A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Discussion – Stressful Achievements

It’s taken a lot of effort over the years, but I’ve been learning to let some things go… like those achievements or optional objectives that encourage being a superhero completionist.

Let me explain a bit. I stress out over trying to get everything done. Some of the missions in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood have an optional requirement for full synchronization such as “Get through the mission without taking damage” or “Finish in under 8 minutes” or “Don’t swim”. Some of them are easy and I’ll go for them, sure. Some of them… well, I’m not going to stress myself out over them.

I just don’t want to have to do a dungeon over and over again just to get the little thing that says “Yay! You did this within our arbitrarily set limits and here’s your nominal and ultimately insignificant reward!” Besides, I have my own achievements… like not dying or successfully surviving this one fight regardless of how I do it. You know, little goals.

Some achievements make me wonder who they’re really for. I seem to recall one achievement for Lost Odyssey where you need to beat this entire series of fights in some kind of fight club and the last one you solo versus two other enemies. There were whole strategies online that I perused in an effort to finish this one fight, but I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know if in some ways I’m just not good enough to tackle certain objectives in games, but I’ve been playing games for so long, you’d think I’d be decent enough to actually get by.

When the crap hits the fan in a game, the first thing to get ignored by me is the achievement system. Of course, when they’re there, I want to do them… but there’s this balance between having fun and getting stressed out when you pay attention to the achievements. At least, that’s how it goes for me. I suppose the less the game feels like work and the more it feels like I’m making progress the happier I am. When the achievements just happen because I stumbled across them or the objectives and my play style happened to line up suddenly, I get the notion “Hey, that was cool!” and it pleases me.

I don’t need to get every achievement or complete every optional objective to have a good time. I WANT to get all those extras done, but whenever I sit down to play, I remind myself that I don’t NEED those extras and I shouldn’t stress myself out to get them done.

Until next time, remember that it’s just a game and have fun!

– Elorfin

P.S. “One of the hardest things to learn: There are so many true crises, so many lurking situations that could be dangerous for the President, its hard not to get caught up in the adrenaline and make everything lethal. It’s more than picking your battles, marshaling your energy. It’s about grace under fire. All war metaphors. I guess that’s it; being able to tell when its a matter of life or death.” – C.J. Cregg, The West Wing


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