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Opinion

Are Nintendo Right To Ignore Trophies And Achievements?

Just a number, right?

Earlier this week Nintendo announced that they weren’t thinking of adding a system similar to the Xbox 360’s Gamerscore, which counts your Achievements, or the PS3’s Trophy set-up.  “Nintendo’s designers don’t tell you how to play their game in order to achieve some kind of mythical reward,” said the company’s Bill Trinen.

“Basically, the way the games are designed is they’re designed for you to explore the game yourself and have this sense of discovery.”

Trinen also suggested that the sense of mystery is far preferable than the two points systems, which he pointed out were little more than numbers.  “In my mind, that really encourages the sense of exploration rather than the sense of ‘If I do that, I’m going to get some sort of artificial point or score that’s going to make me feel better that I got this,'” he said, “And that, to me, is I think more compelling.”

There’s legions of gamers that would venomously disagree, of course.  To some, Trophies and Achievements are serious business – indeed, our very own PS3 Trophy List was not only the first of its kind but it still attracts lots of readers, and we’ve got our very own Skibadee doing a thankless job maintaining it.  Gamers like the two systems.

Achievements, the first out of the door, give you a nice round number and a very easy reckoner as to who plays games the most, although it’s unclear at a glance as to that player’s particular skill beyond the total score.  Trophies, on the other hand, show the four different levels of silverware, with Platinum badges obviously the hardest to get.

But what do they do in the long term, beyond providing a discussion point and a method of comparing with friends?

The concept of ‘100%ing’ a game has changed over the last few years – previously games that required a fair amount of your time would come with a total percentage somewhere, which showed you how close you were to completing everything the game had to offer.  Now it’s just a Platinum or a 1000 points Gamerscore, depending on your choice of platform.

Gamers don’t need to explore so much for themselves, a simple look at the Trophy list (or, of course, a list of Achievements) would show them everything they need to ‘do’ to get that final ping, and even though developers can opt to keep some Trophies hidden, it normally doesn’t take long for a spoiler-heavy list to hit the internet, and usually before the game is launched.

Are the rewards ‘mythical’ as Trinen says?  In some respects, yes – neither Sony nor Microsoft has really found a use for these systems beyond what we’ve talked about above – they’re there to show you how many points you’ve got from playing the games in specific, pre-meditated conditions.  Is the company right to completely ignore them for the 3DS?  No.

Regardless of what an individual might think, or indeed a group of game designers, Trophies and Achievements go a long way to keeping gamers hooked to your system; before Trophies appeared multi-format gamers might have opted to buy games purely for the Xbox 360, for example, and Apple’s Game Center shows that it’s possible to get this absolutely right on a mobile platform.

Nintendo have always been a little internet-wary, preferring to dip their toes in the online water rather than jumping in stark-bollock naked, and that’s their call.  Will the 3DS suffer from not having it’s own system of comparing your gaming prowess with mates?  Probably not, but would it be better with one?

Almost certainly.

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57 Comments
  1. Jim H [Teabags]
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I would certainly feel a lot more enticed to go out and buy Wii/3DS games if they did support a trophy/achievement system. Hell, I’ve even gone out and purchased games just for that purpose alone.

    I understand how there could be a mysterious element of exploration in Wii/DS games, but most gamers don’t give a hoot nowadays, especially as 99% of in-game secrets are blasted onto Youtube instead of being scrawled on a tablet and sent to your fellow basement-dweller via courier on horseback.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:06.
    • Jaffa-the-Cake
      Member
      Since: Oct 2010

      i’d have no quams about buying a Wii if there was a trophy/points system that actually counted toward something. ATM neither MS or Sony have bothered trying to implement a reward system, Sony could make Home a success if there was Home unlockables for trophies/gamerscore. The first of the big three to do it would encouarage more people to play games.

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:13.
      • Jim H [Teabags]
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Exactly. Even if I only got something as tiny as a PSN avatar for unlocking a platinum trophy I would be so much more satisfied with the system.

        Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:26.
    • helmeto
      Member
      Since: Feb 2012

      In the ever grueling console war, Nintendo is needing something to keep competative. I very much believe that it is vital for them to adopt the Trophy / Achievement element.

      Can you imagine if they overhauled the Virtual Console with a cleaner interface and added a trophy system for all their games including classic NES games? Imagine being able to beat Zelda with only the wooden sword and posting your epic achievement on Facebook! Or…what about beating Final Fantasy only using 4 white mages. These trophies may not exist in real life, however, the meaning they hold is very real and gives the gamer something to show off after putting in countless hours.

      I recently bought a PS3 and after purchasing Batman Arkahm City, I found the game to be much more enjoyable as I could focus on collecting all the achievements…had they not been there, I would probably not complete all those tasks AND as a result, the game would not have been as fullfilling. I now realize that this is a sign of the future of gaming and if Nintendo doesn’t follow this trend, it will only hurt them…possibly bankrupt them.

      Comment posted on 06/02/2012 at 11:53.
  2. scavenga
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    I’m thinking the main crowd that would pick Wii as their console of choice is not the type of people that go for manic completion.
    Pick-up-and-players, kids and party gamers most often won’t worry about stats, and I believe this could be transferable to the 3DS as well.
    I like my trophies on the PS3, but I wouldn’t miss them on the PSP.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:09.
  3. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    Makes less than no difference to me. It’s like me choosing not to buy it because it doesn’t include a spade.

