How I learned to stop worrying and love the ‘cheevos.

I typically am not a fan of Achievements or Trophies. In fact I’ve ranted about my issues with Achievements in the past. But finally I’ve found a reason for them and a way for them to add to my enjoyment of a game.

I’m still working my way through Bioshock Infinite. My feelings haven’t changed substantially; it’s an interesting world, interesting story, Elizabeth is one of the best ‘companion characters’ I’ve seen in a game (almost as good as Ellie in The Last of Us), but the minute-to-minute gameplay tends to be fairly mundane. There’s way too much time spent searching corpses and crates for supplies, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) not enough combat.

And of the combat there is, lots of it is just mowing down cannon fodder until you get to some kind of hero or mini-boss character that’ll put up an interesting fight. Early on I settled on just carrying a machinegun and RPG and found little reason to use anything else. And god was I bored.

Which is when I started looking at the Trophy list (I’m playing on PS3). There are a bunch of Trophies for killing X bad guys with Y weapon (I assume it’s the same on Xbox, just subbing in Achievements for Trophies). I decided to start working towards these, which caused me to switch up my weapon selection, which in turn caused me to want more $$ to upgrade different weapons, and suddenly I felt invested in the game again.

These achievements also offered short-term goals when the game wasn’t really giving me any, which I also appreciated.

Now to some extent I could’ve done this without Trophies. I could have just opted to use different weapons without being incentivized to do so; it just never really occurred to me. Stick with what works, right? So the Trophies also acted as a suggestion mechanism.

So yay Trophies.

All of this has kind of opened my eyes to why people enjoy Achievements and why I generally don’t. I can see how Trophies can help you extend your time with a game. If I wanted to play through Bioshock Infinite a second time I could do so with an eye on getting Trophies I’d missed and that would nudge me towards playing through the game in a different way. I can see the appeal from that point.

But I very, very rarely play through a game twice, and I’m almost always relieved to finish a game; most games go on too long for my tastes. This in turn is a result, probably, of just buying too many games for the amount of playing time I have. I always want to finish the game I’m playing so I can get started on the next one.

If, on the other hand, I could only afford a couple of games every year, I’d want to squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of them, and Achievements/Trophies would help me do that.

So yeah, after years of ignoring Trophies and Achievements, I finally ‘get’ why people like them.

[Use of the term ‘cheevos’ in the title is a shout-out to my buddy Scott. I hope he appreciates it because he knows how much I hate the term! 🙂 ]

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