It 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.