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Games Entertainment

The Best Achievements 107

Like them or not, achievements have become a staple of modern gaming, giving players goals to strive for and a measuring stick with which they can compare themselves to random strangers on the internet. Eurogamer discusses why they've become so popular, and takes a look at some of the most entertaining examples. Quoting: "... we mock Achievement points because they spell out in large numbers what is so pathetic about video games. But we also celebrate them, because, when used in funny, creative or interesting ways, they also spell out what is so compelling and wonderful about video games. Because for every Achievement in which you have to do nothing more than play through a tutorial there's another that subverts convention, rewarding you for skipping it instead. For every fetch quest that has you collecting dogtags for the millionth time, there's another that makes you fight the baddy with your arms tied behind your back. And for every Achievement you earn in jest for pressing the start button, there's another that only rewards the single best player in the world."
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The Best Achievements

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  • What Can I Say? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn@nOspam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:34PM (#27961695) Journal

    With a grand total of 311,673 gamerpoints, Xbox Live User Stallion83 has won more in-game achievements than any other player. Indeed, he's earned the full 1000 gamerpoints for no less than 204 of the 437 games he's played on his Xbox 360, a Herculean accomplishment of time, effort and, in a great many cases, skill. And yet, as the URL of his website, www.1milliongamerscore.com makes perfectly clear, Stallion83's quest for numerical glory is not even halfway done.

    People love recognition. And you're making this published online? Finally, something you can look at at the end of a day spent gaming and feel some sort of achievement (no matter how small).

    Hats off to you, Stallion83. I somehow envy and pity you at the same time.

    Hell, I myself am guilty of this on the very site we are communicating on (reminds me, need to go moderate to keep that running total).

    Brilliant move on Microsoft's part (can I say that here?). Certainly not original but ingenious to add an additional level of addiction.

    • Re:What Can I Say? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Freaky Spook ( 811861 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:47PM (#27961791)

      Brilliant move on Microsoft's part (can I say that here?). Certainly not original but ingenious to add an additional level of addiction.

      Being more into the story, or the action of the game, I am usually pretty oblivious to the Achievement system, and find achievements are earned pretty randomly for any stupid little nuance the creators decided to include.

      I don't replay titles just to collect achievements, like Assassins Creed where you get an achievement for collecting every flag in the game, to me that's just completley pointless.

      I know some people obsess over their achievement score though, and occasionally I end up in a lobby with some kid bragging about his score, or people picking on other people because they have low achievement scores and it reminds me of why it was so good to finish high school to get away from that crap.

    • Obligatory link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdZC5LJswFE [youtube.com]

      *Badeep badoop!* Achievement Unlocked!
    • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yliruj]> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:58PM (#27961875)

      Certainly not original but ingenious to add an additional level of addiction.

      I wonder if we need more addiction for today's games. Why not just make it, you know, fun?

      • Re:What Can I Say? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @06:10AM (#27963983)

        I don't think that achievements are related to how addictive a game is. I see them as acknowledgement of your time spent with a game. I like them because after playing a game for a few hours there is recognition of my time spent and what I have done in that time.

        This is especially true in multiplayer games, or puzzle games that you play over and over. With a single player story you can measure achievement by how far through you are. But after 100 games of Settlers of Catan, or Gears of War you aren't any further forward. Achievements very simply show what you achieved in a game.

        Now I don't subscribe to the whole 'collect every last X' type achievements that require players to scour levels for every last bit of junk. But when they are used properly they reward players for playing well, and for doing things over and above in the game. A good example of this is in Left 4 Dead. A lot of the achievements are given when you take a risk and pull it off. For instance there is one for leaving the safe room to help another player, rewarding the kind of play that makes the game more exciting and enjoyable for the whole team.

        • Re:What Can I Say? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @07:02AM (#27964335)

          Thank you for mentioning L4D. Because some of the achivments are actually diametrally CONTRARY to the main theme of the game: Teamwork.

          Examples? The one where you can only use pistols. How does this empower my team if I deliberately reduce my capability to fight? I become a liability for my team.

