4 Dumb Arguments Against Achievements/Trophies

For better or worse, achievements and trophies have covertly slipped into the very anatomy of video games and are now likely there to stay, like a permanent, viral memento from our wonderful time with the “seventh generation” of gaming. Undoubtedly, it is one that has gamers somewhat divided. Some love hunting for trophies/achievements, while others feel like it is a sign of genetic inferiority that needs to go away, or we risk a “doomsday scenario” (yes, those exact words have been used).

The nay-sayers do have a point. We’ve all had to hop around game servers, looking for a simple multiplayer match, only to keep encountering a bunch of weirdos, in the middle of some achievement-related shit, demanding that you leave that instant, like you’ve just walked in on someone unattractive, fondling themselves. It can also be damaging to the multiplayer “scene” by making it a pain in the ass to find a decent game. And then, there are also the admittedly retarded achievements that test your patience and willingness to senselessly murder time, rather than any actual skill. But not every complaint makes sense and it’s time I responded to those on record:

4. “I just want to enjoy my game, without worrying about trophies!”

This is a common one and my answer is simple: if you don’t care about achievements because you just want to play the game, then don’t care about them and just play the fucking game… I mean, when was the last time a game said to you: “you either drop what you’re doing and juggle these severed limbs for ten seconds or I scratch the fucking disc. Right. Now.” See, just because someone  wrote instructions, it doesn’t mean that you have to do what they say.

To be fair, one of the achievements required looking fucking intense while playing.

I mean, open a men’s magazine with that attitude and you’ll shortly find yourself in an emergency room with a badly damaged “junk”, sobbing and begging them to let you know if your date is OK (follow the tips in a women’s mag and neither of you will make it that far).  I’m here to tell you that you are free to ignore anything you want in a video game (or magazine), except for maybe paying for it. If you play Metal Gear Solid 4 now after it has received a trophy patch, you can play the same exact chill way as before, except that it will occasionally shyly congratulate you for doing something it finds impressive, via a small and unassuming pop up (feature you can even turn off in many cases). If that ruins your game, then I’d like to know the title of it because that must be some immersive shit!

3. “Gamerscore is useless!”

What this basically says is two things. One is that the reason we care about achievements or trophies is only gamerscore or a trophy count. Two is that we only care about gamerscore or a trophy count because that’s how we expect to pay for things in the real world.

I for one agree. It would also be cooler to be able buy stuff with my collection of used Band-Aids.

As Gamasutra pointed out, in their excellent article on this very topic, where they quote actual shrinks and shit: we have an inkling to hoard and earn random things all the time, whether it’s money, Pokemons, or empty beer cans, even when we don’t need to. It’s human nature! Scrooge McDuck didn’t collect all those coins so he could swim in them; he dove into that shit to celebrate the fact that he was able to amass so much fucking dough! Hoarding itself, in its’ various forms, gives us, humans and ducks, emotional satisfaction. That’s why so many video games have you collecting random shit for no apparent reason. It’s pleasing to us! Seriously, name a game and chances are there is a hundred of some useless bullshit hidden around its’ “world” for you to collect and you, yes you, have gone out of your way to get some of it, even though nobody ever promised you its’ equivalent in cash. If I’m wrong, then simply put: you are a terrible person, possibly a dentist, and you have no soul.

2. “I don’t need acknowledgement!”

I’ve had someone say this to me: “If I want to play a game a certain way, I don’t need someone patting me on the back for it, I will just do so, OK?” Well, first, if you don’t give a fuck about acknowledgement, why does it bother you so much? Or are you just using the opportunity to talk about yourself and slip in some humble bragging, to let the Internet know that you plain don’t give a shit?

Could that have been written by anyone but this guy?

