Opinion: We Care Too Much About Trophies And Achievements

Do they really matter?

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.

61 Comments

  1. For me, trophies can enhance a good game, but can too often be used to prop up a short, mediocre one.

    A game has to be really amazing to make me consider looking at platinums, I only have 2 that I have been bothered to go back to enough to get them, Infamous 2 and Borderlands. As I’m not a fan of online multiplayer I detest online heavy trophy lists, but it seems more the norm unfortunately.

  2. i only buy games that i think can be really good or a game that can continue on the story /where the prequal left… the trophies comes as a bonus!
    i don’t care what the trophies are when i buy games, i look at the trophies when i have finished the story and try to collect them all to lengthen the gameplay hours value! =D

  3. I like to play a game through without thinking about trophies and then, if I’ve enjoyed the experience enough, go back and get very stuck in. Some games with a repetitive nature (like Peace Walker has after the campaigne is done) really benefit from trophies as they add some veriety to your long term goals, plus the socially visible benefit to a bit of grinding is like a carrot on a stick. It works on me anyway :)

  4. For me they are near-essential. I can’t say I agree with the concept entirely however; regrettably I’m one of those people who consider the difficulty of trophies when buying games. Sounds lame, but that’s just how far the system has its hooks in me.

    With that said, I’m not so bad nowadays.

  5. I play games for the plot as well as for my own personal enjoyment. But i never play them just for trophies along as i don’t see the point of unlocking a virtual trophy that does nothing except give you bragging rights. You could argue that what’s the point of collecting stuff in games but in the end, both trophies and collecting stuff in games(such as riddler trophies etc..) help to give the game more replay value.

    I don’t hunt for trophies as many of you can tell from my 0 plats*gets booed at and told to get off TSA* because of the reason i made above.

    I don’t understand why some people refuse to play a game due to the lack of trophies. It doesn’t make it worse or better imo and they are just shooting themself in the foot. Plus, i think the same people will never play a certain game once they have unlocked the plat which is a bit stupid imo. But i don’t mind trophies being in a game as it’s always optional and doesn’t really interfer with my general gaming experience.

  6. I don’t like trophies or achievements but it doesn’t mean I haven’t played a game I thought was horrible or meh to 100% or plat because well it was there and I was there so I did. I really hate the ones that force you to play mp

    Having said I always had to get a 100% in a game long before trophies or achievements were even conceived (I use to buy certain Nintendo magazines for the SNES to learn all the secrets. I have strategy guides for PS1, PS2 and original xbox games.

    I have plenty of PS3 games that don’t have trophies – 2 Ratchet & Clank, Siren Blood Curse, Untold Legends- I don’t think the first Resistance has trophies. I have quite a few minis I’ve picked up that I love and I will play them tbh I’m actually finding I prefer playing games on my psp as there are no trophies and thats actually nice

  7. Game that do trophies the best are those that don’t spoil the flow and feel like additional sections. Good examples: LIMBO, Sound Shapes.

    Shitty examples: those that require multiplayer grinding. Ugh.

  8. I think the creation of virtual trophies has done more bad than good. They are addictive for all the wrong reasons, and have created a worrying sub-culture of gamers that care more about the availability trophies than the quality of a game. Very occasionally they lead a player to try something new, but more often than not they turn gaming into a soulless chore for meaningless reward.

  9. When I first got the 360 around the time Gears Of War 1 came out, I loved the idea of trophies as I had a healthy competition with my brother and one of my friends but when I overtook them my interest fizzled out (Bearing in mind I was an achievement whore at the time). Still they add alot of replayability to games as I will try and ace a game that I enjoy and it always gives me an excuse to revisit games in a couple of years (Fallout New Vegas being a prime example).

  10. I see trophies the same way I see car electric windows; you never missed them until they were here. You’re not buying a car based on something as electric windows, but it’s a welcomed little extra :)

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