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[You can check out previous installments of this series at Overdoing It: Sequelmania and Overdoing It: Boobies]

I think we can all agree that the vast majority of people that call themselves “gamers” would doubtless own a PS3, Xbox 360, or both. With the introduction of these consoles came a brand new feature that has undoubtedly become something of a viral sensation: trophies and achievements.

Whether it’s pumping hundreds of hours into your 360 in order to reach that coveted 100,000 GamerScore, or searching for the last hidden item that will grant you yet another Platinum trophy, games are now giving players the opportunity to showcase their (forgive me) prowess in the gaming arena.

So when did we decide that it was okay for gaming to become a job?

I don’t mean to exaggerate things here, but it seems to me that an incredible number of my 360 and PS3 friends waste countless hours in the hope that their GS or trophy collection will increase. Hours that could be spent blazing through that hefty backlog of titles, or experiencing an underrated indie game.

And for what? To boast in front of your fellow 12-hour-a-day game junkies? To show off an imaginary number or list of trophies that mean absolutely nothing in the outside world?

Do these achievements earn you money? No. Is there any reward for attaining a certain number of points or trophies? No.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that little sound that acknowledges a new unlocked achievement as much as the next guy. I’m not ashamed of my meagre 10,000 GamerScore or few dozen trophies, either. On the contrary, I was more than a little pleased with my most recent 360 achievement; last week, FIFA 10 informed me that I had spent 50 hours on the game and that I would be rewarded with 70 virgins 50 GS.

My point isn’t that these achievements are somehow evil. Rather, it’s the fact that they play on the obsessive nature of some gamers. Rock Band 2, for example, has trophies that range from the simple to the downright torturous. One such ridiculous achievement is The Bladder of Steel Award; this bastard of a trophy requires you to complete the Endless Setlist 2 without stopping or failing. While you can attempt it on any difficulty, it certainly isn’t easy; just think about what no pausing means for an 84-song marathon. And you’ll only receive a Gold trophy for all your bladder-bursting exploits. Gold. Are you fucking kidding me?

Handheld consoles perform just fine without such “features” to appease their customers. Granted, the PSP initially had plans for a trophy system, but its ultimate axing due to piracy concerns hasn’t harmed it from a sales point of view. Calls for DS achievements have fallen on deaf ears, and I for one am glad of it. When I’m working my way through Phantom Hourglass or getting frustrated in Professor Layton, I’m never thinking to myself, “Oh golly gosh, I hope I get an achievement after I finish this puzzle.” I’m not a dog that needs to be rewarded every time I perform a trick.

The Nintendo Wii succeeds just fine without any sort of achievements; their fanboys seem to be satisfied with the size of their e-penis already. When I played through A Boy and His Blob, I was simply content with defeating the bosses; there was no disappointment in the knowledge that my online buddies wouldn’t be able to see the compensation for my victories. I never felt a pang of regret that the game hadn’t been released on an achievement-friendly console.

You don’t have to look too far back to remember a time without trophies or rewards; the PS2 and Xbox played out just fine without them. Are we really just sycophants eager to get a hard-on every time Microsoft or Sony wave a treat in front of our noses?

We gain nothing from these pointless numbers and pixelated prizes. Gamers spend countless hours every day attempting to build up their online statuses, grinding away the day in a fit of fruitless dedication. Who’s to say that these achievements and trophies won’t become completely redundant when the next wave of consoles arrives? What purpose will they serve then? Will the eBay guy you sell your 360 to have an urge to call you up and congratulate you on your incredible GamerScore? Probably not; and if he does, you should probably hang up the phone.

It sounds pretty rich coming from anyone – especially from some bloke that enjoys writing about video games in his spare time – but I believe that games are made to entertain. If you get your kicks from unlocking hilarious (or sick, depending on your care factor) rewards, then more power to you. But when we start forcing ourselves to earn every single achievement just because a developer tells us to, isn’t the game really playing us?

  1. Trophies have never bothered me whatsoever – they merely serve as bragging rights and are often inane attempts to extend the lifespan of a game.

