I have a confession — I used to hate achievements. It started with Xbox Live, and I was pretty sure that I was the only one. It was hard for me to articulate why exactly I disliked them so much — so many of them were just, well, bad.
Let’s toss our nostalgia aside for a moment and recognize that game design has come a long way over the past couple of decades. I loved the original Zelda, but no one is going to convince me that the process of uncovering secrets by methodically burning every single bush across dozens of screens was good game design. We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. We’ve refined and polished concepts and gameplay mechanics.
Why, then, did we throw everything we’d learned out the window when it came time to design achievements? I think that’s what bothered me about early Xbox Live achievements more than anything — as goals, they violated too many game design guidelines. Too many of them wouldn’t make any sense as in-game goals for progressing through content….MORE