The Whammy is Not a Neon Monkey

For quite some time I’ve been adjusting to the Xbox 360 after a couple of years of putting up with the Wii. Mostly because the Wii had nothing but shitty titles outside of the big name titles that would be a gurantee to generate money. So fed up of games like “Food Preparation Simulator”, “Unnecessary Attachments Adventure”, and “Gimmicky Stick Waggler 4000” I focused my time, energy, and cunning into Bing’ing an Xbox 360 which I got back in May of 2009.

So after a game or two to break in the console, I noticed something after I accomplished a mediocre task. A little thingy came up and told me that I unlocked some sort of achievement and that I earned something called Gamerscore points. As excited as I was in unlocking it, the excitement quickly vanished once I realized and researched that Gamerscore is nothing but a form of e-peen to tout around amongst your friends. That’s right, the step towards next-gen gaming is to have a mechanism in games today that has to support a player’s ego by making them think they’re good at something by having them jump through various hoops. There’s nothing at all to actually gain from achievements. Some of you might say, “There’s the satisfaction in completing everything”…like I said, there’s nothing at all in getting achievements.

Now normally I probably wouldn’t be attacking achievements if it wasn’t being put ahead of important parts in a game, like say the gameplay. Case in point, Season 2 of Xbox’s rendition of 1vs100 is coming out Nov 19th  (and to help celebrate, I’ll be sharing some moments of the game from Season 1 along with 1vs100 oriented posts all this week.). In the weeks leading up to the premiere, the developers working on the game have been releasing tiny tidbits about the changes. The modifications for the most part have seemed generally positive, that is until it was revealed a few days ago that one of the live game shows would be moved from the Saturday timeslot to a Tuesday timeslot, a change that a lot of people are unsatisfied with and are up in arms about. When someone questioned about the show’s long term schedule, a developer commented by saying:

…Yes, the season starts and ends on the same dates for all 6 supported regions – which are the same as last season.

Also, we have real Achievements, not just the cool new badges. 200 Gamerscore. Tonchu

The latter of which has been a major staple of new things to come. Upon seeing the quote left a sour taste in my mouth which led me to say this:

“…Never really understood what the whole appeal to the concept of achievements and why it matters to have them in modern day games. Or in this case why they’re more important than the current problems that you’ve created, like the schedule. You can take your achievements and badges and shove ’em for all I care.” xSmootx

Moments later my statement drew a response from one of the regular 1vs100 lurkers:

Properly placed achievements can really addto the quailty of the game…Before achievements I rarely replayed a game at the more difficult level. I would just move onto the next. Now its almost the standard that I replay it 3-4 times. It might have started as a Marketing guys wet dream, but now has made people actually play games more.Avatar o Apathy

Which leads me back to my point of WHO CARES!? Seriously the only other people who really give a rat’s ass about achievements are the ones that will sacrifice their schedule just so that they can max out gamerscore on Modern Warfare 2 or wanting to ace that last song on “Beat Your Wife Harder than Bobby Brown Does” difficulty” in Guitar Hero. It’s ridiculous. This type of system would work best for the Wii of all things because the Wii is so casual, it melts the word for a new meaning.

If achievements really were to be taken seriously, all they would have to do is to add some sort of prizes, either real prizes or ones for your avatar dude doesn’t matter which,  that you could redeem your Gamerscore for…Instead, they take that idea and shit on it with an even MORE tedious system called Awards to where if you do even more trivial tasks you can unlock things for your avatar to wear, like the Explosion Man t-shirt for example. Why so asinine? Why not just roll the concept into one? It’s worked for quite some time just go into any arcade, earn enough tickets, and redeem them for the highest that you can get/want. Then you can proceed to tout it front of your friend’s faces (or be a winner and redeem it for a bunch of candy, that’s what all winners do of course =P). Now if you excuse me, I have an E74 problem to maintain and get under control. Catch ya folks later.

Any copyrighted material was conducted under fair use, no infringment intended.

Image crafted with Xara3D 6 and Adobe Photoshop.

Photo of Chris Cashman provided by his twitter twipic account.

PS: Did the best that I could with achievements image, though re-hueing the 3D whammy seems like it turned it into a neon gorilla.

PPS: Nothing wrong with those who just normally get achievements, I was mainly going after the ones who have to make a big deal about them while pitting achievements and themselves in the center of the universe. I have no quarrels if you happen to capture achievements at your own leisure.