Friday, 25 June 2010

Escaping the curse of the 360 Achievements!

I love collecting things. When I was a little Girl Guide, I had collected so many of the badges that instead of the normal two columned width sash, I had to upgrade to a three column one! In games, e.g. within Dark Cloud (a game for the PS2) I had to get 100% within all the town and upgrade all of my weapons to their highest potential. Now, I didn't immediately jump onto the Achievement Junkie (or Achievement Whore as so many have eloquently named it) bandwagon immediately. I just played games on the 360 for the pure enjoyment of progressing through the games and because I wanted to start to analyse the design of the games in order to help me become a better designer. However, whilst working within a games industry (and being surrounded by a lot of competitive males) I had come to understand another reason for Achievements - bragging rights! And, because of the niffy nature of your gamertags being visible to all your friends and everyone (depending on wherever you want to place it) there is no limit to how many people can view your gamerscore. So after comparing my gamerscore to everyone else's on my Friend's List I was utterly disgusted with my lack of effort, after all gaining achievements is just another form of collecting so I wanted to gain all that I could.

My next game was the Orange Box, specifically Portal. Before I began the game I look at the list of achievements and see plan how I was going to gain them. So I went out of my way to look for all the cameras, fall so far etc in order to gain these achievements. It was only when I was playing Resident Evil with my partner the other night that I realised that while I was going out of my way to gain these achievements, I wasn't taking the time to critically analyse the design of the game or even enjoy what I was playing. When I started getting disappointed that my partner had just gained 60G (by accident!) and I didn't, I realised it was time to stop.

I have now consciously decided that I will not play games just for the achievements. Achievements are a good way to make players replay the game and search the vast areas of the game that so many developers took the time to create for our amusement so it's only right that we do make an effort to explore them. Your gamerscore also speaks for itself by showing everyone how much of an interest in games that you do have, so I do think it is important that I do build this up to a significant amount (say over 10K?). But I will not be going out of my way to gain every achievement within a game just for the sake of it. I still feel good when I have gained yet another achievement, but my goal for the future is now focused to analyse the design of games so that when I become a designer I will be a better one and to enjoy the games that I am playing.

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