It's a Long Way to the Top

With the recent PS2 console launch a new breath of life has been whirled into RetroAchievements, and the excitement is palpable. Bringing a staggering 85+ sets to the table on launch gives clear creedance and weight to the hype, showing us that despite cutting edge present day AAA releases, sometimes all you need is a loving hand weaving a modern technlogical thread through those old jeans memory values; good as new.

Of those enjoying the new console, there seems to be one user on the beat performing better than all the rest, on key and in tune - and I had the pleasure of sitting down in an interview with them to go over just how they secured their postition at the Top.

AmirGaris / Amir96lx - Currently #1 in PS2 Achivement count and points

Current Game of Choice: Everhood - Steam

Amir TimeCrush

Initially in starting my conversation with Amir I could tell gaming was second nature, "Just playing some Guitar Hero while we chat". (Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock) I’d soon learn that there was never a moment to be wasted if you wanted to maintain a top position. I wanted to get an idea for where Amir got their foundation in gaming and how they intitially came to begin playing, "What are your early gaming memories? Anything specific stand out to you?" "Rhythm games." he answered without hesitation "DDR that kind of thing." "Ahh gotcha. So did you play at the arcades or were these the home console editions?" I was interested, and started to see the empty tabliture of an unkown person begin to fill. "Both" he laughed "Honestly both. I just really enjoyed rhythm games." There was a joy evident in his tone, good times assosciated with them. I pressed further, "Were these excursions usually alone or did you go with somebody?" "My Brother" Another ‘no hesitation’ answer "I went with my Brother a lot" This explained it. Familial joy and bonding together over games. "A good time for sure! Was it the big bro who was schooling you in the arcade then?" assuming the obvious "No kinda the opposite actually" he laughed again "Hold on, the little brother was showing up the older brother?" incredulous but in good humor I had to ask him. "Yeah, I guess" with another solid laugh, clearly understanding the light absurdity of the situation; Amir knew how to play.

After settling into the groove and finding our tempo, I wanted to start digging into his method a little further. What made the metronome tick? "So how do you end up picking the games you play?" I left it intentionally vague "Uh, I just really kind of play what I like or I'll ask my friend for YouTube." Amir had been playing for some time and creating content on other platforms beyond RA "I like to try and hundo things on Steam, the really hard achievements" unprompted and to prove his clout, but with zero disrespectful boasting tone, Amir linked me to where their name resides atop the leaderboard - upon inspection the website name represents it’s purpose proper: To maintain leadership here you must complete absolutely brutal games faster and before the rest. "That's seriously impressive. How long have you been #1 here?" "Oh wow, probably 2019.. 2020 maybe?" and he showed no time of leaving anytime soon. This led me to ask about his other first chair position, "So were you aware that currently you hold the top position for both PS2 achivements and points?" I tossed out casually "Oh yeah?" there was a light hitch in his reply, excitement being stiffled, Amir was humble "I think a friend told me that I was first to complete their DDR set, and I was the #1 in PS2 but I didn't really know, wow" that laugh came again, Amir was good natured as well. "Yeah since launch you've been on top! Not to say you are without competition" there was a second round, doughy, maybe sprinkled user hot on his tail "Are you typically competitve or just in games?" wanting to know if this was a leisureful desire to be the best, or a character trait that permeated throughout "Games usually. Yeah just games I guess" digital leaderboards it is then "So does that mean you plan on maintaining your #1 spot with the PS2 currently?" again I made the mistake of assuming what I thought was obvious, but an unanounced timing change "Maybe. I just kind of play what I like or take requests." completely jovially he chuckled "I might go back and hundo PacMan" (Pac-Man World 2) "but yeah just kind of play what I like" he had a good attitude.

As the natural decrescendo of a conversation coming into it’s closing bars began to take hold, I wanted to dig into that good attitude and see if there was anything we could learn. "Do you have any advice for other community members who would like to see themselves perform better?" waiting intently I asked. "Just keep playing. It's hard to say, but after 6 or 7 years of really gaming I would say just keep playing." perseverance, easy to say but we’ve all tried to push so I played Devil’s Advocate. "What would you say to those who get frustrated and struggle to keep playing?" a common issue "Talk with some friends, take a break." a support system, something we would all do better to maintain and value; I didn’t have time to get lost in that wisdom though as he quickly conducted my eyes back to the score - I could hear the smile in his voice: "But ultimately just keep playing"

Getting to sit down with Amir was a fantastic experience and exemplified a great player, person, and competitor. I thank him for his time, and you dear reader for coming along with us. Keep striving for that next great milestone, and you may be featured in a coming interview, just remember:

It’s a Long Way to the Top