Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Achievements: Hollow Victories

Here at Megabits we’re such terrible scorewhores that we devote several months of each year to mining Gamerscore, not to mention devoting every Tuesday to talking about achievements. For all our love of that little “bla-doop” noise of an achievement popping, there are some achievements that feel like hollow victories, ones that say worrying things about the state of gaming.

A few weeks ago we touched on some of the sleazier rewards that the Dead or Alive series dishes out, but sleaze isn’t the only way to make an achievement tacky, there’s also tastelessness, cruelty or hitching perfectly good gamerscore to wilfully sensational tasks.

It Takes A Village...Out
We feel slightly hypocritical for including this one, seeing as how we actually quite enjoyed getting it. It’s just challenging enough to be fun, without being hard enough to become frustrating, and it blends seamlessly with general gameplay. Nevertheless, this is Medal of Honor giving you 10GS for levelling an entire village just because it contains a few insurgents. That sort of collective punishment leaves a bad taste in the mouth. In any other genre it’s a war crime, in gaming, it’s an achievement.

Kill 1000 Children
Amazingly, this achievement for Fairytale Fights was mooted around the internet just long enough to garner some attention for a game that would otherwise have been completely ignored, then surprisingly failed to show up in the finished version. We’re glad it never existed as a real achievement, but we’re rather contemptuous of the fact that it even existed as a weak marketing ploy for a $hit game.

Grab Bag
In testing, Turok’s developers noticed lots of accidental suicides and teamkills resulting from inappropriate use of grenades, and thought it would be funny to reward such accidents with some gamerscore. We rather enjoy the fact that they were so naive about what complete and utter dicks many gamers are. As soon as it had some gamerscore attached, team killing stopped being an accident and became a deliberate and near constant disruption in multiplayer games, provoking outrage amongst that small section of online gamers who aren’t arseholes.

Big Game Hunter
Condemned 2 features a decidedly trampy detective engaging in frequent melee combat with an army of deranged homeless people and brutally bludgeoning them to death with whatever comes to hand, in this case, an ornamental deer antler. To be fair, the game’s head-bobbing camera made us feel sick to our stomach anyway, but even if it hadn’t, we reckon slaughtering ten hobos with a chunk of animal carcass would have had the same effect.

Bad Nanny
So, some games dish out awards for killing opponents, right? And Dante’s Inferno involves fighting your way through the denizens of hell, right? And some religions believe that unbaptized babies go to hell, right? Can you see where this is going? Ok, in part, this is a slightly backhanded attack on outdated beliefs, but that doesn’t excuse its general tastelessness.