Since the dawn of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, gamers have been introduced to the new phenomenon known as Achievements (360), or Trophies (PS3). These seemingly harmless little boosts of ego pop up on your screen as you complete certain objectives during gameplay. Achievements and Trophies have different value, depending on the feat that you have just accomplished. Adding up all of your accomplishments, they combine to form your “Gamerscore” or “Trophy Level”, which is the proof of your video game prowess, or lack thereof in some cases.
When this new concept was initially introduced to the gaming world, I thought that it was an awesome idea. What better way to show people your skill at video games than a tracker that proclaims your feats? Adding the ability to compare your accomplishments with other players around the world, it was a great way to compete and brag about your skills. I must say that I was a self-proclaimed “Achievement Hunter” years ago, completing as many games as I could to boost my score. What I wouldn’t do, however, is play Gamerscore boosting games, like the horrendous Avatar games, or any movie tie-ins. They have a reputation for being excellent farming tools to increase your achievement or trophy level.
Sadly, there are people out there who play these games for that specific reason. Why? They have a need. A need to hear that little kadunk sound issue from their television screens. I myself love that little sound, informing me that I have just unlocked an achievement. It’s irresistible, and highly addicting. The point I’m trying to make here is that in recent times, I find myself playing games not for enjoyment, but for unlocking achievements. Sure, the game may be fun somewhat, but for some strange reason, I feel like I need to be always playing toward unlocking an achievement, never to just enjoy the great art before my eyes. For instance, I loved the game Batman: Arkham City. I played through the whole game twice, found all the riddler trophies, and am playing through all the challenge and campaign levels. Just to unlock all the achievements. It’s like an itch that must be scratched. It’s so hard for me and many other gamers to let some achievements go unlocked.
Reading through numerous gaming websites and forums, the main theme that I have taken note of is that gamers are more worried about achievement and trophy lists than the game itself. What has the gaming world fallen into to be more questioning about the little ego boosters than the game itself? This had me take a good hard look at myself. I realized that I had been subconsciously keeping track of my Gamerscore, raising it year after year. I am now over 50,000, higher than any of the people on my friend’s list on Xbox Live. I’m not bragging, just showing how horribly blinding this new concept is. Whatever happened to the good old in game unlockables? I think that method was excellent in rewarding its player for accomplishing many of the games challenges.
By no means am I urging all of you gamers out there to throw down your controllers in disdain and refuse to play any games because of the addictiveness of achievements and trophies. I’m just asking you to take a good look at yourself, just like I did, and ask yourself why you are playing games today. Is it solely to earn achievements or trophies? If so, are you really having fun? If you are, then good for you. I’ve become disenchanted with the gaming world the past year or so due to achievements, and it’s not because I’m old. I’m a twenty-three year old man in my prime.
My question is this; Have achievements and trophies ruined your gaming experience in any way? If so, how? I hope that this article has made you think about the gaming world in a new light, and that you will keep the important aspects important, the gameplay! The Story! The development! Leave some comments, and as always, keep on gaming!