Lately, the term "achievements" has become a buzzword in gaming, primarily because of Xbox Live's "Achievements" feature on Xbox 360. This article is not specifically about the the XBL gimmick, though Microsoft's "Achievements" are a perfect example of the phenomenon I'm talking about.
It used to be that you played games because the virtual activities they involved; running, jumping, killing the badguys, seeing what was in the next level, were fun unto themselves. However, a different motivating force, pioneered by RPG's but recently found in almost every genre, has since risen; playing games to accomplish fictional "achievements".
Sure, there has always been a sense of satisfaction to accomplishing goals in a game; beating a tough level, end boss, or an entire game…finding all the secrets, etc. However, there is a line to be drawn when the means to accomplish the end goal; the core activity and gameplay of the game, ceases to be fun or challenging…and then the player is solely playing for the (false) sense of satisfaction felt when achieving the end goal.