Are Game Achievements harmful?



The Astronauts, the developers of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter explain their approach about adding achievements in their game. I personally am a fan of achievements but I also think a lot about how they affect the game itself or the way I play a game. Hearing the developers side of achievements, their concerns and thoughts offers a different perspective on an issue.

Here is an excerpt that I completely agree with:

Second, achievements are mostly harmful when they shape a behavior or artificially extend gameplay time. For example, “Finish the game without killing anyone” in a game that offers the freedom of choice (e.g. sneak past an enemy, knock them unconscious or kill them) is both behavior shaping and artificial time extender. Telling the player to be whatever they want to be, but then awarding them for being exactly as the developer imagined is just wrong. It’s a much longer discussion for another time, though.

You can find their blog post here. I plan to write more articles around achievements, as it is a highly controversial and complex topic, but until then: What do you all think about achievements in games?


http://theastrocrew.tumblr.com/post/103220889213/achievements-in-the-vanishing-of-ethan-carter