In this Reader Discussion segment Fysh and I will weigh in on the seemingly controversial topic of achievements and trophies in video games. Everyone seems to share a different attitude in regards to earning achievements/trophies, whether it be positive or negative. Some people care a lot about gaining these rewards while others couldn’t possibly care less about them and there are varying reasons for both sides of the coin. It mostly comes down to the individual and what they really want out of their overall gaming experience which is why we thought this topic would be great as a Reader Discussion.
I’ll be straight with you, I am on the fence with this subject. On one hand I enjoy getting trophies and achievements since they fill me with a sense of accomplishment but on the other hand I hate that they are lorded over me by others in an attempt to show off their “gamer cred”.
Trophies and achievements serve a positive purpose at their core. As I said above they give us a sense of accomplishment when we hear that ping. They also push us to go further, beat the game multiple times, do challenging things and generally spend more time with a game. This is taking into consideration that you care about getting them at all. If you look over at my trophy card there on the right hand side of this page you’ll see that I only have 2 platinum trophies, one of them is for Telltale’s The Walking Dead which only requires you to beat the game to get the platinum and the other is for PlayStation All Stars which was another really easy one. As far as achievements go I only have The Walking Dead 100%’d (again) and I think I have four 100%’s for the Xbox 360 (which I am actually kind of proud of since they took a lot of time and effort). I like getting trophies and achievements but there are some out there that I don’t even bother with, which is why I even come close to saying I’m an achievement/trophy hunter.
The other side of my fence, if you will, has less to do with the actual achievements/trophies and more to do with the community. I really dislike it when people try to act like they are better gamers than others because of how many platinums or 100%’s they have. I mean sure, be proud because you deserve to be, but don’t try to tell me I am less of a gamer because I don’t really care about a number next to my name. To me, trophies and achievements aren’t even half of the overall gameplay experience so when folks say that they mean everything it just makes me think they don’t even care about the game itself – only the score they earned off of it. Another issue? Multiplayer trophies/achievements. You all know what I’m talking about. *cough*TOMB RAIDER*cough*
All in all I will remain on the fence. I enjoy achievements/trophies about as much as I find them annoying. I don’t want them gone, but I want people to stop treating them like they are the only thing that matters in a game. There are people out there who wont play older games that came out without trophies/achievements (such as Heavenly Sword) or games that don’t have a platinum trophy available which is pretty darn silly since who cares just play the game and have fun. We should play games to enjoy them first, trophies and achievements should always take the backseat to the gameplay experience as a whole.
Personally, I think in general trophies/achievements serve to cheapen a game by adding artificial value and replayability. However, some of these can be fun and interesting, and maybe that artificial extra value isn’t always a bad thing. The problem is the over saturation of the cheaper ones. These of course being things like getting trophies for simply completing a level, getting a certain number of kills with certain weapons, having certain completion times, etc. These are either just pointless handouts, or simply a reason to compulsively monitor certain stats in a game. Things like this can be annoying when all you really want to do is play the game and enjoy it.
That being said, the types I think are more worthwhile are those earned for things like completing the game on the hardest difficulty, taking on extra challenging task that you might not normally think to do in a game, or finding all the secrets in a game. These provide incentive to get the most out of your game and add extra value by encouraging you to play in ways you might not have done otherwise.
Being a somewhat obsessive compulsive gamer I sometimes find myself wasting time trying to get trophies or achievements, and I have come to realize that it can hurt the game experience when this happens. I don’t focus on simply playing and enjoying a game when I get too wrapped up in trying to 100% it. But I do find some of the more interesting and inventive achievements to be fun and worthwhile. I always go for the hardest difficulty as well, so getting extra rewards for doing so is kind of nice. Should it matter that I get digital props for doing so though? I remember when I would beat games on the hardest difficulty and all I got for it was a sense of accomplishment and the right to boast to my friends about it. Of course there was no achievement I could point to prove I did it, but that was just part of the honor code of gamers back then.
Ultimately the bottom line is that achievements/trophies are simply meaningless fluff added to game these days for a sense of accomplishment and bragging rights. They can be fun, and even add extra value, but they can also be annoying and pointless. The simple truth is we as gamers can take or leave them when all is said and done. We don’t have to acknowledge them just because they are there, but if we choose to, we can take them for what they are worth and maybe get some extra enjoyment out of our games.
What’s your take?
- What do achievements and/or trophies mean to you?
- Are you an achievement/trophy hunter? Why?
- What are your reasons for liking or disliking achievements/trophies?
- Would you play a game right now that didn’t have achievements/trophies?
- Do you strive for 100%’s or platinum trophies or not? Why?
Share your thoughts/opinions. Get loud, be heard, speak your mind! We’d love to read your feedback.