My name is Samoza and I am an Achievement Addict. Microsoft’s introduction of the Achievement system has been one of the greatest, and worst, innovations of this generation. This Meta game has meant that I can play any 360 game safe in the knowledge that it will improve my overall score regardless of any critical reception that it may (or may not) receive on release. It does not matter that the Achievement score is meaningless; just its very existence draws me to it. I have always felt that deep down inside all of us is a little statistician who would like to get out. For some, this mathematical goblin is louder than others. Mine is a more of a troll, as the idea of gaining statistical information across every game I play makes me drool. I love the sound of an achievement unlocking and I visit sites like Truaechievements to see what my True Achievement score is. I am now at the point of regularly reading what Achievements are available in the game before it is even released on sites like Xbox360achievements so that I can have an Achievement strategy ready for when I play the game.
Achievements can become a bit of an obsession, but on a positive note some developers have used the system to improve their games by encouraging gamers to try different tactics, or approach situations differently e.g. in Crackdown you were encouraged to use a globe to squash your foes, an idea I would not have considered had the Achievement not existed. However, for every good use of Achievements, there is another developer who has designed simple goals, just so that certain people will buy their game e.g. CSI: Hard Evidence, or the Press Start Achievement in The Simpsons Game. As someone who is about to own their genuine 300th 360 game, and is close to 100 000 achievement points, I have played my fair share of lesser titles, though perhaps less than the chap aiming to be the first to a million achievement points.
When playing solo-games the urge to gain achievements is a personal vice that affects no one but myself. However, when you introduce ‘G Hunting’ into the co-op environment it can become a factor that can drive a friendship apart, or together. As with solo games the best developers can improve the co-op gaming experience through use of Achievements to enhance and encourage co-op play. The simplest form is the ‘complete the game/level in co-op’ Achievements. This is a simple reward for finishing the game with one or more players e.g. Saint’s Row 2, Gears of War 2. The important thing with these Achievements is that both players must receive the reward for playing the game. If made correctly they can encourage some people to stick with a co-op game they may have otherwise quit. Fairytale Fights and Damnation are about as much fun as having to watch Opera with your mother-in-law, but my co-op pal and I said we may as well complete them as we are both rewarded for doing so.