There are two types of gamers: those who play for achievement points and trophies, and those who play to enjoy the game. I am a firm believer in playing games to play the game, to become engrossed in the story and forget that you have bills to pay and a job to trudge back to in the morning. Playing games purely for the achievements turns playing games into another chore. You should never dread a hobby, especially one as awesome as games.

Game developers probably feel the same way, unless they’re designing a game like Avatar: The Burning Earth. There is no point in making a game that’s just for trophies or points, and there’s no point in playing a game just for trophies or points. Life should have more meaning than “Oh gawd, I missed the 25G I could have gotten from killing 10 people at the same time!”

Playing a game for points is a waste of time. People might think you’re hardcore, but did you enjoy the game? Do you know anything about the story, or the depth of the characters that someone took the time to create? Do you feel like you actually know them? If not, you failed at that game, even if you got the platinum trophy or all the points from the game and DLC. You have successfully wasted your time, and the time of the developers who made the game. Congratulations.

What you should get from the game is this: There is a problem, and that problem is yours. You have the power to solve that problem, and you have the resources to, you just have to figure out how to do it. Along the way, you meet these people, or you save someone’s life, or you kill a nemesis, and you should feel a sense of accomplishment — real accomplishment — from doing that. You should not need to hear the “Achievement Unlocked” sound, or see that you got a bronze trophy. Those do not make you any better of a person, or even any better of a gamer. Experiences make you better. Feeling that you have done something good makes you better, even if it’s just getting to the end of Tetris, or finding the castle that the princess is actually in. There is no dread, no stress, and you can leave the self-inflicted chores alone. They don’t actually exist.

Did you ever laugh at the absurdity of Sackboy’s face when you saw him scowling? Or for the more serious gamers: when you unraveled the knots that made up most of the Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed 2 storylines, did you feel that sense of relief and fulfillment that went along with it?

That’s how games should feel.


  1. It's an old argument. Not all achievements can be classified in the same way, some reward the time spent in-game, some reward feats of skill, some reward just putting the game in the drive.

    It's not so black and white, achievements can drive you further in a game, for instance I am currently playing through Dragon Age yet again, and I want to go for a larger gamerscore, as I am using the achievements as a gauge for the amount of the plot I have seen.

    I think its really up to the developer to try and choose some synergy with achievements and the game.

    P.S. Yeah, King Kong, Avatar can GTFO I don't want a shit game on my XBLA list of games.

  2. some achievements are there to make you think more about the game. there's things in some games that i would've completely missed had it not been for the achievements. say mirrors edge, there's achievements for pulling off tricks that i didn't know were possible. borderlands achievements were just plain fun, and the ones in mass effect were tedious, but some of them challenged me. the one where i had to beat the game with shield damage greater than health to be exact.

    i've never had the title of 'achievement whore' but when i finally started to get more games than i needed just for points, i always found myself immersed in the story before i started to hunt.

    play through once for the experience, do the rest on my own time.