Within the last week, a gamer made 500,000 Gamerscore on the Xbox 360.

Granted, that’s pretty crazy. I have around 17,000, but I can’t even imagine the playtime needed to achieve such a goal. And the guy looks like he has a pretty normal life outside of gaming which further adds to the mystery of how he accomplished this.

What I understand even less is the seeming hatred towards the whole “achievement” idea. You can find a lot of these discussions of message boards and forums, and moreso from the pro-Nintendo mindset. I don’t mean Nintendo fans in general, just the ones that believe that Nintendo is incapable of doing no wrong, and even the most perplexing of decisions are part of “Nintendo’s Master Plan” that somehow only they are privvy to understanding, which the gaming community is left scratching their heads.

Granted, the whole concept of “gamer points” is still a relatively new concept for this generation. Microsoft started it, and Sony later integrated it into their system, and I strongly believe that it would be in Nintendo’s best interests to integrate a similar system into their next console. But to oppose or “hate” the concept, is something that I don’t understand. And not all of that ire comes exclusively from the Nintendo fan camp. A point system would be a positive evolution for Nintendo. At this point, I would have had a billion points by now had this concept been around since the NES days.

Bear in mind that I’m part of the “arcade generation”, where a high score in the mall’s arcade or video store was part of your reputation. This is why I’m so fond of leaderboards: They give me a goal and incentive to reach in order to beat other people’s scores.

It’s the same with achievements: “Gamerscore” is part of that old-school “credibility”. A high point total that it something to compete with against your friends, to see how (or how well) they play, and more importantly, encourage players to approach a game a little differently. I’ve gone back and tried some of the more complex challenges to see if I can pull off some of the crazier achievement goals. I find it fun to show off to friends what I was able to accomplish, and for me, it increases the longevity of playtime.

That’s not to say that I don’t think some of these games provide a system designed just to pad a Gamerscore. There are some titles that “reward” you for simply starting a game, or others simply hand out the points like candy for minimal (laughable) effort. Is it credible? Not so much. It’s like stating that you should get some positive reinforcement for successfully inhaling and exhaling to breathe.

And of course there are others who simply play games to rack up these points. Whether you buy, borrow or rent these titles, if it’s not a money investment, it’s a time investment. And with so many titles on my table, I just don’t have the time to invest in bad games, even if there’s a small hint of incentive like boosting my score a few hundred points. Then again, the perspective of “worth” is up to the gamer.

But I’ve never understood the outright opposition to the concept of Gamescore/achievements. If you don’t like them, turn off the notices in game. If you end up with a few points regardless of your best efforts to avoid them, it’s not a big deal. Just ignore them and move on. As for the rest of us, I enjoy the incentive to play more and do better, as well as the competition with friends and peers. It brings that sense of arcade machismo that was fun to try and be the best of the best within your group and outside, and in the most basic of appreciation, I just like the little graphics I earn on my dashboard.

What are your thought on earning virtual credibility for in-game accomplishments?

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Filed under: general gaming