Gaming without achievements.

Achievements have done a lot of good for video games in the last few years. I know some people would disagree with that, but I guess I'll argue both ways real fast. 
 
For achievements, I like having them on my games as it gives me something to shoot for. I have squeezed more life out of games than I probably would otherwise because of achievements. I love giantbomb.com's averaging system so that I can easily go into my list and say "Wow, I barely played UFC Undisputed 2009" but then realize that I got that at a garage sale, so I don't care too much. It helps me find what I maybe should try a bit more.  
 
Farther in the opposite direction though, achievements are tools for me to identify games that I just plain don't like. Dark Sector has something like 250GS just sitting there waiting for me to finish the game, but nope. I'm not doing it. Farcry 2 is another in that league. I have found that those games are not for me. 
 
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With my disappointment at the lack of GB trophy support, and my enjoyment of achievements in 360, Steam, and blizzard games, it becomes completely surprising when a game gets my undivided attention without achievements in it for me. 
 
Recent games that have done this for me are Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Picross 3D, Mario and Luigi: Bowser's inside story, and a whole mess of Telltale games on Steam. 
 
I find it particularly odd that some of those games still have me going for 100% completion even when I really don't have anything to show for it. Sure I have very little to show in any of my gaming achievements (save maybe someone noticing a particularly rare one or something), but with Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Ep. 1, no one will ever know that I have all that stuff done. 
  
I really respect any game that can get my attention like that. I'll put up reviews of some of those eventually. The DS is the most obvious leader in my category here. For some reason I've been playing that a lot. 
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Next: My building a computer adventure! (I hope I can do that one soon.)

18 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by nukesniper

Achievements have done a lot of good for video games in the last few years. I know some people would disagree with that, but I guess I'll argue both ways real fast. 
 
For achievements, I like having them on my games as it gives me something to shoot for. I have squeezed more life out of games than I probably would otherwise because of achievements. I love giantbomb.com's averaging system so that I can easily go into my list and say "Wow, I barely played UFC Undisputed 2009" but then realize that I got that at a garage sale, so I don't care too much. It helps me find what I maybe should try a bit more.  
 
Farther in the opposite direction though, achievements are tools for me to identify games that I just plain don't like. Dark Sector has something like 250GS just sitting there waiting for me to finish the game, but nope. I'm not doing it. Farcry 2 is another in that league. I have found that those games are not for me. 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
With my disappointment at the lack of GB trophy support, and my enjoyment of achievements in 360, Steam, and blizzard games, it becomes completely surprising when a game gets my undivided attention without achievements in it for me. 
 
Recent games that have done this for me are Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Picross 3D, Mario and Luigi: Bowser's inside story, and a whole mess of Telltale games on Steam. 
 
I find it particularly odd that some of those games still have me going for 100% completion even when I really don't have anything to show for it. Sure I have very little to show in any of my gaming achievements (save maybe someone noticing a particularly rare one or something), but with Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Ep. 1, no one will ever know that I have all that stuff done. 
  
I really respect any game that can get my attention like that. I'll put up reviews of some of those eventually. The DS is the most obvious leader in my category here. For some reason I've been playing that a lot. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
Next: My building a computer adventure! (I hope I can do that one soon.)

Posted by GunstarRed

Yeah, It's great  when a game comes long that completely grabs you without a need to constantly increase your score, and this is someone that is obsessed with  points systems (I'm coming up on 90,000 gamerscore) I played/am playing through Gunstar Heroes, Order of Ecclesia, Skullmonkeys, Gitaroo Man  and Strider 1/2 all within the year and it was a ton of fun not to have to always worry about getting  a milliontrillion kills or do a 4 hit combo on an enemy falling off of a car while 8 things explode. 
 
I also play Rock Band regularly for fun without the need for ever increasing points, which is nice.
Posted by nukesniper
@marioncobretti: Rock Band for sure is one that I totally spend too much time/money on. I can't wait for RB3. 
Posted by Ramone

Gaming without achievements was extremely hard for me about 2 years after I bought my Xbox. I had recently bought a PS3 and I ahd almost no motivation to play through my games. It is weird feeling, almost like games have no purpose without achievements, but play enough 360 and eventually youj ust get bored of achievemnts, they lose their appeal. Once the little popup and the quirky sound gave me a feeling of euphoria now it means almost nothing.

