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Game Avatars: You Can Get Them


by moons_sunshine

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‘I can’t get that score; it’s impossible. I’ll never get the avatar for that game.’

Yup, that was me. I never thought I would ever be able to achieve the scores needed to get game avatars. I figured I could get the ones that didn’t require mouse or keyboard skills but I can sometimes lose interest easily so even those seemed out of reach. I just didn’t think I was good at playing games. Does this sound familiar? I have since changed my thoughts about my abilities to get game avatars and would like to share my experience and offer some tips on what has worked for me. I don’t claim to be an expert at any game; I just know what has helped me in getting the avatars I never thought I could. I don’t have many game avatars yet, but I am getting more each time I try.

I would like to start by telling you about my first game avatar. I became very addicted to Whack-a-Staff-Member. I mean, how could you not enjoy whacking staff members over the head with a mallet as they pop-up from cubicles? I have since decided the staff doesn’t deserve the daily attacks of being whacked and don’t play the game anymore, but that’s getting off topic. I knew there was an avatar for the game but my computer is not the fastest and my scores averaged between 1500 and 1700 points a game; not exactly avatar worthy. I enjoyed playing the game every day and eventually saw an article in the Neopian Times for it. I read the article and decided to put in practice what I read; I figured it couldn’t hurt. Can you guess what happened? My scores started getting higher and I was ecstatic when my score broke 2000, then 2100. I suddenly realized I might be able to get the avatar after all. I started playing to get the avatar now and if I didn’t get it, at least I enjoyed playing the game. After a while I finally achieved a worthy score and got my first game avatar that I actually tried to get.

Why did I share this little story? Well, it led me to realize what I really needed to acquire those seemingly impossible game avatars. Okay, so what did I need to do to get the avatar? This is what helped me achieve the necessary score:

  • The article I read helped.
  • Playing often improved my skills.
  • I did not expect anything to happen overnight.
  • I set myself goals.
  • I asked for a new mouse for Christmas, which I received.
  • Playing a game I enjoyed made it fun.
  • The whole time my attitude changed from “I can’t” to “maybe I can”.

Hmm, this seems a little vague (not to mention an extremely short article); to give you a better idea of what I am talking about, I think I should elaborate.

Change the Attitude

I know this sounds harsh but I think it is the most crucial. I had a very pessimistic view when it came to my abilities to get game avatars. Three words in the first sentence of this article are some of the most self-defeating words I know: can’t, never and impossible. If you think you will never be good enough to get a game avatar, then you probably never will. A score will remain impossible for you as long as you think it is. You can achieve only the things you think you can. I thought I would never learn to tie my own shoes when I was a kid but I can now, in two different ways and double knotted. My attitude toward games needed to change and it did.

Enjoy the Game

If you start with a game you enjoy, chances are you can get a decent score from it already and it will seem less stressful developing the skills to reach an avatar score. A word of caution; if you stop enjoying the game and start seeing it as a chore, take a break and try another game. Once you turn something you enjoy into a chore, chances are you won’t perform as well at the game.

Read the Guides

There are many kind Neopians out there who are willing to share their knowledge of a game by putting together game guides on their pet pages. My advice, read them; not just one but all the available guides you can find. Check the Neopian Times for articles, ask on the boards for guides and help or check out other petpages that compile games with links to their respective guides. The users who do these guides are good at the game and offer tips, tricks and codes; take their advice and use it. If you find their guide has helped you improve your game, I’m sure they would appreciate knowing it. Send them thanks or tell them how awesome their guide is.

Play Often

When I say play often, I don’t mean play the game for hours on end until you get the avatar, unless that is what you want to do. What I mean is that you play the game as many times as you feel you need to. There were a few games I played that I could only bear to do once or twice a day and others where I spent hours playing over again until I got a score I wanted to send. You can play three times and send those scores, or play for a few hours and only send the scores you want. Any way you do it is fine, as long as you do this on a regular basis. The reason you need to do this on a regular basis is to gain the necessary skill at the game to get the avatar and to maintain that skill level. The last thing you want to do is get within avatar worthy scores, stop playing for a few weeks, then try again to find out you have lost your edge.

