On March 13, 2014, Raymond Cox — more famously known by his Xbox Gamertag ‘Stallion83’ — achieved the seemingly unachievable: 1,000,000 Gamerscore. The first player in history to do so, and one of the first gamers in many years to become famous for achieving a numerical “score” at a game of any kind, Stallion83 has become a celebrity in gaming circles for his dedication to the art of meta-gaming. We sat down with Stallion83 to find out what it took to reach this point.
Xbox Wire: For starters, tell us a little about yourself and your background. Where are you from? Where’d you grow up? How’d you get into gaming?
Stallion83: I’m from around Knoxville, Tennessee; I moved to Tennessee from Michigan when I was around five years old. I got into gaming probably because of my father. He left the Atari on the floor, and as a young boy, I was crawling around like a rugrat and found my way to the joysticks. I was probably two or three years old. “Boxing” was my favorite game — even then, I knew that “E.T.” was a pile of crap.
Xbox Wire: Oh, indeed. That game ended up buried in the desert! So, you started with an Atari, and eventually moved up to the Xbox 360. What got you started on your quest for 1,000,000 Gamerscore? How did you decide you wanted to go for that number?
Stallion83: After being the first to 100,000 Gamerscore, then to 200,000 Gamerscore, I thought to myself, “How far can I take this?” It was around 2008 when I said: “I’ll reach for the sky and try to topple the unthinkable, ONE MILLION Gamerscore.” It became my ultimate gaming goal.
Xbox Wire: OK, so let’s step back, then. How’d you end up being the first to 100,000? What made you go for that goal? How hard was that to achieve, and how did that compare with 1,000,000?
Stallion83: I guess it was around early 2006 when I really fell for the achievement system. I got all of the “Call of Duty 2” achievements, and then I was forever hooked — so from there I just started racking up the points and trying to get my Gamerscore as high as possible. First to 100,000 was an amazing feeling, but compared to 1,000,000, it was just a number along the way. 1,000,000 is something I will never forget in my lifetime.
Xbox Wire: Awesome. So, other than the 1,000,000th achievement, which achievement are you most proud of? Which one was the hardest for you to get? Is there any achievement that you look back on and say: “Man, why did I spend so much time on that one, when I could have gotten another one way easier?”
Stallion83: I always go back to the “Seriously!?” achievement in “Gears of War.” It requires 10,000 kills in ranked matches. I worked on that for several months straight, back when the game released — and I regret nothing! I probably could have gotten more Gamerscore playing other games and working on other achievements, but I wanted that achievement and the Gamer picture that came along with it. At that time, it was a badge of honor.
Xbox Wire: So, was it about more than just Gamerscore for you, then? The pictures and the bragging rights that come with proving that “Hey, I did this!” to other gamers were a big part of it?
Stallion83: I’d say it was more just wanting to hit my goal and prove to myself it could be done, and be the first to do it. I’m not the type of guy to go into GameStop and brag about my Gamerscore. I know what I did.
Xbox Wire: Fair enough. So, building on that: What do you think makes some players so interested in getting achievements, or racking up Gamerscore? You obviously had a specific record in mind that you broke. You achieved your goal. What is it, in your opinion, that drives the average gamer to unlock achievements?
Stallion83: Honestly? I think it’s the little achievement popping noise. Or, for some, it could be just racking up massive amounts of Gamerscore. For others, like completionists, they just like getting all the achievements in the games they play. I think the milestones of 10,000, 100,000, and so on are appealing. I like the idea of playing all the games and having those tied up and completed. I love it.
Xbox Wire: What’s it been like, interacting with people as you’ve come close to and surpassed your 1,000,000 goal? Has the fan support been positive? Have there been haters? How has it been interacting via Twitch?
Stallion83: The interaction has been incredible! It’s slightly overwhelming at times, but I try to get back to everyone. I think I shocked most of the people that have been following me for years, as they were not expecting me to rack up 17,000 Gamerscore over a single weekend. But the support via Xbox Live, Twitter, and Twitch has been amazing. Still today, a month after the fact, I get tons of congrats messages, and I still have people asking me if I ever did hit a million Gamerscore. And sure, there has been a fair amount of hate mixed in as well, but I have been receiving that for many years.
Xbox Wire: Wow, 17,000 in a single weekend? What was that like? What games did you play? What achievements did you get? What did you eat?
Stallion83: I had it all lined up to score about 17,000+ in a single day and achieve 1,000,000 Gamerscore in the process to end with a bang. That took many, many months to set up, since my score is where it’s at. I was a few weeks away from making that all a reality, but the “Titanfall” release was looming, and that weekend became the target date. I played a little of everything that weekend, and unlocked hundreds of achievements across more than 50 games. I played and unlocked achievements on literally every Xbox One game at the time except for “Thief,” a bunch of Xbox 360 games, even some foreign games. I barely slept, but I did eat well, and drank plenty of water!
Xbox Wire: Amazing. Do you have any tips and techniques to share with other gamers who might want to try to beat your score? What are some good ways to get Gamerscore fast? What are the pitfalls to avoid if you want to be an achievement master?
Stallion83: For me, it’s about mixing the games up as much as possible. I like keeping it fresh and going for the achievements in a game when I’m ready, since going for some achievements can be quite tedious. So playing another game, then coming back to an achievement down the line is how I like to approach it. It keeps things fun and makes it less of a grind.
Xbox Wire: So, now that you’ve gotten to 1,000,000, what’s next on your radar? What’s your next achievement?
Stallion83: In 2008, I said to myself, “after a million, I’m done.” Not done with gaming, but done chasing achievements and Gamerscore like I need them to breathe. And today I feel like I can’t accomplish anything else with Gamerscore. Two million? Ten million? I’d be like 110 years old! But I’m really loving the Xbox One, so I do have one last super-ambitious goal. I want to, at some point, chase down every last Gamerscore point available on the Xbox One. Even if it is for one day or 2 hours. That target is ever-moving and today I’m about 200 achievements away or roughly three- to four-thousand Gamerscore, right now, as we’re talking. Maybe I can catch it in the summer, or maybe at the first of next year. Maybe I’ll never catch it. It may never happen, but I’ll give it a shot. A thing that might keep me going like this for longer is if Xbox Live ever gets official Gamerscore leaderboards. People like leaderboards. Just saying.
Xbox Wire: We’ll keep that in mind! Last question, and this follows on what you just talked about: Do you think the whole Gamerscore quest has changed your approach to (or enjoyment of) games at all? Do you still game in the same way you did when you first picked up that Atari back in the day?
Stallion83: I don’t think it made me enjoy my games any less; I actually found more games that I enjoy because of the quest for Gamerscore. I don’t think I ever would have played the “LEGO” games, for example, if it wasn’t for my quest — and those games are awesome! As far as looking at a list, most achievements are done with normal progression anyway. I just like doing the extra stuff to get more out of my games. All the games.