This generation of consoles has brought us quite a few innovations that are here to last. A constant connection to the internet is perhaps the biggest, allowing us to play with friends from down the street or across the world. Digital purchasing is becoming big as well, letting us buy digital copies of games we want to play without needing a disc. DLC, for better or worse, is here to stay as additional revenue for a developer after the game has released. And, of course, we have the achievement system. Whether you venerate or despise them, achievements and trophies are here to stay.
There are varying views on achievements. Some enjoy the additional tasks developers provide for you to accomplish outside of just playing the game. Some feel they are unnecessary and pad a game for “more” content. Some just do not care one way or the other. Others make a competition of it to see who accumulates the most points. A few even take it a step further and try to set incredible milestones to have the highest Gamescore, or the most trophies, in the world. Â I fall in both categories of truly enjoying them and making the accumulation of them a competition with friends.
I remember over a decade ago completing the monster arena in FFX. It took many, many hours while I was home sick from school to do it. I later told my friends that I had done it, but no one believed me. It would require someone, or several people, coming to my house to see it, or me taking my memory card to one of their houses to show them. Outlandish tasks were difficult to prove at school. The advent of achievements helped show people, all of your friends who played on the same system, that indeed you got that insane achievement. If you played Dark Souls, you know how fiendish it is. Its predecessor, Demons Soul, was equally difficult. I have a friend who managed to get a Platinum on both of the titles. We discuss trophies from time to time, and despite me passing him in trophy level, and number of platinums, he can always say, “Well I still have a Demons Souls plat”. Not much can be said to counter that (except maybe a Star Ocean: The Last Hope platinum).
Achievements are even spilling over into other mediums. A question that many people asked leading up to the launch of Wii U was whether Nintendo would incorporate an achievement system for their games. It says something about achievements when people wonder if an unreleased consoles will incorporate them. Outside of consoles,Â even PC games have achievements. Steam, for many of its games, has an achievement list. In many newer MMORPGs, achievements are included to show milestones in the progression of your characters. Even minor, indie games include them. Minecraft has a small achievement system for the player to either ignore or try to accomplish. Even some console / handheld games have achievements. Kid Icarus for 3DS has its own in-game achievement system, full of tasks for you to accomplish.
Â Questions will arise in the coming year about the next Playstation and Xbox. They are two of the largest platforms in earning achievements, so many loyal players, including myself, are asking if our hard work from this gen will carry over into the next gen. Will I start up my PS4 with the same username I have now, at trophy level 22, ready to go? Will a 360 user load up their 720 and see a Gamerscore of 70,000? Will they be reset? Would you want to stay with either Sony or Microsoft to continue your pursuit of more achievements / trophies? Do you even care about achievements?