The high score doesn’t mean anything anymore. In the current gaming environment, games focus on playing against other players or playing against a story. Back in the day when people went to arcades, you couldn’t mess with the high score list, now with the internet, people have figured out how to hack the games and put up any number they want. But aside from the people hacking the games, there are others who don’t want to put in the time for just a score, they want to feel like they accomplished something.
Current games don’t make for good high score games. The current trend of the game industry makes games that are more known for their story and gameplay then for a score. Look at Skyrim, there is no score at all, just a story to keep you playing. Even in games that allow you to have some sort of scoring, Halo for example, the scoring is simply an afterthought. In Halo Reach when you play through the campaign you can have a scoring system, but what is the point of a scoring system if you can’t beat the campaign? When you do consider Halo’s scoring system, it comes second to playing through the game.
Another reason that the high score has gone away is that you are now able to play against your fellow gamers more. When video games were first starting, the only way to interact with another player was to compare scores, now you can just play a game together.
Another problem with the high score is that people are able to mess with the high score lists. If you play online games, such as any game on Facebook, the high score list is broken. To fix this problem, Facebook resets the list every month or so. So even if you get a good score, it wont stay for very long. I don’t know of any PC games that have a good high score list, they are all broken. Super Meat Boy for example, on steam, all of the best times are impossible, they are all listed as 1 second.
The final killer of the high score is that gamers want to feel like they accomplished something when they play a video game. With old arcade games, like Donkey Kong or Ms Pacman, you had three lives to accomplish as much as possible. There were no save points, and when you died, you started back at the beginning. Gamers now don’t want to put the time into a game that is so brutal. Gamers now want to feel like they have done something, and current games, like Halo, Call of Duty, and Skyrim, give you that sense of accomplishment.
The high score has died off for several reasons. People want to play games that give them a sense of accomplishment. Almost all games that you can play on the PC have been hacked which makes high scores irrelevant. Lastly, the games that are coming out don’t make for good high score games. Mostly, this is because the games either don’t have a score system, or the scoring is simply an afterthought.