Posted on January 21 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
One of the more popular features of modern PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 games is the Achievement system. You get them for performing stylish kills in FPS titles, racking up high scores, or finding nifty secrets – there can be an Achievement for pretty much anything you could think of. What about Nintendo? Generally they’ve stayed away – to the point that many have wondered what they have against the idea. Bill Trinen talked about that very subject with Kotaku recently, and here’s what he had to say:
We’re not opposed to Achievements. When they create their games, [Nintendo’s designers] don’t tell you how to play their game in order to achieve some kind of mythical reward.
Basically, the way the games are designed is they’re designed for you to explore the game yourself and have this sense of discovery. To that end, I think that when you look specifically at games from EAD and a lot of other games that Nintendo has developed a well, there are things you can do in the game that will result in some sort of reward or unexpected surprise. In my mind, that really encourages the sense of exploration rather than the sense of ‘If I do that, I’m going to get some sort of artificial point or score that’s going to make me feel better that I got this.’ And that, to me, is I think more compelling.
I’ve got to agree – the most satisfying moments in gaming are those that have us finding something we had no idea was there, like the secret cutscenes in Majora’s Mask or the legendary Warp Zones in the original Super Mario Bros.. A standard Achievement system, on the other hand, while it can tell you what you’ve missed, doesn’t offer the same level of surprise. This is especially true for games like StarCraft where the “achievements” are just things like meeting certain requirements for level completion. It doesn’t really expand the game at all; it just pads the length by adding replay value. That’s not to say replay value isn’t important, but I think most people would agree that they’d rather have more solid content than simply more ways to play with less content.
And yes, this means no Achievements for 3DS. But honestly, are you really going to miss them?