    • avatar Anes

      / Congratulations everyone! What a trmuedoes month. No jealousy here but pride. Just goes to show that I work with many business partners and with a company that is tested, tried and proven! I am proud to work with the Ameriplan Corporation. It tells me that anyone who works, can achieve the American dream. So congrats to all of you that has proven yourself and Ameriplan way!!!

  2. If the individual playing for trophies gets something out of that experience, it’s worth while for them. And as a dev/publisher, anything that keeps people playing my games, buying new DLC, ignoring other games, etc has a great deal of worth. And, as a console producer, anything that creates a sense of community and pride within gamers of my console is very worthwhile bc it promotes loyalty. If the new windows phones leverage LIVE, achievements, and the zune features well, it will push many who blew off Windows phones to give them another try. That’s certainly worth while for them.

    Blowing off the experience others enjoy, value, and benefit from just because you don’t get it doesn’t mean it’s worthless. It just means you value other things in games. Why not write an article showing why what you value is more worthwhile instead of shitting on something others legitimately enjoy?

    • I should also note I’m a huge trophy whore. *nods*

      I loves them shiny little trophies.

    • avatar kreate

      what trophy lvl are u if u dont mind me askin? also can u add me on psn?
      im collecting trophies right now.

      my psn:kreate

    • avatar Bobby B

      Maybe writing caustic and judgmental reviews is enjoyable to him. Perhaps he derives the self-esteem to carry on each day in his tiny, isolated life from pointing an accusatory finger at simpler folk? Maybe this criticism is an experience he enjoys, values, and benefits from. Why not write a comment showing what YOU value?

      Lots of things produce a sense of community and pride, btw. Looking back, racism and tyranny leap to mind. Just because something “brings people together” doesn’t mean it’s great. It just means it’s popular. LOTS of crap ideas are popular.

      As a developer/publisher, anything that keeps people playing your games DOES have worth — because you literally are cashing in on them. That’s like saying pornography has worth as art because more people buy Playboys than Picassos.

      Cigarettes “promote loyalty”.

      Weeeee, this is fun. See? It’s fun to do this. Bickering, I mean. Stop shitting on what I enjoy. :)

  3. I’m not really a fan of trophies, because they’re needlessly confusing when it comes to the olympic-style “rank” system.

    Gamerscore is much easier to take in, because it’s a simple number, and every game has 1,000.

    • I kinda agree… but I really like how it breaks everything up into levels so you can see what a persons score consists of (bronze, silver, gold, platinum). It’s easier to see if they play lots of games for easy trophies or actually complete games 100%.

    • avatar The Great Melon

      Actually, there are several games that have more than 1000 GS points. I know Halo 3 at one point had 1750, but it might be more now. I really don’t care what my level is in trophies, but I do like knowing how many platinums I have gotten.

    • avatar Adam

      OK, here are my achievent ideas.No logner a newbie: Get your first gold medal.Campaign finished: Get all gold medals in the campaign.Is that all you got?: Deal 5 damage to one individual in any mode of level.Lightning Quick: Win 1st in a race 10 times in a row.My First Part: Win your first body part.Level of the Day: One of your levels must get on LOTD.Because it’s that awesome: Get a level in Best.Home Run!: Launch someone at least 40 blocks by hitting them with something.Well-behaved: Do not get silenced or banned for a month.Very well behaved: Do not get silenced or banned for 3 months.Juggler: Hit someone twice in a row with a weapon without letting them hit the ground.Demolition Crew: Blow up at least 50 blocks in one game.Loyalist: Play Platform Racing 3 7 days in a row.Meet Jiggmin: Title speaks for itself.Opinions, anyone?: Rate a level.Look what I made!: Get 50 plays on your level.Popular: Get 500 plays on your level.IT’S OVER 9000!!!: Get 9001 plays on your level.That’s one good level: Get a level on the top of Best.Half-time show: On any 1 campaign level, finish in less than half the time you need for gold.Explosive behavior: Kill a player with a mine you placed in a deathmatch.Crime stopper: Submit a successful chat report.Crime destroyer: Submit 25 successful chat reports.Crime anhilator: Submit 100 successful chat reports.Does it look like I care?: Use the Quick Join feature.Preparation: Use the Practice feature.Chatterbox: Use the Chat section (not in Multiplayer Lobby)Big bucks: Get 500 coins in a level.Firin’ your lazer!: Deal at least 10 damage to players in a deathmatch using a laser gun.Pirates be lootin’: Deal at least 10 damage to players in a deathmatch using a sword.Ka-boom!: Deal at least 10 damage to players in a deathmatch using rocket launchers.What ya doin’?: Make no movements for a minute in a multiplayer game.WAKE UP!: Make no movements for 2 minutes in a multiplayer game.The wheels DO go round and round: Make a full 360 rotation using one rotate block.Hyperspace: Go really fast in any direction. This cannot be earned by getting slashed/shot by something.Bust a move: Break 20 bricks in one game.Frozen up: Play a game with full penguin.GET TO DA TEMPLE!: Play a game with full tiki.Birdies: Play a game with full bird. Yeah, it’s a freebie.I got the brains for this: Play a game with full brain.I can see everywhere: Play a game with full eye.Raider: Play a game with full spartan or viking.Power: 10+ rank.Ranking up: 20+ rank.Just that awesome: 30+ rank.Prince/ss of PR3: 40+ rank.King/Queen of PR3: 50+ rank.That’s all I got for now.

