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The Benefits of Video Game Achievements

How becoming a trophy hunter enriched my gaming experience

By BrianPublished 5 months ago 4 min read
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Video game achievements are a bit of a mixed bag, not everyone likes them, some people outright hate them or think they ruin video games. But for others, like myself, the addition of achievements drastically improved the gaming experience.

That said, it did take me a long while to warm up to the idea. At first, I found it a little bemusing. I mean, what possible benefit could these virtual awards really have right?

But then I found a game I just loved so much I couldn’t stop playing. Dragon Age Origins was the first game I had been so invested in for over a decade and I wanted to savour the experience.

Then I discovered how a well designed achievement list could compliment the game.

It gave me an incentive to play again and focus on features I hadn’t used, hadn’t discovered or would normally gloss over. It was practically a checklist of objectives to aim for on my next playthrough.

It led me to quests and story lines I had ignored or hadn’t found before and gave me an incentive to strive for the best outcomes, develop relationships with all the characters and find those awesome items and over-powered opponents I considered to be too much trouble on my first character.

It also encouraged me to try for a bigger challenge. Dragon Age Origins included a trophy to finish the campaign on Nightmare difficulty. Something I probably wouldn’t have attempted if not for the trophy.

It took around 6 months to work through that trophy list, I played the game from start to finish half a dozen times, tried every character class, exhausted every dialogue choice, found every item, and saw every possible ending.

When that shiny platinum trophy “popped”, I had a genuine feeling of achievement. It was something I truly felt like I earned and the quest had actually enriched the game. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say I felt just as proud about that as I feel about my real-life trophies.

It changed the way I approach video games, and added replay value to a lot of games I’d already played. I spent the next few months revisiting old games that I loved and felt like they needed some validation. A mark of appreciation in a way.

I’m a dedicated trophy hunter now, for better or worse. When I play a new game now, if I still like the game enough to keep playing I’ll open up that trophy list and start looking for my next objective.

As much as I love the feature though, I can understand why some people have reservations.

It’s easy to let the quest for platinum overshadow the games themselves. I’ve tried to set limits on myself to prevent that, like only attempting the platinum in games I love, and playing to the credits without looking at the trophy list at all.

I’ve lost my way a couple of times but ultimately realised that games I didn’t enjoy just didn’t give me the same satisfaction and playing for trophies from the outset can take a lot of the magic out of a game.

I’ve noticed some trophy hunters only have interest in the achievements and practically see the game as nothing more than an obstacle to that end, and some people do develop a bit of an elitist attitude.

Not all developers make good use of the feature either. Trophies that just require senseless and unnecessary grinding for example, designed purely for artificially inflating the playtime, or just don’t take the feature seriously.

A more recent trend I’ve noticed is a huge influx of shovelware with incredibly easy platinum trophies. Indie developers are taking advantage of the platinum hunting communities to drive their software sales. Great for their profit margins I’m sure, and the player basically gets a quick and painless trophy to add to their “score”, so it’s a win-win I guess.

But personally, the pros outweigh the cons for me. I get to spend more time playing my favourite titles, and when the list is planned well, helps me find and enjoy all the extra content the developers took the time to create but I would normally miss out on.

How do you feel about the achievements in video games?


About the Creator


Doing my best to keep on keeping on. I’m a quiet guy with a quiet life and I like it that way.

I like spending time with my family, cooking, fantasy fiction, video games, anime and archery.

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