Ever since the release of the Xbox 360, gamers have been treated to a special pat on the back from the games they play in the forms of achievements for said system as well as trophies for the PS3. Being the great individualists that they are, Nintendo didn’t jump on this bandwagon. All games for the Xbox 360 and most games for the PS3 hand out a special “ding” when certain conditions are met (and for convenience and to save my sanity, let’s just refer to both achievements and trophies as achievements. Think of it in a square/rectangle comparison: earning a trophy is an achievement, but earning an achievement isn’t necessarily a trophy. And now that your mind is blown, let us continue). So, does the “ding” make the game better? Does earning an achievement really make a difference in the experience?
To be perfectly frank, I don’t know if I would miss achievements if they were taken out completely. They seem to deter from the experience of playing the game. It becomes a contest of who has a higher gamer score or trophy count. Check the games people play. I wager the people with the most achievements are more “achievement whores” than legitimate gamers. There is no reason a 28 year old guy should have Spongebob Surf & Skate Roadtrip in their list of achievements unless they are conducting a review of it (for the record, I don’t have Spongebob anywhere near my achievement list. My wife would kill me if his image was close to the TV. And furthermore, if you’re reviewing this game, what’s wrong with you? (Editor’s Note: Unless it’s for Kid’s Corner of course! =D -JG)).
If you’re gaming for the achievement, you miss out on actually playing the game. Achievements can extend the replayability of a game, but shouldn’t be the focal point. A game should be enjoyed because it is a good game. The lack of achievements wouldn’t ruin Oblivion or Batman: Arkham City. I love the Legend of Zelda series and haven’t felt the desire to obtain an achievement for defeating a Gleeok.
I have an idea for game developers. You don’t need to get rid of the achievement. If it’s a selling point, that’s fine. I know this is a business. I would like to see someone try this in a game: require the completion of a game before enabling achievements. Think about it. You go through a game and enjoy it for all of the effort that the developer put into creating it. You get an achievement for beating the game. Of course, you missed a lot of content in your first run through. To practically guarantee a second run, the achievements are unlocked.
I don’t hate achievements. I just think a game should be enjoyed on its own merit. A bad game is a bad game, achievement or no acievement. If you are an achievement whore, believe me, it doesn’t impress anyone. Telling me you beat Wall Street Kid on the NES, now that’s impressive.
Oh, and the best achievement/trophy ever created? Hands down one obtained in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection titled: “Problem Solved. Series Over.” If you were able to comprehend the MGS storyline, this is friggin’ hilarious.
Just In Bailey –an homage to the secret code from Metriod, which allowed you to play as Samus Aran without her suit– is an editorial column at Vagary.TV brought to you by Joey Alesia. Each week Joey will challenge you to look at a different perspective of the characters, gameplay, and/or plot in your favorite games. Chat up your thoughts below, or send Joey an e-mail at Joey.Alesia@vagary.tv