  4. avatar me

    I don’t think you understand the point of trophies. They are actually less about showing off to your friends and more about feeling accomplished. When you get a Platinum, you get this great feeling inside that you accomplished something great. Look, this doesn’t apply to me, but earning a trophy is the only self-esteem booster some people can get.

    btw. I Platinumed Rock Band 2, which means yes, I even did the Bladder of Steel Award. Actually started the setlist at midnight and ended it at 8am, fell asleep during a couple songs, and even peed in a bottle between two songs.

    • avatar CapinChronic

      I gotta agree.. that is awesome dude. KUDOS!

    • I understand that they are intended to make the player “feel accomplished”, doubtless I’ve had that very same feelings at rare moments. I’m more disgusted by the ridiculous lengths some developers go to in order to reach the minimum level of achievements or trophies required.

      However, I can’t disagree that you completing the Bladder of Steel Award is fucking badass – however stupid I think it may be.

  5. I’m not huge into trying to get trophies, but there is an addicting draw to them. Also, when the developers plan the trophies/achievements out correctly, it opens up a whole new style of game play that you’d never attempt to do on your own if it hadn’t been for the senseless accomplishments. That’s where the power of them come in. But I do agree, the ridiculous ones that have you sifting through near impossible circumstances ought to go.

  6. avatar isaac

    playing games with trophys and games that dont the trophy games are more fun because you see and do things in the game where non trophy games you do not get a chance to see when you are trying to bet it. but with trophys you find the hidden eggs or the stuff that you need to find or do the challenges in the games that make it more grate and fun.

  7. avatar Bumbuliuz

    I can only be addicted to one thing at a time so I choose Gamerscore. It´s also easier to understand.

    • Haha my thoughts exactly!

    • I buy my games depending on what friends get it where… I have a solid group of friends on both systems, but PS3 generally wins when I just buy something for me. Not just bc of trophies, but I love the DualShock controller. That’s probably why I favored trophies over gamerscore in the first place.

    • avatar Princess

      EASY ACHIVMENTS Bunny rabit!-Jump 100 times in any level with the full hare set on!SUPER-BUNNY!-Jump 100 times in any level with the full hare set one with the aviator hat on.Level maker!-Make one level.Painter!-Draw in at least one of your leelvs.Writer!-Write in at least one of your leelvs.BOO!-Say BOO! while wearing the full Halloween set on Halloween while in a game!Ho ho ho!-Wear the Santa hat in at least one level during Christmas,Christmas Eve,or one of the 12 days of Christmas.Speed racer!-Use the winged cap while on the arrow blocks that are pushing you forward with 100 speed and 100 acceleration.Rank 5!-Get to rank 5!Rank 10!-Get to rank 10!Rank 15!-Get to rank 15!Rank 20!-Get to rank 20!I just played operation I’m the board!-Wear at least 2 full sets you had to win in a game.Follow the classic old road!-Make a level with all PR2 blocks and tools.All hail King Pedro!-Wear a pedro that is not yours.Fear my pet Pedro!-Wear your pedro hat and affect someone with it.LETS PARTY TILL WE’RE SICK!-Wear the party hat on New Years Eve.Sniper(rank 1)-Shoot 10 people in 1 deathmatch without being hurt from anything but lightning,non-portable mines,or hurt blocks.Do What’cha cuz a pirate is free,YOU ARE A PIRATE(rank 1)!-Hit 10 people with a sword in 1 deathmatch without being hurt from anything but lightning,non-portable mines,or hurt blocks.Astranaut(rank 1)-Suck 10 people into a black hole in 1 game without being hurt from anything but lightning,non-portable mines,or hurt blocks.