Be Patient

It is going to take time. Games like Cellblock and Sewage Surfer are going to take a while to get for their own reasons. The same applies to games of luck such as Kiss the Mortog or Dice-a-Roo. For games requiring a certain score, you need to develop your own knowledge of the game. A guide can give a good understanding of the way a game works as well as offer some tips and tricks but to get really good, you need to acquire first hand experience of the game. If you play enough times, you start noticing/learning patterns and can eventually gain mastery over any situation it throws at you.

Set Realistic Goals

If you aim too high right from the start, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Start with simple, easy-to-get goals. Make sure your goal is a little above your normal skill level of play, just enough to push yourself but not enough to make it seem impossible. Only you know how far you can push yourself before you want to throw your computer out the window in frustration. When I was trying for Whack-a-Staff I thought it was great I could consistently reach 2000 points a game. I then decided it was time to push myself a little more to see if I could get higher. I did not expect the avatar right away or even to get awesome scores every time I played; I also did not get down on myself when I performed poorly. Sometimes you have good days; sometimes you have bad ones. Just roll with the punches. For games of luck, decide to play five times a day or even ten to twenty times a day. For games like Cellblock or Neoquest, do whatever you have the patience to do. Eventually you will get the avatar. If you get bored or frustrated, take a break for a while; your progress is not going to be reset (unless of course a glitch happens, but we won’t go there). Sewage Surfer took me a long time to get; I became stuck on a level and gave up. After about six months, I decided to play it again and it took about another 3 weeks, but I now have the avatar. Set yourself goals that push your skills but still seem achievable.

Stop Making Excuses

Yes, I know, another harsh one; but it will not help you in getting the game avatars. I thought some games ran too slow on my computer and my mouse was not very good. What did I do? I changed the game quality to low and did the best I could with what I had. You can always go out and buy a new keyboard or mouse. You can ask for new ones for presents or even save the money up yourself. You can go to your local library, a friend’s house or anywhere else that offers public Internet access and use their computer. If you are determined to get an avatar, you can figure out a way to overcome any hardware issues. I will admit there could be legitimate medical reasons for not being able to play certain games well. I personally suffered some damage to the nerves controlling my hands a few years ago. I have my good days but I still have some days where my hands do not quite do what I want. Again, what did I do? I have left the games that require quick finger skill and reflex for last. I already know I may never be able to get them and I am quite okay with that. I don’t look or need sympathy and I won’t use it as an excuse. My hands have gotten better over the years and someday I may/will get those avatars. Anything is possible.

Those are some of the major points but there are a few more worth mentioning. First, the skills you develop in one game can be useful in other games. As an example, the mouse skills you acquire in Whack-a-Staff-Member can be useful for Advert Attack. Secondly, make sure you are comfortable. You will probably not get the avatar if your foot falls asleep at 500 metres in Volcano Run II or you suddenly feel for the poor petpet that needs to go to the bathroom in Petpetsitter. Find a comfortable sitting position, and make sure no other distractions will creep up on you. Last but not least, remember most games do require a bit of luck, especially if you can get close but not quite. You will probably not obtain the Faerie Bubbles avatar if your game has nothing but earth, dark and air bubbles. The more you play, the greater your chances of getting that lucky game.

I have only just started to seriously collect game avatars by practicing, reading guides and having patience. The amazing part of it all is, is that I have been able to get game avatars when I thought I never could. I have achieved ten game avatars in about a month and a half; to some this is no big deal, but to me it is a major accomplishment. I don’t go running to the boards to brag; I do this for my own personal sense of accomplishment. I have discovered I can do anything I have set my mind to and am willing to work to achieve; you can too. Those seemingly impossible game avatars no longer seem impossible but merely a challenge. Whatever your goals are for game avatars, I wish you luck, and remember to have fun. Happy gaming!

A huge thanks goes out to my friend bradfield27 for proofreading my article and offering suggestions.

 
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