You might think that cookies have nothing to do with gaming. However, if you, like Raen did, try to give me (Gamoc) an awkward subject for a TSArticle when I ask for ideas, I will take that subject and make one regardless. I can find links between anything – let’s go.
I like cookies. They’re pieces of heaven that you can fit in your pocket to eat later. Not that I eat heaven. That’s a weird metaphor. Anyway – cookies are awesome. Biscuit? Good! Chocolate? Good! Amount in a pack? Good! There’s nothing there that anyone with taste buds could not like. Unless you’re allergic to chocolate, or biscuit, or things that come in packs, in which case you’ve probably already killed yourself to avoid a long, terrible life of cookielessness. I may have made that last word up.
Ever heard the phrase ‘have a cookie’? There has been many, many times in my life in which I’ve been congratulated for doing something correctly and been told to have a cookie as a result. They never actually gave me a cookie, but that isn’t the point. I use something similar online. I give people cybercookies. There is no such thing as cybercookies, I don’t actually give anyone anything, but that’s not the point.
Earlier today, it struck me – this is like Achievements and Trophies! Rewards for doing something right, an achievement for beating a boss, a trophy for finding secrets. Since the cookies and cybercookies that are promised are never actually given to whoever gets them, and since ‘have a cookie’ is generally used in a slightly ironic manner, making them useless, they’re even more similar to Achievements and Trophies. Regardless of however many Achievements or Trophies you get, they are essentially pointless. There isn’t really any reason for them other than to say ‘ha, I’ve done this and you haven’t!’ to people who then just shrug and say ‘cool’ whilst thinking ‘get the hell out of my house’.
Now, this may well change. There has been rumour floating around for a while now that Microsoft and Sony are both planning some kind of reward system for their e-penis extensions. In fact, with Avatar awards, Microsoft may be almost there. Achievements that give you items to dress your Avatar in are a great idea. In Left 4 Dead 2 you can unlocked a medikit for your Avatar by carrying a gnome around through a decent chunk of a campaign (similar to that achievement in Half Life 2). ‘Splosion Man was the first game to do this, but other than it and L4D2, there are either no or very few other games that use Avatar awards.
Obviously, these awards give achievements slightly more purpose, offering something that a number of (silly) people would happily pay for, even though it is only digital clothing or accessories. This is where we need to go, games should really pick this up, because showing a medikit on your Avatar is marginally cooler than pointing at something that says ‘you did this at some point’.
Though only marginally. In the same way that Sarah Jessica Parker is marginally more attractive than a horse.