This generation has brought some pretty awesome things to the gaming world. Online multiplayer, 3D gaming, and HD graphics are all things that have become commonplace in the era of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. However, one unexpected feature has become increasingly prevalent this generation is awards systems. Achievements and Trophies have become standard on all currently-released games, and any game released for either the Xbox 360 or PS3 must contain an awards system before it can be certified for release. But are these arbitrary awards really all that important? Less than a decade ago, none of these things even existed. And perhaps that was a purer time. Here are five reasons why you shouldn't care about Achievements or Trophies.
5. You have to do some stupid things to get them
Not all games are guilty of this one, but there are some seriously stupid Achievements out there. Take Guitar Hero III, for example. The game had an Achievement for playing every song on "hard" difficulty using a standard controller instead of a guitar. Why would you ever play a Guitar Hero game without the titular instrument? Who would do that? And for just 50G? That's just crazy. And Guitar Hero isn't alone. Look at Command and Conquer 3. This game had an Achievement for hitting the A button 2,047 times during a single mission. Again, isn't the point of Command and Conquer 3 to kill the enemy? Why would you waste your time hammering on a single button in a lonely corner by yourself? It sort of defeats the point of the entire game, doesn't it?
4. Sometimes, developers just don't care
Though you've got nearly impossible Achievements on the one hand, on the other you've got the super easy Achievements that are there just because they were required to be. The most infamous instance of this is in the game Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth. In addition to having a ridiculously long name, this game also gave you a full 1,000 Achievement points after hitting the attack button forty times. And you'll attack things a lot more than forty times. Other games just give you the full Achievement/Trophy haul after you complete the game. Who needs a challenge when you can get awards for doing nothing, or doing things you would do if you played the game anyway?
3. Your "Level" or "Gamerscore" doesn't matter
When was the last time you checked out someone's Achievements? Really? Have you ever faced someone online, and then checked out their gamer profile, only to marvel at their amazing collection of Achievements or Trophies for pro keyboarding in Rock Band 3? No, you haven't. Look, getting Achievements and Trophies might be a little stroke to your ego, and you might even show off a few to your friends. But the sad truth is that no one else cares. Even if you post them all on your favorite social networking site and text everyone you know, it's doubtful that anyone will really care that you had a specific killstreak, or beat the game on "OMG U R SUICIDAL" difficulty.
2. Achievements and Trophies can be hacked
I would love to live in a world where games were never hacked, and where I never had to worry about glitches, exploits, or any of the other nefarious stuff that goes on in an online environment. But unfortunately, there are people in this world that want to do things the easy way, and that applies to Achievements and Trophies. Though Sony and Microsoft work tirelessly to ban anyone who is found hacking their Gamerscore or Trophy collection, there are countless users who inflate their numbers using less-than-honorable means. And as any economist will tell you, the more things get inflated, the less valuable they become.
1. You might lose them all in a few years anyways
You may have the most awesome Gamerscore or level ever right now. But when this console cycle ends (and signs point to that happening in the next 2-3 years) your Gamerscore/level could be set back to zero and you'd have to start all over again. If so, all that time you spent playing games on the hardest difficulty setting, completing every last side mission, and collecting pointless items will all be erased from history. Is this a depressing fact? Yes. But when you think about it, isn't getting arbitrary Achievements and Trophies kind of pointless in the first place?
When the awards system was first introduced, I was certainly behind it. Anything that can help you find depth in a game you love is a good thing. However, Achievements and Trophies have become so ridiculous and have gone so far over the top in recent years that it's easy to be cynical about the entire system. And when you've got a system that is subject to hacks and isn't even permanent, what good is the system to begin with? You certainly won't be telling your grandkids about that one time you got that awesome Achievement in Halo: Reach, or that time you beat Crawmerax the Invincible in Borderlands, will you? I didn't think so. So don't worry about your Gamerscore and just enjoy the game.
By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*