Posted by AhmadMetallic

i never cared about having a BIG SCORE or HIGH POST COUNT or KICKASS STATS for OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE AND RESPECT ME 
 competition sucks ass 
 
I play to enjoy what video games offer me, not to set a score. fuck scores.

Posted by ZeForgotten
@Ahmad_Metallic said:
" i never cared about having a BIG SCORE or HIGH POST COUNT or KICKASS STATS for OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE AND RESPECT ME  competition sucks ass  I play to enjoy what video games offer me, not to set a score. fuck scores. "
Pretty much the same for me. 
I even turned off the notifications for both PS3 and 360 so it doesn't make annoying sounds and gives me some pathetic message box going "HEY YOU DID THE MOST OBVIOUS THING EVER! Trophy/achivement for you!" .. . 
 
If a game is good it doesn't need the achivements or trophies to make me play it. 
If it's a bad game the achivements or trophies won't make me want to play it anyway
Posted by iam3green
@Ahmad_Metallic said:
" i never cared about having a BIG SCORE or HIGH POST COUNT or KICKASS STATS for OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE AND RESPECT ME  competition sucks ass  I play to enjoy what video games offer me, not to set a score. fuck scores. "
same man. i do not care for achievements / trophies. i don't try to get them most of the time. i just play games to enjoy playing them and for the story. why play a game just to see a score go up? maybe next generation there won't be trophies or achievements. in the future the scores might not even matter.
Posted by Damien

Not gonna lie, games without achievements/trophies feel like they're missing a feature or something to me.

Posted by Dylabaloo

Achievements is one of the greatest new innovations to come from this generation of consoles since online play. 

Posted by Famov

Achievements are almost always completely stupid, but they're usually benign as well so it's not really a problem.

Posted by AhmadMetallic
@iam3green said:
" maybe next generation there won't be trophies or achievements. in the future the scores might not even matter. "
HA ! thanks for the laugh, friend :P  considering the way 'social gaming' is going, i can only see more and more competition in the future, and endless achievement-like bullshit INTEGRATED in each and every game there is..  uhhh *shakes it off*
Posted by ZeForgotten
@Dylabaloo said:
" Achievements is one of the greatest new innovations to come from this generation of consoles since online play.  "
They were there before this generation of consoles too, though. 
Posted by nukesniper
@Ahmad_Metallic said:
" @iam3green said:
" maybe next generation there won't be trophies or achievements. in the future the scores might not even matter. "
HA ! thanks for the laugh, friend :P  considering the way 'social gaming' is going, i can only see more and more competition in the future, and endless achievement-like bullshit INTEGRATED in each and every game there is..  uhhh *shakes it off* "
This. I like how achievements are handled on Steam more than Xbox 360. No weight to them and each game can have as many as they want. Still lets you compare them to friends. 
 
Most importantly though, I like how not EVERY game has achievements. I have a good handful that don't that I love to play. The Xbox thing where every game has 1000gs is a bit tiring. Especially since it made me almost buy Alone in the Dark for 5 bucks. Don't worry, i avoided that one.
Posted by litrock

One of the best gaming podcasts not on Giant Bomb, the Idle Thumbs podcast, talked about this in their show this week. There are studies that have shown that people who start to associate doing a task with a reward (games = achievement points) tend to not be interested in/want to do the action when there isn't a reward being offered. But people who don't have the reward (people who play games without achievements, or don't see them as desirable) will continue doing the task longer. The catch is, this behavior is true EVEN IF THE PERSON LIKES THE TASK THEY DO.
 
Achievements are great in that they can encourage interesting explorations of game types you weren't normally going to find/check out. But the rise of people who won't play games without achievements, or who buy bad games because they have easy achievements, is probably more of a blow to games than it is a good thing.

