Quote of the Past

About achievements in video games:

Achievements aren’t so much player incentive as they are backdoor statistical aggregation. What makes them annoying is because they’re completely superfluous at best and intrusive at worst.

They’re intrusive because the obvious statistic aggregation pops up, ‘hey, you used the jump key!’ forty times in the first couple of hours, as proof to the publisher that, yes, you played the fucking game, and no, you’re not a vegetable.

They’re annoying because the best way to throw you right out of whatever immersion you’re actually getting from a particularly emotional moment in the game is to have a fucking achievement pop up right in the middle of it. “Hey, your good friend just sacrificed himself for the greater cause, 20 points!”

They’re stupid because just going through the list of achievements for a game is a spoiler for just about everything there is to do in that game. Which would you prefer: Discovering some Cool Thing™ on your own or being told that there’s this Cool Thing™ and then having your experience of it ticked off some like some theme park itinerary?

They’re superfluous because if they’re not skinner box shit, they’re things like “find every collectible in the game” and “complete the game on insanity using only your left pinky toe,” where you wouldn’t do them if the game itself wasn’t fun because nobody in the world gives a fuck about your achievements, and if the game was fun you don’t need any extra incentive to play it.Nalano, RPS forums, July 2012

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