Blog Archive

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The 6 Most Mind-Blowing (and Pointless) Gaming Achievements

We've told you before about the guy who managed to get a perfect score at Pac-Man by playing the same level over 200 times for six hours. You didn't think that was the most extreme example of video game dedication we could find, did you? For you see, real dedication means going past hard mode and thinking way, way outside the box, like ...

 #6. Building Mind-Bogglingly Huge Objects Inside Games

 Most of you know Minecraft as the last game your friend started playing before he disappeared for a few months. If you're not familiar with it, this incredibly addictive game is basically LEGOs on meth as interpreted by a Nintendo 64: You go out and mine for elements, and then you use those elements to build things. The whole point of the game is to build anything you can think of, so it's not that surprising that people have done exactly that -- like this huge scale model of the Earth:

But you had to know that a game built specifically for obsessive people with lots of spare time would quickly top even that -- in complexity, if not size. For instance, there are those who take things into Inception-esque territory and create entire games within the game. We're not talking about building the settings for famous video games using Minecraft blocks (although those also exist, and they are awesome); we're talking about recreating the games themselves. For example, a team of players made a giant old school Game Boy with 18 million blocks and used it to make stop-motion videos of classic games, including The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Super Mario Land, brick by goddamned brick, pixel by pixel:

Each pixel is a brick. Photo credit: Made by James Wright, Joe Ciappa, Tempusmori.

Since they're stop-motion films, that means each individual frame of gameplay was painstakingly recreated. It's so nuts that even Minecraft's creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, thought it was bullshit until the team released a "making of" video, which shows that they didn't just recreate every pixel of Mario Land; since it's a side-scrolling game, they then had to shift every single block to the right, one by one, to make the screen move.

What's even trippier is that other people have created little versions of Minecraft that you can play inside Minecraft. They look like crude versions of the real thing, of course, just like Minecraft itself looks crude to us, and how we probably look crude to the aliens controlling us.

Hans Lemurson

It's not just Minecraft, of course -- any game with a building mechanic attracts this kind of craziness. For instance, the kid-friendly side-scrolling game LittleBigPlanet lets you build your own levels, but players quickly took the idea to crazytown, doing things like building other games and creating extremely complex mechanisms like this giant working calculator. That's right; they took the cartoon blocks and pulleys and levers provided by the game with the intention of letting you build a wacky obstacle course for your character, and instead (with a mere 1,600 parts) built a crude, working computer. You put in a number on each side, add your operation, hit the big red button ... and boom! You get your result.

It can add and subtract, as well as do decimal and binary versions. Photo credit:

Looks pretty simple, until you see this video of it in action and notice that behind it there are hundreds and hundreds of small parts forming an intricate series of cogs, pulleys and belts, and that if a single one of them were out of place, none of it would work.

 #5. Killing 30,000 Soldiers With a Knife ... and Beating Skyrim With Your Bare Hands

 In a multiplayer game where the arsenal ranges from assault weapons to aerial drones that obliterate a city block, there is one Call of Duty player appropriately named "only use knife" who has, according to the game's creators themselves, 30,000 knife kills in the fourth game alone. He got them by sneaking up to opponents and stabbing them from behind ...

... throwing knives into the sky to hit enemies all the way across the map ...

But then there is the Skyrim player who decided that he would play through the entire game without touching a weapon at all. Not because he's a pacifist, but simply because he enjoys murdering things with his bare hands. This self-proclaimed "fucking psychopath" Viking not only managed to (literally) beat the game just by punching everything, but he teaches you how to do the same thing in this educative (and extremely NSFW) video.
If you can't watch the video, we'll just sum it up for you: It's basically eight minutes of him punching armed soldiers in the face to get their armor ...punching animals to increase his heavy armor and smithing skills ...knocking down giants with his bare fists, then punching them some more on the ground ...and so on, until there are no more things left to punch. Apparently there are certain perks that increase by playing Skyrim unarmed, for some reason, so it's just a matter of getting the right type of armor and punching the shit out of anything that crosses your path until your fists turn into invincible killing machines.

