Why achievements need more originality and why my made up achievements are better than the official ones

Not that long a go I made some achievements up for Dead Rising 2: Case Zero which I thought would add more gameplay to the arcade game and because the official Case Zero achievements were uninspiring like a lot of game achievements are. You can see my ones here. Anyway with the release of Dead Rising 2 and the achievements that go with it I am pretty disappointed to say the least. I havent bought the game yet but I looked at the achievement list and where’s the creativity?.

I had things like:

  • Head and Shoulders: 5 (G)
    Throw shampoo on the head and shoulder of one zombie.
  • The Ripper: 10 (G)
    Kill a female zombie in an alley when its past 7pm with a kitchen knife.
  • Terrorist: 30 (G)
    Use an improvised explosive device to kill 3 zombie soldiers and 10 other zombies at the same time.

Instead Dead Rising 2 has achievements like this:

  • TK’s Favorite 20 (G)
    Play and win in all 9 TIR events.
  • Full Deck 20 (G)
    Collect all combo cards.
  • Data Miner 20 (G)
    Fill all entries in the notebook.

They aren’t as bad as some games and a few of them are similar to my ones but mine are more fun, imaginative and encourage the player to try new things and I’m not just saying that 93% of Zombies agree (out of 97 Zombies).

Achievements could be better

The problem with achievements is that they are unoriginal and predictable. Old games never had them and never needed them. Games might have a goal list or a percentage to complete for example GTA: Vice City but they were optional and no one knew if you done it or not you could lie.

Achievements come in several types:

  • Kill a certain amount or enemies.
  • Complete the level or game.
  • Online focused ones which normally require time more than skill.
  • Achievements being too hard to obtain e.g requiring to play on the hardest difficulty where a sneeze kills you.
  • Collect flags, packages etc normally a blatant way to increase the length of the game.
  • And more similar to these.

I’m not saying all these are bad but every game has the basic same achievements which normally require you to play in a certain way if you want to obtain them all in one play through. And if you do something cool by using your imagination you’re not rewarded unless if it’s within the game rules. For example in Just Cause 2 If I drive of a cliff in a motorbike then land in a back of a truck safely why aren’t Im rewarded? but I’m rewarded for driving every vehicle in the game. Sand box games achievements are more important that linear corridor shooters as they can encourage creativity. Sure I don’t need an achievement to pop up when I done something cool but it be nice. Guess I can imagine it.

What games should have is instead of having fixed achievements is a way that the game learns, adapt and rewards the player accordingly to which is happening. This might devalue achievements in general but who cares how big your Gamerscore is? I don’t. The final score doesn’t matter but the continued encouragement and reward of achievements is similar to someone saying to you well done which makes you feel good. They could list all the players accomplishments similar to achievements which would be unique for each player. Achievements at the moment aren’t unique for each player. This doesnt mean stupid things should be rewarded but the game will learn when it deems something should be rewarded.

This all I would say leads to AI which is controlling the things visible in the game but also the intelligence in the background which you can’t see. After all this time with advancements in technology games still mostly rely on scripting of events and basic game mechanics just as using cover but that’s another discussion entirely. Some other time I might talk about it.

Final thought

I think achievements in general are good they add more to games and allow players to show their accomplishments to others. Games like Team Fortress 2 and to a certain extent World of Warcraft have clever achievements which encourage creative play and teaches the player how to play and get more from the game. But with these games you could say achievements make players become obsessive over getting all of them. Which with a game like World of Warcraft is a good thing for the developers but maybe not for the players. I just want them to be more fun, creative and original of course some already do this but more could be done to expand how they are obtained and to make them more unique to the player experience.

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