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Reinventing Gaming Addiction with 360 Achievements 78

jayintune writes "An article from 2old2play looks at how the XBox 360 achievement system is bringing out the addictive qualities of console games by adding a whole new level of competition to 'single-player' games. At the same time, the achievements extend the life and replayability of the games. Do you actually get more for your money from a single player Xbox 360 Game then from another console? You be the judge."
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Reinventing Gaming Addiction with 360 Achievements

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  • Damn! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:36PM (#14738760) Homepage Journal

    And we wonder why nobody RTFA? Please don't bother; that was the fluffiest nonsense I've read all week!

    Summary: You think you've finished that game, eh? Well, try to do it with a melee weapon only! Then you can try it again without using any powerups! Only XBox 360 games have these innovative features!!

    • I think the biggest problem with these arbitrary achievements is that they may get an artificial amount of life out of the game. Playing the game thru again purely with a melee weapon is only a good achievement if the game is worth playing thru again with a melee weapon, or if it's been set up so this is a viable option. I'm assuming the game you're talking about it Condemned. All I hear about that game is "it was fun while it lasted, but it was a short game, and now I'll probably never play it again".

      • Uhh... nobody's being forced to play. It's just that for games like Deus Ex (can you imagine what they're going to do with acheivements in Oblivion!?!) when the incentive is there, people will be able to see that you've gone through and done all those things. It's like OXM tried to do when it first came out, they issued challenges in each issue and displayed a leader board in the back of every magazine. I don't know how long that lasted but things like that are just fun to compete in, but I never did. Was I
      • There *are* games where certain "replay" challenges are actually pretty rewarding. Beating Halo and Halo 2 on "Legendary" setting was a completely different game experience than playing it on any other level. And beating Postal 2 without killing, well that was something only a few people in the world have ever done.


    • I even remember spending tons of hours playing Tony Hawk 3 just to get all boards and the rest of the stuff... so if you are really into a certain game and there are "goals" to achieve, you keep playing until the day you know there is nothing new to do there, even if you completed the game long time ago.
    • The sad thing is that I have spent a lot of time doing more than just "beating the game". With RPGs that I genuinely like, I tend to try to finish all of the side quests, beat all the optional bosses, etc. (I beat Prinny Baal in Disgaea!) Of course, no one really knows that I did this, unless I tell them. But having those recorded in some sort of leaderboard or gamer profile would be cool AND a further enticement to do all the optional stuff that's in many games these days.

      Of course, some people might be em
    • How dare you insult the Lord 360, sir!! You'll smoke a turd in Hell for that blasphemy!


    • This guy obviously just woke up after hybernating for 10 years.
  • absolutely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pl1ght ( 836951 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:37PM (#14738768)
    I will load up even just the basic XBL arcade games to unlock more achievement points. Whenever i see "Achievement Unlocked" on my screen, i immediately have to check out what i received it for. Sad? Sure. But it definitely adds an element of " I Really gotta keep playing this game " to every game. Having the live updated gamercard available from also makes it addicting because anyone can see your progress, or lack thereof. Very smart implementation.
    • it definitely adds an element of " I Really gotta keep playing this game " to every game.

      Indeed, achievements are the only reason I even bothered to finish King Kong, to get those +1000 points to my gamer card :)

      Achievements are quite addictive and are an added incentive to actually finish a game. It also gives you some insight on the kind of gamer you're up against when playing under Live (eg if you have unlocked the All Platinum Medals achievement in PGR3, I do not want to race you). I think it's brillian
    • Well, I am replying to you because this is one of the few parent messages that seem like they know what is going on. (meaning you have actually used the system, not someone who has an opinion based only on the name of the company that designed the Xbox 360)

      YES, I am addicted to achievements and gamerscore. And YES, I go onto my computer to check out how many points an achievement has given me right after I get one. Sometimes if there is a 5 minute lag in adding the score, I get a little anxious. YES, ac
    • Sounds a lot like the minigames/modes in the Timesplitters series. You find yourself trying to complete all these little tasks just to see what you will unlock, be it more minigames/modes/some weird cheat/new playable characters/etc.
  • While it's all well and nice that the 360 has added 'another dimension' to gaming by adding leaderboards, I still think we need to wait for the 360 port of NetHack before players of this particular console know the true meaning of the word "addiction" :)

    Joking aside, I think it is small touches like leaderboards that can keep a certain element coming back for more, and if titles for the 360 implement this, more power to them. Competition in gaming is nice and healthy, for the most part, so as long as it d

    • I think it is small touches like leaderboards that can keep a certain element coming back for more, and if titles for the 360 implement this, more power to them.

      I'm pretty sure microsoft requires games to include achievements before clearing them for release on xbox 360.

      • Tomonobu Itagaki even has a quote floating around regarding acheivements. Something along the lines of "I don't know what the hell these acheivements are... but my game will have them."

