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Applying C-SMART to Trophy Hunting

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It’s easy to set goals; the classic new year’s resolution being the prime example of this. Anybody can set a goal, but achieving said goal is something else entirely. This is often because we, as a society, love the idea of succeeding – the finished product if you will – but we’re often unwilling to follow the steps required to reap the hypothetical reward. This is where C-SMART comes into play, an approach in which we can set effective and realistic targets. Our goals need to be:

Challenging

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Timely

Often referred to by businesses with a focus on their people, C-SMART can also be implemented into our social lives as a way in which to accelerate our own personal growth. Think of it as a learning bike; it may seem alien at first following all these headings, but very soon the mind conditions itself to think in a drastically different way. It gradually increases focus, willpower, and it may even encourage an internal reflection on what we ultimately want out of life. Now, what does this have to do with PlayStation Trophies? Let’s dig in, we’ve got a lot to talk about.


Commitment and frame of mind

C-SMART implores you, the unproven, to make the first move. Ask yourself the question “what is my goal?” To platinum the game? Complete the story on the hardest difficulty? Acquire all collectibles? If the answer is plain in sight then the specifics have been taken care of. Setting a quality goal is a commitment that only you can be held accountable for, Infamous isn’t going to finish itself so you’d best be on your way. Easy goals aren’t goals at all, they’re the equivalent of comfort food, the embodiment of routine and familiarity and this is dangerous. An effective goal has to challenge us because we need to continuously learn and grow as people – we crave the challenge because we want to come out of the other side stronger than ever.

This is why Platinum trophies (or maximum achievement score if you’re in the Xbox camp) is an ideal candidate for effective target setting for gamers. Platinums inspire confidence and commitment in abundance, they’re an invitation to explore everything your new £50 title has to offer. Platinums represent the ultimate challenges in the average gamer’s lives as they’ll often insist on completion of the hardest difficulty in story mode, and this is no easy feat. A word of warning: don’t confuse a challenge for futile stupidity. This is where “attainable” comes into it, do your research, assess your own untapped potential, and your current skills, to predict the chances of success with any given game. Maybe the idea of platinum-ing Bloodborne sounds great on paper, and the challenge is most certainly present, but is it attainable? Do you have the mindset to conquer the unconquerable in Bloodborne, or are you merely another inhabitant of the Hunter’s Dream?

Benefits of visual trophies and having a spotter

Along the way towards trophy triumph is the inevitable 4th act slump. Trials and tribulations bestowed upon the player have been manageable up to this point, but darkness shrouds the player as they allow themselves to reflect on the magnitude of their situation. This feeling often materializes as “what the hell have I gotten myself into?” While it’s perfectly natural to feel this sentiment, it also validates the need for measurables. “How do I know if what I’m doing is working?” We need to visually see progress in any goals we set to ensure we’re on the right path, to be reminded that we’re perfectly justified in our actions. The Trophy score and the notifications that pop up act as micro-celebrations and a reminder to continue the path. Trophies also provide a little fun, especially the more cryptic ones.

A little competition never hurt anybody, and while your goals are your own it might be other people that ironically determine your success. Having a spotter – someone who’s trophy score is close in line to your own – can provide some much needed fun. That basic need to be the best is empowering, and a game friend can help with this. They can even act as another way in which to measure your own success. Either you, or your buddies can set a tremendous pace in which the other feels obligated to keep up with, or you/they can exceed it. These are all effective ways in which to measure success.


Doing the right things at the right time

Plan, plan, plan, and then plan again. Keep an eye on the trophy list to ensure what you’re doing is absolutely relevant to your goals. It might be fun to complete all the nitty gritty side-missions  in Horizon: Zero Dawn, but not all of them are necessary in earning the coveted platinum trophy. All relevant trophies can either be found on the game’s own trophy list, or you can seek out trophy guide sites like playstation.org – a site dedicated to the procurement of trophies and hints and tips on the best ways of how to tackle them. It could be said that they act like a walkthrough, but regardless they keep things relevant to your goal.

Staying relevant, and doing it in a timely fashion, go hand-in-hand, it is said. We all have lives outside of games, and our time becomes more precious as we get older which is why it’s now more important than ever to prioritize. In a game with multiple collectibles and combat requirements, it might be necessary to ask yourself whether you can combine trophies. Whilst seeking out the random newspaper clippings and objects in The Order: 1886, could you also fry 30 enemies with the only decent gun in the game that soon gets taken away from you? If the platinum requires you to achieve maximum leveling up, could this go in conjunction with completion of the main quests? Grouping different trophies together through trophy research benefits the player’s time-keeping and it ensures you’re keeping to a plan.

Conclusion

Most people will argue that C-SMART and trophy hunting remove the fun from gaming; an exercise in obsession and price justification, but it really is just a bit of fun and it is surprisingly addictive as you earn each platinum. As I mentioned previously, it needn’t just be incorporated into business, or trophy hunting, it can also help turn your life around, for those who need a change. As with most things, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. All I ask is that you try this strategy for yourself, be smart, be C-SMART.

Films, games and music: the big three! If you like any of these, chances are we're going to get on just fine. I'm just a balding, goggle-eyed 26-year old Masters graduate from the UK, and I'm here to talk games! Let's dance.

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