X3F Achievements 101 is back, and on its regularly scheduled time slot of Sundays. Initial response to our first edition was rather positive, so we're glad you like the concept and hope you enjoy reading, and even participating in the column. Emails with Achievement tips also came in at a good pace, and I look forward to playing and trading with you. One particular email stood out, which came from Casey over at brains-N-brawn.com, and the steps he took to get Achievements in one of the most time consuming Arcade games, Bejeweled 2.
Casey mentions that he has two unrelated hobbies, unlocking Achievements, and writing code. Fortunately for him, he was able to merge them together to create a bot to unlock most of Bejeweled 2's Achievements. We've all seen something similar to this before, with Perfect Dark Zero, but the difference is that this bot didn't actually play the game, whereas Casey's bot does. The video below is real time capture of the bot playing Hyper Mode.
Pretty impressive, and effective, as the bot did help Casey acquire 11 of the 12 Achievements, with one being omitted due to a bug, leaving him with 190 of 200 Gamerscore for the title. It does bring up an interesting point, though, "What's cheating when it comes to Achievements?" He even has a poll on his page asking the same thing, and whether it was ban worthy. I voted that it was cheating, but not worthy of being banned off of Xbox Live. Mind you, he does deserve commendation for the means in which he cheated, which is far more creative than gamesaving for Achievements.
My personal opinion on what's considered legitimate means of unlocking Achievements is pretty straightforward. If your thumbs do the work from start to finish, then that's fine. So, with that standard, Achievement trading is acceptable, boosting is acceptable, yet gamesaving, account trading, or even having your roommate do it for you is not. Following that logic, I would have to say that while Casey's method is creative, time consuming, and takes a certain amount of skill in a different field, it's still not playing the game to get the Achievements.
Games that I played this past week for Achievements were Shadowrun, Pac-Man C.E., Crackdown and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Shadowrun was just grabbing them as I went along, not specifically trying for anything, just playing the game for the sake of playing it, as well as starting up a few clan matches on GameBattles. Pac-Man C.E. is a lot of fun, and I am enjoying all six modes of that, but I'll be using the game as a means to prolong my streak at the same time.
Yesterday, I looked through the emails sent in by readers and got a lot of ideas and offers on games that still need work on my end, I've been sending out friend requests to like-minded Achievement Whores, and hopefully we'll start organizing some play time together. In the mean time, I got my first taste of some of the new Achievements and features of the Crackdowndownloadable content. While only having downloaded the Free-For-All pack, small time Achievement Whore and X3F reader SadistiK Roth had the Getting Busy Bonus pack, and by joining his game, I was able to use the extra vehicles and weapons to help unlock some new and old Achievements.
After nabbing the Flippin' Crazy and Global impact for a combined value of 45 Gamerscore, we started to tackle Psych Out, the Achievement for beating all the Time Trial Missions on Psychotic difficulty. That took about an hour and a half, though we took care of all the ring leaders first, then Los Muertos, Shai-gen, and finished off with the Volk. Upon completing that, I felt compelled to even out my Gamerscore before getting too close to 40,000, as that's a Milestone I'd like to hit right on the money. The easiest solution we saw was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, which had Competitor, worth 12 Gamerscore, and would even out the last digit of my score from its cycle between 8 and 3. While we were at it, I also unlocked Fatality, My Friend, and Soother for a total of 67 Gamerscore off of UMK3.
My total increase for the day was 222 Gamerscore, and I'm only 45 GS away from hitting 40,000, which will add to my list of Gamerscore Milestones that I've hit over the course of the my time with the Xbox 360, but we'll save that for another Achievements 101. I also played some Saints Row multiplayer, and will have to find a group to party up with on that for some of the online Achievements in that. You're more than welcome to get a hold of me if you'd like to bling out some rides or protect any pimps in distress.
That pretty much sums up this past week for X3F Achievements 101. Remember, you can send me an email at david [at] xbox360fanboy [dot] com with the subject "Achievements 101" if you're interested in being a part of the column. Also, given that my friends list is usually quite full, if you want another means to get a hold of me online, my Windows Live Messenger is firstname.lastname@example.org, and is also linked to my gamertag. So if you add me as a contact to that with the Live ID your tag is linked with, then we can keep in touch that way. I will be emailing some of you back to schedule times to play together. Take care, and I'll see you next Sunday with another edition of X3F Achievements 101.