Opinion: We Care Too Much About Trophies And Achievements

There was a time, not too long ago, when playing a game was its own reward. You’d play a game because it was good or it interested you, basically because you wanted to see what it had to offer. For many I imagine this still holds true but ever since the introduction of trophies and achievements things have been changing.

Now I want to make this clear, I don’t hate trophies or achievements. Personally I think they do add something to a game, but not a lot and I’ll very rarely go out of my way to complete some task just for the sake of one of these baubles.

The only time they do interest me is when they’re used to guide a player to some new mechanic, to hint at another way the game can be played. I still won’t always follow through on this developer guidance, but it can be used to good effect and genuinely expand a game’s potential.

[drop2]However, trophies and achievements should always be seen as a nice extra. They can certainly add to a game but their absence doesn’t make a game any worse. The point of the game is the game, it’s not to earn you more digital accomplishments.

Take Futurlab’s statement that lack of trophies puts people off minis. I can completely understand why Sony don’t integrate trophies into titles released as minis, I mean they have to differentiate them from general PSN titles somehow, but I don’t get why their absence puts people off minis.

There are some simply fantastic game available on the platform, Velocity being just one of many, so I just don’t see why people would deny themselves games that are this good just due to lack of trophies.

Is it that the sense of achievement a game gives is not enough any more, does it need to be bolstered by additional factors? Or is it perhaps the need to brag to our friends, to show that we’ve collected more trophies than them? Either of those seems like a particularly weak reason to ignore any game, no matter how good or bad.

Flipping to a game that’s recently had trophies added, let’s look at Metal Gear Solid 4. The almost constant requests for trophies have finally been answered, in fact we actually have the trophy list, but did the game really need them that much? Will it make Snake’s journey any better or worse? Or will you simply get a trophy pop-up every now and then, with the core game remaining exactly as good as it was before?

I suspect it’s the latter, although I hardcore trophy collectors may well disagree with me.

Perhaps I’m being a bit old fashioned in my opinions, and I certainly accept trophies and achievements as a part of gaming now. I’d really never want to get rid of them, and they do add something to a game. However, to ignore or avoid a game simply because it lacks trophies seems misguided at best, just go play a game because it’s good.



  1. I have never got a trophy, but they do inspire me to put effort into things I wouldn’t usually do. I might try and get a faster time etc if I can, purely because it is on show for all my friends to see, not just those with that game.
    In saying that, I have 0 plats, but I am currently trying very hard to get one in Motorstorm: RC. Not too far away.

    • Exactly like me, I don’t care much for trophies but they do like inspire you to have more than your friend especially if you & friends play similar games. I have 12 plats but that’s cause I love all those games I platted so I put in an effort

  2. Love my trophies but to not play a game just because it doesn’t have them is just madness.

  3. I like collecting things as well as games. my Assassin’s Creed triple collection of platinums is testimount to that. I want AC1 trophies. Completed the game 5 saves to 100% already. so what? I want to complete my collection :D

    • Looking forward to playing AC:3 for the plat then;)
      Your ‘trophy cabinet’ will be full.

      • im looking forward to AC:3 because it’s my favourite gaming franchise of all time, the fact I bother to get the platinum is testamony to how great the games are ;)

      • Fair enough, I am also very much looking forward to it. I am also glad the MP looks good! :)

    • I want AC 1 trophies simply because I’ve got the play on ACII. However Ives got all the single player trophies on Brotherhood, I’m just missing 2 multi player ones :-(

  4. Having a high trophy level is something to boast about to friends. I for one won’t play a game without any trophies unless it’s amazing like Uncharted. Tried playing Assassins Creed and when it had no trophies, I went back to MW3 lol.

  5. “The point of the game is the game”
    Actually however you use a product, be it media or food, it entirely up to the person who owns it. If i want to make food art will you come and tell me the point of the food is it’s, well, food?

  6. Regarding MGS4, i gotta say i will be playing it for the trophies. I suspected the patch would be out at one time or another anyway so i did not bother with the “lesser” version of the game.