          No HP-kit or healing someone when you have less than 10 HP yourself. Same. To get this achivement, you have to play "stupid". You throw away a HP kit in both cases. In the first example, you pretty much become a pill hogger, depriving your team from this resource. In the latter, you are possibly wasting your HP kit (which you should definitly use at 10 HP or less) just to get that achivement.

          And so on.

          I don't say all achivements in L4D are braindead. Some are very, very intelligent. Though I wish they had put more emphasis on achivements that reward teamplay. How about one where you get an achivement for a few 1000 saves? Or where you can actually lose achivements again if you consistantly play like a selfish prick?

          • Re:What Can I Say? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @08:34AM (#27965249)

            I think the idea of achievements like the pistols only one is that everyone in the team goes for it at once. Thereby creating a new kind of mode. A bit like the WoW achievements where you have to complete a fight in a certain way that makes it more challenging.

          • by Chabo ( 880571 )

            The pistols are awesome because the ammo is unlimited. The pistols really aren't much worse than the AR at most things, and with the exception of close-range Tank combat, the pistols are better than the shotgun.

            Healing someone when you have less than 10 life is done easily, and without wasting your health pack, when one of your teammates was just brought back from incapacitation. Their health is lower than yours in this case, in every sense but numerically.

          • I like the achievements in L4D, but then again I don't try to get them on purpose. When one of them pops up, I look at that as the game congratulating me for doing something interesting. Yeah, if you have achievement whoring 'tards on your team, that sucks, but odds are, they'd still be 'tards even if they weren't whoring achievements.

            (the exception to not trying for achievements are things like only pistols - which I think can make the game more fun for you AND your team - IF you let them know.)

          • Believe it or not, I actually got the less than 10 HP medkit achievement in a not-stupid way. Tank tore up the party, two people (me one of them) below 10 HP. The other guy had already been knocked out twice, so a third time would kill him. I hadn't been knocked out at all. I had the only medkit. You can probably figure out what I did.
        • Maybe not addictive, but it certainly appeals to people's basic desire to finish what they start. I feel especially sorry for people with OCD. They should incorporate some sort of auto-disable of achievements for people who can't stop. Maybe at the start of the game, they should tell you to click on a target that moves away from the cursor, or hit 'B' to abort, and then turn off achievements for anyone who spends more than 5 seconds trying to click it.

          Of course, if they did that, they'd probably make ach

    • Sort of (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @12:03AM (#27961911) Journal

      Sort of, but not everyone, or not in the same way. For example, as early as the first online games (MUDs), Bartle wrote his classic paper in which he distinguished the following kinds of players and their interactions with the game and with each other:

      - achievers, who love achieving stuff. They want to have the biggest score, the most virtual money, have the full top-tier equipment set, etc

      - explorers, who are mostly interested interested in reverse engineering your game. They want to discover places, or to reverse engineer how your game works, or whatever other intellectual pursuits. Many actually don't care much about material achievements or titles, except in as much as they're needed to explore. Their "achievements" are all about knowledge gained, not stuff you could hang on the wall or sum up in points.

      - socializers, who are pretty much just using your game as a chat room which incidentally happens to also have a game on the side. These people are there to make friends, organize some guild party, stuff like that. And chat lots. Although you could point out that these are their own kind of achievements, they're also not the kind that's easy to automatically measure and slap a title on.

      - "killers", named so because their greatest reward is driving someone off the game, effectively perma-killing them off. They're the kind who'll try to harrass, annoy, give you grief, etc. Or what the rest of the world calls "griefers" or "trolls". Their favourite prey are the ones who take unwarranted hostility personally, i.e., the socializers. Although the "killers" title can be confusing, don't confuse them with PvP-ers. A lot of PvP-ers are actually just achievers (e.g., for the honour points), and a lot of killers actually are more creative with their harrassment than camping your corpse all day.

      Anyway, again, it's the kind of thing which is hard to measure in achievements. And most killers don't care much about their character (including equipment, titles, etc) as such anyway, it's just a harrassment tool. Think of all the guys who didn't even bother getting another armour than the death shroud in UO, for example. Their achievement wasn't having the best looking outfit, but the fact that they could gank you repeatedly when you went mining. A lot bought disposable accounts who will get banned, but hopefully serve their purpose as harrassment tools in the meantime. What makes anyone think that on such a disposable account any titles achieved on a character matter at all?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In order:

        Diamonds, spades, hearts, clubs.

