Are trophies/achievements ruining game experiences?
After entering the world of gaming during the PS1's reign, I was blown away by titles such as: Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid and Driver (being particular highlights). Why? They required imagination to play and let the player do whatever they want; whether it be the way in which they decide to execute a mission, their play-style or how they decided to explore an open-world - it all required imagination. This for me was gaming's golden age - a time of progression (the dawn of 3D gaming) in terms of content and how games are actually played.
At the start of this gaming's generation, I decided to go with Playstation - why? I knew what they had to offer from past experiences and in hindsight, I can say I do not regret that decision. This is where trophies and achievements began. What rose on Microsoft's XBOX 360, achievements eventually made the transition over to the PS3 however; they were given a different name and value; this is what we now know as trophies.
Now, with trophies/achievements in mind, how about we take look back at the progression of gaming from the generation I began in? Released in 1994, the PS1 introduced the world to Playstation, a brand created by Japanese company Sony of which was formed after the collapse of Japan during the second world war. Upon the PS1's arrival, people experienced franchises that had never been seen before with a particular highlight being the Metal Gear Solid series. In addition, the PS1 gave people the opportunity to play 3D games in the comfort of their own home - this eliminated the need for arcades.
Following the PS1 came the PS2, the PS1's successor (I don't say..). This beast boasted spruced-up graphics and an easier amount of play-ability for beginners. The PS2 gave birth to some of the best titles known to gaming; classic games such as GTA3 and Ico were children of the PS2.
Succeeding the PS2 came the PS3 (2006) and the generation we now find ourselves in. Upon the PS3's (late) arrival, the newest console from Sony has a better graphics chip to it's predecessor, more RAM, a Blu-ray drive and trophies. Yes, trophies. Rewarding gamers for tricky, silly or unique challenges, trophies were designed to add additional value to games which helps keep the gamer play the game a little bit longer thus; allowing them to get more value for money out of their game.
6 years later, trophies and achievements seem to be bigger than ever as gamers set themselves on personal-quests to either 'platinum' a game or get 1000 'gamer-score' from a game. This is where the issue comes in; do trophies/achievements detract from the game's experience? Rather than using their imagination to prolong a game's playtime, some have now resorted to keeping a game alive by collecting all of the trophies/achievements for a game and when they have them all, the game sometimes becomes worthless. This is where my issue comes in: by keeping gamers playing their games with the sound of success that accompanies a trophy's pop-up, have Sony/Microsoft gone too far this time?
This may be a larger problem than we initially expected. If someone has become motivated by trophies and begins collecting them to the point where their experience is focused on collecting trophies, what happens when trophies "just don't cut it anymore?" Could we see a depopulation in gaming when achievement/trophy collecting simply becomes worthless? Let me elaborate; in general, a midcore (I say midcore, but what I mean is someone who follows gaming by upgrading when the newest console comes out) gamer may upgrade their console to keep up with the latest games; if they've been gaming for a few years since the PS3 days (and the time I'm speaking of is in the PS5 days as an example) then their trophy level will be so high that they may have lost any motivation to collect any more. Add to this their ruined gaming experience by being so motivated on collecting trophies and we have ourselves a problem! What will they do? Simply stop gaming due to being bored by it?
Although trophies/achievements seem a good idea now (as they prolong a game's lifetime), in a few years time they may come back to kick Sony and Microsoft in the groin when gamers are no longer bothered about collecting the worthless prizes. Also, due to mindlessly gaming for no reason apart from trophies, their experience will be severely ruined which could detract from future games (they may begin to see gaming as nothing mroe than a trophy-hunt.
Linking this back to the starting-paragraph, it becomes evident that trophies take away what I liked so much about gaming in the first place; they take away the imagination required by the gamer and give them a list of tasks to fulfill before the game becomes completed. Do you see my point now?
In conclusion, if you're a trophy/achievement hunter - see this as a warning, don't focus your gaming on collecting trophies/achievements and focus it on enjoying games for what they are. By doing so, you will sustain your interest in gaming rather than have it butchered by the promise of a virtual-trophy which has no value whatsoever. Oh, by no means am I shunning trophy/achievement collecting (for I enjoy collecting them every now and then) but I really see a problem developing here.
Thankyou for reading, and please leave a comment on your feelings/thoughts. Do you support my idea?