glowing achievement pictured above (Geometry Wars Evolved: Survived 1,000,000) and cop another 30 gamer points. And then we found him playing Quake levels using only the blaster, again, not because it was fun, but because it meant another 15 gamer points. Sure, it may not sound like much, but those points add up.

[It's been rumored that Vlad forces Christopher Grant to use the Joystiq gamertag whenever he's at Vlad's apartment in order to pad the Gamerscore-this, despite the fact that Chris owns a MU that carries his own gamertag. The plot thickens...]


Other Xbox 360 delights: 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009

Xbox 360 annoyances: 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009, 010, 011, 012, 013

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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