Viewpoint: Trophies and Achievements have ruined gaming

Most of you, consciously or unconsciously, will already have formulated an opinion about this piece based upon its title and I don’t blame you. It is a bold statement I agree, but it is one that carries a lot of merit whether or not we choose to admit it or not. I’ll wager that many of you are disagreeing with this title thus far and that’s ok, but prepare to have your minds officially changed by the end of it…

Let us rewind several years before the current batch of consoles arrived in our living rooms, and to some extent, right at the beginning of the PS3’s life cycle. We had no achievements or trophies to brag about, helplessly chase or horde like a hyperactive child who hordes sweets. Consider this for a moment; were our experiences tarnished or worsened because of this? That’s right, no they were not.

Our cherished memories of retro titles is something that we will hold forever and we played them endlessly without any sort of reward in terms of achievements or trophies. Instead, we sufficed with our names at the top of a local leaderboard and personal satisfaction of completing a title on the hardest difficulty.

Now what do we have? An expectancy that a certain tune will sound every time we complete a given action and we seek them aimlessly like zombies who get off on this noise. Has this changed us? You bet it has. Any new game now has these capabilities which we have come to expect, and if someone dares not to include them then there would be hell to pay.

We don’t need these

Games that aren’t treated to trophy/achievements are snubbed, regardless of their quality, based on the fact that players will not ‘earn’ anything while playing them. We’ve all done it at some point because, think about it, what is one of the first things we do when we load up a new game? We scour the list of achievements and trophies to see which we can pick up the easiest.

This might seem like a simple thing but it is something that is drawing attention away from the quality of the game and towards the end product. In some cases, it makes us try and play a game as fast as we can just to get all the rewards before friends and colleagues in order to have temporary bragging rights, therefore reducing the experience.

This isn’t even just a problem with new games either, the problem has extended back to older games that get re-released via digital downloads or HD remakes. We can’t even play older games on modern consoles without developers and publishers whetting people’s appetites for achievement gathering.

It simply gives us no incentive to go back and play old games without trophies and achievements, thus ruining the experience all round. I can’t deny the fact that I have even fallen foul to this menace and it has undoubtedly changed my gaming habits forever I fear. So, when it comes to the next batch of consoles and games, I sincerely hope that we return to gaming simply for the entertainment and not have to worry about gathering rewards for completing the simplest of tasks. Although, I highly doubt this will happen.

What do you think?

5 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Trophies and Achievements have ruined gaming

  1. I think it would depend on the game or how it’s been implemented. That one you shared from whatever wrestling game that is, is clearly just filler game content. I don’t think it’s bad to include a few like completing a game on hard mode. Some can be worth grabbing about. Or maybe an achievement for a ridiculous game stunt that is hard to pull off. I don’t think it’s ruined gaming, at least I haven’t noticed it. Those I tend to interact with on WordPress and in my personal life never bring up achievements or trophies. But I can see people missing out if that’s all they want to do.

  2. I think it really depends on the player and how they view the achievements and trophies. I rarely look at what they are until I’ve finished the game (though I helpfully get told if I randomly achieve one). It is usually the second time through, or it is open world, when I’m done with main battles and quests, that I start looking at the list and just seeing what else I can do to stretch game time in a game I clearly liked.

  3. I mean they are absolutely meaningless. Do them when it feels fun/good/challenging. Leave them be when you want to enjoy a game for what it is.

    I am willing to bet large amounts on the fact that the majority of people don’t even care about achievements. At the very least if my friends list is to be believed.

  4. You’re giving the things too much credit. They haven’t ruined anything. They’ve replaced, to a degree, the scores of arcade games of old, but they haven’t done anything those scores did not do.

    Don’t like them? Just ignore them.

  5. Just really got into messing with trophies lately, while before on ps3 I actively avoided them.

    I instead started using them as the modern equivalent of unlockable hidden characters, costumes, etc (although definitely not as cool or worthwhile, but unlockables have really dropped with the rise in dlc), and they’re just a personal indication that I did everything possible in the game.

    To put it better: knocking out the trophy list on say mgsv, feels the same to me as maxing out the health meter on gargoyle’s quest 2, getting everything possible in ocarina, or getting one of every item in breath of fire 3.

    I really don’t understand people who use them as measuring sticks to others online (although I don’t understand why people pay attention to rankings either or care what others think for that matter), but if no one else but me sees my trophies, I’m perfectly happy since they’ve served their purpose for me. Plus I can always go back and look at the fancy little pictures and say “woo, wish I could use that as an avatar” 😛

What do you think?

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