      • by Maserati ( 8679 )

        Funny, TF2 has a "griefing" Achievement:

        BarbeQueQ: Cause a dominated player to leave the server.

        Pyro only. I definitely want this one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Congratulations, Stallion83... you ARE the biggest loser!
  • by Haoie ( 1277294 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:37PM (#27961721) Homepage

    Great fun to watch and to do. Although these usuall aren't "official achievements", as they tend to exploit the game in some way or another.

    A good classic example: Super Metroid

  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:41PM (#27961747)

    Because as we know, there are achieved achievements; there are things we know we achieved.

    We also know there are unachievable achievements; that is to say we know there are some achievements we can not achieve. But there are also unachieved achievements -- the achievements we don't know we didn't achieve.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:43PM (#27961767)

    Which is why this is the greatest game of all time


  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:47PM (#27961783)

    City of Heroes did the whole 'Accomplishments' thing fairly early on. [badge-hunter.com]

    Some of my favorites are

    'Untouchable' - Defeat 200 mobster bosses.
    'Speeder' and 'Speed Demon' - Navigate the Christmas-only ski slopes in Pocket D (twitch-haters LOATHE these since they cannot be ground.)
    'Transmogrified' - Save the Terra Volta nuclear reactor core from melting down while it's being attacked by waves of enemies (Skyraiders, Freaks, or Rikti aliens). This is, incidentally, also the trial which earns players the right to respecify their powers.

    Two of the hardest to achieve are 'Master at Arms' and 'Demolitionist'. They require the player to participate in 10 or more 3-6 group raids to plant bombs on the crashed Rikti Mothership and then to fight the Rikti Master at Arms, U'kon G'rai (You con grey).

    • Smash Brothers Melee, I believe, had trophies that also functioned as achievements before the idea got big. Or did the achievement-based trophies only show up in Brawl and I'm remembering incorrectly?
      • by Bonker ( 243350 )

        They showed up in the first SSB. The number was greatly increased in Melee and then again in Brawl, adding 'stickers' to the mix.

      • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @05:09AM (#27963591) Homepage

        Nethack has had "achievements" for a long time. Atheist conduct (never pray), Illiterate conduct (never read scrolls or write on the ground), weaponless conduct (never hit with a wielded weapon), pacifist conduct (complete the game without killing a single enemy personally!)

        I remember an old arcade game by Taito, don't remember it's name, it was a spaceship-style shooter where you would pick up stars to buy powerups. Just for fun, I once tried to see how far I could get without firing a shot. To my surprise, when I finally lost a life, I was sent a long, long way ahead in the game. One of the few "secrets" I've found all by myself.

        So voluntary challenges aren't new, even if tracking them between sessions is.

        • I found out the game's name, by the way. It was called "Slap fight", which sounded pretty cool to a kid not yet knowing a word of English.

        • Isn't almost all of Nethack achievement points? I don't play to get the Amulet. I just play to kill, kill, and kill. Shouldn't that be considered playing for achievement rather than the whole of the game?

          And then, you have achievements within achievements, like the ones you mention.

        • Nethack's description of their achievements (actually called "conduct") is what makes them worthwhile. From the Nethack Guidebook: "certain players seek to challenge themselves by imposing restrictions on the way they play the game". When I play games that have achievements, I typically play pretty much all the way through once, the way the game is designed to be played. Then I go back (replay value? in a modern game? unheard of!) and start playing for achievements that seem like they could be fun. To use a
        • wow - as if nethack wasn't masochistic enough with "normal" game play.

  • 2^6 (Score:5, Funny)

    by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:50PM (#27961813)

    The Slashdot Achievement "Days read in a row" is killing me. If I'm out of town for a weekend I find myself worrying if I'll have access to, and time to hop onto the internet and log in to Slashdot to keep my winning streak rolling.

    Weighing the consequences, I've decided to just play it safe and live with mom in the basement. Don't have to have a job to pay rent that way.

