Saturday Morning Gaming: On What It Means to “Beat” a Game

Classic Michael Jackson Pepsi Commercial (1984) (High Quality)

So what does it mean to “beat” a game? On one level, it could be something as simple as “I played through the main storyline and fought and beat the final boss.” If someone says that they beat Assassin’s Creed 2, for example, I wouldn’t assume that they meant “I collected all 100 feathers.” But if someone said that they beat Mass Effect 2, I *WOULD* assume that they did all of the companion quests and had everybody survive. I realize that I’m operating with some assumptions about side quests, but nothing crazy like completionism.

I mean, I got 1000 achievement points on Skyrim when it came out, and I beat the main storyline… but it doesn’t make sense to me to say “yeah, I beat Skyrim.”

So, the other day, I got the Platinum Trophy on Spider-Man for the PS4. (A game that I wholeheartedly recommend, for the record.) This doesn’t make me *PARTICULARLY* special. According to Gamespot, Spider-Man for the PS4 has one of the highest platinum achievement rates. According to them, the game is sitting at 10.2.%. According to me getting up and walking my butt over to the television and checking, the game is sitting at… oh. 10.6%.

As such, it’s one of the highest platinumed games in the history of the PS4. And when I say “one of the”, that’s intended to be read as a “weasel phrase” because there are a handful of more platinumed games, but they’re more “indy” or something like that. There are webpages designed to talk about the games that are the easiest games to get the platinum trophy (or the 1000 points if we’re talking Xbox) and it looks like Spider-Man is the most Platinumed of all of the Triple-A Big Budget games out there. And given that the game broke sales records (3.3 million in first 3 days), and given that it’s not *THAT* crazy an assumption that all of those sales were to people who have PS4s attached to the internet, and given that it’s not *THAT* crazy an assumption that the people who bought it in the first three days played it… then that means that more than 330,000 people have not only beaten the main storyline, but caught every pigeon, bought every outfit, and got every skill.

Which kinda implies that the game is pretty easy… but let’s not dwell on that for too long.

So… what are you playing?

(Image is Lego Jumbo Trophy by David Luders. Used under a creative commons license.)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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5 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Gaming: On What It Means to “Beat” a Game

  1. Played 3 hours of Rimworld today. Everyone has Mediocre expectations. Built my first hospital. Ten colonists, but nobody’s married nor hooked up.

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  2. I always consider “beat” as finished the game. Not on any set difficulty setting or doing all the side quests, but just completing it. However, I tend to do side quests and, depending upon the game, do various endings. And on games with achievements, I will work on those as well…but it’s not an obsession.

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  3. Well, I used to “beat” games but now I feel that with life and work I don’t have so much time to spend it on a video game. What I do now is complete the main story mostly and depends on whether or not the side quest is worth doing. I mostly buy multiplayer games now to play with friends from time to time.

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