Have We Caught “Achievement Hysteria”?

You’re instantly wondering what the hell I’m going on about aren’t you. “What’s achievement hysteria?” I’ll pretend to hear you cry out in probable anger and confusion. Well I’ll tell you, because if I didn’t then there wouldn’t be a point to writing the rest of this paragraph. Achievement Hysteria is where you play games not for fun, but to get GamerScore or Trophies or anything else that could be considered similar to those two.

I have “Achievement Hysteria”, I’ve had it ever since I got into a race with my friend to see who could get the most Gamerscore, in which I am 10,000G or so behind him. It’s changed the way I play games and it’s changed my view on them. No longer will I play a round of Call of Duty: World at War zombies with a friend as I’ve got all the achievements on it, no, instead I’ll be collecting Minikits on Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga or playing horrible, horrible, games like Ride to Hell: Retribution and Scene It?! Box Office Bust.

But that is what I am willing to put myself through to hear that familiar jingle of the achievement popping and seeing that oh so satisfying image:

You can’t help viewing an achievement as soon as you’ve unlocked it, you know what you did to receive it (most of the time) but just the fact that you’ve gotten it brings new light onto this addition to your gamerscore. I’ve unlocked hundreds upon hundreds of achievements and every time I unlock a new one I can’t help myself but to hit the Xbox Guide button and view the description for an achievement I earned for finishing a mission.

It’s very gratifying in a way, just to see the “Achievement Unlocked” appear, it makes you feel like you’re doing something in the game right for it to go “Yeah, keep that up.” and reward you for killing X number of enemies with weapon Y.

And that’s one of the problems with achievements. A lot of achievements are simply based on killing a certain number of enemies, driving a certain number of miles or collecting a certain amount of objects. It all becomes like one huge MMO, and you’re the character, mindlessly playing games to increase a number that is completely and totally worthless. Even though we know this, why do we keep on going for those ridiculously difficult or grind-y achievements?

It might be for bragging rights, I know it is for me, however I’m not doing so well on that, still over 10,000G away from taking over my friend. I’m working on it, don’t worry, just, I don’t have an excuse for why I’m not ahead still, I was ahead for the longest time, then I took a week off from hunting achievements and come back to see he’s 2,000G ahead. Which goes to show, if you stop, you will fall behind your friends.

The pile of games I have to play through is indefinitely past the 500 mark, out of that maybe 110 of them are Xbox 360. Out of all 200(ish) Xbox 360 games I have, I’ve completed one of them, which was Call of Duty World at War (which I must admit I’m pretty damn proud of). I finished that a good few years back and I haven’t managed to complete any other game. But completing games is a problem in itself, being that it means you’re going to have to get every single achievement in the game, and that includes DLC if the game has any.

Some achievements just seem impossible to achieve, take the example above in that picture, now you’re gonna have to be a wizard at fighting games or have a lot of spare time on your hands to get one achievement in Super Streetfighter IV, let alone all of them. A lot of time has been put into getting achievements, and there’s proof to.

As of 2008 an astounding 1 BILLION achievements have been unlocked by gamers everywhere so let’s give ourselves a celebratory pat on the back if our arms haven’t locked up from holding a controller for that long.

Stallion83, you’ve probably heard that name before, the first person to hit 1,00,000G on Xbox, which is an insanely tremendous feat to accomplish, imagine the amount of spare time he has. He was given a lifetime subscription to Xbox Live in the form of a literal gold membership for his triumphant feat of strength:

Gaining achievements has become some sort of addiction for me, I just can’t play games anymore if I’m not going to get a pat on the back for doing the simplest of tasks, which is a terrible way to play I know, but it wasn’t always like this. Back when the Xbox 360 first came out, achievements were a lot simpler and a lot more difficult. The first games I remember playing on my Xbox 360 were Hitman: Blood Money, Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy and Call of Duty 3 and they had some of the simplest achievements I’ve ever seen. It was early days for achievements when the game has 13 Achievements which add up to 1000G. Lego Star Wars: TOT has an achievement a level for finishing it without dying, which is harder than you think.

Other games to have simple achievements are Phantasy Star Universe, Avatar: The Burning Earth and Peter Jackson’s: King Kong the Official Video Game. In the early days, you could get one achievement worth 100G, now games usually split up the achievements into 5G, 10G and 20G achievements to make the player work for their gamerscore.

It takes over your life, you’ll find yourself taking days off and ignoring your social life just so you can rack up a few more miles driven in a car on Mafia II, or playing games you didn’t like the first time round on a harder difficulty for that one extra achievement. 

A big problem for me is that I go out down to my local game stores to do my regular run and find new games for my collection, usually to find one or two GameCube/Xbox games to add onto my overcrowded shelves. That was the old me, the new me begins to look at individual games, seeing how easy it is to get a certain amount of gamerscore. I kid you not I saw a copy of Avatar: The Burning Earth and my heart skipped a beat. Needless to say I hadn’t brought enough money with me to purchase it, but I’m wondering if it’s still there, I’ll find out soon.

Oh yeah, Steam achievements are a thing too, but they’re pretty much worthless and provide no incentive to get them, no increase in a useless number or anything, so I don’t go after them.

I have (at time of writing), 43,415G, I really got into achievement hunting about two years ago, so what I can offer the people who want to get into achievement hunting are a few tips and pointers to really give your gamerscore a boost.

Use TrueAchievements

TrueAchievements offer a very unique service, in which you can track you and your friends progress in gamerscore, it shows you all the games you own and there’s a nifty thing called “Easy Achievements” which shows you the easiest achievements you can achieve in the games you own so far. Very helpful and I’ve used it more times than I can count to help me get a secret achievement or help on an achievement.

Quick, Easy Achievements

Certain games will take you a while to get even one achievement, while some games will hand you lots of them on a silver platter all at once, ripe for the picking. I’ve taken the liberty of listing a few games you should be aware of to boost your gamerscore, how many hours it’ll take and how much gamerscore the average gamer will get from that game.

Call of Duty 2 – 15 – 20 Hours – 1000G

This classic game has a total of 13 Achievements, all ranging from 50 – 150G each. All you have to do is play through the game on Veteran difficulty and you should have no problem in getting all achievements. Just take your time, have fun, stick some music on and you should have it finished after about a day of solid gameplay.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong – 6 – 8 Hours – 1000G

While not the most entertaining game to play through, King Kong offers an easy 1000G, especially if you use the cheats, which I’ll provide a link for. Just run through the game as fast as possible, skip the cutscenes if you can and you’ve got yourself an easy 1000G

Avatar: The Burning Earth – 5 Minutes – 1000G

See why I was annoyed I couldn’t buy this game now? I needn’t explain why this game is sought after buy many achievement hunters out there, an easy 1000G which will take you a whole five minutes of your life.

I’m gonna stop telling you which games to play through because I can make a whole series out of this, so there’s a taster I suppose.

Get ready to play terrible games

Not going to lie to you, you’ll have to play some kid games like Cars, Ratatouille and other Disney/Cartoon games and so on, but it’s worth it in the long run. You’ll also have to play some terrible games for an extra 100G or so, like Ride to Hell: Retribution. Obviously a horrendous game but it has an easy few hundred gamerscore in it.

Finally I wish you achievement/trophy hunters the best of luck, don’t let it take over your life and enjoy what you do.

After all, it’s only a number…




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