        And a balance really needs to be struck among games, I've heard Madden is one of the easiest ways to get a high score.
  • by EdwinBoyd ( 810701 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:44PM (#14738828)
    Is anyone else concerned that your activities are being monitored even in single player games?

    The flip side to this reward system is that companies will be able to tell when you most often play games, what games you play and how long you play in one sitting.
    • Why the f would I be scared of that?
      What do I care if someone knows that it took me tweleve tries to beat level 9?
      Why would anyone monitor that useless information?

      3 words for you:
      tin. foil. hat.

    • What exactly are you worried about? Are you distributing child porn and exhorting terrorism when playing XBox games?
      • He's basing it on the 'slippery slope' argument that 'well, if it can be used for this...then it can be used for THAT too, and then THAT, and then THAT, and eventually you're just a mind controlled advertising slave". While technically a possability, there isn't any evidence that it's being used for this.

        And to this I ask you, how many times have you activated Windows XP?



      • EdwinBoyd Plays GTA2000 for x hours a day. Terroristy also plays GTA2000 for x hours a day. THEREFORE: EdwinBoyd might be a terrorist.

        Yes it is paranoia right now, but who knows for how long. Also think of the future marketing based on these demographics. Think of selling it to people with the info you give to Microsoft (not sure of their EULA or privacy agreement there).

        And to premempt someone who posted further down earlier. This isn't slippery slope as in FALLACY. This is SS in the fact that things
    • The flip side to this reward system is that companies will be able to tell when you most often play games, what games you play and how long you play in one sitting.

      You know, that may not be so bad. If game companies find that original, unique, innovative, well-crafted games get more attention from gamers, rather than the crappy sequels they try to pawn on us, then I wouldn't mind sharing that information with them. It's like the Nielsen ratings. I'd LOVE for the networks to know what shows I like, so that t
  • by Mr_Tulip ( 639140 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:53PM (#14738891) Homepage
    I have this dodgy PS2 controller, occasionally, the X button stops working, or the analog functionality disappears. If I want a real challenge, I just plug it in, and play Gran Turismo. Hours of extra fun.
  • but I wouldn't be too surprised if we started seeing crap games that have huge point rewards.

    If a big title isn't selling well enough, MS can bribe gamers into buying it with the promise of huge point rewards.
    • I wouldn't be too surprised if we started seeing crap games that have huge point rewards.

      King Kong.

      You see any retail game has a budget of 1000 gamerpoints(XBLA games have 200) that must be used for at least 5 acheivments. Unfortunately, There is no standard of difficulty handed down for the acheivments, so some games have a bunch of easy ones, others are damn near impossible to get all 1000.
    • Actually, the MS published games tend to parcel out the gamer points a lot more fairly. I'd say PGR3 dishes them the best way. You get basic points for completing the game, and more at harder difficulty levels. And you get a few points for discovering all the side features in the game, such as photo mode, watching Gotham TV, etc. Without the achievements for some of those areas, I'd never knew they existed.

      If anything, it's the non-MS games (EA sports games especially) that have done a lame job with the ach
      • Its not just EA Sports game, NBA 2k6 is pretty easy to max out points on too. Seriously, turn the game time to max and play through one game, if you pay attention to what you need to do and make a point of getting in those extra assists, rebounds and 3-pointers then its pretty easy to get all achievements with only playing one game.

        Most games I've played have been pretty good about making a good portion of the achievements a little hard to get but the sports games seem to lack any imagination.
  • Sounds great for the statisticians and hardcore gamers -- and with no detriments to the casual gamer. Very clever, very simple. This would make competitive gaming much more fun; no longer do you have to compete directly against a player to determine dominance, now one can merely challenge a friend or enemy to a contest: "First to x points in game y wins prize z!" It would also make ranking players much easier, and expand rankings from directly competitive games, like wins/losses/disconnects in RTSs and kill
  • It will not work without good games.

    At the end, the only thing that really counts is the quality of the game. If you barely enjoy playing a game, would you really bother replaying and trying to defeat a boss with no power-ups or collecting all 50 amulets? Would you really care doing it just for bragging rights? If you're a fanatic of a given game, chances are you're already playing it over and over again, and the Achievement Points concept would be one more reason to keep doing so.

    AP works only if the
  • by fahrvergnugen ( 228539 ) <[fahrv] [at] []> on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:47AM (#14740820) Homepage

    Fluffy article or no, they're right. The achievements system is pure genius, because it adds public bragging rights [] to the concept of 100%'ing a game, and suddenly I'm interested. They've tacked a level grind onto every game out there, and it worked.

    I'm totally addicted to 100%'ing the achievements in my games. I've spent hours scouring maps for hidden items so I could claim the elusive "game complete" achievement in Kameo. I routinely start every game on the hardest difficulty level so I can show off to others that I've done it. I spent 3 days with a checklist from GameFAQs finding hidden gaps in Tony Hawk. I played Gun 3 extra times so I could have credit for beating it on every difficulty level.