    However i did enjoy Heavenly Sword and it’s a fantastic game (the acting is of the level you probably won’t find anywhere else) and sadly isn’t going to get any love anymore.

    • That and CoD4 are probably the most remarkable trophy-less games i’ve played.

      • Agreed on Heavenly Sword and don’t forget The Orange Box, another trophy-less wonder. The Half-Life series is more my flavour of FPS. I found the original Portal much more of a challenge than the sequel, although Portal 2 ramped up the entertainment value. :)

  7. This is something that I have been conflicted with for some time. My obsessive nature is something that drives me to want to 100% a game and it is something that I know I share with many gamers. However, if I’m honest I gain little joy from hearing that “ping”.

    It is nice to have a kind of checklist within a game to challenge yourself with but I have never got a platinum on a game that is online trophy heavy. I came close with Killzone 2 and again with Bioshock 2 but I get bored of the multiplayer long before I get those final trophies. Like you said Kris I love games that challenge you to play in a different way (I’m currently going through Deus Ex completing the game without killing anyone or setting off an alarm)

    Trophies themselves have always been around in some form since gaming began, such as in the form of leaderboards on arcade machines, which is why gaming magazines, and now websites have flourished. We, as gamers, want to see, experience and obtain everything within a game so we can say to our friends that we “have done it”. Trophies are merely a more tangible (well not literally) way of showing other people our gaming achievements and highlights.

  8. I personally don’t care for Trophies, but I have seen that some people are reluctant to play a game (or game modes) that doesn’t give them. Really, Trophies are a double edged sword – they do as much “harm” as they do “good”, IMO.

    • Great point… I can’t believe people don’t pick up a game they may love, all because they’ve already rinsed a pointless virtual trinket from it

  9. Oh, and let’s not forget about people that never touch a game again once they’ve “platinumed” it. This behavior was, as far as I’m concerned, unheard of back in the day.

    • That’s me you’re talking about, i get the platinum and leave the game on my shelf(unless it has good mp) The only game i have played through several times is mgs4,but even that’s getting an unnecessarily trophy patch

    • Great point… I can’t believe people don’t pick up a game they may love, all because they’ve already rinsed a pointless virtual trinket from it

      • It’s not necessarily about loving a game, though. When you have the Platinum trophy, you’ve most likely had to play through the game on two difficulty levels, hunted down all the in game extras and got your worth from it.

        There are plenty games where I’ve completed the SP once through, not completed every side-thingy and wotsit, and have not gone back since.

        Doesn’t mean I don’t like them. Doesn’t mean that there isn’t more gameplay and enjoyment in them. All it means is that I’ve got all I want from the game and have moved on, trophies or not.

    • I agree with tef here. There are so many games that I’ve played once and that’s enough for me. I enjoyed it but now I’m done. I would be more inclined to say that the ease of trading in games has had more of an affect than trophies on willingness to replay.
      Either way I play a game the amount I want to play a game. Take for instance SSX. I enjoyed the game, trophies pushed me to go for everything the game had to offer, personal satisfaction stopped me from the platinum as it got boring. I let it sit on a shelf gathering dust, something shinier came out so I traded it in.
      I wouldn’t go out and Hulk smash stuff because they took trophies away, nor would I be overly pleased. I like things the way they are. Oh and I don’t like minis, not because of the lack of trophies, I’ve become a graphics snob due to being spoilt this gen.

  10. I care not one jot

    Wish I could disable them

    • Same here. Don’t care about them at all but having them exist is fine for the competitive player or someone who’s replaced hugs (they so desperately needed as a child) with a virtual “ping” when the trophy arrives with its cold-metal embrace in the top right corner of your gogglebox. :)

    • Trophies actually ruin some games for me. With trophies come stupid and unnecessary in-game collectibles. Even though I don’t care about them, I have the compulsion to look for them anyways. Basically I just just ran against walls in dark tunnels, waiting for a button promt to pop up to pick up a hidden item in Uncharted. I used to be able to play a game without having to check every dark corner or behind every tree. Just finished Alan Wake on PC and it was the same thing with the thermos bottles… It just takes longer to complete the game. There is no real other purpose behind the inclusion of such items. I hate it.

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