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Life Before Achievements


neoELITE
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I love achievements. Before they came about, I could only brag about my gaming triumphs to my family and workmates, who would just look at me like I was a sad idiot. Now I can compare my progress against my peers online, with tangible evidence to back us up.

That said, I *do* wish they weren't handed out like sweets. I have over 2500 achievements, and probably 1% of them are worthy of an "ooh" or an "aah".

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  • 1 year later...

I'm certainly playing games for longer because of achievements where I would have summarily dumped them previously. At the same time I'm not usually after 100%, life is too short for that. For most games it seems to be easy to get the bulk of achievements relatively quickly, with the last 20% being a chore or hilariously unbalanced. For example giving you 20points for finishing the game on one life or the hardest difficulty but giving you 50points in the first 10minutes of your first play through on the easiest difficulty. NBA JAM has a 200point achievement for beating remix campaign, which is more like it because its bastard hard.

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Achievements have pretty much died for me as a reason to play on or differently. The new buzz thing has gone and I don't even look at them. Bizarrely, I do sometimes look at the steam achievement when I play steam games. I think Fifa is part of the reason. The fifa's have never really been good for achievements. Most of them are for pure persistence in game modes that I don't play. Achievements in football games should all be things like: score a perfect hat-trick in any game mode, or, take the ball from your own half and score etc.

I'm playing Mass Effect 2 at the moment and that seems to be throwing achievements around for every mission I complete, yet there are in game achievements too that don't seem to align.

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Question 1 - can you imagine life without achievements?

Question 2 - pre-achievement, what did you do to willy wave?

Question 3 - what is your best time on the speccy version of Sabateur as mine was well under four minutes (I think). Sabateur was a firm favourite of my Dad's and this was one game he brought up.

1) Yes, as I still play and enjoy games that don't have them. Now that they're around, they're a nice distraction I suppose. I enjoy getting the more quirky ones, that make you play the game in a certain way.

2) We kept notes, much like you. A vivid memory is the cassette inlay card for Cricket International on the Amstrad CPC464. It was filled with best run scores and wicket hauls. My brother scored something like 620 with Kim Barnett! My own claim to fame was scoring 247 on Twisted System and something like 19 seconds on Watergate Scramble in Fuzion Frenzy on the Xbox.

3) I can't remember too well, as I played it on the Amstrad primarily. My time was about 6 minutes but I never played it much.

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I've probably got one of the lowest gamerscore/games-played averages in the universe. I really, really, really don't care about achievements at all and I do tend to find the whole concept bemusing - I play games until I have completed them (and I'll make that decision on a per-game basis) or until I bore of them. This is how I played games on every previous console, how I play them on the Wii...etc.

If there was an option to turn them off, I think I would.

EDIT: Including trial games which I haven't got around to deleting, 136 games played with 13299 gamer points. A quick look suggests Mass Effect 2, 64% completed and Mercenaries 2, 60% completed are my best performances. Mass Effect 2 is the only game I've got more than 500 gamer points on. Well, King Kong is higher on both stats, but I think it is better ignoring that.

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I like achievements when they are well-designed and make you do things you otherwise wouldn't have attempted or even thought of. Crackdown and Dead Rising are good examples of games with clever achievements. People who achievement boost or just imitate what they see in Youtube vids can fuck off though. Where's the skill in that?

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I'm indifferent to achievements. A good game doesn't require extra incentives for playing it, even if you've already played it a few times over. The example that comes to mind is doing a non-lethal playthrough of Deus Ex -- the game never suggests this, nor is there any acknowledgement of it in the game, but people did it (and still do it) because it adds challenge to the game and so it is pleasurable. Similarly, playing through Goldeneye with LTK (all 007 mode settings set to maximum except enemy health) or DLTK settings (every 007 setting set to max). The reward of these things is just the pleasure of the experience, not some petty social distinction.

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