To some, gaming is a casual hobby. To these people, it's fun, but none of their life goals involve feats achieved with a controller in their hand. Ray Cox is not one of these gamers.
Cox is a Guinness World Record Holder, his claim to fame being the guy with the highest Gamerscore on the planet. I've been playing Xbox 360 for a good while, although admittedly casually at times. In my time, I've racked up somewhere around 25,000 gamerscore. Cox just broke through the 700,000 barrier. The put that into context, the average retail game (barring extras and DLC) has enough achievements to net the player 1,000 gamer points. Start to calculate how long some games take to complete (while grabbing all the achievements), and you can see what an accomplishment this really is.
"Day after day, game after game, it wears on you and tests your will on a daily basis," says Cox.
And his ultimate goal is to hit 1,000,000 gamerscore. He chronicles his progress on his site, the aptly titled 1milliongamerscore.com. Cox has been racking up achievements since day one. Literally. When then 360 launched in North America, that's when he began his quest:
"Xbox 360 launch day in North America is when I unlocked my first achievement, so technically, that is when my journey began."
But when he started, 1 million wasn't really a thought yet. He just wanted to beat everyone else:
"At the time I had no goals or thoughts of striving for such a score (1,000,000) but I did want to establish myself as the top guy. It was around 250,000 gamerscore when I thought to myself that a million might be possible one day."
One million is still quite a ways off, however. It took Cox 2,312 days and 1,060 different games (retail, arcade and Windows 7) to hit the 700,000 milestone - on an achievement from Mass Effect 3. He really wanted to hit 700,000 on the particular achievement, so much so that he put off unlocking other achievements until he hit it. He compiled a video of his travels from 600,000 to 700,000, which you can check out below:
One of my first questions (and a lot of other people's I presume) is how the journey to 1 million affects other aspects of his life. He says that he's had to sacrifice a lot to get to where he is:
"When I'm not gaming, I'm mostly spending time with my long time girlfriend. I've had to sacrifice a lot to reach this goal. I've had a lot of talks with my girlfriend and we've come to the conclusion that I have entered the point of no return with my score. I must reach this goal, I've come too far just to give up now and over the years she has grown to support me," he says.
And about the unavoidable haters out there?
"I've learned to deal with that as I've heard it all over the many years now," he says. "The internet age is mostly a bunch of people being judgmental about people they don't know. Especially the gaming community."
It took Cox about 7 months to go from 600,000 to 700,000 gamerscore. If you extrapolate that out, he'll hit the million sometime around December 2013. That, of course, all depends on whether or not he keeps up the same pace. But what happens when he finally hits the million? I asked him about what's next:
"That's a very good question that I have no answer for just yet. Celebration, a long vacation, and a good break from gaming will be first thing in order. I've had various job offers across the board on my journey so far. I feel like I should be able to land a good job in the gaming industry when all is said and done. Some people already have but someone will recognize my dedication and how driven of a person I am. That carries over to anything I do."
Cox obviously loves games. You can't commit yourself to something like this without a deep down affinity for it all. But why 1 million? What does that number mean to him? He says that there are all kinds of gaming records out there like high score in a single game or gaming marathon times. That's "simple stuff," he says.
"I'm on an over 6 year marathon so far and if I do make it to the million, I fully believe that will be the greatest gaming goal ever accomplished."
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.