    I've hit 2^6 so far, anybody have better? (Be honest please, no scrips that check for you every day. Yes that's a good idea, wish I had done it myself before giving the idea away like this, heh heh ;)

    • I got 2^6 too, but I wonder if it is correct. 2^6=64, but the achievement system was implemented in April 1st, that mean we can get maximum 45 days read in a row. Well, maybe they have already counted before that.

      • by Artifex ( 18308 )

        I got 2^6 too, but I wonder if it is correct. 2^6=64, but the achievement system was implemented in April 1st, that mean we can get maximum 45 days read in a row. Well, maybe they have already counted before that.

        I think it definitely counts from before it was implemented. I have 2^4 or something comments rated 5 as one of my achievements, with the date set in March. I haven't posted much in a while, so that has to be from before. And yet, I don't think it's from all time, because the site seems to only list my posts back to 2007.

  • I had just planned a nice weekend before reading that Dead Rising achievement.

    Seriously though, this is just legitimizing some of the more well known tricks we used to show off to our friends, plus allowing developers to sneak a joke or two our way.

    Who else doesn't remember being able to shoot a grenade or mine in golden eye to kill your opponent?

  • by panthroman ( 1415081 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:57PM (#27961863) Homepage

    Old arcade games had points. Your goal was to get on the high score list, so everyone could see how good you were. You weren't meant to actually win games. Heck, if you get too far in Pac-Man, it crashes.

    When console gaming got big, people didn't care too much about points. It wasn't as fun -- nobody was there to see it. So points went out of fashion, and the goal was instead to win. Super Mario 3 for NES had points, but who cared? It was beatable, and we wanted to win.

    Now that consoles are networked, gamers can have public recognition again. And back to points we go...

  • by Tokerat ( 150341 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:57PM (#27961869) Journal

    They could be really good, but so far they've mostly been nothing but flashy and uncreative.

  • The size and location of my house
    The emblem on my car
    The labels on my wine collection
    The title on my business card
    The loyalty of my friends

    And most important

    The number of times per day I make my wife smile.

    Video games simply don't enter that equation no matter how much I may enjoy them.
    • I guess the last two make up for the negative points of the first four at least ;)
      • I grant your point but those were just a few of the REAL WORLD, _tangible_, marks I could roll of my head. The last two are the most important but also the most difficult to show which is why the first four were listed.

        But it is clearly easier to crack "American Psycho" jokes so fire away...
    • Good for you, man!

      Hey, I just did eight 25 dmg pounces in a row~! :D I wish there was an achievement for that!

    • by cluke ( 30394 )

      Patrick Bateman, is that you?

    • by Chabo ( 880571 )

      The labels on my wine collection

      Congratulations, you overpay for wine.

      Buy cheap wine, drink it, and have fun with your friends, and stop pondering about whether you can detect the subtleties of your expensive wine.

      • Bzzzt! Price != quality. Spend some time actually trying a wide variety of crafted wine (there's more than just "red"/"white"/"pink") as opposed to swilling sweetened alcohol and get back to me.

        The irony of your pretentiousness is overwhelming.
  • The "Worst Day-Shift Manager Ever" achievement is a nod to Chad Vader.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wGR4-SeuJ0 [youtube.com]

  • by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @03:08AM (#27962961)

    they spell out in large numbers

    Shurely shome mishtake?

    • by Artifex ( 18308 )

      they spell out in large numbers

      Shurely shome mishtake?

      Have you never typed out words on a calculator by typing numbers and turning it upside down?

      You kids.

      • Have you never typed out words on a calculator by typing numbers and turning it upside down?

        Yeah, somehow we always ended up with 5318008, ensued by juvenile snickering. At some point the word "boobies" stopped being funny, and we got over it.

  • You can tell that the Achievements thing has worked out pretty well for MS, because of the number of other companies out there who have frantically tried to copy it. People talk about motion-sensing controls, but it may prove to be achievements that are the defining legacy of this console generation.

    Unfortunately, I'm not 100% sure I like this. I don't much mind achievements on the 360. If I buy a full-sized game (as opposed to an XBLA game) I know that there are 1000 achievement points to be unlocked in th

    • But then, why have a team of developers spend months creating new dungeons, when you can have the office temp sit down for an hour or two and think up some stupid and time-consuming ways of getting people to recycle the same old content.

      Like doing the same daily quests and heroic dungeons that have been done countless days, but now you did it with a NPC orphan following you!

