Does Achievements and Trophies Make a Video Game Better

I have been thinking about this topic of achievements and trophies in videogames for the past week. In video gaming, an achievement is a goal defined outside of the games parameters. It’s been something that has been in existence for the past 10 years in our gaming lives and I believe it is time to give an opinion of how it feels to get achievements in 2016.

Trying to figure out the first game to ever have achievements is a debatable topic. We have to define what exactly achievements mean in this context.

Are we talking about as in an achievement you receive and get notified in-game about the completion of said task; then we would be referring to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in that matter since this is where the widely known term for the achievement skyrocketed. There has also been multiple games way before the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 that have featured some sort of in-game achievement hunting list. We can say these extra challenges to gamers have been around for a while.

In my view, I love achievements in almost every aspect. For me, achievements give a player, an objective that must be pursued. Achievement functionality in a game adds a nice challenge and can extend the life of a game after you successfully complete it. It honestly felt quite amazing whenever I would “100 percent a game” and get that satisfactory feeling of accomplishment. Back in my Xbox 360 days, I enjoyed being able to compare my achievements side-by-side with other friends and see what achievements they were missing. It created a sort of competitive trait in me and is probably why I like to now play games such as League of Legends.

Achievements are still a great addition to a video game, but I can say that my “achievement hunting” phase of my life has dwindled off since I have been busier with school and work.

In an article titled “Do Badges Increase User Activity? A Field Experiment on the Effects of Gamification,” by Jugo Hamari, a principle researcher, a study was conducted on, a website that helps users rent, sell and share products, services or physical spaces about whether the inclusion of achievements, or badges on user profiles in this case, would help increase user activity. The site contained about 3,000 active users at the time which were monitored for a whole year. Hamari found that adding badges to the website had a positive outcome. More users were inclined to use the site more often and engage much more often in “post trade proposals, carry out transactions, comment on proposals and generally use the service in a more active way.” This can all relate quite easily and apply towards video game achievements and trophies and why it works.

You really have to have a lot of free time on your hand if you want to dedicate hours into getting “100 percent” on a game. Recently, I have discarded the whole achievement-focused mentality whenever I hop into a game. It’s still a good feeling knowing that the achievement list will always be right there whenever I want to go for the challenge and add some more gameplay time to that title. If the game title is a very popular release and I happen to be a big fan of, I will most likely try to get as many achievements I can before I feel satisfied with my time in the game.

Just this past weekend, I dove into the popular franchise, “Uncharted”, and played the first installment of the four part series. I went in knowing that there were trophies that I could go for, but I ignored that part of the game and completed the game. I can come back to the game whenever I can, but for the time being, I was in it for the climactic story and gameplay.

If I consider a game to be a 9 out of 10 or 10 out of 10 rating, then I really love the inclusion of the achievements. I especially love the achievements that will have me try out different types of classes in a video game and use specific skills.

Achievements are a nice way to also point out what all you are able to do in a game and can serve as a guideline of your progress through that title. In example, Bethesda’s Fallout 3 would list out all of the major quests and side quests that can be completed by the player. This would give you a good indication of how far you are into that game or how much more you would need to play to finish the game. I remember I borrowed my brother’s guidebook to the Fallout 3 game and would use it extensively to complete every achievement in the game. It would have to collect Nuka Cola Quantums, Vault-Boy bobble heads and all of the fun side quests in the game. Honestly, it was a pretty fun experience whenever I didn’t have responsibilities back in my teenage years.

Achievements are a delicate thing that has to be done correctly by the developers. When done well, every game can have a high replay value which every video game maker wants from their games. The reason I state “correctly” is due to the fact that some developers will just hand out achievements to the player for simply just progressing through the game and nothing more. This gives off a lazy impression that the developer had to throw in the achievement since it was required by Xbox, PlayStation or Steam. This also goes in hand with developers that opt in for multiplayer achievements, which hugely dissuades me from their game. Online games such as Call of Duty and first-person shooters have a knack to follow this model. I can see the point of these achievements if you are into the multiplayer aspect in game, but since I enjoy single-player games the most, these achievements are not for me.

You can say you hate achievements, or you can say you love them, but there’s no denying we have all felt some sort of joy whenever we get that sound notification or pop-up and feel that sense of accomplishment.

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