After finding out yesterday that Microsoft is increasing the gamerscore points limit for their arcade games from 200 to 400, and the amount that can be unlocked up to 30, I started to ask myself the question, “What does this mean to me as a gamer?” To tell you the truth, this announcement really means nothing to me. Be hateful about that comment if you want, but in all honesty, other than bragging rights, I find it hard to have any sort of attachment to this aspect of online gaming whatsoever. Still, people are obsessing over them every single day, and the concept alone has become a worldwide phenomenon that doesn’t seem to be losing steam at all.
What bothers me the most about the system as a whole is how it changes the idea on what it means to complete a game. Instead of enjoying an experience for the sheer simplicity of getting through the adventure, players are now starting to focus more on every little side mission, which in turn makes the hard work that people put into these titles seem like an afterthought. Who really cares if every single collectible is gathered or extra costume is unlocked? I certainly don’t. Apparently, becoming the almighty gatherer has become more important than having fun nowadays, but that’s just my opinion.
Does this mean that every single aspect of the idea is bad though? No. In many ways this setup has been a very useful tool for helping me figure out exactly what to do next in a game. The layout of something unlocking after a certain event has been completed does keep pacing issues in check, and may also help somebody out who hasn’t played this title in a while, and may be uncertain where to go from the last time they played. Still, save files have been doing this for years, so something like this wasn’t really necessary to begin with.
To sum everything up, my relationship with achievement points is kind of a mixed bag. There are just as many good aspects about them as there are bad, so saying that they are entirely a bad thing would be very difficult to do. In the end, though, the opinion of the community is what really matters, so let’s find out their thoughts on the subject. “What do achievements mean to you?”