Last weekend wrapped up the second annual Achievement Fest here in Terre Haute, Indiana. Most people probably have no idea where Terre Haute is located and Achievement Fest is still just a new idea I had a few years ago. However I am amazed again this year at how well the event came together through the help of the gaming community over at www.360voice.com.
We had players from 14 different states and one from Canada arrive between Thursday and Friday last weekend. An entire section of the eBash Terre Haute store was dedicated to these gamers and their passion for obtaining achievements on the Xbox 360. For the city of Terre Haute we sold almost 100 room nights at local hotels and they ate our local restaurants all weekend. I treated them all to 12 dozen Square Donuts on Saturday morning to help kick off the record attempt in Terre Haute style!
For those new to achievements in general, let me give a quick breakdown of the beauty of Xbox 360 gamerscore. Every single Xbox 360 game made contains available points to unlock by performing feats in the game itself. Some are very simple like pressing the start button for the first time and some are more difficult such as playing over 1000 games online. How the points are distributed are up to the game developer, but Microsoft has rules that they all have to follow and the biggest are:
– Each retail (sold on a disc or anything considered a FULL game) game must contain 1000 gamerscore points to start. No more or no less. An Xbox LIVE Arcade game previously started with 200 gamerscore points but more recently was bumped up to 400 gamerscore points.
– The achievements cannot force the user to buy anything additional for the achievement itself. This is sometimes a gray area with publishers adding additional points to a game with DLC (down load content) but for the most part all achievements can be obtained within the game once you buy the game itself.
When playing through a game the achievement is “unlocked” by completing the predetermined task (which is the same for every person who plays the same game). At that time a little sound is made on the screen and a long oblong gray bar appears on the screen saying “Achievement Unlocked” with a brief name of the particular achievement.
The collection of these achievements has gone way beyond an obsession for many people. I can remember when the Xbox 360 was released I tried to get 10,000 gamerscore from achievements on the Xbox 360 before a friend of mine at eBash leveled a character in World of Warcraft from 1 to 40. The winner got a steak dinner. I think I might have gotten 6000 points but he easily beat me and back then leveling in WoW took a VERY long time.
Now however there are websites dedicated to obtaining these achievements and competitions between individuals and teams to see who can obtain the most points. If you want more information here are a few sites that I use on a regular basis:
Enough of the background, let’s cut to the chase. A gamer that plays a ton of games but one that doesn’t try to get all of the achievements in the games might sit around 10,000 or 20,000 gamerscore. Remember a single retail game has only 1000 available points total, so that would be 10-20 games completed to 100% of the objectives.
The group of players that attended Achievement Fest this past weekend are each in the hundreds of thousands on their gamerscore. Personally I am sitting at 266,282 gamerscore. Many of these players in the top 3 of their states here in the US if not the number one player already.
We decided two years ago to hold an event where we could all meet in person. Last year on the same weekend in July we had 29 gamers from 17 states and Canada descend on little Terre Haute, IN and not only game all weekend but put up an attempt at two world records through Guinness.
However last year we had a Guinness representative assigned to our attempts that told us things that later we found out (when they quit and we were assigned a new representative AFTER our attempt) were not allowed by Guinness. So fast forward to this year and we had two guys, John Merson (fafhrdd) and Michael Oliver (futiles), who sat out of the competition so they could be officially non-partial witnesses and officiate the attempt. John especially went overboard for weeks beforehand getting everything set-up with Guinness and his work continues these next few weeks as he submits the evidence for approval.
Thomas Ash (Mr pTart) again attempted the individual record for most gamerscore in 24 hours (which he broke last year but it didn’t count) and again surpassed the previous record of 13,290 (*source*) this time by putting up 14,419 points. He even took a 1 hour nap during the attempt once he knew he had it in the bag!
The rest of us are creating a new record for the most gamerscore in 24 hours by a group. The only caveat was that we needed to surpass the amount of the individual record (it should be easier for a group of people to do something instead of a single player) and once the group hit 16,661 we decided to stop for various nerdy reasons.