  8. what gets me is like the hardcore/casual argument it seems that you either are an achievement whore or you don’t care. I feel very much in the grey area where i enjoy what getting ach. adds to a game and because i know that i will get to increase my gamerscore a little i am more willing to play games i am only kind of interested in rather than the ones i am 100% sold on. mirrors edge, wanted, web of shadows and dead space all fir into that category and i enjoyed all 4 of those games which i wouldn’t of bothered with outside of a little e-penis extending.

  9. avatar fsapo

    I miss the time when we spent days, months, years playing Unreal Tournament online…. Now my friends move on to the next game as soon as they get the platinum trophy and nobody plays online.

  10. I have to admit that one of the reasons I generally opt for Xbox 360 versions of multi-platform games is because it gives me another opportunity to advance my Gamerscore, currently at around 10,000. That being said, I certainly don’t prioritize either Gamerscore or Trophies. It’s a nice feather and it’s nice to be given the extra reward for your actions in games, but I primarily play games to have fun. Some of the more murderous achievements (I’m thinking of Mega Man 19 now) make it difficult to have fun.

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  11. I must admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for achievements, but not for the sake of bragging. For me they add some interesting in-game challenges and provide you with a little keepsake and a record of progression. To ask what the point of an achievement is is like asking what is the point of a medal – it’s simply recognition of something you’ve achieved and a reminder of those little milestones you overcame. Saying that, I don’t see the point of repetitive time-draining achievements, I prefer them to be enjoyable accomplishments of skill and, well, achievements!

    • avatar Dattary

      I have a question for the doom huetniest, I own doom for the ps1 which has doom 1 and 2 and i think some other levels. I really want to have all if not most of the levels for doom 1 and 2 is the xbox version worth the microsoft point or shoul i look else where for my doom collection

  12. avatar Alexander Rosa

    I don’t look at trophies or achievements as torture, as long as you play games that you actually LIKE in order to get them. Playing games like Open Season or Up or some crap like that, or downright horrible games JUST for the trophies/achievements it’s where the line should be drawn. Unlocking them in games i actually like are simply challenges; ways to test your skills. For example, finishing a game in hard mode. Before trophies or achievements, I never attempted this, I would just play on normal, beat it and move on. But with this system, I take it as a challenge. Are u capable of beating it on hard??. Give it a try, and we’ll reward you with a nice trophy (which sets in stone that you indeed are capable of the feat). It’s like somebody challenging an athlete to run a marathon. Sure, you like exercise, but can u run a marathon??. Same thing.

  13. avatar Suryat

    Achievements are a fun reason to do things you wouldn’t normally do in a game. I don’t buy many games, so it is nice to have a reason to keep playing them after they’re “beat”. I’ve also never seen them used for bragging rights. The kind of people that do that stuff are the kind of people I don’t want to play games with.

  14. avatar Me

    Trophies for life!

  15. I’m a rare case where I love my achievements, and will go out of my way on some of the more manageable ones to get them, but I very rarely get a perfect 1,000 points. I tend to tread within the 700-900 range for most games, and that satisfies my achievement whoreness. But I know people who get those perfect scores, and they seem to have no idea why they even game anymore. If a game doesn’t have achievements, they won’t play it. A game shouldn’t be about making you feel accomplished – it’s supposed to be about fun and keeping the player entertained.

