Back when I was a kid, one of the highlights of my week was when me and my friends used to meet up in the playground and lend each other different games. This was done for a few reasons; obviously it helped us play certain games we might never experience and also to have to something to talk to each other about the following week. The main reason behind this ritual though was the fact of seeing how your friends fared against a game you thought you were awesome at.
Be it having a stupidly high score or getting to a certain point that you thought impossible to reach by anyone but you. In those days there was no internet to log onto when you were stuck, you had to both get on with it and hope for the best or pray that one day the magazine you regularly read would have that part of the game solved in the hints and tips section. Because of this, it was hard to lie about what you had seen or where you had gotten up to unless you had done it first-hand. The feeling of joy you get when you managed to accomplish something that seemed insurmountable (be it a level, a puzzle or a boss) is exhilarating. Yeah it may just seem like a game or something not worth feeling proud about but you couldn’t help it! After all the effort you had put into trying to achieve that outcome, you are just so chuffed to be able to say to yourself “I did that!” Nowadays, thanks to Microsoft, we have a system within nearly all games that actually tells you when you have achieved something that the game thinks is worth patting you on the back for.
Implemented back when the Xbox 360 was first released in 2005, Achievements were a way of proving to or showing your friends (or rivals) that you had accomplished a certain task or found a secret. With these awards come points, the bigger the achievement the better the score. Other systems like the PS3 and other Sony products use a bronze, silver, gold and platinum award scheme for their achievements, called trophies. It is now so well implemented that even games such as World of Warcraft and products like the iPhone have a system like this in place to show your friends how well you’re doing and to compare gamer scores with one another in order to influence competition.
With all gaming systems seemingly having their own type of achievements, is it such a good thing that people can essentially, show off what they have accomplished? I’d say mostly yes. Whereas a few people sadly use it for bragging rights and “bigging” themselves up, thankfully the majority of gamers see achievements as progress markers and reasons to challenge themselves. It’s a fantastic incentive that can help gamers push onwards and upwards towards the next in game milestone.