Overachiever For a Day

From the archive: John Teti attempts to earn 10,000 gamerpoints in 24 hours.

Every Sunday we haul an exciting article out of the Eurogamer archive so you can read it again or enjoy it for the first time if you missed it. John Teti attempted this incredible feat back in 2010.

At some point around the 22nd hour without sleep - as I forced myself to play Hannah Montana: The Movie: The Game whether I liked it or not - I asked myself, "How did it come to this?" But I was near the end of my quest: to play the Xbox 360 for 24 hours straight and rack up as many gamerpoints as possible.

See, I noticed recently that Xbox 360 Achievements were starting to encroach on my gaming worldview. I have no interest in PS3 Trophies or the medals they hand out on Flash-game sites, but I'm a sucker for the allure of the Gamerscore. I found myself returning to mediocre games to scrimp an extra 50 points, or wasting time on joyless tasks like feather-hunting in Assassin's Creed II.

I intended to break myself of this predilection. (Let's not call it an "addiction.") I like Achievements, but I wanted them to be a sideshow rather than the main event. I figured that if I could boost my Gamerscore in one insane, all-out blaze of glory, maybe the points wouldn't have such a hold on me anymore. It would be like smoking a whole pack of cigarettes at once to break your nicotine habit.

Look, I didn't say it was a good plan. Just a plan.

26th May, 10am - Madden NFL 06

1

The beginning. Optimism reigns supreme.

My coach, so to speak, was Knuckles Dawson, a self-described "Achievement whore" who makes a living as a Gamerscore maven at Achievement Hunter. Prior to the marathon, Knuckles gave me some advice by way of Skype videoconference. I learned that his Gamerscore was north of 150,000 ("which is high, I suppose," he said with no irony), and I shared my own score of 13,460, and suddenly one of us felt like something less of a man. I won't say who.

Knuckles was a benevolent sage, though, never condescending to his pupil. (Far more affable and eloquent, in fact, than you might have guessed from the whole "whore" moniker.) As we assembled a rough list of games for the marathon, he estimated that I could get 7500 to 10,000 points in the run. Pish-posh to this 7500, I thought. 10,000 immediately became the number to hit.

At the beginning of the run, though, that lofty figure seemed ludicrous. I began with Madden 06 - one of many Knuckles-recommended sports games - and after more than an hour, my tally was a piddling 180 points. I'd only manage 4000 points or so at that rate, I calculated, because at this early stage I still had the ability to do arithmetic.

A blowout win in the Super Bowl (New England 35 - 9 Washington) brought me up to 500 points, but that was after 90 minutes of work. And the fact that it already felt like "work" was not a promising sign.

  • Gamerpoints acquired: 500
  • Total: 500

26th May, 11.30am - Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

The Achievement-whoring subculture has dedicated the greatest minds of its generation to solving the problem of getting "cheevos" in the easiest way possible. Thanks to the braintrust at Xbox360Achievements.org, I knew that in order to get the "Blast Processing" achievement on Sonic's Genesis Collection, I only had to load the title screen of all 28 games and quit back to the main menu. And indeed, after doing so, the game gave me 50 points for "playing" all of the titles.

I dipped into Ecco The Dolphin to get 10 points for talking to another dolphin, something you can do in the first 30 seconds of the game. I swam up to the first dolphin I saw and struck up a meaningless conversation with him. "I feel so used," he said. Piss off, dolphin.

  • Gamerpoints acquired: 60
  • Total: 560

26th May, 11.45am - Hannah Montana: The Movie

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What young girl hasn't fantasised about giving a concert at a petting zoo?

This is the story of a young rock starlet who's just an old-fashioned girl from the American Midwest, where all the real Americans live, because apparently people on the coasts ("Hollywood people" in the game's parlance) are dishonest scum. It's also what's known in the cheevo biz as an "easy 1000."

Hannah and her alter ego, Miley Stewart, would be my companions for the next three hours as I saved idyllic Crowley Meadows from a cold-hearted developer who wants to build a mall in the centre of town. Hannah combats this evil by fantasising about singing and by helping the local hot dude repaint a chicken coop.

After five-starring the Guitar Hero Jr. sequences on all of Hannah's songs (sample lyrics: "Boom de-clap de-clap clap / Boom-boom clap, come on here we go") and saving my small town, I had 850 points.

The game's last 150 could be acquired by shopping and by riding Blue Jeans 10 times. Riding Blue Jeans is less exciting than it sounds - you steer Hannah's idiot horse down an obstacle course while she hollers out cowgirl-isms like "Woo-wee!" and "Yee-ha!" and "Liberals control the media!" I figured I would never be so desperate for Gamerpoints that I would endure that monotony nine more times.

  • Gamerpoints acquired: 850
  • Total: 1410

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