I’m not entirely sure which onomatopoeia I want to use to describe the sound of a trophy unlocking, but I’ve sort of come to love it. I’ve always enjoyed hunting for trophies and achievements in my games, and I’ve found them to provide a fun incentive to mess around with things I normally wouldn’t have. I can gush about which trophies I love and hate all day, but that’s not this article. Instead I want to talk about something I’m finding interesting: the hidden messages of trophy lists.
I swear I’m not crazy.
Were you aware that you can find more details on the trophy list? On a PlayStation 4 you need to go to the trophy section, press option on the game you want to learn about, then hit information. On a PlayStation Vita you just need to tap on the game’s name twice. In this new section you’ll see things like how many trophies a game has total compared to how many you have, when it was last updated, your progress, and what’s most important to this: the “details” section. What this section is supposed to be is a quick text description of the trophy list. Sometimes, however, developers hide little messages here.
I’m not going to get your hopes up that every game is hiding a message. In fact, I’d say a solid 9 out of 10 games are just sporting a generic message. Just Cause 3‘s detail simply reads “Just Cause 3 Trophies,” Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder just has “Rock of Ages 2 Trophy Pack,” and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy only says “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.” Boring. Some games instead just sport a description of the game itself. The detail section for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice reads: “From the makers of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry, comes a warrior’s brutal journey into myth and madness. Set in the Viking age, a broken Celtic warrior embarks on a haunting vision quest into Viking Hell to fight for the soul of her dead lover. Created in collaboration with neuroscientists and people who experience psychosis, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will put you deep into Senua’s mind.” It feels like someone accidentally filled out a product description for a Steam page in the trophy section, and games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Darksiders Warmastered Edition have similar descriptions.
But despair not, as you’ll find more than just advertisements tucked away. For example, some games still have “this is a trophy list” descriptions, but making fun of it by describing their trophies in weird ways. PlayStation Vita game The Hungry Hoard describes its trophy list as “Zombtastic Trophies,” BreakQuest: Extra Evolution describes them as “The shining trophy cups for the best players!” and Super Exploding Zoo contains “A very singed set of trophies for SEZ.” It’s not just indie games doing this, as Ubisoft’s open world racing game The Crew has the message “The star-spangled Trophy set of The Crew.”
Some games instead use this message to challenge you. Narrative game Deliriant has the challenge “How far will you go?,” while puzzle game MonsterBag asks “Can you get them all?” Even Sony gets in on this from time to time: PlayStation Vita software Welcome Park asks “Why not give it a try?” while PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale goes with “Welcome to the world of PlayStation All-Stars. Will you be able to rule all of your opponents and unlock all the trophies?” My personal favorite question comes from Taco Master, which goes with the rather weird “Hi are you ready to become the Taco Master? ¡Haaaz taco!”
But really, the best messages are the jokes. When a developer hides a little funny thing in a place most players wouldn’t bother to look. Take Furi, for example. The message the developers chose to hide here? “The Jailer is the key. Kill him, and you’ll be Furi.” This is both a clever nod to the game, being one of the most important lines of dialogue in the story, and a clever (or stupid, depending how you look at it) pun. Another interesting one comes from House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut which states “This is like something out of a videogame.” I also couldn’t help but smile at the absurd one present in BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, which reads as follows: “Gaijin Games Presents… The Sacred Trophy Collection for BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien… For Your Enjoyment. Why are you reading this?” We’re reading it because it’s fun Gaijin Games.
My favorite is hard to choose, but I’ve got it down to just two. On one hand, I really like the one for 2064: Read Only Memories. It takes the game’s introductory monologue and reworks it to be about trophies instead of the game’s plot. It’s long enough that it even needs block quotes!
Neo-San Francisco, 2064, A.D. The world thrives on a constant flow of groundbreaking trophy sets. Puzzle completion and plot progression allow the flair and enhancement of almost any part of a player’s collection. Millions of people jack into virtual worlds every day to play and collect trophies with one another with advance hand-to-machine technology. Easier access to silly deeds and perished beverages leaves “collectors” walking the streets, looking more sleep-deprived every day. Trophy Organizational Managers, or TOMs for short, are the commonplace companion of any modern player. However, organizations like the Player Revolution seek to slow the relentless pace of trophy progress, fearing that unchecked trophy acquisition will make us lose the very things that make us players. High above the rising tension below, a MidBoss engineer buries themselves in debugging and game engines, trying to bring a new kind of trophy into the world. And with this, players’ destiny will be altered forever.
It’s a clever rewriting of a monologue and also kind of fun in its own right. Yet there’s something else that tickles my fancy, and that’s killing Nazis. Who kills Nazis better than Kung Fury? The game Kung Fury: Street Rage has a short, sweet, and to the point hidden message: “DISCLAIMER: Not enough Nazis were harmed in the hunt for these trophies.” Now that is a disclaimer we can all agree with.
Learn something new today? Find any hidden messages in your trophies? Want to share with us? Let us know in the comments!