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11:53 AM on 06.20.2012

Achievements: Why and How I like them

Achievements: Why I like them and how I like them
Ever since the launch of the Xbox 360 all developers were forced to distribute 1000 achievement points per retail game and the points had to be spread over a maximum of 50 achievements (excluding DLC). The concept sounds extremely trivial in theory. People asked at first; do they unlock anything? Am I rewarded in any way for them? Are there leader boards? The answer was always no, but that didn't make them any less fun, nor did it stop people from trying to maximize their gamer score or hunt for the easy to get achievements. I'm guessing that humans by nature like gathering points and they like to keep score. The value of the points is irrelevant, anything they provide is an added bonus as long as at the end of the day you could go to your friends and brag, telling them that yours is bigger. Yes, that's pretty much all there is to it; personal pride and bragging rights.

I'm not personally much an achievement hunter myself, but I tend to go out of my way trying to get some of them but there are also many others that I simply ignore. Would they give me some sense of accomplishing something? They probably would, but I find it unnecessary to waste my time. When I find a huge open world game that tries to encourage me to find their over nine thousand generic collectible items I simply don't bother. I was never a fan of collectibles like that in the first place. I'm bad at looking for things in real life and video games. If the points I got were worth something I would probably put a little extra effort behind it, or simply download a map with all locations but I find it pointless to do a task that I dislike for a large amount of time to earn a reward like that. so Basically I hate collectible related achievements or ones that force you to do a dumb task that takes you WAY out of your way to do something. For example what if you had to walk across the GTA world without using any form of transportation other than your feet? That would indeed suck. I enjoy the game, I enjoy walking around but not like that.

It's not just the time-consuming and daunting ones that I dislike. Completing the tutorial is not an achievement that I feel proud of having. It's that kind of achievement that takes away the meaning of the word. Although I have to admit that the "press start to play" achievement was funny, so I wouldn't mind it so much.

Crackdown was a game that handled its achievements right. They were fun to do, they were challenging and yet they weren't too hard. To me, that's the perfect formula. I completely understand that developers are being forced to include a certain number of achievements into each game, but a certain level of creativity would be appreciated.

One of my favorite achievements was in Red Dead Redemption. I had to tie up a woman, go to the train tracks and let the train run her over. Call me whatever you like but that was simply awesome and thoughtful of rockstar. It perfectly suited the game and the era it was being played in. It reminded me of countless TV moments where that exact scene happened except that the woman died in my game. Honestly I couldn't stop laughing throughout the whole process.

One type of achievements that I don't dislike is the counter type or stat-based. Things such as reaching a certain level or stacking up a certain amount of kills though not to the extent where Gear of War took it. The 'Seriously' achievement took it too far.

So folks, what are your favorite and worst achievement memories?   read

4:09 PM on 06.19.2012

Games That I Wish Had Sequels

Sometimes you play a game in a specific genre, you finish it and get over it knowing that soon you'll have another game similar enough to soothe your craving for that type of game. That's what generally happens in the world of games. Developers use the same mechanics over and over again to ensure that their games appeal to the masses that liked the people who used those mechanics first. That's not entirely bad. After all, we got many decent games that way and spent countless hours playing them, but sometimes a gamer looks for something to fill a gap in his soul that can only be filled with something specific. Something that is only available in an old classic that for some reason never had a sequel. There are some games that have no sequels. I wouldn't mind an unoriginal, yet entertaining game not having any sequels since I can find a similar experience elsewhere. However there are a few itches that only certain games can scratch.

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

I do realize that this game is actually a sequel to a SNES game, but this was 12 years ago and if I had to choose one game ever to get a sequel for, it would be this one. Ogre Battle wasn't just a great game to play. To this day it's one of the deepest and most unique games I've played. The combination of real time strategy, turn-based (yet auto piloted) battles and RPG style unit management was amazing. I spent hundreds of hours playing the game throughout several playthroughs and I'm sure dozens of those hours were spent managing my army in the menus.

A maximum of 10 squads could be deployed in the battlefield, each one containing up to five units and it's up to the player to equip each unit, choose its class and change when necessary and choose each squad's formation. Formations really mattered but were simple. Unlike most games the generic characters were more customizable than the story ones since they were glued to their classes. There were also several endings and branching story lines. That was pretty good for over a decade ago.

My outline of the game does not do it justice, really but it's a great game that might seem overwhelming at first. It's hard to master but simple enough to play effectively. Just talking about it is getting me excited to download it on the Wii's virtual console (I still have an N64 and my copy of the game). I don't care if they change nothing, I just want a new one. Pretty please, Atlus? Or are you busy making games like Game of Thrones and Cursed Crusade?

Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge was a pretty good game and different than what we're used to and it was well-executed. Thank god it wasn't one of those good ideas gone bad. It was an action game that wasn't about violence in fact the game encouraged the pacifist approach. The game relied on parkour styled action. Instead of fighting your way through an enemy force, you get to jump, duck and slide around obstacles as fast as possible to avoid the enemy. The game employs, wall jumps, sliding, climbing and all sorts of things that basically get you from point A to point B while overcoming obstacles. The controls were well-made so they felt natural. I very rarely (not never) had trouble performing the action I had in mind.

Skies of Arcadia

What makes skies of Arcadia unique is that out of the games in this list, it's the one that isn't unique... Sega made a standard JRPG following classic japanese formulas and there wasn't much that was considered new in this game but certain aspects of it really appealed to me. It's part of the JRPG formula to start as a nobody kid that saves the world but that's not the case in this game. You start as a pirate living in a tiny island starting small and slowly growing. The growing process is tangible. By the time you save the world you're not a nobody anymore and you can feel it in some aspects. You start with a crappy old ship and end up having a bad ass ship hosting 20+ crew members. It's like starting with an old Corolla and ending up with a Bumblebee car. Little by little you can develop your tiny base, buying it upgrades and seeing it flourish. To a degree it's cosmetic but it feels good to see progress. Those are the games that come to mind when I think of games I'd want to revisit after years of forgetting them. They're not the best in their genres, but they had some key differences that made them different enough. Sound your opinions in comments. What do you want a sequel for the most?   read

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