The Gamerscore. While most of us deem it unimportant in terms of gamer cred, there’s no way to truly ignore another person’s gamerscore once you’ve learned it. For some of us, collecting achievements is a fun way to reap a game for what it’s worth. For others, achievements come as a happy accident. And for completionists, they’re a downright obsession.
No matter what your opinion is of the score, it’s undeniable that the achievement system played a huge role in making the Xbox 360 online experience so memorable. There are all types of achievements. At their best they reward you based on true skill. At their worst, they can be downright insulting - and those are the ones we're talking about today.
Achievements that are earned during a cutscene
Or pretty much any achievement earned for not doing anything at all. These achievements feel more like a pat on the back for buying the game than anything actually being accomplished. It’s like the developers are saying "Good for you for buying our game. Thanks. Here’s a biscuit!" If there is no game actually being played, the gift of an achievement seems absurdly pointless. Prime examples:
The first one’s free! - Deadpool, 2013. Deadpool gets up from his armchair in the opening cutscene. This meaningless achievement pokes fun at silly achievements in games. “Hey what’s that?” Deadpool exclaims, “You guys tracking my every move now? But I haven’t even accomplished anything yet!” This one is followed up by the equally pointless, “The second one is also free!”
Press Start to Play- The Simpsons, 2007. Like “It’s HAZARD TIME!” you literally just press start and get five free points. SO FREE.
Start of a new era.- Soul Calibur IV, 2008. Here’s another 1-button achievement. Press start. Good job.
Take 5! - Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, 2009. Here’s a game that pretty much rewards you for shooting anything. Aside from "Take 5!" which you earn for being paused for five minutes, you will also attain “It’s HAZARD TIME!” Which you get for just starting the game.
Achievements that are awarded for playing poorly
As if losing isn’t bad enough, some games have taken it upon themselves to add insult to injury by pointing out just how much you suck. I thought achievements were supposed to encourage you to keep playing the game. Some of the more disparaging achievements I’ve listed below. There’s nothing like rubbing salt into a fresh wound.
Valkyrie's Folly - Too Human, 2008. Die 100 times. You’ve died and you’ve died again. By now, you’re probably teetering somewhere between tired and insanity. Here’s just what you need to send you over the edge.
20 Straight Losses in DOA Online - Dead or Alive IV, 2008. This achievement isn’t awarded by losing 20 random online matches. Anyone who plays fighting games online enough will inevitably lose 20. This achievement goes out to the indomitable spirit who manages to suffer through 20 consecutive losses.
Blowin’ it - Guitar Hero III, 2007. Fail any song 10 times. Maybe it’s a pesky combo. Maybe you have no rhythm. Either way, you can’t beat that song, but here’s an achievement to commend your effort.
Achievements earned for collecting random things
The Scavenger Hunt: a classic party game that has weaseled its way into every AAA game. Sure, a good virtual scavenger hunt is fun every once in a while, but if finding all 150 objects hidden in the game is going to take me more than a few hours extra, chances are I’m going to skip it. Unless that game is Super Mario 64, of course.
In Memory of Petruccio - Assassin’s Creed II, 2009. Collect all the feathers. I forget the relevance the feathers had to the plot, but I do remember how useless all 100 of them were.
Orb Hunter and Free Hunter - Crackdown, 2007. Sometimes developers try to give incentives other than achievement points to scavenge for all the collectables. While that might sound like a good idea, it can easily turn into a nightmare. Take Crackdown, where the leveling system was reliant on your ability to find orbs. THERE ARE 800 ORBS. You receive “Orb Hunter” for the 300 Hidden Orbs and “Free Runner” for the 500 Agility Orbs.
Music Maestro - Banjo Kazooie, re-released 2008. Collect 900 music notes. Anyone who had an N64 will remember all the collectables in Banjo Kazooie. Or maybe you wouldn’t because there were so many of them! When Banjo Kazooie came to Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, the achievement system gave us a new way to keep track. That still wasn’t enough motivation to collect all 900 music notes.
Achievements that are sexist or degrading
Last, but definitely not least, are those achievements that are sexist or degrading. Surprisingly, they do exist. Sure, they might seem harmless in most cases, but the atmosphere they create isn’t. As a girl growing up and playing games, I never really felt out of place. That was ...until I got my Xbox 360. Stories that seemed relatively normal to me were given misogynistic undertones by certain achievements. Nothing says “this game was made for a pubescent, straight, male” quite like the achievements listed below.
I Swear! I did it by mistake! - Lollipop Chainsaw, 2013. Look up Juliet's skirt for 10 achievo points. Look, Lollipop Chainsaw - despite this - will always be one of my favorite games. It was ridiculous, it was fun, and it poked fun at American pop culture in all the right ways… but what it didn’t do right was make me feel like a pervert.
Ladies Man - Ride to Hell: Retribution, 2013. Save five girls from being harassed. Forget the achievement. The whole damn game was pretty offensive! With metacritic score of 13/100, I can’t think of a game since that’s received such low ratings …and rightfully so. The game is obnoxiously misogynistic.
Are there any crazy achievements you can think off the top of your head? Let us know!