For about ten minutes, five of which were in 2005 and the other five in 2006, we were obsessed with getting Xbox 360 achievements. They were a new and novel thing, and it was fun to brag. Ultimately though, that soon stopped. Not because of easy score-padding games like King Kong and Avatar: The Burning Earth, not because points and achievement difficulty have no meaningful relationship, and not even because of the online-only achievements that require a paid subscription service to obtain. We abandoned them – and PlayStation trophies, too – for one simple reason.
Like you, we’re adults with busy lives. We work all day, we have families, we have birds to photograph. When we complete a game and see the end credits, we didn’t necessarily choose to buy every costume, or run away from battles loads, or collect 250 golden harmonicas. There’s nothing clever about this kind of joyless box-ticking, and we don’t feel that the game is any more or less complete for my having done or not done so. So it’s infuriating to look down the list of games on your profile and see “23% completed” because I chose to play the game my own way.
Ultimately, that’s what is great about retro games. Most of them don’t judge you for what you have – or haven’t – done inside a game. Hell, the vast majority of them are incapable of remembering, and that’s fine by us. Whether we see the credits or decide to uncover every pathway, we’ll decide when we’re done with a game, thanks.