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Achievements on Xbox 360 and Trophies on PlayStation 3 — whatever you want to call them — they have changed the way that we play games … for better or worse.
I will admit; I am a Trophy hunter. I’m always trying to get as many Trophies as possible. While Achievements and Trophies are a cool and exciting addition to games, they also have the potential to be harmful to the way we play.
Before Achievements and Trophies, we played because we simply enjoyed gaming. We didn’t need to get a Trophy or Achievement to feel satisfied; finding shortcuts in racing games or even simply reaching the end was enough to make us happy.
Today, simply completing the story mode is just not enough. We must collect every treasure, find every Playboy magazine, and unlock every lock-box. Why do we do this? It is because we really love the games we are playing or because we want to show off to our friends?
Social networking, in general, has affected the ways we act and the things we do, and I believe it has affected the way we game as well. The 360 and PS3 both allow you to share your Achievements or Trophies with your Facebook friends. Playfire is a social network created specifically for gaming. Your friends will always see what you’re playing and how many Achievements or Trophies you have earned. And, of course, these things can be shared on Facebook. Does this drive us to play games — even really bad ones — just to boost our Gamerscore or PlayStation Network level?
I have heard of people purchasing poor quality games just because they want to have a lot of Trophies. One game that is known to have one of the easiest Platinum Trophies — the highest such reward on a PS3 game — is Megamind: Ultimate Showdown. Apparently, the Trophy can be earned in less than three hours. (If the only Platinum you have is for a game like this, that doesn’t count!)
Admit it — as soon as you get that Achievement or Trophy that you’ve been working on for weeks or even months, you post a status about it or even directly share it to your Facebook wall — excuse me, “timeline.” One can only wonder if we are, maybe subconsciously, playing games solely to impress others.
I will admit that when I was trying to decide whether to buy Sleeping Dogs on PC or PS3, I ultimately chose PS3 because I wanted to get the Trophies and try for the Platinum. I know Steam has Achievements, but maybe, just maybe, I wanted others to see my trophies in their news feeds.
By getting Achievements or Trophies in games, we get a false sense of accomplishment. Maybe those of us who aren’t really happy with our lives are the same people who are Achievement and Trophy hunters. Getting a Platinum Trophy or 1000 Gamerscore is the gaming equivalent of getting an A-plus on a test or getting a raise at a job.
While I do believe that Achievements and Trophies have changed the way we game in a bad way, I also believe that they have had a positive effect.
If you look at it from a monetary point-of-view, when you get every single A chievement or Trophy, you are getting your full money’s worth. People who don’t have much money for games usually try to experience their games to 100 percent completion because they feel that is the only way to really make it worth the 60 bucks that they paid.
Remember the reason you started gaming in the first place. It wasn’t for the Trophies or the Achievements. It was for the sheer joy of gaming. You should play because you truly love doing it. So sit back, relax, and just enjoy the unique and wonderful world of gaming.