  16. avatar WhiptailCrow

    Back in the days where I’d have time to play my games to any great lengths I’d still try and fully complete stuff, getting all the items or beating the highest difficulty etc. Achievements to me just mean you’ve got a way of showing off the fact that you’ve done it all easily. The only game I’m really fussed about achievements with is Team Fortress 2, since you actually unlock stuff for getting certain achievements.

    • avatar Atef

      Zoe DeVulder / I used to be very serious about my anmievehect score. If I bought, or even rented a game, I HAD to at least try and score a 1000. However, in time, I began to care less about my score. Mostly just found I didn’t have the time to unlock every little thing. :( Won’t lie though, I still occasionally check out a games anmievehect list before I pick up the game. ;P

  17. avatar Mark

    Who cares?

    That this bothers you that much is more concerning…

    • avatar Rafael

      Because it’s supposed to esmcopans 360 degrees of entertainment: gaming, music, movies, etc. They won’t name the next one 720 or 1080. Not sure what the second half of your details has to do with what you’re asking. Seems like you’re ranting a bit.

  18. avatar Anthony Alexander

    It bothers me that I was about to classify the posters in some upper societal bracket, then you come along Mark.

    I only really noticed this compulsive nonsense in smash bros. What the hell am I doing with these trophies? We are not equal and never will be. Something that took me a while to swallow. But they should really work on the rationale for their choices rather than lashing out upon inquiry. Fascinating stuff.

  19. avatar Chris

    I couldn’t care less about trophies. I mean think about it, trophies are pretty much bragging rights correct? Other than the feeling of self accomplishment as if beating the game isn’t enough.

    Think about people who obsess over trophies. They are buying games just to get trophies. Hanna Montana, among others that you normally would not buy. In reality, you are spending your money to get a little icon of a trophy on a game that you have no interest in…… screw that.

    Ill stick with buying the games I enjoy playing. If I get a trophy along the way, great. If not, I wont cry over it. Once I beat the game or get tired of a game that has no ending, ill move on to the next. There is no way in hell Ill waste months of my life getting trophies like the ones in Star Ocean. You wont find me at Gamestop buying Hello Kitty just to get a trophy anytime soon either…..although, I might get it cause I love hello kitty………no, not really.

  20. avatar Matthew

    It just kinda annoys me the kids with high levels are always going to be the rich kids with alot of games. I cant afford to get as many games as them so i will never catch up. I do however platinum my fave games as it makes me feel like i got my money’s worth.
    It gets you way more replayability also – instead of putting around 20 hours into infamous to do both storylines then be done i put around 40-50 hours in and in the end it feels much better.

    What i also think would be a cool feature with trophies is if it showed you how many trophies you have out of your whole collection so we can see the kids who just buy games for the easy bronze,silvers,golds and the ones who platinum their games. For example if they just told us like 700/1000 avalible trophies in your current collection.

  21. avatar mike

    Let me start this by saying that I am a bit of a trophy whore, keyword bit. I find trophies very addictive, but don’t go so far out of my way to get a trophy that it feels like work. For example I only have 1 plat, and that’s in uncharted 2. I LOVED that game, and normally I’d of beat it a few times in it’s lifespan, but the trophies gave me much more guided extra-curricular as I like to call it gameplay.

    another good example is the first game I ever got trophies on, super stardust hd. iagain, I love that game…and did before trophies even EXISTED. But when the trophies came out it reinvented the game for me, it took this arcade game with no real ultimate goal other than getting a higher score, and gave it a ‘campaign mode’. It gave me a reason to pick the game back up, and the trophies in that game were ALL Skill based, not time. And they were hard, but FUN. They added an entire layer of gameplay. The most fun I had with stardust was getting the trophies.

    so in my opinion, trophies are great…but they are not to be abused. I may be a trophy whore, but I only get trophies that are fun to work for, or really easy to get.

  22. avatar Evelyn

    For Superior Firepower, does it need to be done in one saved game of single ypelar, or can I do like 21 levels solo then do the remaining in split screen? Also, does it need to be done on all the episodes or just Hell On Earth?Answer or a copy of Doom 2 will be destroyed every minute. >:D

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