  • YASD (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I once made it to the Wizard's lair, but then stupidly choked myself to death on a large corpse.

  • The thing about Xbox Live achievements isn't that you were provided with nifty little goals for doing specific things. It's that you then received acknowledgment after you did them and you could show off your achievement. That networking, allowing other people to see what you've done, is the real success story. I find myself looking at friends' gamerscores and thinking, "hey, I need to catch up with him." It's a lot more than merely notifying you that you've done something.
  • If you need to feel like you are achieving something or progressing in some Progress Quest by playing video games, good for you.

    I wish Sony would let me turn off trophy announcements on the PS3 though. I play games for their own sake, not for e-peen points, and this idiocy interferes with my gaming.

    Since they made them mandatory, I have terrible images of playing Ico 3 when it comes out and having the PS3's OS dinging away at me during the game.

  • I play a game. Why do I play a game? Because it's fun. Else, I would refuse it the title 'game'. A game rewards me with having a good time.

    Now a game has to convince me to play it by giving me a carrot on a stick. So playing the game is not enough reward, I need to get a dangling carrot to keep playing?

    Not a good game. If the fun the game gives me is not enough reward, why exactly should I be playing it? To get a reward for doing something I would probably not consider important enough for myself that I do

    • by Zekasu ( 1059298 )

      I can't help but think you're making a reference to vanilla World of Warcraft.

      I agree, however. After going through tiers 1-8.5, the game's more like a second job than a game anymore. Being in a guild for progression, being the first to down Yogg-Saron in a 25-man raid is nice, but it's definitely not worth it. I mean, there's a push to be better and out-damage everyone else, but sometimes... Sometimes, I wish I could have had that lost sleep rather than that new weapon.

    • Interestingly, WoW achievements have now become a method for evaluating and excluding other players -- something I hadn't anticipated in my naivete. I had always thought these achievements were there to motivate players to play more, but now they're actually resulting in some players not getting to play in various raid groups who demand that they have an achievement demonstrating their "competency" in whatever instance they're planning to raid. I'm sure that some guilds also check certain achievements as

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        Those guild recruiters are absolute fools, and you'd be better off without them. I know a number of terribad players who tagged along once with a very high-end guild to get an achievement for the immortal (no one in the raid dies, ever) or to down such-and-such boss in so many minutes.

        The guilds who actually think things through know better than to rely on this.

  • Achievements are a terrible thing to add to a game: a mere gimmick to get people to overplay their games to death, get bored as quickly as possible, and run out to buy more games for MOAR POINTZ. They harm quality by taking developer effort away from things that matter, and they provide a cover for killing real replay value: an unprofitable thing that has been a thorn in developers' sides for years.

    Shame on Microsoft for introducing this scourge, however brilliantly it may have worked for its attach rates.

  • I really don't care about achievements/trophies/etc at all. At best they are a list of interesting things to try in a game and a way to compare progress in specific titles. At worst they are marketing and false competition.

    Importantly, they are not cost-free to developers, and I would always rather have better gameplay or more content or a higher level of polish than a masturbatory checklist.

    Goals alone aren't gameplay, and fall in the category of pointless collecting.

    Being a completionist is the surest r

  • For example, in Left 4 Dead, there's no deep plotline or character development, but there are loads of achievements to master. When I hopped on the server last night, I looked through which bronze medals I had yet to achieve in the 16 Survival mode maps. Achievements are nice -- they give direction and structure to games that otherwise would lack direction.
  • I like watching people whine about achievements being evil, be they in any form.

    Some of the achievements are actually fun, and a way to say, "Hey, I actually did that." It's nice to have a log for bragging rights sake with your friends who might not be sitting there when you pull it off.

    One example would be Ikaruga on the 360:
    There is an achievement called 'Dot Eater', in which you MAY NOT FIRE through the entire level. As a single ship on Normal, it's a little aggravating to squeeze through some of the bul

  • And here I was all looking forward to reading about something real, like scientific discoveries, philanthropic work, or contribution to the arts.

    I'm tagging this !realachievements

"With molasses you catch flies, with vinegar you catch nobody." -- Baltimore City Councilman Dominic DiPietro