How to Pad Your Gamerscore
In the early days of the Xbox 360, the concept of the Gamerscore seemed like the unlikeliest part of Microsoft's feature strategy. Sure, everybody talks high scores in gaming, but putting them out there as part of a profile seemed a little wonky. A little exhibitionist, even. Now, more than four years later, everyone dangles their Gamerscores out in public. The cluster of numbers has taken on a life of its own, complete with its own brand of posturing. If you'd like to add a little virtual swagger to your avatar, peruse the following tips:
1. Play on Easy. Look, if you're going to rack up the Achievements, then you can't be proud. Lots of games dole out the same accomplishments and points regardless of difficulty level. Power through them and watch your stats swell. Resistance is futile, diminished-artificial-intelligence enemies! If the game offers more Achievements for Normal, Hard or Insane modes, you can tear through those with your newfound mastery of the core mechanics. Either way, start with the Path of Least Resistance. Your ego will thank you. (Note: If you're some kind of sicko, start on Hard and you'll automatically rack up the Easy-level Achievements. Lord knows why you're reading this How-To, though?)
2. Get a roommate. Read the newspapers (provided you can still find one in your town). Times are tough and people need cheaper places to live. Once a boarder's unpacked his things, he'll be thrilled to hear that you're more than willing to let him use your 360. As he sobs gratefully, gently introduce the Gamertag Probation Rule to him: Senior roomie gets veto power over any new Xbox Live accounts on the console. You're not saying he'll never get an Avatar of his own, but he'll have to earn it -- namely, by doing all the heavy lifting on your account. If he ever wants to play BioShock 2, the poor game-starved wretch will go along quietly.
3. Play lots of kids' games. Developers don't hate children. Some of them are (absentee) parents, too, and they know that the sweet resounding pings of Achievements unlocking make little Johnny's bones grow big and strong. So they pack those E-rated titles full of vitamins and easily earned feats. When you're picking up the latest Ice Age title, make sure to casually but loudly mention it's for your niece. Not that it's anyone's business how awesome an uncle you are.
4. Have kids. Same as No. 3, but now you can have the little rugrats doing the gruntwork for you. What with those pesky child labor laws in effect, they've gotta earn their keep somehow, right? We know of at least two gamer parents who won't allow their children to have their own Gamertags for precisely this reason. Sure, they say it's to protect said kiddies from the scary strangers lurking on the Interwebs, but let's just say Daddy needs something to brag about at the next block party, okay?
5. Find out which games put out easily. Cars. Avatar: The Last Airbender ? The Burning Earth. Peter Jackson's King Kong. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These names will go down in history for going down easy. Every year, their ranks grow and grow. While reviewing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it seemed to me that Marvel's killer mutant gave up the Achievements pretty readily. Maybe he is the best there is at what he does? And, rumor has it that later this year, SouthPeak Interactive's Brave: A Warrior's Tale will serve up 500 juicy points just for completing every level in the game. In other words, just for finishing it. Who are you to refuse such a gift?
Kind reader, we won't lie to you: Some may scoff upon perusing your games list and seeing how you pumped up that enviable Gamerscore. Firstly, remember that you can switch off those settings at any time. How you got your points is your business. Secondly, if folks still want to wag their tongues, just know that they're just jealous. But, we'll support you. At least until your score gets bigger than ours?
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