Posted by Dylabaloo
@ZeForgotten said:
" @Dylabaloo said:
" Achievements is one of the greatest new innovations to come from this generation of consoles since online play.  "
They were there before this generation of consoles too, though.  "
Really which console?
Posted by king0fprussia

What about the fact that achievement data helps developers know what people are doing in their games?  And now games are being developed with achievements in mind?  I love the idea of gaming without achievements (even though completionism can still set in, as you've all discussed), but it seems too useful to the people making games to ever go away.

Posted by ZeForgotten
@Dylabaloo said:
" @ZeForgotten said:
" @Dylabaloo said:
" Achievements is one of the greatest new innovations to come from this generation of consoles since online play.  "
They were there before this generation of consoles too, though.  "
Really which console? "
Different ones. 
I remember playing games on the PS2 and Gamecube where you achived a certain amount of kills in specific levels and you unlocked an upgrade, or images or something and on your profile you would have a little Start next to thing thing you've done and stuff like that. It wasn't anything as "flashy" and show-off like it is today, but the feature was still there.  
 
also pac-man! Your name on the top of the highscore list for 6 weeks, it's an achivement!  
Untill someone pulls the plug on the machine.   
Posted by Dylabaloo
@ZeForgotten said:
" @Dylabaloo said:
" @ZeForgotten said:
" @Dylabaloo said:
" Achievements is one of the greatest new innovations to come from this generation of consoles since online play.  "
They were there before this generation of consoles too, though.  "
Really which console? "
Different ones. I remember playing games on the PS2 and Gamecube where you achived a certain amount of kills in specific levels and you unlocked an upgrade, or images or something and on your profile you would have a little Start next to thing thing you've done and stuff like that. It wasn't anything as "flashy" and show-off like it is today, but the feature was still there.   also pac-man! Your name on the top of the highscore list for 6 weeks, it's an achivement!  Untill someone pulls the plug on the machine.    "
I guess Highscores could be seen as the origins achievements, adding immense replay value like the achievements of today. I'll agree that the idea of achievements (Goals you must complete to get something in this case) is not a new idea made by Microsoft but as with everything in about every industry it doesn't matter who innovates but rather the one who perfects and I think Microsoft have hit the nail on the head with their system that will be continued to be used and changed in future generations to come.
Posted by nukesniper
@Dylabaloo said:
" @ZeForgotten said:
" @Dylabaloo said:
" @ZeForgotten said:
" @Dylabaloo said:
" Achievements is one of the greatest new innovations to come from this generation of consoles since online play.  "
They were there before this generation of consoles too, though.  "
Really which console? "
Different ones. I remember playing games on the PS2 and Gamecube where you achived a certain amount of kills in specific levels and you unlocked an upgrade, or images or something and on your profile you would have a little Start next to thing thing you've done and stuff like that. It wasn't anything as "flashy" and show-off like it is today, but the feature was still there.   also pac-man! Your name on the top of the highscore list for 6 weeks, it's an achivement!  Untill someone pulls the plug on the machine.    "
I guess Highscores could be seen as the origins achievements, adding immense replay value like the achievements of today. I'll agree that the idea of achievements (Goals you must complete to get something in this case) is not a new idea made by Microsoft but as with everything in about every industry it doesn't matter who innovates but rather the one who perfects and I think Microsoft have hit the nail on the head with their system that will be continued to be used and changed in future generations to come. "
Yeah. Sure awards and such have been in games for a long time, but now that my friends can see what I've done in Blur without coming over to have me show them, or hell, without even owning Blur, the reason achievements have become appealing is much greater. No one here knows how many puzzles I have solved in Picross 3D, nor how many I have completed with the best ranking, however, all of you can go into my achievements on this site or on my xbox and see exactly what I have done. 
 
I can appreciate games that don't reward achievements for what you do in them. On this site my time with MW2 means nothing. And I enjoyed playing that game while I did. The multiplayer was its own reward instead of having multiplayer lead to a "Hit Rank 70" achievement. I played enough Bioshock 2 multiplayer to get max rank, then I stopped. However, in Bioshock's defence, I probably would have hardly tried it without the achievements there, and after a while, that game's multiplayer is rather fun.