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Achievements Considered Harmful?

I want to bring up a good talk from Chris Hecker about achievements; Achievements Considered Harmful?.

Why? Apart from it being bloody interesting, it reminded me when it popped up from another blog – I had a discussion, ever so briefly, with a few guys at a GameCityNights event at the start of the month. All the common arguments came up from them – “can ignore them” and “new playstyles” (and of course “I enjoy them” – these were both men; seems research points to this kind of reward being less important to women). I am glad Chris went over these and I now know a reasonable way of explaining why they are invasive especially on design; he himself says he will try and do something as a test with the Xbox limitations.

You might realise I’m not a fan. To me they’re invasive, annoying, and change the gameplay in games to allow such actions to exist (for no other good reason). For instance I abhor all the Valve TF2 achievements – once I have the weapons I then ignore them, they’re intended to be a fun addition but instead turn into a complete barrier to progress. This is anecdotal, and I don’t care ;) These kinds of rewards are rubbish to me in any case and don’t encourage anything from me. No gnomes are going into space for me.

I however agree; more research needed (with less bias, hehe), and his Q&A is well worth listening to where he clarifies a lot of the things involved in his talk. I mainly also don’t want to ever play a game where you’re paid to play, urg…it’d be more like the gaming (gambling) industry then anything else.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Stuart | October 27th, 2010 at 21:57 | Permalink

    I’d wondered that myself, finding myself being a sad git and flaming a lot as the pyro to get that 1,000,000 flaming achievement. I doubt they’ll go away anytime soon though, they’re like crack (for some people anyway). Surprising Nintendo didn’t choose to join the fray the way Sony did after launch.

    I’ve even read that some game developers are deliberately putting in lots of easy achievements, to encourage people to buy the game purely for the points.

  2. Jacob Clark | November 11th, 2010 at 12:43 | Permalink

    Some of the achievements are just so crazy. There is one where you have to kill 10 people with the shovel which most likely involves me getting killed every single time i go in for a shovel kill. Achievements are not my thing gameplay is really what sells me.

    Keep up the good work!

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