Trophies and Achievements may offer you some incentive to explore the game world fully and complete certain tasks. Some can be easy to get and some can be a royal pain in the ass. Grand Theft Auto IV will have you finding pigeons scattered across its map to get one while Borderlands: The Pre Sequel will have you killing a set amount of enemies with a sniper rifle while spinning and jumping around in the air. There’s no denying they add a bit more challenge and exploration opportunities to games as a whole, but are they really needed?
Since the Xbox 360 released back in 2005, achievements have been present in every game, these achievements didn’t and still don’t offer much offer than a little badge of honor accompanied by a score to say you did something in a game. Forward to 2009 and Sony decided to follow suit and released its answer to Microsoft’s ‘Achievements’, known as ‘Trophies’, which instead of a score, uses a tiered system of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum colored trophies to acknowledge in-game events a player has achieved.
Roll on 2019 and not a lot has changed in regards to these accolade systems. Microsoft still offers you a points system and Sony is still using its tiered system. Meanwhile, Nintendo has continued on with no sort of account based accolade system on their consoles, which is kind of a blessing.
I have to admit, I have found myself trying my darndest to get a Platinum in most of my PS4 games, a Platinum is a trophy is awarded for collecting every other trophy in the game, some Platinum trophies are a walk in the park, some others not so much. I currently have 25 of the damn things, which have been earned across the PS3 and PS4 over time, whereas my colleague Chris has over 100. The thing is I sometimes feel like I’m playing a game just to add some additional pointless numbers and tiny little images to a thing not many people will look at, rather than just enjoying the game for what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the games, but feel like I haven’t truly completed them if I don’t reach a 100% trophy count. It’s true that PlayStation exclusive titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man offer you a free avatar for achieving 100%, but that’s not really anything exciting.
When I’m playing the Nintendo Switch, I don’t have the problem I mentioned above, suddenly the games feel like games again, without asking me to do some silly little task for an arbitrary award. I can just play the game and not worry about what I have to do to meet a requirement or if I accidentally passed the only opportunity to get a missable trophy just as I did back in the PS2 days.
There is a positive to Trophies and Achievements, in that they open you up to experiencing things you may have missed if not for them being there, such as areas of the map or hidden optional boss fights. However, this could be countered by the fact that games way back then still had hidden things that you could find or do and the difference is, you weren’t told to do them, you just did them without much in return outside of the game itself.
So do we need them or can we live without them? I’d say we can live without them, just as Nintendo has proven. What do you think? Leave a comment below.