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.