Category Archives: Games

Video Games

Collecting Useless

This post is about the human nature to collect/hoard imaginary points that have very little possibility of benefit. For example, there are Xbox achievements, PSN trophies (a copy of said achievements), Foursquare badges, points (from any web 2.0 website), etc. It’s fair to say that no person needs these things.

The are many possible reasons a person chooses to earn a virtual score: 1.) self-esteem, 2.) social signalling, 3.) point redemption, 4.) site loyalty, and so on.

  1. Self-esteem
    After investing so much time in an environment (Xbox, Foursquare, etc), a person wants to feel like they have accomplished something. If a person has a high user score or rank to show for it, a person can validate their time spent in an environment with a high standing. See level 80 WoW characters.
  2. Social signalling
    Similar to #1 above, a person wants to have a high rank to show off to others. For example in PSN, a person can compare their trophies against their friends. This is a direct 1-to-1 rights to brag feature, where a person can see how many trophies they earned over their friend, and vice-versa. This is known as e-peen on the internet.
  3. Point-redemption
    In certain environments, a person can take points that they earn and redeem them for actual goods. This makes earned points more useful. For example in Club Nintendo, a person earns coins that they can use to redeem for Nintendo merchandise. In other environments, a person is able to redeem points for special features like premium avatars or a better title.
  4. Site loyalty
    With any point program,  a person has a further incentive to keep using the site. They’ve already built up some points, so why would they want to throw that advantage away? By rewarding users for continuing to visit, this drives traffic and revenue (directly or indirectly). Think of Foursquare giving a person points each time they check in at a location. As a Foursquare member who has superuser status, why would that person want to give that all up?

So there are many reasons a person would have to earn points.

Part of human nature is being rational. Being rational entails preparing for the future. So in an effort to be in a better future position, a person may opt to earn points on as many web services as possible. Who knows what is going to be the next Wikipedia or Twitter? If a person was involved early on, they could have been a Wikipedia moderator or gotten many Twitter followers. Yes, most people don’t think like this, but among technology early adopters, this mentality is more prevalent. Finding and using the next cool web service (ala Facebook) before everyone else did is a sure-fire way to increase their e-peen.

In a situation where a person has two choices: 1.) get points or 2.) get no points, a rational person will choose #1 every time. It’s human nature to collect things, store them, and wring some benefit out of it when possible. Even if there is a 0% chance of benefit to having points, it’s likely that a person would want to get points for the sake of it. In video games, earning points and leveling up is addictive for the sake of it.

It makes sense to earn points with credit cards that have conclusive future rewards. It may make sense to earn points in a video game where the only possible future benefit is virtually nil. People simply like getting things in our materialistic society where most people have the basics (food, shelter, clothing, etc.). When a person and their circle of friends don’t have to worry about food, what can help distinguish them from everyone else? Number of Facebook friends? Joining Twitter before Oprah did? Listening to such and such indie rock band before they hit mainstream and sell out?

I write this because I am addicted to PSN trophies, Foursquare badges, and get so focused on this BS aspect. When you play games and are no longer having fun just to earn an achievement, it is BS and you have no one else to blame but yourself.

Some good food and NY tourist spots

Walked around NYC some more today. Decided to start putting a very small watermark.

2nd Floor Wii Area

The Nintendo Store wasn’t as big as I imagined, just two floors near 30 Rock. There is a Pokemon Center downstairs, in which “center” means aisle against the wall.

Samus Figure

Samus Figure

I think you can buy these?

Nintendo R.O.B.

As seen from Smash Brothers, etc!

DS signed by Miyamoto

This guy is a Nintendo legend. Created Mario and many, many Nintendo brands.

People for COCO in front of NBC

This is the backside of the protesters.


The front side. Haha “Conando”

30 Rock

I didn’t go up to the top of the rock. Maybe one of these days? Also, I didn’t go ice skating today.

30 Rock Ice Skating

It looks fun.

Fifth Ave Statue

I think this is on 5th Ave, and I know it’s near 30 Rock. Pretty impressive.

Fifth Ave Signage

The texture / over-design elements interest me.


Up in Harlem, we have Sylvia’s Soul Food. This was featured on the Food Channel. If I’m not mistaken, the table where I sat had a photo of Reverand Al Sharpton and Sylvia.

Sylvia's Hot Sauce

It was pretty spicy, in a Tabasco kind of way. I didn’t really use it much, because I wanted to savor the food and not just drink hot sauce.

Good Cornbread

This was “the bread” that restaurants give you to nibble on before the food arrives. I’m not a cornbread person, but I ate a lot of this because it was good – especially the crust parts.

The main entree - fried chicken and sides

From top left counter-clockwise: lemonade, fried chicken, baked mac-n-cheese, collard greens, gravy, hot sauce, and cornbread. It was all great except for the collard greens, which had a distinct taste that I’m not sure how to describe because I’m just not used to it. This was my one/only meal today. The rest of today was spent walking it off.

Baked Mac-n-Cheese Close Up

125 Street

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone! 125st was the subway exit with the Apollo theater nearby.

Brooklyn Bridge

Around the evening, the Wall Street area was pretty deserted (for NY). Then again, today was a “holiday.”

Ground Zero for 9/11

Zuccotti Park

This was right by Ground Zero.

These photos were mostly taken with the EF-S 17-55. At night, some were with the EF 50.

MW2 Videos

This video is epic fail, as defined by the internet. Which is why you should never hipfire a sniper rifle

Mythbusters MW2 Edition – Part 1. It contains lots of great little gameplay trick shots