Do Game Achievements Matter To You?

Last night, I did something that caused me to, ahem, make me exclaim "Yes!" while clenching my first. No, I didn't do anything actually notable, but for me, it felt like a real accomplishment and the end of a long journey. What am I on about? I managed to get the last achievement I needed in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, putting me at 59/59.

Anyone who's played DE: HR undoubtedly knows that it's challenging, and complex. This is especially true with the achievements, requiring you do to fairly long parts of the game over in order to "catch 'em all". It doesn't help that the developers didn't think to include a "stats" page either, to help with some achievement tracking.

After the last achievement triggered, I got a surge of memories representing all of the gametime I put in since the game's release. While I achieved 100% with the Director's Cut, I played the original release as well. In all, I've completed the entire game about 3-and-a-half times (I restarted one playthrough when the DC came out). That's a lot of gametime, and for what? The mere satisfaction of seeing an achievement trigger?

Those who make it their goal to collect lots of achievements tend to be called "Achievement Hunters", and while I did "hunt" all of the achievements in this particular game, I don't in most. I usually feel compelled to get all of the achievements in games that I end up loving, at least if super-precision and eGamer-level skill isn't required for some of them. DE: HR certainly falls into that category. For me, achievements are more about proving to myself that I could manage to do everything the developer laid out as a challenge, no matter how simple it is - it's not about bragging-rights, but the feeling of dominating a game.

Admittedly, Sleeping Dogs is the only other PC game I've ever 100%'d, so it's not as though I have a collection of these dominated games. Again, it's games I love where I feel most compelled to do this. Mafia II would be another that'd I'd love to 100% at some point. And next up? The Witcher 2.

To think of what the simple achievement has become is humorous. There's no denying the fact that it was Microsoft's Xbox 360 that made achievements a big deal, with Sony later mimicking the idea with "trophies'. As time has past, achievements have become big business, with some people purchasing games for the specific reason of knowing that it's easy to earn achievements, and especially on the Xbox, gamerscore points. Googling around, you can even find services that can give you achievements via creative means for a fee.

By contrast, I have many friends that simply don't care about getting all of the achievements in a game, and sometimes, I wish I was more like that. If I were not spending so much time on one game, I could be playing two others. But, there's just something in me sometimes, which refuses to let me let go a game until I feel I've totally satiated that appetite.

What about you guys? Are you an "Achievement Hunter"? Or are you of the mindset that they simply don't matter? What about Steam Trading Cards? That's a subject that could warrant an article on its own!

Tags:  Gaming