As soon as I started playing The Last of Us, I knew I was in for something special. I had been waiting for the game for some time now and as soon as I finished the first chapter, I knew that it was going be a great experience. The hype that surrounded the game before its release had also been monumental. High scores and high praises from everyone in the industry, this was one game that everyone agreed was a masterpiece. So I dived in, ready to be immersed like never before. But then something happened, something that removed me from the experience in bits and pieces. After playing for a couple hours I just wanted to know, "When am I getting my first trophy?"
Before I played Ellie and Joel's adventure I had already read a couple of reviews to prepare me for what was coming. The reviews raved about how great the visuals looked and how the story telling had surpassed their expectations. The reviews also mentioned that obtaining a trophy in the game was not going to be as common as in other titles.
Now, I'm not one to simply buy games for the mere collection of trophies. Before I start any game, I never look at the trophy list and I make the attempt to not make trophies my main objective. As soon as I finish a game though I don't mind looking through the list and earning the trophies I may have missed. That's the way that trophies should be approached. They are simply an added bonus that (hopefully) allows you to experience the game in new and exciting ways.
But even with not looking at my trophy list and not making it my main goal to collect them, they are still there. Every time you finish a chapter, "ding!" Every time you you achieve a gaming milestone, "ding!" Worst of all, any time you are engaged in your game, "ding!" The trophy's default notification will interrupt your experience to let you know that you have acquired your tenth bronze, "ding!"
However, that isn't to say that the trophy notification entirely removes the player from the game's core experience. A lot of players probably don't even notice the trophy notifications and many of them can have a great experience with the default notification setup. But when I am deeply immersed in a game where immersion is key and important, personally I would prefer to skip the trophy notifications all together.
Granted, it's not only the trophy notifications that interrupt that immersion but also the friend notifications. Look, as much as I enjoy chatting and playing multiplayer games with my friends (okay, not really), I don't need to know that they are logging in or out when I'm in the middle of an important cut scene. It's just annoying.
This is why I have decided to turn off notifications for trophies and friends whenever I'm about to start a new game. That way, I can experience the game without any interruptions on-screen. If I end up getting a trophy for something I do in the game, at least now my immersion won't suffer because of it. It's not that it entirely removes a player from the experience, but those small chunks where it does certainly add up.
In my experience with The Last of Us, it wasn't the "ding!" that annoyed me but rather the lack of. This is an attempt to put an end to those notifications and experience a game in a richer way. Congratulations, you have finished reading this article, "ding!"