Monday, January 24, 2011

Don't be Ridiculous.

you tell em, Balki

 Lately, everyone is gushing over the 3DS news that has been outpouring from last week's press event. I am no exception as I've become even more excited, and cannot wait to try the new handheld when it arrives in store display form. Of course naturally, the more vocal portion of the fanbase (by vocal I mean whining, and by fanbase... I mean the kids on GoNintendo ) have some choice words to say about the system and it's lack of all things 'hardcore'. 

The article in question is about a statement made by Bill Trinen, about the lack of Achievements in the 3DS infrastructure. let's look at what he said first before we go into the commentary. 

"We're not opposed to Achievements," Nintendo's Bill Trinen told me earlier this week, even as he confirmed that his company's next system, the 3DS, won't have one of the more popular features in Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC gaming.

Perhaps Nintendo has found a trend worth bucking.

Since the launch of the Xbox 360, gamers and game creators have appeared to collectively, if not unanimously, embrace the idea of associating certain actions in a video game with some sort of accolade or point value that can be added to accolades and points earned in other games in order to represent a player's overall accomplishments. Since Microsoft started doling out Achievement points on the Xbox 360, PC gamers have been able to do something similar with Steam Achievements, PlayStation users with Trophies and iPhone users with Game Center Achievements.

Nintendo has been the outlier, offering an Achievement-like system in its 2008 game Wii Sports Resort but declining to implement anything system-wide or even make the practice common in its games. Mario games don't have Achievements. Zelda games don't. Just about nothing Nintendo makes does including the Nintendo 3DS, which is Nintendo's big hardware release, coming to America on March 27.

"Basically, the way the games are designed is they're designed for you to explore the game yourself and have this sense of discovery," he said. "To that end, I think that when you look specifically at games from EAD [the group long led by Mario and Donkey Kong creator Shigeru Miyamoto] and a lot of other games that Nintendo has developed a well, there are things you can do in the game that will result in some sort of reward or unexpected surprise. In my mind, that really encourages the sense of exploration rather than the sense of 'If I do that, I'm going to get some sort of artificial point or score that's going to make me feel better that I got this.' And that, to me, is I think more compelling.""When they create their games, [Nintendo's designers] don't tell you how to play their game in order to achieve some kind of mythical reward," Trinen said, explaining his view of why Nintendo's top creators have stayed off the Achievement bandwagon. Trinen is currently head of product marketing for Nintendo of America, but has also long communicated with Nintendo's top development talent in Japan and would be privy to their design philosophies.

Trinen is aware of Nintendo's own exceptions. He recalled an Achievement-like bonus system in the GameCube's Super Smash Bros. Melee that rewarded players for doing specific, sometimes-unusual, things in the game. But he pointed out that even that game didn't tell its players in advance that they would be getting rewards and how to attain them.
Achievement-skepticism is not a Nintendo-exclusive philosophy. Plenty of other people have wondered what the worth of Achievements is, how they affect the way we play games that contain them and, ultimately whether they are good or bad for games and gaming.

It's not clear if Nintendo's top people would go as far as saying that Achievements are bad for video games, but Trinen articulates a valid wariness about what their cost may be. It's hard to imagine a Zelda game that contains Achievements. It's harder still to imagine one that feels as magical and surprising as the best of them do.

While i'm not dead set against Achievements,  I have stated that they can be both beneficial and hazardous in their own way. It's understood that metagame rewards tend to breathe new life in a game, and extend the game beyond it's own shelf life. I've played through Dead Rising four or five times just to snag a few achievements like the photography portions or the rewards for gathering survivors , but I also played through because of the additional content and new features that were unlocked, as well as it's experience system making you capable of beating enemies you had to sneak past previously like the escaped convicts.

While I do understand and somewhat support Achievements and what they do for a game, I don't necessarily think that every console has to have them, either. This is precisely why the feature is moreso shown with Wii games in a game-to-game basis than a system wide basis. Ask yourselves exactly who does Achievements really benefit? You? so you can proudly show your gamerscore to people who largely don't even care that you may have played through some of the worst games this console generation just on the count of "cred" . Or the developers of those bad games who were basically betting on Achievements to get those sales they needed, and will use the money to do the same thing again and again, because ultimately you're enabling them to do so? 

Let's look at some of those comments from GN 

"I still thinks it's because they are too lazy to make the online infrastructure to make achievements" 
obvious troll is obvious. 

