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 was recently part of a study relating dopamine addiction to trophies and cheevos. I hate to admit it but I am hopelessly addicted to trophies. The feeling of satisfaction caused by dopamine when I earn a trophy is great. I will freely admit that I will no longer lay games without trophies as I know I will not get the same feeling I do earning trophies. Its a harsh reality but Sony have a hook in me.

  2. My love of trophies comes from how I used to game when there was no such thing! As stated by other people, the drive to see everything and do everything in a game your enjoying! Add a system that shows this and allows you to have a sort of gaming representation of self and it becomes valuable to that individual.

    Then there’s the sort of ‘meta game’ to it all with trophies, the leveling system goes a long way to make it alluring (especially to rpg fans like myself i’ve found). It’s this if anything that drives me to get them, a game that spans all games in which the aim is to have fun while exploring the games fully. This is why I find no added enjoyment in earning achivments on 360 or steam for example,

    Does this stop me from trying games that are fun because of the lack of trophies? No. But given two games I’m unsure of, I’m more inclined to pick the one with trophies as it adds something more to my experience! This has grown to a dismissal of games im unsure of that don’t have them unless I have been informed how good they are to avoid wasting my time.

    Here’s a recent example! I was unsure if I wanted to try Hyperdimension Neptunia, checked if it had trophies and see if there were some grindy stupid ones (there were not). It did had trophies so I decided that was enough to push it over into the ‘give it a go’ pile. Ended up enjoying it alot for its humour and decided to buy the sequal without thinking of trophies and eagerly await the 3rd.

    But Velocity for me hasn’t suffered due to the lack of trophies, it has the stigma of being a ‘mini’ and thats something I haven’t snapped out of yet. Had it been a psn title I’d probably feel more urge to try it.

    tl;dr: Achievment system bad, Trophy system gives a meta game and Velocity has the stigma of being a mini. And apple pies taste good.

  3. I have got so much more out of my games since they have arrived so I like them & I have been gaming for about 28 years. I do not think they really get in the way of anyone who does not care for them just ignore them simple.

  4. Trophies / Achievements are pretty much “part of the game” now.
    They have bred a healthy dose of competition, not just with ones friends but with oneself too. They encourage you to play a game in a different way, explore an area you may have otherwise overlooked, obtain a highscore / time that had you test your skill and patience.
    I have “hammered” many a game before we had these little rewards popping up, with San Andreas, Halo 1 & 2, Morrowind etc being the best examples. But games have changed with trophies / achievements for the better.

    Simply put – ask anyone competing in the Olympics if they are happy to just have had a race or does the prospect of a bronze, silver, gold medal entice them that much more.
    People are taking pictures of their damn lunch / a cake they’ve made, uploading the picture to Twitter / Facebook and in search of recognition for such a small accomplishment. It all boils down to recognition, both from your friends and the community, even from yourself, with a visual representation. Done well at school? Have a badge! Done well in exams – have a certificate! We naturally want to be recognised and rewarded.

  5. Im pretty OCD when it comes to playing games so Trophies/Achievements are right up my alley even if a game has a horrible online system but as online trophies/achievements i will still try to get them all even if im not enjoying it. That said i played MGS4 years ago when people where screaming for a trophy patch but will i play it again for the trophies? nope. Ive played it once and didn’t enjoy it so im not gonna play it again just because it as trophies.

  6. I used to collect trophies like crazy, but I don’t now. They ruin the game for me, because they are chore. Especially the multiplayer ones or the stupid collector ones(kill a 1000 enemies every time with each attack, enjoy wasting time killing 10k enemies).

    Trophy collecting is basically “I’ll tell l you how to play the game” and not “play how YOU want to”. If you are an obsessive collector all you’ll think about how to get the platinum the most fastest and easiest way. That’s why forums like ps3trophies.org exist. This in turn will force you to make decision in game that you otherwise wouldn’t have made, or forces you to complete the game multiple times on every difficulty and again it becomes a chore when you are trying for the 50th time on hard to get past a specific section of the game. It’s not fun any more. An example would be PoP Forbidden Sands. The game is absolute rubbish. I had it sit on the shelf for a year and I had to force myself to platinum it in one day before I sold it the other. (because I couldn’t live with having an incomplete game in my trophy list)

    I also hate multiplayer. I admit that I suck at games and having my ass kicked and thus wasting more time wasn’t fun at all. Than there were the glitched trophies (MK vs DC play 100 matches online) which were even horrible.

    That’s why I started to ignore trophies, I’ll play the game how I want and enjoy it, instead of being told how to play and hate it.

    • Also, I lump the “no trophy, no play” people together with the “no super graphics, no play” people. I can’t even count how many times one of my buddies turned down my suggestions because the graphics were “crap” (basically fantastic indie games, I have more gameplay time in Terraria than I do in Skyrim as an example, and playing it in co-op would have been a lot better, alas the graphics were shitty)

      Why limit yourself?

  7. I don’t really care for them but its nice sometimes.

  8. Some games grant longetivity for trophies depending on how you play i.e. 2/3 playthroughs and the sense of total completion. A game like MGS4, Guitar Hero 3 or any PS2/PS1/PSP or any other old game does not need trophies for the sense of enjoyment.

  9. I play games to relax & have fun, if a trophy pings up. Great but it isn’t the be all & end all. ;)

  10. Well am New ,how do !

    I have been reading your site for sometime but your opinion annoyed the hell out of me to the point of registering.

    You say you don’t care about the arbitrary number or trophy but at the same time you pour scorn on people who refuse to try a game because it doesn’t have achievements/trophies .Its not weak its a choice

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