But more importantly, how often do you get the idea to kick a corpse all the way to the end of a level, for instance? You probably don’t because that would be pretty fucking stupid but what if someone tested that and made sure that it wasn’t only possible but also challenging and fun, and let you know? What if an Avengers game said to you that it was possible to clear out an enemy-infested section by shooting a BB-gun at Hulk’s ass? Then would you perhaps come back to the game after you finished it and play around, doing things like that just to do them? Would you not appreciate having someone take a minute to test and tweak that random in-game activity just so you could spend some additional time with a game if you wanted to? Do you, the reader, realize by now that every sentence in this entry has been a question? Annoying but do you know what I mean though?

1. “What’s the point?”

Possibly the biggest argument against achievements/trophies is that there is obviously no point to them in the grand scheme of things. When you really think about it, they are a series of pointless challenges that reward you by simply saying: “you just did that.” Seriously, it’s like a needless and useless fucking optional headache with no payoff, kind of like that show Portlandia.

And we, gamers, have better shit to do!

Except that one can also describe the medium of video games that same exact way. Part of what you do, while playing, is willingly engage in a series of pointless challenges whether it’s a cut-scene that tells you to do them or an achievement. Really, you aren’t exactly curing cancer when you’re sitting on that couch, filling your crack with a soup of sweat and Cheeto dust, stroking the nobs of an orange-y controller. I’d like to live in a world where that’s “doing something better”. Let’s be honest here, what this crowd really complains about is being offered more optional challenges (albeit some that have little to do with… anything), in addition to the collection of the optional challenges they just paid money for. That’s like complaining about movie studios, the jerks, putting those extra and deleted scenes on a DVD, that you can choose to watch if you want.  I mean, how the fuck dare they?

6 comments on “4 Dumb Arguments Against Achievements/Trophies

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  2. somedude says:

    First of all, achievements are a clever invention, if you like em or hate em doesn’t change the fact that they are now a part of gaming….

    I think the best achievements are those who track your progress like when I finished a stage or defeated a boss…same goes for really funny achievements.
    I like it when you can compare progress with your buddies and see his game library
    .

    but there’s a point when achievements get utter annoying and you wish they never would’ve been invented…e.g ever played Lollipop Chainsaw? most of the achievements are just bullsh** like repeat some nonsense quicktime-event 30 times during a boss fight, stuff you would never do otherwise…

    another point concerns most fighting games…. why are there achievements for watching replays or go into some options? that’s very cheap and only says: oh noes we have a bunch of totally uninteresting things in our game, that nobody would ever give a crap about, so let’s make a achievement so they go there at least once…

    and the last thing is a nightmare for everyone who just wants to ignore those achievements… you said that people who don’t like them should just ignore them…well play e.g Gears of War 3 or Halo Reach .. you can disable the dashboard 360 achievement messages, but not those ingame achievements that pop up like every 5 minutes….try ignoring achievements if the game tells you all the time that n00bgamerz123 has 100 kills more than you or you’re just 50 kills away from a totally useless onyx medal

    • alionlion says:

      “but there’s a point when achievements get utter annoying and you wish they never would’ve been invented…e.g ever played Lollipop Chainsaw? most of the achievements are just bullsh** like repeat some nonsense quicktime-event 30 times during a boss fight, stuff you would never do otherwise…

      another point concerns most fighting games…. why are there achievements for watching replays or go into some options? that’s very cheap and only says: oh noes we have a bunch of totally uninteresting things in our game, that nobody would ever give a crap about, so let’s make a achievement so they go there at least once…”

      Agreed 100%. There are some achievements that are just insanely retarded, like the fishing one in Torchlight or the driving one in Mafia II. You know the ones.

  3. MartinB105 says:

    All four points seem to boil down to “I don’t care about achievements, therefore I’m against them”, which is obviously faulty logic that’s not just specific to achievements, but also occurs in pretty much any field or interest that you can think of.

    I like my trophies. This last week I enjoyed playing the Challenge Of The God’s in God Of War and then seeing how fast I could speed run the whole game to get the platinum trophy – tasks I otherwise wouldn’t have done if the trophies weren’t there.

  4. Josh says:

    I love achievements. They have corrupted me in the past, but now I just use them to get some more play out of games. I’m sick of seeing these same arguments made on gamefaqs every day!

  5. Anonymous says:

    first and lulz

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