#4. Reaching the Highest Level in WoW ... Without Killing Anyone

We've talked before about the biggest dick moves in online multiplayer games, but we have to admit that being a dick was always a part of those games. It's impossible to make any progress in World of Warcraft, for example, unless you're willing to go around murdering things ... or so we thought. It turns out there's a special breed of "pacifist" players who spit in the face of the gaming gods by playing these games in a way they were never intended to be played: as decent, nonsociopathic people.
Take Noor the Pacifist, a WoW player who refused to take any quests that involved killing other players or characters and still managed to reach level 80, the highest possible level at the time. Granted, it took him two years, but getting that far in WoW without using murder is like winning at Monopoly without using money.

And Noor isn't the only one: Another WoW player named Everbloom managed to reach level 85 just by walking and collecting crafting materials. She just strolled through the game's map for days upon days, gathering the pitiful experience points you get for exploring and picking flowers until she spontaneously became all-powerful. If you did that in real life, all you'd get is fantastic calves.

#3. Playing the Same Civilization II Session for 10 Straight Years

Sid Meier's Civilization II is a strategy game where you start out with a small, primitive tribe and slowly build it into a massive modern-day empire. The game was pretty popular in the late '90s, but it slowly faded into relative obscurity as most players moved on to games with better graphics and the ability to voice chat with racist teens. But not all of them did. In June 2012, Reddit user Lycerius revealed that he had been playing the same game of Civ II for almost 10 years, which translates to nearly 4 millenniums for his virtual ant colony.
You see, the game stops keeping track of the score when you reach the year 2020 and declares a winner, because that's as long as the programmers assumed anyone would care to play, but it also gives you the option to continue playing without points for as long as you want (which, in Lycerius' case, meant forever).
So what does his futuristic utopia look like? Well ...

Those skull icons do not mean "utopia."

By the year 3998, huge chunks of the world were covered by irradiated swampland, the ice caps had melted 20 times over, 90 percent of the world population had died from famine or nuclear attacks and the entire planet was locked in a perpetual war between three super-nations that lasted 1,700 years. It's like a completely different game, with a story that's somewhere between 1984 and Idiocracy.
Also, bear in mind that Lycerius wasn't intentionally trying to create the most nightmarish scenario possible -- it just turned out that way, because apparently a civilization was never meant to last this long.

When Sid Meier (of Sid Meier's ... fame) learned about this, his response was basically "We didn't know. We didn't know." The original Reddit post went viral and inspired an entire community where others can share possible solutions to the apocalyptic scenario, as well as stories and fan art based on it. Lycerius even posted his save file, and within hours, another Reddit user was able to clear the pollution ... in "only" 102 years.

#2. Creating Gigantic, Destructive Performance Art in Crysis

No game pushed the graphical limitations of PCs more than Crysis, the groundbreaking first-person shooting game released in 2007 that actually required more processing power than it was possible for computers of the day to match. In other words, the game was so demanding of a computer's resources that it technically required technology from the future to play it ... wait, isn't that the entire plot of the game or something? Damn, EA, well played.
But the game also included a level editor that let you play with the physics engine, creating beautiful sculptures intended only to collapse and explode. So combine the most advanced game engine ever created with the almost disturbing time-wasting powers of the Internet, and you get magic.
Sure, some people were simply satisfied to stack the same object thousands of times, one by one, into skyscraper-sized piles...

... like this tower made out of 8,000 red barrels:

If you're thinking "There's no way my computer could produce something like that," well, neither could theirs. The sheer awesomeness of these scenes are so impossible for a present-day computer to render that the players have to capture those images frame by frame, then put them back together like a slideshow, over the course of hours and hours.

 #1. Playing 8,550 Perfect Games of Wii Sports Bowling

 Wii Sports (statistically speaking, the reason you bought a Wii) is the best-selling console game of all time, so chances are you've played it. Or at least you've played the part of the game that actually worked: bowling. It's pretty much just like real bowling, but without the arm cramps or having to go into a crowded building that smells like butt sweat and old nachos.

It's an incredibly fun game, but most of us probably just laughed our asses off playing it with friends a few times and then put it in the back of the closet with our hula hoops and Family Matters-themed Pogs ... unlike Wisconsinite John Bates, who kept going and going until he achieved the distinction of having bowled almost 9,000 perfect games of Wii Sports bowling. Oh, and he's 85 years old. Who's the grandpa now?

We're not here to hate on his style, though. He's a Guinness World Record holder, after all: He can roll it any way he damn well pleases.

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