I’m not bragging, honestly. For as quickly as I cleared Gigatrack I know I’m in the upper tens of thousands on the leaderboards. For every gold medal I unlock Maxx trumps my best time. But there is something profoundly rewarding about unlocking Achievements in Trials Evolution. While other games have come to dole out the points for basically continuing to play them, Trials asks to see some painstakingly specific feats of skill.
‘Hard the Hard Way’ not only requires a flawless run on one of the game’s Hard tracks, it also asks that you do it on the slowest, entry level bike. The first time I tried it I couldn’t clear the second jump; the physics of how to get the bike over a vertical gap completely stumped me. Having played through almost all of the game now, though, I came back to it while Katy was getting ready to go Sunday morning and nailed it. A handful of restarts and I’d done it!
The ‘Unyielding II’ Achievement, on the other hand, took much, much longer. It also asks for a flawless run on a specific track but adds the stipulation that you never change your rider’s position. This may not seem like a big deal in most racing games but in Trials it’s like taking away half of your control, maybe more. I had to learn a whole new route through the course which, hilariously enough, wound up being faster than my best attempt when I had full control of the bike. It was an accomplishment worthy of recording in all the glory that pointing my phone at the screen could capture.
I normally give up on games this hard but Trials and others like Super Meat Boy and Ninja Gaiden aren’t just difficult, they’re like teachers. Instead of feeling cheap or that the A.I. is getting the advantage, these games make me feel like an apprentice. Through repetition and tasks that seem pointless (like never leaning the bike) they are teaching me new skills, not just what order to shoot things in or what speed to take a jump at. I actually feel skilled in Trials Evolution. Never perfect, never (ever) boastful but much improved. And that actually is a real achievement.
Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.