Achievements: The Evolution of Gaming or Downfall?
Everywhere you look in gaming (outside of Nintendo), there’s achievements in some form or the other. Xbox 360 achievements, Steam’s achievements, PlayStation’s Trophies. Why, even looking at websites like GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Raptr… achievements. What’s the deal with these things and where did they come from?
There’s a lot of hatred for Achievements in general. I see the points of the hatred in some aspect. Are some achievements stupid? Yes. But then there’s some things that sort of feel like achievements. For example, I realized I had played too much Test Drive Unlimited when I unlocked the achievement to drive down every street in the game. It’s not that it made me better at the game. It’sjust like a memory unlock for me. If I ever look back on this stuff, I’m going to hit a memory bank and go, “Geez. I should have been doing something more resourceful with my time.”. But back to the hatred, I often wonder if the same hatred was around back in the 80’s when people spent quarter after quarter to get a High Score on their favorite arcade cabinet. Was that some form of e-peen growing mechanism as well?
The High Score was popular for many years, and still sort of is in some forms. We just call them Leaderboards now. When I was younger, I was in San Francisco, CA at Six Flags, and I got the High Score for Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in their arcades. It gave me that feeling of accomplishment that I was better than the guy, ASS, who was right below me. This is the same feeling when I see I got 10,000 kills in Gears of War while my brother hasn’t yet. High Scores should never go away, I think, and neither should your gamer score.
The only agreement I have with the haters of achievements is sometimes if the achievements are too easy, it boost the sales of games that suck. And then we have publishers thinking people don’t care about fun. They care about quick and non-fun games. I don’t really care if people ruin their own gameplay by only hunting achievements. It’s a game in itself sometimes.
I think there’s something in our nature to want to show off our skills in some form or the other, even if you’re showing off a skill that isn’t that impressive. While getting a crow-bar in Half-Life 2 isn’t really a feeling of acomplishment, defusing that bomb at the last second in Counter-Strike: Source certainly feels like one. However, I prefer the “memory bank” achievements with the actual achievements.
/back to my Platinum Trophy hunt in Assassin’s Creed 2.