Here are links to the Xbox LIVE pages for the two record setting gamertags:
Here is a video of the news coverage we recently had of the Guinness record attempt:
As a special thank you, here is a list of the attendees and a little something about each of them from my own perspective in their seating order for AF this year:
fshguy (Florida) – Thanks for all of the work at 360voice you do. AF would not be the same if we couldn’t look into the Kinect room and see you playing a kids dancing game with your tongue out like Jordan.
Tandar1 (Indiana) – Fellow Hoosier, somehow providing material for many jokes at your expense and never getting mad. Don’t worry about the chair, we have plenty.
Elem3ntal80 (Wisconsin) – Missed our Sunday talk this year, but super thanks for organizing and making sure badges were made and also for picking up Hitchman on your way down. Someday there will be an eBash in Wisconsin. Someday we will be able to mountain bike together.
pTartTx (Michigan) – Thanks for helping our EEO quota for females. You are a great part of our online community and an even better part of our real-life community. Plus you bring with you…..
Mr pTart (Michigan) – Grats on your second record this year! Hopefully it will count this time. Maybe next year you won’t sit behind us and act like you know how to play a game that you hadn’t really played before.
THE DREN (Texas) – Where to start. Thanks for….. being…. “the dren”. Great interview on TV this year and thank your wife for letting you travel on your anniversary!
griffey95 (Florida) – Dude, you are like a game encyclopedia. I think you remember everything about every game you have played or even just read about. Thanks for playing Heavy Spear with me.
streakleader (South Carolina) – Thorton’s sent me a $100 gift card in your name. They said something about you set a Guinness record for most ounces of soda consumed in 3 days. Always happy you could leave the courtroom for a few days to visit again this year.
SG Steelhead (Pennsylvania) – Sorry about the sugar glider! I had fun playing that terrible game, Shattered Rain, with you. Glad you weren’t in the hospital this year!
nescaughtfire33 (Wyoming) – Hmmm… where to start with you? Hopefully you made it home? You were the devil on the shoulder of AF this year and you gave us MANY stories to share in future years. So glad you guys found us and you both need to add us on LIVE!
MissFourtune (Wyoming)- Dustin says HI! Glad you came with the “devil” above to help keep her out of too much trouble. Hopefully you managed to get her on the plane, we haven’t heard anything on the news otherwise so we are assuming you made it.
fafhrdd (Maryland) – John you were a trooper this year bulldogging the Guinness information and you are still going strong to get everything approved. I forgive you for wearing a sticker with my face on it all weekend! Also thanks for playing Shattered Storm with me this year.
Hitchman1 (Illinois) – Thanks for bringing your JP console to add to the event. Also thanks for cleaning out your wallet the first night and giving us some interesting stories for the next 3 days of AF.
JB330 (Indiana) – My Hoosier teammate in so many competitions. I am not sure why you don’t like me, but maybe you can hang out with me more in our new Castleton store? Thanks for playing Heavy Spatula with me.
futiles (Kansas) – Thanks for taking over updating the website (hopefully you will continue!) and helping John with the Guinness attempt. Next year we are getting you on the books! Your actual presence is so much bigger than your mass and thank you for that boost to the energy at AF.
LibrarianBeth (Kansas) – Thanks for helping keep everyone going with the items that 18 other males don’t think about. We all will continue to pray for you putting up with futiles another year before we see you again.
Buckswana (Ontario) – Thanks for bringing the entire cool factor up a notch each year. Sorry we didn’t get your news reporter back again.
HotdogMcGee (Nevada) – Thanks for the constant tomfoolery running rampant at AF each year. Also thanks for taking care of making sure the Real Buffet Challenge Part 2 took place. Next year I promise not to pick you up from the airport in a van full of fish in coolers.
CKinAL (Alabama) – Glad you didn’t have to drive through the night alone this year. 🙂 There are not many cool girls hanging with this group of dudes, but we are lucky that you are one of them.
dacoto (Alabama) – Thanks for again bringing swag to give away even though it was a weird year with how busy I have been. Next year we are turning you loose and there will be epic prizes to be had by all. Also thanks for admitting you were framing Tandar all along.
Also a special thanks to the Terre Haute Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (David, Amy and Jeanne) and the staff at eBash who helped set-up for AF and then also helped put everything back together again (Dustin, Eric, Fred, , Lloyd, Mark, Romie).