Monday, October 30, 2006
The Sense of Achievement in Gaming
When the Xbox 360 launched it introduced a new element to games - achievements that are shared on the Live system. Having bragging rights about completing things in games has been standard for years, but now your achievements are posted publically so everyone can see them. Does this make it more desireable to achieve things? Damn right it does. The last thing anyone wants is to feel "lame" so maybe we play a little longer, explore a little further in a game to make sure we hit those achievements. It actually got me thinking about game completion too. In the old days, "completing" a game meant simply tiring of it, or reaching a point where the difficulty went beyond impossible (Space Invaders aliens starting out on the bottom row anyone?). Almost all games today are more like movies, with "stages" and levels with a definite beginning, middle and end.
Is that sense of achieving the end making us play games through to the end we might have otherwise tossed aside for the next iteration of Grand Theft Auto? In my case, I'd have to say yes. I have many games that I've started and "abandonded" and I find myself reluctant to try new games until I've finished those ones off. I feel guilty about those abandoned games and so I go back and finish them up. I'm playing NeoPets: The Darkest Faerie ... yeah another kid's game, but it's pretty decent... long though (just by the nature of what it is, in general it's not a long game).
So are games guilting us in to completion? Maybe. What do you think?