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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 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 15, 2009 @12:34AM (#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, 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 Friday May 15, 2009 @12:47AM (#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.

  • by panthroman ( 1415081 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @12:57AM (#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...

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

    by N3Roaster ( 888781 ) <nealw AT acm DOT org> on Friday May 15, 2009 @12:58AM (#27961873) Homepage Journal

    If you like achievements, I recommend Achievement Unlocked [] (the poor elephant...).

  • by R.Morton ( 1540993 ) <> on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:01AM (#27961893)

    Actually Sony didn't come up with it first either, Activision, Imagic, Atari were doing this sort of thing back in the 80's Albeit with "real awards" of physical item such as T-Shirts (Imagic, Atari),patchs and pins (Activision) as well as Baseball caps. (all 3 did this from time to time.)

      just google it and see for yourself.


  • Sort of (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:03AM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:34AM (#27962101)

    The reason why gamers consider Microsoft's ripoff of Sony's Skill Points to be such a joke is it is a system that designed with Microsoft's bottom line in mind and not gamers.

    The stupid GamerScore tells people nothing more than how much money you've wasted buying tons of shit games no one would normally want just to inflate your score. Absolutely disgusting to any real gamer. But not surprising coming from a company like Microsoft.

    Ever heard someone ask someone else what their GamerScore is? Didn't think so.

    Yet you hear all the time people talking about how many Platnium Trophies someone has.

    Stupid, Microsoft. Stupid.

    Such a basic concept that anyone who plays games could have explained to them.


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

    by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @07:10AM (#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.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:31AM (#27966253)

    To me that's the key difference between a good achievements system and a bad one.

    Call of Duty 4 was imo quite good, 1000 points was achievable on the 360 if you played well, but you also didn't really have to go out of your way to get them - you just had to be quite good at the game to get the mile high club one and I liked that, getting it actually felt like an achievement.

    Compare that to something like Fallout 3, where you're expected to do tedious, dull side quests that are no more exciting than your average dumbed down so the server doesn't keel over MMO quests and the main game story finishes in just a few hours and you have an example of a crap achievement system. Stuff like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 and some of the NHL games had silly achievements too where you effectively had to be the best online player in the world or thereabouts to achieve them. Most people don't have time to get themselves up to that level.

    Sometimes the extra stuff on top of the main storyline works - some of the big open world games can be pretty fun with achievements like climb your way to the tallest part of the game world in Crackdown, but others, such as finding the 800 or whatever orbs it was you had to find total were just fucking stupid.

  • by Cheeko ( 165493 ) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:15PM (#27970357) Homepage Journal

    Indeed. Not to mention most people could care less about overall scores or totals, but rather compare with their friends what they've done in a specific game.

    Oh you got the 10k kills in Halo? Nice I'm only 30% of the way there, etc.

    Its only on the high end of things that the overall total becomes an e-peen contest.

    The MS achievements are also nice because they gauge progress as well as skill in a lot of cases. You can tell if a person finished a game AND if they were good at it. Its the perfect mix as it allows a casual person to feel like they are achieving something and the hardcore gamer can bump his chest and show how he got the hardest achievement in the game done.

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.