What Are Game Achievements For?

Whether you love them, can’t stand them, or could care less, achievement systems within games are clearly here to stay. Personally, I’m a big fan of achievements, both to track my progress in a gameĀ  in general as well as in relation to other peopleĀ  as well as to give an excuse to do goofy things that I might not otherwise think to try out. And, of course, they’re yet another form of the constant reward/reinforcementĀ  system that most good video games have really nailed down (usually complete with visual effect and even music to further reinforce the reward).

But as one young woman profiled by Kotaku demonstrates, once you start adding achievements with assigned points to games, some people will start playing the achievements themselves as a sort of meta-game. The games themselves are simply something to grind through on the way to an achievement score. In the case of the Kotaku profile, Kristen has amassed an XBOX gamerscore of 165,000 and is grinding her way to 200,000, frequently playing games she could care less about except for the achievement points she can gain from them.

Quite a few people in the comments don’t see the point of playing the achievement system as a game, but that seems just as legitimate a way to approach video games as any other.

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