My Great Capture Screenshot 2015-02-28 12-21-21

Do You Still Care About Achievements/Trophies?

It’s no secret that a huge amount of gamers love obtaining achievements and trophies. Since their introduction during the last console generation, entire communities and websites have appeared, devoted to helping achievement hunters hear that satisfying ping noise on their TV screen. For a long time, I belonged to this group of people.

I received an Xbox 360 pretty soon after its initial launch, and not long after first seeing those fabled words, “Achievement Unlocked”, when playing Gears Of War for the first time, I became addicted to increasing my gamerscore. I was never one of those types who would play awful games just for the easy G (I remember a friend of mine purchased Disney’s Cars just for the gamerscore, shame on him), but I would try my best to obtain as many achievements in a game as I could. I’ve always considered myself a relatively skilled gamer, and having a system, that in theory would show to the world how competent I was at playing video games was fresh and exciting. Over the next couple of years, I spent a hell of a lot of time playing through games over and over again, in order to try to “100%” them.

I don’t own a PS4 or an Xbox One, (although I may get a PS4 at some point in the future) instead the only current-gen console I own is a Wii U. Although some Wii U games may have their own in-game kind of achievement/trophy system, i.e Bayonetta 2 contains 50 bewitchments that are essentially achievements, there doesn’t exist a standardized achievement system on the console, and Nintendo has stated that they have no intention of developing one either. At first, when I purchased my Wii U, I was a bit worried that I would miss my precious ‘chievos, but after owning Nintendo’s latest system for over a year, I’ve come to the realization that I completely agree with their decision to not implement an achievement-like system on their console.

Now, I don’t think achievements are terrible, far from it, some can be incredibly clever and funny, whilst some can challenge the player to push themselves to “perfect” a game, but let’s be honest, most simply involve the player performing extremely boring tasks in the pursuit of an arbitrary number or trophy. Win 100 games online, get 100 kills with this gun, complete the game on X difficulty mode, the majority aren’t exactly inspired.

My Great Capture Screenshot 2015-02-28 13-06-09

Yet, despite my reservations, I have a gamerscore of over 70000. Although I have attained quite a lot of achievements that I’m proud of (sad, I know), for the most part I now gaze upon this number every time I log onto my Xbox and ponder to myself, how much time did I waste doing menial tasks, just for more G’s? In all honesty, I don’t really want to know the answer.

The reason I’m bringing up this question now is because over the last couple of weeks I’ve gone back to my 360. I bought a few games for it that I’ve wanted to play for a while, and I find myself not caring about the achievements in any of these games. My time spent with the Wii U has made me realise that they really are not important at all, my belief is that they mostly serve to artificially enhance the length of a game by offering extra, mostly boring unimaginative challenges. My addiction of sorts in seeing an achievement pop-up caused me to forget why I play games in the first place; because they are fun, and grinding just to get 1000 kills with a certain gun, in order to add a measly 10G to my gamerscore is the antithesis of that.

Contrary to my initial thoughts about gamerscore when I first encountered them, I now no longer believe that gamerscore or trophies are a representation of a gamer’s skill level, rather they are just a sign of how much time a person has spent chasing something that is ultimately, meaningless. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade with this post, I know a lot of people genuinely enjoy achievement/trophy hunting, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, though personally I no longer care about achievements or trophies. So the question is, do you?

9 thoughts on “Do You Still Care About Achievements/Trophies?”

  1. Achievements were never really a priority for me. I only 100%-ed a handful of games, and those were the just the ones that I really wanted to have full completion on. I used to be more inclined to go for them back when I had friends on Xbox 360 (friendly competition) and when getting the achievements actually did something (Ex. Recon Armor in Halo 3 for getting all the Vidmaster achievements, or the in-game bonuses Mass Effect’s achievements awarded).

    I think achievements are great for those who enjoy collecting them. For me though, there has to be something else attached to to it in order for me to want it.

    1. Like you I don’t mind trying to unlock all the achievements in game that I love, just gives me another excuse to spend more time in that game, but it is a shame that most achievements feel a bit pointless and uninspired.

      I didn’t realise getting all of the vidmaster achievements in Halo 3 unlocked an in-game bonus, that’s a cool idea. I remember Soulcalibur 4 featured a similar thing whereby the more achievements you had, the more customizable items that were available.

      If gamers enjoy getting achievements then that’s fine, but if they are not having fun whilst doing so, then I don’t really see the point.

  2. I don’t think I’ve played a single game just for achievements/trophies alone. They just aren’t much on my gaming radar, though I’m always impressed but the true hunters. If anything, whenever an achievement or trophy pops up, sometimes its title make me laugh, but that’s as far as my relationship with them goes.

    1. I’ve never played a game just for the achievements/trophies, but unfortunately I have done a lot of boring tasks just to unlock them. I agree true achievement hunters are impressive, I remember following some guy who was the first person to break the 1 million gamerscore barrier.

      I now have a similar relationship with achievements/trophies as you do, and I’m enjoying my gaming more because of it.

  3. Good write up – I’ve fallen prey to the “gotta catch’em all” feeling of achievements, it’s often something I have to work at letting go of.

    I try to go a sort of middle ground where I look up the achievements that actually sound fun or I can complete as I play through (somewhat) normally, and then I go through those. The crazy ones I leave :-)

    1. I used to try very hard to get all the achievements, as well. This desire kind of died when I started to see a lot of achievements that required an Internet connection, and my console is not connected to the Internet. Now I only go for the ones that are actually fun or ones that might be a challenge I would be proud to accomplish. If it looks like a pain, I won’t bother.

  4. When I first got the Xbox 360, I thought achievements were pretty awesome, and I tried my hardest to get as many as I could. But, it didn’t take me long to come to the same realization as you. Most of them are boring. Many of them are simply given to players for accomplishing something they would’ve done anyway, like the trophies in Kingdom Hearts you receive for finishing each world. Others are the boring kind like you say (many of which I can’t get, as they involve doing stuff online, and I haven’t connected any of my consoles to the Internet). The only games I can think of that had interesting achievements were Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, which gave players some truly strange tasks to complete, and Rayman Legends, which had challenges like, don’t touch even one laser in the laser level. Which was pretty hard, but it was so satisfying to get that trophy at the end after traversing that deadly laser obstacle course like a limbless secret agent.

    The Ratchet and Clank series has a similar thing with Skill Points, but these are usually very unique challenges, and you get rewarded for completing them. I think you can buy secrets and cheats or something. Insomniac knows how to do achievements right. There isn’t much point in trophies or achievements when it’s nothing more than a number.

  5. These things have turned gaming into a challenging chore for me. It really made me think of a game as more than an experience…each game os a potential platinum. I hate it. I own all three consoles, and Nintendo feels the most pure, but I really am thinking about just making a profile where I don’t look at trophies or achievements at all. Then I think about abandoning my old profiles…can’t pull the trigger. This console generation brought to light OCPD, which I probably have.

    1. I agree that the challenges make gaming into a chore. I then get obsessed and try to complete all these boring challenges I would never do otherwise. I don’t even have fun collecting achievements. I only do it because it’s there. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. And yet, even as I say this, I get excited every time I get a trophy, and I go look and see what other trophies I’m heading towards. I need to not even look any more.

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