To discuss the importance of achievements in games we first have to look at the design of games in general. Every game shares a common goal; to keep players engaged and wanting to play more. Without this key feature a game will not be considered a success and after a short play time, will simply sit on the ‘shelf’ and be forgotten.

Some History on Achievements in Games

Town Ship Achievements

Town Ship Achievements

All of these factors help to keep a player wanting to return and play for many different reasons. Having grown up in an age of Atari and Sega, I was limited at the time to games that relied predominantly on addictive play, high scores, and/or storytelling and character development. The internet has certainly opened up the options to allow for social and multiplayer and global, real-time leader boards. It amazes me how many developers are pressured to provide a multiplayer component just to keep a large demographic interested in their games.

Evolution Of Achievements In Games

Whilst achievements in games can be traced back to the early 1980s, they were very limited and quite often not a focal part of enticing the player to return. Modern games have certainly taken achievements to a whole new level, often rewarding players for completing a level, killing a certain number of monsters, or finding hidden objects.

In many instances, each Achievement gained will result in a small reward, such as an equippable item, in-game currency or a pet. However some can simply unlock a badge that is displayed on a player’s profile (such as a Gamertag for Microsoft’s Xbox and PC Games, or PSN ID for PlayStation Network). In effect, like leader boards, they can provide the player with bragging rights or personal fulfillment; indicating how much they have been able to achieve in a particular game.

Why It Is Important To Have Achievements

Boom Beach Achievements

Boom Beach Achievements

The strength of this should never be underestimated. There are many players obsessed with accomplishing 100% achievements in their games. Often regarded as ‘completionists’, they can spend hours, if not days, on a single task in order to complete every achievement.

Even for casual players, achievements can play a vital part in enticing a player to return. A simple game without a campaign or engaging story can still temp the player back in order to unlock the next achievement on their list; to receive the next reward or to simply reach 100% completion. Many times these achievements take a passive approach, simply asking the player to finish a certain amount of levels, or running a set distance. These are effective goals as they are easily achievable even if the player only has a few minutes to spare every now and then.

So, can you expect to see achievements in our game? Absolutely! Whilst we do not want the focus or replay-ability to be centered on this mechanic, we do want the player to feel rewarded for spending time playing the game and reaching certain milestones.