Points - Gotta catch 'em allCraig Harris of IGN seems quite adamant that Nintendo needs an achievement system, and there's little reason to believe otherwise. Maybe the Wii and DS don't need an achievement system, but to say it wouldn't be cool to have one seems a little small-minded. Achievements are big, and while achievement whoring is unsightly, there really is something gratifying about S-Ranking your favorite game. I decided to think how a Nintendo game with achievements would effect me. Naturally, this lead to thinking about what would happen if Pokemon had achievements.
Pokemon, for the record, happens to be one of my favorite games. I'm not trying to say it's brilliant, but I think there is a genius and joy to the simple pleasure of raising your favorite pet monsters. And the series is surprisingly complex, with a mountain of content and activities to keep you more busy than most games. The only reason I bother mentioning this is because if Pokemon DID have achievements tied to it, I would likely be on that S-Rank list. I thought it prudent to share my thoughts on some ideas for good and bad achievements, designed roughly to accommodate the sort of do's and don'ts associated with the 360's own system.
First, they're called a Poke-chievements. Deal with that.
Now, your typical 360 game has 1,000 achievement points spread across roughly 50 unlocks. You can probably approximate your own values here; I'm just to lazy to assign the points. Also, I'll be using Pokemon Platinum as an example because it's more recent and it gives me a lot to work with. Here's how they look:
Achievement Name - Achievement description - Personal commentary.
- I Choose You! - Select your starting Pokemon. - Who doesn't love a starter achievement.
- One down... - Catch your first Pokemon. - It's a long way to go from here.
- Gem of a Town - Reach Sandgem. - Exploration achievements are also awesome.
- This is the Life - Reach Jubilife. - More exploration!
- Gear Up - Obtain the Poketch. - It's great for telling the time.
- Rocky Road - Reach Oreburgh. - Alternatively: "Ore Not to Be"
- Badge Coal-ector - Obtain the Coal Badge. - Yes, I also like puns.
- This is the Life - Reach Jubilife City. - Exploration is key.
- The Solution - Evolve a Pokemon for the first time. - If you're gonna win...
- Two for the Route - Win your first Double Trainer Battle - You're a 1 man tag-team.
- Smell's nice... - Reach Floaroma Town - Use flower power.
- Mars Attacks! - Defeat Team Galactic Commander Mars - Gotta fight for your right to move ahead in the story.
- Is that... Cheryl?! - Accompany Cheryl to the end of the forest - Yes, that was a Silent Hill reference.
- Gotta See 'em All - 50 - See all of the pokemon (excludes special event Pokemon). - Nobody should expect you to see Mew for an achievement.
- Eternally Yours - Reach Eterna City - Do it, now.
- Trim the Hedges - Obtain the Forest Badge.
- They're Heeeeeere - Encounter Rotom - I still love that he gets boss music.
- Jupiter Attacks! - Defeat Team Galactic Commander Jupiter. - Alternatively: "He's Jupiter than You"
- Senior Explorer - Complete the Underground tutorial. - Down in the Underground~
- Mira, This Way! - Accompany Mira to the end of the Cave. - Mira also means "look," in Spanish!
- That Hairstyle is a Relic - Obtain the Relic Badge - Her fashion statement says "Yep, that's purple"
- Home Away from Home - Reach Solaceon Town. - As an avid fan of breeding, I spend way too much time in Solaceon.
- The Next Generation - Hatch a Pokemon Egg that your Pokemon made. - Knockin' those Poke-boots together.
- That Ol' Cobble Road - Obtain the Cobble Badge - Maybe she's born with it... Maybe it's Maylene.
- On Safari - Catch more than 5 Pokemon in the Great Marsh
- What's Past is Pastoria - Reach Pastoria - Are these exploration achievements getting too frequent?
- Fen for Yourself - Obtain the Fen badge - Give Crasher an elbow drop.
- Maid of Honor - Defeat the young Master or Mistress of Pokemon Mansion - Because there's 5 maids before that, you see.
- An Ancient Place... - Reach Celestic Town - It's where the old people live.
- The Eerie Canal - Reach Canalave City. - That hotel still creeps me out.
- Riley's Ranger - Accompany Riley to the end of the cave. - Kids sure do love that Lucario.
- What's Yours is Mine - Obtain the Mine Badge - If he isn't voiced by Steve Blum in the anime, somebody dropped the ball.
- Icicle, You-cicle - Obtain the Icicle Badge. - I hate the cold.
- Saturn Attacks! - Defeat Team Galactic Commander Saturn - Alternatively "Your Turn, Saturn!"
- Done with Cyrus - Defeat Cyrus. - He's kind of a big deal.
- Giratina, I Choose You! - Capture Giratina - A legendary feat, no?
- A Beacon of Light - Obtain the Beacon Badge - Please shut Volkner's whiny self up.
- League Champion! - Defeat the Elite Four and Cynthia! - You had to have seen this coming, right?
- Even More to Go - Obtain the National Pokedex - No, really, gotta catch them all.
- Master of Time and Space - Capture Dialga and Palkia - Remember when Heroes was good?
- By the Fullmoon's Light - Capture Cresselia - And then never care about her again.
- Fight! Survive! Battle - Reach Fight Area. - What a terrible name for a town.
- The Magnificent Villa - Obtain all the furniture for your villa in the Resort Area. - That's expensive, if you didn't know.
- Ribbon Master - Obtain the Luxury Royal Ribbon - Because I'm a dick.
- Hot in Here - Capture Heatran - And then stop caring about him.
- The Secret Undersea Master - Fish up a Level 100 Magikarp - I did it. Now you have to. For the points.
- Champion isn't Enough - Defeat the 5 Battle Frontier Leaders - You know, I still haven't done this.
- Dig, Dug - Dig up 100 items in The Underground. - with David Bowie.
- Fashionable - Win the highest rank in a Contest. - Do it with a Purugly for maximum win.
- Triple 7's - Get a jackpot in the Veilstone Game Corner.
Gotta Trade 'em All - Perform X trades with your friends - It always kind of bothers me when there's an achievement that requires that you have friends who all have the same schedule as you. It's not that I'm a social misanthrope, I just don't think it's necessarily proper to punish someone for not having friends as obsessed with the game as you are, or not having a the ability to play online, or in the case of some games, when the server goes down. Now of course some games, like Team Fortress 2, can't NOT have multi-player achievements, but Modern Warfare 2 did it right by having the online multi-player use it's own reward system.
Gotta Really Catch 'em All - First of all, only kids with no time and people who are insane (I am of the latter) will spend the time to complete their Pokedex. It's not particularly fair because it requires having other games or friends with the other games to obtain. I don't really see the point of making someone buy other games to get the achievement in your game. Also, requiring that they find legendaries is kind of weak. Seeing other Pokemon helps keep the idea of the game's addictive nature, while requiring less-than-insane objectives.
The new Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver are coming out tomorrow, so it's unlikely that they'll have achievements. But should the future series have them, what would you like to see? How do you feel about an achievement system in your Pokemon games? Do you already have that S-Rank? I would, as always, love to hear your thoughts below.
Also, feel free to stalk me on Twitter.