Achievement Discussion - 24th June 08
Written Tuesday, June 24, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Another week, another discussion. First up, thanks for all the e-mails and messages that were sent during the week, there were some great talking points raised. I can’t discuss them all this week but will use many of them over the coming weeks. But still, keep them coming, the more the better. It also seems we slipped to a Tuesday this week, mostly because of the Alone in the Dark review taking up so much of my time, a game which in actuality is an easy 1000 for the achievement whores out there. But I’m back in business now, so here goes.
It was a fairly average week as far as the achievement lists go this week. There were a few pretty much unknown arcade game lists revealed and a few fairly inconspicuous retail games lists with the biggest one being the upcoming NCAA 09 title from EA, but still plenty of talking points.
First off, credit should be given to NCAA developer Tiburon this year because unlike other years, we’ve got a new, and improved list for their title, rather than a regurgitated list of the same crap with the odd readjustment. The mascot achievements do look fun indeed but (and this is a big but) they still feel the need to pimp out their achievements to advertisers like some cheap, two bit hooker. Are they not aware how tacky the product placement really is? Obviously not. I don’t know about anyone else, but playing NCAA on the Xbox 360 and unlocking some of the sponsored achievements is not going to make me slap on some newly purchased Old Spice and rush out and buy a Pontiac G8 to travel the globe.
As far as the XBL titles go this week, the only list that caught my eye was the Rocket Riot list, although I must admit, I literally know nothing about the game. All 12 of the achievements show some extra thinking in their names, although the list itself is void of originality.
Other points of interest this week include the terrible Zoids list. So not only is the game delayed, but to rub salt in the wound, the game has a horrible achievement list to boot. It resembles some of the earlier achievement lists that spawned when the achievement system was still in its infancy. There is no excuse whatsoever for that sort of thing now, even if the developer is making its debut on the system. Seriously guys, next time, if you really can’t be bothered to try, then give us permission and we’ll gladly show you how it’s done!
There also seems to be that little issue of this Wednesday’s arcade game, Ticket to Ride. It appears that the list has 250 achievement points and 15 achievements. Well, according to the rules, as stipulated by Microsoft, an Xbox Live Arcade title should only have 12 achievements totalling 200 points. This would indicate either, that the rules have changed and Microsoft failed to alert us or (and this is my guess) Playful Entertainment have already planned DLC before the game is released. If it is the latter then it should be right about now where we raise an eyebrow and show a little concern. If that is the case, then developers are planning downloadable content before the game is actually released meaning that in reality, additional content is sitting beside the coffee pot in the staff room waiting for the game to be released so then they can cash in on it at a later date. Shouldn’t time be spent working on the final game and not on future content considering the game hasn’t even been released!? Shouldn’t content that is clearly ready, be included in the final release? *sigh* I suppose they'll give the same old "we've planned the content but it wasn't ready in time for release" excuse, but who really believes that anymore?
Moving swiftly on, let’s take a peek at what points are available from the new releases this week. If you were after some easy achievement points, then surely Alone in the Dark is the wise move for North America and for all us Europeans. Want a challenge? Well then, head towards Battlefield: Bad Company with its 'multiplayer achievements a-plenty', combined with a whole plethora of ranks to earn and rise through. Looks like a toughie! With the week planned, we can head on over to your questions.
Forum-ite and site reviewer, Jackanape sent me an e-mail this week asking;
“How come gaming magazines couldn’t care less about achievements – and whenever they have bothered to highlight our favourite pastime in the past they have always interviewed notorious cheaters (with the odd exception) as if it didn’t matter how they got their points. Do you think achievements aren’t appreciated by the masses or does the fact that a burgeoning site such as ours exists at all prove otherwise?”
It’s a very noble point and an interesting topic of discussion. The whole achievement thing is a fairly new concept but is one that is rapidly growing. The gaming industry is simply not used to a gimmick coming in and gaining such momentum, so quickly. Ten years ago, the gaming industry had games and that was it. You would assess a game on merits and put your cap on and leave for the night. Now, we have different console platforms with different unique features that add different levels to a game. So for instance, before someone purchases a game these days, the title is now rated on the game, its online capabilities, its unique features and whether the haters like it or not, the achievements.
Yes, I personally believe they have been accepted by the masses and we are living, breathing proof of that, but as always, there will be a percentage of the population that can’t grasp the concept of them and continue to criticise them and they are entitled to their own opinion. For years gamers have wanted tokens of appreciation for their gaming prowess and now we have them and the vast majority of gamers couldn't be happier. A good indication of their success is that they’re soon going multi-platform. As soon as the PSN 2.40 update hits, the achievement fever will spread to a new crowd which is a testament to their true power.
The lack of coverage is a tricky one though. Maybe journo’s think it’s a fad, maybe they are struggling to adjust to this new feature. I can’t be sure without asking them which, of course, I will attempt to over the coming weeks. But I truly believe that the whole interview the “cheater” issue relates to a bit of journalistic ignorance. Maybe it was their attempt to open their arms to this new and loved feature without truly knowing the ins-and-outs and what makes the masses tick. A newcomer to the system would do exactly what they did and that was focus on the top of the leaderboard, thinking that it was the right way to tackle it. It's an easy enough oversight for anyone to make. But the next few years will only see the system pick up more steam. As more and more stellar titles are released, and more and more consoles sold, the bigger the following the system will have.
That’s about all I have time for. Before I go, last week, in my ignorance, I missed a few 100k milestones congratulations out, so congrats go to list ninja Krazie and review workhorse Jackanape for reaching the "becoming-not-so-elusive" 100,000 point club. Playing us out this week are The Beatles and “Let it Be”. As usual we end with the best and the worst of the week.
It was close this week, the amusing Rocket Riot achievement nearly won it for me; Go Forth and Multiplay comes in at a close second. But the imagery in my head, of a team of mascots playing American Football was too much for me to ignore, so congrats NCAA 09.
Play a Mascot Game 15
Play a Mascot Game with any mascot teams.
I wanted to give this to the whole of the Zoids list but there was one thing in the back of my mind that kept me from doing so and this little voice screamed... "PRODUCT PLACEMENT IS THE ROUTE OF ALL EVIL!!" I mean why would Pontiac even be interested in sponsoring an achievement anyway is beyond me. So commiserations go to NCAA 09, our first double winner.
Pontiac G8 4th Quarter Comeback 30
Win a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game when down by 14 to start the 4th qtr. (Min Difficulty: Varsity)