As I lay on this shallow patch of earth I remain still and silent. My eyes follow a systematic pattern, as I scan the area left to right. My muscles remain poised, purposeful. The resting finger though limp and relaxed is fueled and ready, pressed upon the trigger with intent. In the distance there is movement, ruffling among the trees. I prepare my scope and gaze into the dark. Breathing stops, heartbeat slows. After a pause, I squeeze the trigger. One shot is fired. A loud BOOOOM slices through the silence and delivers my resolve…..and up pops a 20 point Achievement.The narrative above feels more like a veteran’s war recollection than an Xbox 360 session however as Michael Bay’s movies display, dramatic action is always appreciated.
The next generation of gaming has been obsessed with awards associated with gaming feats, and not just the big platforms either. Many gaming websites now award players for successfully completing in-game tasks with special banners and online collectibles. Xbox 360 has Achievements and PlayStation 3 has trophies but they’re all very similar. As a person who owns both platforms (first and Xbox 360 then a PS3) and one who actually attempts to complete unnecessary game challenges, I find myself in a unique position to comment on the appeal of Achievements and Trophies.
When I first started playing my 360 I could care less about acquiring Achievements. I wanted to beat games and complete only the extras as I found interesting. That’s the approach I took before gaming incentives came about and that’s how I was determined to approach games after. I maintained this solitary attitude for awhile but after being constantly badgered by friends and my Xbox Live home screen I decided to check them out.
Long story short, I fell in love with the addictive nature of getting Achievements and raising my Gamer Score. Aiming to increase my points not only challenged my gaming skills, but also forced me to change my play style and utilize features which I might not have known about or even explored.
Achievements invite you to explore the possibilities of a game which is appreciated, but by far the most appealing aspect of Gamer Score boosting is hearing that familiar jingle accompanied by an achievement popup onscreen. I personally feel a huge amount of satisfaction when receiving Achievements. I can still remember how happy I was after finally collecting all the feathers and glyphs in Assassins Creed 2, or after completing Red Dead Redemption story mode 100%. Ahh good memories.
Currently I play my PS3 more frequently than Xbox 360 because I simply refuse to pay over $50 a year for Xbox Live but I don’t really enjoy collecting Trophies as much as Achievements. With no catchy jingle, no point amount, and the lack of community participation, I’ll just stick to the Xbox 360 for my obsessive tendencies.