    The system isn't perfect. Some games, like King Kong or give away achievement points like they're candy. I'm more proud of my 25-point "Big Cheese of the South Seas" achievement in Hexic HD than I am of the entire 1000 points credit I have for King Kong. Other games like Quake 4 have achievements that almost nobody will win (be #1 on the worldwide leaderboards). Some games give you a full set of achievements just for beating them. We'll see how things settle out.

    • At first, I thought this was completely awesome. I'm an obsessive perfectionist. Then I saw "be best Quake player ever" as on of the ways to get points. Yeah, I don't think this system is for me.
      • Yeah, well, they're still experimenting with it. It's like the leaderboard on Condemned, where game time is the crowning achievement. Some dudes have clocked several hundred hours in the game, probably by keeping the game on and not turning off the console at all. Topping that list is both uninteresting and stupid. In other games, like the marble blast game or robotron, the leaderboard is phenomenal.
        • Marble blast Ultras leaderboards are addicting. Aside from staring at times that i will NEVER be able to match, the "friends" leaderboard is geinus. Instead of playing single player, my friends and I will be in a private chat, playing single player while we beat each others times. Now that is some fun shit (multiplayer is fun too :)
    • This is a HUGE point - and combine that with the ability to instantly compare yourself to another plauer. I can see, for example, that I'm much better at Geo Wars than you are (I have 200 of 200), but that you're well past me on many other games. You can "brag" about finishing COD2 on veteran, and I can double check it and see - that yes, you've done just that. :)

      No more having people talk crap when they can't back it up, cause you can just check it out and see who the idiots are and who's got the stuff t
    • Good post. I agree with you for the most part. But my two cents are really loud and demand attention. I wouldn't call it genius to implement this system. I would call it stupid not to, if you had an infrustructure like MS does.

      Achievements or whatever they call them is pretty cool. I've been doing that sort of stuff for a while with shooters and platformer games. Nothing like the people who try to go through RPGs without using a particular button or without certain charecters (check out gamefaqs for F

  • I don't know about anyone else, but to me, these next-generation consoles are about as exciting as a toilet that flushes itself.

    These game companies keep reinventing the wheel and try to make it sound like something new and innovative.
  • Hmmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dyslexicbunny ( 940925 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:14AM (#14741699)
    This is a pretty creative approach but I don't think it adds anything in general. Now, I don't know what the points/GP actually go to since I haven't really followed the 360 much. But unless it's awesome stuff, it just seems shallow.

    Say I'm game company X. I make a mediocre game that people won't really enjoy. To compensate, I add a ton of points in the game to make people want to finish it. MS probably has to clear points but odds are they will allow reasonable requests.

    Solid gameplay needs no reward such as points. Look at the people still playing Starcraft. Besides the Bnet ranking, they have no other real perks to playing. I would rather see MS reward developers of games that people that continue to play . I would certainly rather have better games as a reward than points.

    I don't think this does anything to reinvent addiction. It's just like people playing MMOs to get enough gold to buy the next item they need. Play until you get what you want and then go do something else. It isn't addiction if you're just grinding it out.
    • Full games are required to have 1000 points in achievements. Live Arcade games are required to have 200. So far as I know, there will be no deviations from this formula, so no game can "point inflate." The most that could happen is games dole out their 1000 points for trivially easy "accomplishments." I sincerely doubt that the sales to be gained by the free 1000 points would compensate for the sales lost when people realize it's a crappy game.

      Points are no worse or better at creating addiction than any oth
  • Sure some good games can be addicting, but just because a game is addicting it doesn't mean that it is good. I for one find all those "addicting" elements (status bars, experince points, extra items, etc.) to be rather uninteresting, because they often add obsolutly nothing to the core game itself, but simply stretch it by forcing the player to do the same thing again and again just to raise his level a bit so he can continue with the next larger obstacle. I would much prefer if gamedesigners would make the
    • You're right, but it's much easier to do the XP grind thing. So guess what they'll go for?

      Even in a game I made myself, I added awards and a point total that you have to get up high enough to reach some extra levels. I feel it adds replay value to the game. Some other games really do try to stretch their limited content with repetitive crap (Every MMORPG ever comes to mind)
    • Good point, take for instance Battle Field 2, I stopped playing after two weeks, when I noticed peoples profiles and them having recorded totals in excess of 2000 hours playing the game. For those who are math challenged, that's near 84 24 hour days of gaming. That's just sick, and to me utterly pathetic to spend that amount of time playing a game.
  • Lots of games already have special extra tasks you can accomplish to show off how "hard core" you are.

    The 'Ratchet & Clank' games for the PS2, for instance, had the Skill Point system. A skill point would be some extra challenging task you could complete, such as winning the a minigame race in under a certain time limit, or acquiring all the weapons, or defeat a certain level/boss with just your wrench, etc. You even got a skill point if you managed to get all the other skill points! Skill Points cou

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