More Things I Love

You know what I really love?

A good list.

A list can create order from chaos; a list can turn a ramshackle collection of targets into a sensible to-do walkthrough.

But do you know what I love more?

A thorough spreadsheet.

The more cells the better: big grids with spaces for me to put a completionist tick (or, rather, a “1”) when their goal – or micro-goal – has been reached. And if there’s cells for “1”s, there’s the opportunity to thrown in an =SUM and create a satisfying completion percentage.

Phwoar. Just typing that out has got me a little flustered with excitement. Yep, that’s how much I love me a spreadsheet.

It should come as no surprise to regular readers (yeah, right, like I’ve got any of those) that The List is spreadsheet-based. I track all manner of dates and statistics for my tiny collection; other pages in that particular file cover specific games, my favourite being the nice permutations behind the Prince of Persia combo list. And then there’s my 360 gamerscore spreadsheet and PSN Trophy data munging, both fantastic little tools that I love tinkering with. But more recent spreadsheets have covered my Halo: Reach commendations, Bastion dialogue lines, and TimeSplitters 2 awards; my tracking of the Uncharted sequels multiplayer medals is, naturally, bordering on the obsessive (especially given Drake’s Deception‘s depth of ranked awards).

But, with my interest in Uncharted 2‘s multiplayer waning a little (due, in no small part, to flaky matchmaking often refusing to make me a match), I turned back to my Resolutions for inspiration (again). And re-reading the dot-point featuring my two bugbear racers – WipEout HD and F-Zero GX – caused me to reflect: the former’s requirements for completion are pretty well defined by the game’s associated Trophies, but what about the latter?

F-Zero GX is well known for its insane difficulty, and I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll never be able to cross it off The List. But my Resolution was to make inroads into the game, not complete it… so I started gathering all my completion requirements, with the aim of having something to measure “inroads” against. Unlocking all the races and characters is a given; the races are easy enough with a custom vehicle, but unlocking all the characters requires completion of the stupidly difficult Story Mode (which I’ve not even managed to half-complete, even on the easiest skill level). And then there’s all the character interview questions and staff ghosts in Time Trials…

And so a spreadsheet was born.

My “Racers” spreadsheet has three pages of WipEout HD stats (Trophies, Races on all three difficulties, and multiplayer Badges), as well as five pages of F-Zero GX stats: Ghosts, Story, Parts, Interviews, and a collective Summary. And after switching Pilot Assist off on WipEout and starting again, I’ve got 7.78% of my Gold Medals; after starting a new game of GX from scratch, I can happily report that I’ve picked up a grand total of 16 of the identified 810 target points of the game.

That’s the easiest 1.98%.

But I’m still a little hazy as to what my Resolution’s “inroads” could be. For WipEout, I’m thinking that Gold-medalling all races on the easiest difficulty – or a straight 33.3% on my spreadsheet – would be a pretty reasonable target; but GX? A similar target would imply that I’m able to win Master difficulty Grand Prix with stock vehicles… and, on the basis of my efforts in the last couple of days, I’m so far from that level of skill that it’s not funny.

So consider that Resolution… unresolved.

But damn that’s a bloody attractive spreadsheet that’s taunting me…

4 thoughts on “More Things I Love”

  1. Oh, man. I HATE spreadsheets. I have to try and create the damn things at work, and I’ve never been taught how to use Excel. So if it’s a struggle at work, I ain’t doing it at home.

    That said, I need some kind of recording tool to not all my XBLA games, because I’m going to start deleting some of them to make room on my HDD. Excel might be the way forward there… I could use it to keep tabs on my iOS apps too…

    Oh, and much as I hate to draw attention away from a person’s blog in their own comments section (it’s a bit “Me! Me!”)… have you seen my new blog yet? Link’s in my left details…

  2. Sorry for the delay in replying, @PaulEMoz – but I started plugging all your games (from your TA feed) into a spreadsheet for analysis. But there’s a lot of games in there, and a fair bit of manual tweaking required… so I figured it was probably prudent that I focus on the work that I was being paid to do instead. Sorry :}

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