Thursday, May 3, 2012

To Achieve or not to Achieve

I've come to a sad realization recently. Allow me to explain.

There's a game on Steam that looks really cool by the name of Dustforce. This game is currently on sale for $5. After looking at videos and reviews of the game I was convinced this was a game I would enjoy, and that I should purchase it. But before buying it I looked to see if there were any Achievements. This is what I saw:

One Achievement. And one that almost nobody has. It might as well not have any at all.

So you know what I did?

Not buy it, that's for sure.

I refused to buy it while simultaneously telling myself how absurd that is. I've done this many times before. I'll see a game that looks sort of neat, see it has zero Achievements on Steam, and laugh as I leave its store page. But Dustforce is a game I really wanted, and it made me realize how much Microsoft has fucked with how I play games.

I'll play games without Achievements. I'll play Wii games or PSP games or whatever, but I now feel that something's missing. But Steam is a special case. I'm a reformed PC game pirate. Steam Achievements are what made me start buying games again. When I see a game with no Achievements, my brain says "We could just download this for free in like five seconds and there's no difference" and it's right. But I'll be thinking that and passing on a game even when I have no intention to actually do so.

This is what the developer had to say on the subject:

Well, we were tired of games having things like "beat the tutorial" as an achievement. That's why we have this one achievement in the game be an actual achievement, in the original sense of the word. Making it the only one makes it all the more prestigious. I think only a few people will ever get it.

I give you props for sticking to your artistic vision or whatever. But I'm not going to buy your game now!

Achievements to me aren't a bragging right. I have a massive backlog of hundreds of games. Achievements are what make me stick with a game to beat it instead of always jumping from game to game. I realize they're artificial and overall meaningless, but they work. They make me want them all!

 But this isn't me. I'm the guy who played ET for the Atari because "It was around". I'm the guy who wanted Toki: Going Ape Spit because the box art was funny.  I'm not the guy who needs virtual merit badges to buy a game am I?

Yes. Yes I am. And it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.


Doesn't that feel better? It was almost worth it now, right?


  1. Brilliant. I hate this feeling so much, but it's why I rarely play the Wii any more. And I'm disgusted at myself!

    1. Every time a release comes out for both PS3 and Xbox 360, even if PS3 wwas lead console for development I'll always get the Xbox 360 version.

      I tell myself it's because Xbox Live is infinitely better than the Playstation Network, but who am I kidding.

      Gimme some of those tasty cheevos. "Trophies" just don't have the same allure to me, because I like to see the aggregate count of my GamerScore climb.

    2. I know exactly what you mean. Trophies are better than nothing, sure (Valkyria Chronicles you trophy-less bastard!)but when given the choice...

    3. There is a distinct possibility that this is true for me too, AND YET I WILL NEVER ADMIT IT.

    4. I gotta admit, they're addicting little buggers, but I still buy PSP and DS games which have no achievements.

      I don't believe I would ever reject a game I wanted to play because of it's achievement list.