In Defense of Achievements

Posted: December 2, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Achievement

For quite some time after I picked up an Xbox 360, I didn’t realize that there was a group of people that loathed achievements (and trophies, but I’m concentrating on the system I own). This is something I only just stumbled across a few years ago and, to be very honest, I don’t fully understand. I’ve also learned that this is one of those topics that seems to bring out the passion in people, so I’m probably asking for it with this post.

Now, to be clear, I’m not passionate about this subject. Not even slightly. I like achievements fine, but I’m not going to cry if they suddenly disappear. To me, they are a way for any of my online friends to see what I’ve been up to in the games I’ve been playing. Almost like a milestone journal of games I’ve played. I like that, and I enjoy perusing my friends’ achievements for this very reason.

The primary argument I hear is that they are unnecessary and are guilty of taking you out of the game world. Well, yes, they are unnecessary. I don’t recall anyone ever saying otherwise. As for them serving as a distraction, this has never bothered me as most are received after a certain milestone in the game, and the notification only appears once that section is complete. Still, if getting a notification during a tense section of Dead Space or Dead Space 2 didn’t take away from the atmosphere for me, I’m guessing I’m immune to this happening.

Maybe people would be less opposed if they were funnier?

Maybe people would be less opposed if they were funnier?

The biggest issue I have with people that actively complain about achievements (and trophies) is that the notifications can be turned off quite easily. That doesn’t mean you won’t score the achievement, just that you won’t be notified when you have done so. Many of the people I’ve encountered want them totally removed, totally disregarding the fact that some people do enjoy them. This is like not only refusing to eat a sandwich because a pickle was served on the side, but then insisting that the restaurant that served it totally stop serving pickles even though they remain popular and most people eat them.

Again, I’m not in love with achievements at all. There are times that I may play a bit differently just to get one, but only if I find the idea of doing so to be fun. I would never trudge through tedium for an achievement. If you don’t believe me, I refused to even attempt a particular gardening achievement in NIER, and if you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I adore that game. I’m also not a fan of games being required to have achievements. Forcing developers to shoehorn them in seems a bit asinine to me and if you want to complain about that aspect of achievements, I’ll be right there on your side.

Of the current consoles, I think Nintendo may have struck a good balance on this front by allowing posts to Miiverse that points out what you’ve accomplished while also leaving a note for others to read. On the flip-side, this method is also far more jarring than what achievements and trophies do, so if that’s your hang-up, I suspect you would hate this method.

Ultimately, these things do now exist and I doubt there is any going back. If you don’t like them, don’t complain, just cut them off. Just stop trying to take everyone else’s pickle in your unhappiness.

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