I used to love Achievements and I then hated them and now I largely ignore them because of how it stopped me from playing my video games. A large stack of games always taunting me, and I, wishing to play them I stared back and only after figuring out which was a quicker run of achievements would it make its way into my 360. I was always very proud of my Gamerscore on my Xbox 360, as it was a nice barometer for how many games I had played in addition to the individual score. I would create mini goals of my Gamerscore number. However I became overly obsessed with them I would have to read achievement lists and follow guides, which took me away from having real fun with my games and the story. Hence why I ended spending more time in multiplayer games, it had started to feel like a job, one that I did not want to go to. I got truly tired of collectibles; worrying about whether there was some collectible in this corner, “hey quit talking I’m looking for some newspaper clippings, no wait its dog tags this time”. Too many times I had missed something important because I was off searching every corner for some collectible.
At a certain point I would look through my games and decide which games to play based on how easy it would be to get all of the Achievements. I got tired of spending hours learning patterns just to get a 10 or 20-point achievement. At the time it felt good to get those hard achievements that were hardly worth anything. This idea of having an achievement that was extremely hard to obtain but worth hardly anything is one of the reasons I got turned onto TrueAchievements.com.
TrueAchievements.com created a system where the value of an achievement was weighted against how many people had played the game to how many had unlocked said achievement. In addition it was and is an excellent source for people to describe how they had acquired the achievements, little mini guides.
Then I got more games on Steam due to Humble Bundles. I was then introduced to Steams version of Achievements which are virtually worthless, as a single game can easily have over 200 achievements, which has over saturated the “achievement market” if you will making them unnecessary. Since Valve did not create any guidelines developers went willy-nilly with their lists. Creating a negligible system that I do not and can not take seriously and never will. It’s just as good then that I have relegated achievements, not as something I have to do, but something that is unnecessary to my enjoyment of my video games. It has become background noise that I can fully ignore. I now play the games for fun, which has always been the leading cause for playing them anyway.
The only time now that I try for that 100% Achievement or Trophy completion is if I truly enjoyed the game and just want to spend more time in the world that they have created for me to enjoy. Either that or I have a group of friends whom are playing the same game and we all want to hunt for them together such as Halo 4. For example I 100% both Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. I had so much fun with the mechanics and world I had no problem tracking down every collectible. I wanted to experience the world completely so it was a perfect excuse. So with that being said, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the overall experience, and some games actually work well having those collectible systems tied to upgrade systems and whatnot. This is awesome when they do this because I then am not just hunting down meaningless achievement collectibles, I am also upgrading weapons and my character and on some occasions filling out the lore of the world(as is the case with Halo terminals). It is in these instances that achievements can be a fun and worthwhile obtainment or objective.
Since my Xbox 360 has died and I have been relegated to games on my Mac, PS Vita and N3DS, achievements have become something I completely ignore now. I feel this has been a great thing for my game playing because I now just focus solely on playing the game and enjoying the tales they wish to tell. I no longer worry about how many playthroughs, or whether I should collect all the collectables on this run through or whether I should play the game on its hardest difficulty. Now I just play video games for fun, and have played many more because of this. I refuse to turn it into a chore that keeps me from playing any game. Now I just play to have fun, like I always should have.
Are there any games that have kept you from playing due to the achievements? Or do you still enjoy them? Or have you never cared in the first place? Let me know in the comments.