>I have done some stupid things for these digital stamps like fiddling with the program memory or changing the system clock on my computer.
Yep, I can recall doing much the same with certain games in the past. There was actually this one achievement contained within one of Mafia 2's DLC packs, where you needed to drive a ridiculous amount of miles in-game to get it. Doing it manually would've been way too tedious so, to more easily expedite the process, I followed this tip I found online of how to glitch out of the map so your vehicle was constantly "moving" and accumulating progress towards the achievement. The catch was that you needed to have one of the buttons on the controller be periodically pressed to keep the game "active" (taping down the triggers wasn't enough), otherwise it would just auto-pause. Or something to that effect, which also couldn't be disabled. Anyway, since I didn't have a turbo controller (the hassle getting one would've saved me, let me tell you), I jerry-rigged a fan with a pencil taped to it, so as to constantly tap one of the buttons on my controller, which I had also taped to an adjacent vertical object to better situate it. It was the most ridiculous thing you'd ever seen, but it worked. Pretty much ruined the controller in the process (what with all the sticky tape & shit that was stuck to it afterwards), but at least I got my precious achievement. I can also remember autistically freaking out when I thought my brother had messed with the fan, therefore potentially interrupting my progress towards the achievement, which then led to me bogarding our families only TV at the time to make sure everything was alright. I'd like to say that was the only time I went crazily overboard for an achievement, but, sadly, there were many more similar moments to that one, grinding or banging my head against a wall on this or that achievement, all the while stuck in a stinking quagmire of my own making.
>I'm not even in a competitive achievement group and the number of steam friends
Neither was I, really. For six years, starting in 2008, I was an achievement hunter on PS3 (I know they're technically termed as trophies, but I often just refer to them as achievements now, since it simply feels like an easier shorthand to use). Anyway, all the "friends" on my PSN account, were just boosting partners I'd forgotten to delete, or just left sitting there in case I needed them again in the future, after I had finished boosting a particular game. They'd sometimes ask me about how good/bad a particular game I was playing at the time was, but, aside from that, I never interacted with them. In the end, it was basically all business. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. If I'm honest though, I was always too anxious to make it anything more than that.
The competitive aspect was only a self-imposed sort of thing when I discovered the likes of PSNP, which tracked one's completion ratio, trophy rarity, and global standing. At the same time, I was pretty much aloof about the whole thing, since, like yourself, I wasn't part of any larger groups that could take notice of it, so what did it matter? Throughout it all I always had this sense of something to prove, though. Prove to whom? Well myself, of course. No matter how hard or how rare the trophies were and no matter how wonderful the sense of satisfaction was when I finally got them, it was never enough. Before too long, those same hard earned trophies, would be worth less than dirt to me and I'd need to go proving myself all over again, in some other dreadful experience. Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill, basically. As a result, I'd pretty much just check my standing on PSNP only to autistically manage my profile & oogle at my own vain little monument to myself. It was also, perhaps most importantly, a record of continuity for myself. One that, to this day, I find I can't do without in some form. Instead, I just keep a list of all the games I finish, which, for the most part, satiates this same need for a sense of progress & continuity.
>It's simply torment for my OCD.
You got that right. I liken it to the talons of a hawk being squarely embedded in my brain. Squeezing & digging in harder & harder the more reluctant I became into abiding my obsession and carrying through with this self-defeating sense of due diligence. No matter how mind-numbingly dreadful the task might have been, or often was, I had become enslaved to the irrational compulsion that it simply must be done
. Even if it drove me very nearly to the point of complete madness, as it quite often did, I soldiered on. That was until I eventually reached my breaking point near the end of 2014. The whole culmination of that six year long self-inflicted ordeal did irreparable harm to my mental health & emotional state, leaving me intensely anxiety ridden for weeks afterwards. In the end, I came out the other side of it, but it'd be disingenuous to say that my OCD still doesn't plague me. Dropping my trophy obsession lessened the grip of those proverbial talons to a certain degree, but at the cost of my continuity & sense of self-worth, however flawed & prideful it may have been.
Since the end of 2014, following my falling out with trophies, I've been gaming exclusively on PC. At first I found it quite difficult to participate in gaming as a much needed distraction from myself without the ever present scoreboard of my PSN profile, tallying all my dubiously illustrious feats, but as the months went on, I managed to forget and in fact appreciate its absence.
I'd hardly say I'm "free", though. As much as it pains me to admit it, those self-defeating tendencies still linger in me. No doubt that it's all far easier to ignore than it used to be, but that need to endlessly prove myself remains in me still. I don't use Steam often, but in the times when I do, it's hard to ignore the achievements present in certain games. Playing Thief 2014 on Steam for example I went after most of the achievements there, like all the difficulty modifier ones, just so I could feel that same sense of accomplishment I got with trophies. As it is, at least I don't bother to get every achievement nowadays. Just most of them, or the most worthy ones.
Torrenting almost all the games I play, thereby freeing me of the sorts of similar achievement systems present on Steam, helps a lot to keep me on track, but, even then, I find myself still feeling like I need to prove myself somehow. This mostly takes the form of always playing on the highest difficulty available, assuming it's not ludicrously or obnoxiously hard (one hit & you die, or something like that). That combined with the list I keep of all the games I finish, allows me a pseudo-sense of progress, middling self-satisfaction & continuity, somewhat similar to the kind I had when trophy/achievement hunting all those years ago. It's imperfect and can often cause me as much stress as trophies/achievements did, (gotta finish this crappy game so I can add it to my list, gotta collect everything or complete the hardest challenges so I can feel good about myself, etc.), but it's the best middle ground I've been able to find.
I'm actually in the middle of playing Shovel Knight for the first time, (the GoG version, which I got off rutracker), and the achievement system present in the game itself referred to as "feats", is triggering my OCD in this regard. I just wanted to finish it and move on, but I've found myself trying to do most of the "feats", or achievements, triggering that old obsession. I hate it when developers do this. Why can't they leave this sort of shit out of the game for fuck's sake? I've told myself I'll only collect like 80% of them and leave it at that, since any of the achievements related to clearing the game without any deaths or destroying all the checkpoints would be way too much of an unfun hassle for me to do and I'd rather not have that ruin the game for me, like similar sorts of things have for other games in the past.