17 June 2007

The Joy, and Frustration, of Achievement Points

One of the things I both love and hate about gaming on the Xbox 360, achievement points are surely a point of interest about the platform.

Yes, they are very pointless and measure nothing; gamerscore is utterly pointless and representative of nothing (except perhaps the amount of time and money one has to put into gaming). Where they shine is pointing out potentially fun stuff that one might otherwise miss, or not bother to investigate. Where they incense, enrage and frustrate is where they apply to things that can almost be reached but then are whisked away by some failure of skill, concentration or other such failing, only to then require starting over (on the path to that achievement, at least).

In the former case come things like putting novelty masks on zombies in Dead Rising, or climbing to the top of - and jumping off - the top of the Agency Tower in Crackdown. These kind of incentives are great; the processes of getting them are amusing, fun, and (generally) voluntarily accepted challenges. On the other hand, the single achievement that frustrates me the most is that to get 5 consecutive shutouts in NHL2k7. This, by contrast, falls into the category of achievements that frustrate purely because they exist. If it did not, then conceding for the first time after 4 games and 2 1/2 periods would be a minor annoyance, not a "oh god, now I have to do all that again!" moment. (Yes, that did happen to me; and yes I realise this makes me a sad man, but I've known this for a while - hell the very fact I write anything here at all lends credence to that idea).

This observation of minor standing comes after I finally caved and ordered my 7th title for the console. The sheer number of people I vaguely know who are playing Shadowrun, plus the tactical depth they have reported it as supporting, combined with rewarding support play, have worn me down, and I expect it to drop through my door during the week. I might well come to regret the decision, but I'm sure it will be good for a few solid hours of laughter and fun all the same.

So long as I don't fall into the trap of trying to get the achievements, at least!

No comments: