Over XBox Achieving

I understand there is a huge debate over the merits of Achievements on the XBox 360, and for the most part I think people tend to make a big deal out of nothing. Either people put way too much into getting them or they often feel too strongly about how worthless the concept is and think it’s important to share this point of view.

I think like any standard of measurement, even as unscientific and illogical as it may be, achievements are only as important as you make them. For me though I established one rule that I have stuck by even though it has been painful at times. I will not put aside, trade-in, give away, or throw out a game that I have not earned at least one achievement while playing.

This was, in theory, my “give it a fair shot rule”. Since not all games dole out achievements equally I have often felt frustration trying to live up to my rule. While I don’t exactly flaunt my Gamercard I’m not going to hide it either. The one useful metric achievements has given me is an easy display that I at least tried a game before I used the disc as skeet.

I don’t think you have to finish a game before you can decide if you like it or not. A game that is absolutely brilliant in the last two hours but painful to play in the first two is not a good game. Of course, the typical game often shows the lack of focus it had later in its development the longer you go through a game, so if it was bad in the beginning it is likely to get worse as a good rule of thumb. My belabored point is that sometimes a bad game is just a bad game and wading through the manure hoping to find a diamond is a fool’s errand.

However, that said, I like to be able to “prove” I give every game that graces my disc tray a real chance. I won’t deny that it’s a point of pride that I will not dismiss, or even love, a game lightly.


  1. My general rule with a rental game is to at least play it until I get an achievement. If I can get a few and it still holds my attention, even better.

    I like them when they’re doled out during the normal course of play and if they give you a reason to try something a little off the beaten track, but if they’re stupid and require nearly impossible to replicate conditions, forget it.

    And I hate multiplayer achievements if they limit you to ranked matches.

  2. I’ve got friends who loudly exclaim that achievements are pointless and others who will play whatever shovelware they can get their hands on if the achievements are easy.

    I’m sure those two types of gamers are the minority, and most fall into my category: they enjoy getting achievements as they play. When renting games, I do try to play until I get at least one achievement, but sometimes that’s just asking too much.

    I really hate to nitpick, but I have to: it’s “Xbox,” not “X-Box.”

  3. What “X-Box” πŸ˜‰

    Ah, the wonders of the Internet.

    Overall, I think it’s fairly simple. Except for my one rule stated above, everything else takes a backseat to my enjoyment. Now, the Portal achievements for the Orange Box gave me some neat “I’d like to try that” ideas and so I did actually pursue some of those pretty hard. Then again, the way Portal was I think it just helped me come up with different ideas after I finally got tired of opening two portals in a corner and running continuously (I bet EVERYONE tried that)

    I will say that Bankshot Billiards, Perfect Dark Zero, and Turok, off the top of my head, really did make me want to make exceptions to that rule each time.

  4. I still pause the game (hit the “button”) anytime the “Achievement Unlocked” pop-up pops up.

    I love achievements more than most people, I’d assume, but I’ve never have the drive to go after some of the more “grindy” achievements.

    That being said, I will upgrade all weapons in RE5 and “earn” that achievement.

  5. And that’s an achievement that actually has some in-game benefit to it, as you’ve upgraded everything and can better kick butt and take names.

    Of course, that also means you have to play more than 5 minutes of RE5, so there are other problems there πŸ™‚

  6. Sometimes for me the achievement is putting the game box back on the shelf.

    I want an achievement to give me a sense of achieving something. 10GS for pressing Start? No.

    (Man, it seems the commenting emoticons are all wacky on the new design. Another thing to add to the list.)

  7. Aw, come on. I LOVE those joke achievements. I’d rather have a few more ones like that than the stupid ones that have you place first in the world on Ranked multiplayer.

    Ghostbusters had some fantastic achievements, both in the names and with what you had to do. Nothing seemed onerous (though some of the MP ones are a bit annoying if you decide to go for them) and a lot were quite clever, like having to destroy the non-kosher thing at the barmitzvah.

  8. Please see the previous comment on Half-Life and Portal about unique achievements.

    If you get a sense of achievement from pressing start more power to you. πŸ˜€

    I think the best use of pressing start was in InFamous.

  9. Enlighten us non-PS3 owners — what happens when you press start in inFamous?

  10. Bad things happen when you press start. I’ll leave it at that. It is also very awesome.

  11. What Brock says is true. I really wouldn’t want to spoil anything by giving away what actually happens, but it’s sudden and impressive.

    A true achievement.

    Basically, the game starts.

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