Xbox 360 Achievements
The 360 has a system know as Gamerscore, a count of the points you have amassed from playing games. Each retail game has at least 1000 possible points, which are assigned by completing achievements, ranging from "Complete on Hard Mode" to "Discover All Secret Areas". Upon completing, you get a little message to congratulate you and the points are added to your account. It's an excellent system but, as rothbart (Sarcastic Gamer) points out, it is not without it's flaws and annoyances.
Achievements & Gamerscore in a NutshellAchievements is a wonderful concept that extends game life by providing new challenges for the player. Standard games have you play once, brag about completing the game and then maybe replay it sometime in the future. Achievements make you go back and play again or, in the case of multiplayer, play regularly to rack up points in game. Achievements are specific challenges such as replaying the game on a harder mode, finding in game easter eggs or just putting your skills to the test by taking down enemies in a certain way. These don't just apply to single-player games, a number of achievements are made for multiplayer, from hoarding kills or reaching various rank statuses. Achievements can add so much replay value that it is extremely important for developers to take careful consideration as to what challenges to provide. More on this below.
Gamerscore is tied to your Gamertag, bragging rights for how much you have accomplished over your games. Each achievement adds to this score, from 5 to 150 points per achievement. As I said above, each retail game has a minimum of 1000 achievements, so it's not uncommon to see users with thousands of points in their profile. You can even view and compare their individual games with yours, so you can get right down and see how many points they have gathered from each game.
It should be noted that Gamerscore is not Microsoft Points (used in the marketplace). You cannot buy anything with them, they are purely to show how much of a hardcore gamer you are.
Developers: Please, Choose Your Achievements Carefully!I don't agree with everything that Rothbart pointed out, however, I will share my feelings on what nags me.
- No Secrets Secret achievements, unless they reveal parts of the plot (then again, why not give them better names?), are stupid. I will not play a game over and over to try and unlock something that I don't know anything about! The challenge shouldn't be guesswork at what we are supposed to do, the challenge should be how we beat it.
- "Press A To Unlock Achievement" Achievements that require you to do nothing are pointless. Achievements should present a challenge, make you work for it. Complete the game, rack up some kills, pull off an awesome car jump, SOMETHING that requires the gamer to think and actually play.
- Leaderboard Achievements Not every player is amazing, not every player has a shot at becoming number one. I get the point that it's supposed to be challenging, but that's a bit OTT. I don't know how much clearer I can make it than "not everyone can be #1".
Ok, so I don't have a huge problem with the current achievements. Then again, I only have 8 Xbox 360 games, some of which I have yet to do "achievement runs" on.
Do achievements nag you? Like/dislike the system? Feel free to rant in the comments :)