"I agree. It's kinda ridiculous that they claim they wanna appeal to "coregamers" with the 3DS, yet provide no achievement system."
Don't be ridiculous. A generation ago a good game was how you appealed to gamer's tastes. That notion should still stand true even in this day-and-age.

"The great thing about including achievements/trophies is that they are OPTIONAL. If you like them then you can collect them. If not then you can ignore them."
Which makes not including them even more of a moot point.

"lol they're ignoring the fact that they've included them in past games before...the difference is that they were in game specific ones like in Corruption and Resort."
Don't be Ridiculous. If you read the entire article instead of blurb skimming you would of found out that those things were noted, and even as far as Melee was cited as using achievements.

"Nintendo did stamps, therefore, they are okay while achievements and trophies are the creation of Microsoft and Sony so they're for nerds with no lives."
Don't be Ridiculous. Just because the company doesn't want to include these things as a system wide feature doesn't mean that their reasonings are that the feature is solely for Geeks, Nerds and Otaku. Perhaps it's clearly not for everyone which is the reason why they didn't want to include it in the first place?

This would only be more logical a reason for Nintendo to include achievements as developer optional, as it doesn't require you to have to shoehorn them in where they're not needed.

Nintendo's full of BS. They've done things similar all the time. Sometimes they unlock things (Brawl, Kirby Air Ride) and sometimes they don't, but this is also true for some 360 games and stuff. But yeah. Achievements give you something extra to do.What Nintendo should do, regarding it, is just not give you a list of them.Some games have them all Secret, so you can't find out.

This way, you have all these achievements, but not indication of what they are or how to find them. This will cause the players to explore every inch of their game even more. When they obtain and achievement, they will be like "OH MAN".

You don't have to tell everyone what they are, thus omitting the whole "oh, we're telling you how to enjoy the game".

Regardless of whether Nintendo provides a list or not. There will be a list available. Either through sites like Gamefaqs or something else. If the core demographic craves achievements they will look for ways to get them, and will go to these sites to figure out how to meet their needs. In doing so the achievements will either spoil certain things about the game to them, or eventually get them to alter their playing style in order to get what they want on the first try. 

You can say that's not what's going to happen, but that's how human nature tends to work. People tend to read ahead to the last page of the book they're reading, they look for information on movies risking reading spoilers in the process.

We could omit the lists to let people explore every inch of the game or we could allow the player to do this by - surprise - letting them get lost in the game world and explore every inch of the game that way. It's not exactly as far fetched as you think, and requires adding more content to a game than just a 'to do' list.

I don't care for them but would absolutely love a Nintendo system if they had them. Not for my personal gratification but the fact that sociable achievements draw in gamers who are willing to buy A LOT of software to increase their "score" or whatever it's called.

That means more software sales and thus more third party support


Basically Nintendo can finally get those third parties to sell their shovelware because now it will build your gamerscore instead of sitting there collecting dust with your Wiis which apparently sit in houses of people who lack the simple ability to clean their dusty houses.

also, that first line is effing hilarious! It's like me telling someone "I don't care if you jump off a bridge, because everyone else is doing it. However, if you do jump off the bridge, I would absolutely love it!" Keep in mind that's nothing to do with someone jumping off the bridge for my entertainment. It's just that it's someth- oh who am i kidding. It's purely for my own personal enjoyment!

In the end; gamers thrive on the aspect of content moreso than a shopping list created to get them to spend more time playing. A game that is designed to give players new things to discover and explore should be a better draw than "kill eight guys using only the default weapon you started with". And let's throw it all out on the table and really call them what they are: E-Peen. You parade around online showing off the amazing things you've done so people can basically drool and aspire to accomplish the same incredibly difficult goal, and there's nothing wrong with that, but don't make it out to be the end-all-be-all if it's not something a particular gaming company wants to include in their console. Certainly, don't say a company is lazy when they want you to continue exploring games in the same way as they always did. This doesn't prove anything at all other than people are ready to jump on a bandwagon established by others in order to get you to buy anything anyone pushes out, and yet blind to the fact that gaming has went on for decades without such a thing and can still strive even now with it being developer optional. 

I don't know what's more sad in this case. the fact that people tend to believe the most bizarre things or that I made an entire post based off a catch phrase by Bronson Pinchot. 

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