Achievements Anonymous: An Introduction
GodisaGeek.com introduces a new series of features, in which Lee takes a look at the world of Achievement/Trophy hunting. This first edition of Achievements Anonymous provides an introduction to the world of Achievements and Trophies, and Lee’s own reasons for Achievement hunting.
If you listen to the Godcast every week (and you should, because it is bloody good), you will be well aware of our regular Achievement of the Week section, wherein the cast give the low-down on an Achievement or Trophy that they are particularly proud of earning. You will also be aware of my own desire to obtain all the Achievements/Trophies within a game (where possible), a goal that is frequently greeted with chants of “Achievement Whore” by our very own Executive Editor, Calvin Robinson.
But no longer will I take the jeers and name calling lying down; for I do not consider myself an “Achievement Whore”. My methods of systematically wringing a game of all of its content is not because I want a gigantic Gamerscore so that I can have a bigger e-penis; in fact, the points I earn from Achievements are the thing that matter least to me. It is simply a case trying to get as much value, challenge and enjoyment out of a game as possible.
As a fan of the medium for two and half decades, I grew up with the gruelling difficulty of games in the 8-Bit era. The challenges set by the developers of this time period were tough and mostly unfair (usually down to poor or primitive game design), but the excitement felt after defeating a particularly tough boss, or solving a really evil puzzle was, for me, the best part of playing a game. As games got friendlier (tutorials? Pfft, that’s what the manual is for, and we don’t read those), that euphoric sense of accomplishment was lost over the console generations.
It took the arrival of Achievements and Trophies, to bring some of that feeling back to my gaming sessions. They gave me ways to challenge my skills and do things in games that I just don’t do any more. Would I have spent weeks trying to finish all of the Tactical Challenges in Vanquish without the virtual carrot of an Achievement? Most likely I would have completely ignored the mode in the first place, missing out on one of the most memorable and satisfying experiences I have ever had in my entire gaming career. Actually, I would say that the hard work and challenge in obtaining these virtual rewards have been some of the more memorable gaming moments I have experienced over the past decade or so.
Then there’s the matter of me being a total completionist. When I buy a game with my own money, I want to make the most of it. I want to see all there is to see and get every item and unlockable I can, so that I can move onto the next game I buy. In that respect it boils down to what your definition of value is, in terms of video games. Some are perfectly happy to reach the ending of a game, then move onto the next title.
For the first couple of years of owning an Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 I pretty much ignored Achievements/Trophies, it was only when looking at how much I was spending on games a month, against how much I actually played them. £20-40 is a lot of money for a consumable medium, so I felt it was in my interest to make that investment stretch out as much as possible. Especially as buying a property has become one of my life priorities in recent years.
So, with that said, I feel that the negative stigma of Achievement/Trophy hunting is an unjust one. While I do focus a lot of gaming time on the pursuit of Achievements, I definitely believe that it is never at a cost to my enjoyment of the game itself. If you are playing a game specifically for Achievements or Gamerscore (I’m looking at you, those who bought Avatar: Burning Earth), then you really need to step back and look at why you play games. I would also say that this ongoing feature is probably not for you.
Those of you who see Achievements and Trophies as an optional bonus, a milestone of completion or simply an added challenge, then you are more than welcome in this little corner of the Interweb.
Over the coming articles, I’ll be taking a look at how to get the most of your games via Achievements/Trophies, I’ll also be offering some tips for getting some of the trickier Achievements out there. I may even focus on a particular game, diarising my progress and offering helpful advice (like Patrick Moore’s titular GamesMaster, only with a lot more hair).
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s Achievement-related stories or comments, maybe I’ll even feature them here. Feel free to leave a comment on this article or Tweet me @WhiteSpyderZero
Now that the pleasantries are over, look forward to future Achievements Anonymous; only on GodisaGeek.com.