    But, would it be better for some people if it did have them? Yes.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:10.
    • BryOnRye
      Member
      Since: Jan 2009

      What kind of spade? Always wanted one of those fold-able snow spades.

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 19:25.
  4. Darth Newdar
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    As a bit of a completionist, I like Trophies. The are a great way of showing you got the 100% of a game. Without them, only you know you got every collectable, or whatever. I’d certainly miss them if I had a Wii or DS.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:10.
  5. Lord_Gremlin
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    One of the main reasons I buy almost all multiplatform games for PS3 is trophies.
    Yep, good luck Nintendo. Good fucking luck.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:14.
    • gordon_strange
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      tbf i don’t think nintendo need that much luck, after all they have been around since 1889…

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:53.
  6. waddo_89
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    I wouldn’t say they are the be all and end all and they certainly don’t influence the way I play a game the first time through. However, they do provide a method for discovering parts of the games you may otherwise have missed and can be a welcome challenge, sometimes leading to greater value for money IMO.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:17.
    • affa
      Member
      Since: Dec 2010

      I never understood trophies until Demon’s Souls. I loved that game so much, I wanted to keep playing it after I beat it… and what better way than to go for some trophies? Went that platinum dinged, I finally ‘got it’. Now, it does depend on the game – some games I simply don’t care about, and some games have ridiculously hard trophies. But I really do enjoy trying for hard trophies, the kind that you have to earn… if I like the game.

      I’ve been playing a lot of Gamecube games lately… and I just don’t have the same drive to complete them. Who cares if I don’t gold star every level if there isn’t a trophy for it? So… yes, trophies are important, i think. once you ‘get’ them, you want them.

      Comment posted on 27/01/2011 at 06:43.
  7. Mike
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    For me, I don’t think games on Nintendo consoles would suit an award system. Games like Mario or Donkey Kong should just be a pick up and play title not having to think about an award or if you’ve just missed one, just focussing on having fun.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:21.
    • skibadee
      Member
      Since: Oct 2009

      coins come to mind lol.

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 19:41.
      • G_The_Enemy14
        Member
        Since: Jan 2009

        nice ;)

        Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 21:08.
  8. PoorPaddy89
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    I don’t know. As a more mass-audience and casual console, perhaps there is no need for them. Though I suppose it doesn’t hurt casual gamers to earn achievements.

    Although judging by the price the 3DS could well be classed as a ‘hardcore’ console, so perhaps leaving out achievements is a mistake. I just don’t know. I’m only really interested in MGS3D, but I wouldn’t miss achievements in it if I get to play it. Which is odd, as I would miss trophies in a console MGS game if they weren’t included.

    Note: I’m not hating on Nintendo by saying they make casual consoles. All I’m saying is if people are casual gamers they most likely will play Wii or DS. Someone got the wrong end of the stick when I wrote something similar elsewhere and responding to them was tiresome.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:21.
  9. KeRaSh
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I kind of understand what Nintendo is saying. With Trophies playing a game can become a chore real fast. I have to do this in order to get trophy X, if I miss that I wont get Trophy Y. It’s cool if you play through games more than once. That way your first playthrough can focus on experiencing the game as it is. Problem with that is that I don’t have time to go through games multie times. When I see that I have to play through hard mode and then finish insane mode which is required to earn that last trophy I immediately lose interest in the other trophies. I recently started playing more games on my PC and it’s actually more enjoyable because there is no pressure of not wanting to miss anything on me.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:23.
    • skibadee
      Member
      Since: Oct 2009

      there is no pressure you can play a game & miss them nothing changes.

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 19:42.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        I’m putting the pressure on myself. I can’t really describe it… Part of me wants all trophies, part of me tells me that I wont get them all anyways unless I invest a lot of time. I’d rather play two different games than play one game twice to get all trophies. The second playthrough is just to collect everything that you missed the first time around while not really enjoying the game itself (unless it’s a really good game). It just feels unfinished if I couldn’t get all trophies, even though I know they are worthless.

        Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 19:53.
      • DrNate86
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        I’m exactly the same, I really hate trophies yet feel compelled to get them all, they drive my psudo-OCD crazy.

        Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 21:20.
  10. moshi
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    You trophy lovers really baffle me still, are we all ex scouts kicked out for messing around with your toggles to much and not getting your First Aid Badge.
    If they actually translated into something useful like points redeemable in a store for DLC or bonuses etc then I may try a bit but the Ping and trophy level does just nothing for me.

    Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 17:24.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      With you on this one, moshi. Mindless pings “rewarding” me for little else. Then there’s the grinding trophies.

      I’d like to see far more creativity in trophies (with a lot less per each title). Still, I can block them out most of the time. Nintendo will be just fine.

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 21:24.
      • jikomanzoku
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        Here, Here. They do nothing for me at all. Couldn’t care less if a game has trophies or not, it makes zero difference to whether I choose a title or not and zero difference to my enjoyment of any purchase.

        Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 21:54.
    • ericzap
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      But what’s a game I not something with with to occupy your time? Trophies give gamers extra incentive to sink time into a game. That is good news for publishers, developers and consumers alike.

      Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 23:25.
      • ericzap
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        *if not.

        Comment posted on 26/01/2011 at 23:26.
      • skibadee
        Member
        Since: Oct 2009

        totally agree^ there a great way of getting more out of a game some are hard some are easy just like players of games some find certain games easy some find them very hard.

        Comment posted on 27/01/2011 at 01:02.