Ludus Novus 021: Tin Medals

In this episode of the Ludus Novus podcast, I discuss achievements and how there are a lot more aspects to them than are immediately apparent.

The music for this episode is “The Temple” by Out of Orion and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike License.

This podcast is certainly not a complete discussion of the topic, so please leave any input or feedback in the comments section.

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5 thoughts on “Ludus Novus 021: Tin Medals

  1. Well, as far as i know, you can disable notifications and therefore achievements by going through the options in the xbox main menu. I think achievements are good as long a they are difficult, after all even if it isn’t going out of you’re way, beating a level of say, super meat boy, is well worth displaying. It might be a good idea to display how many achievements of a certain type the user has earned i.e. insane, difficult, medium, and meh. And now that you mention it, achievement notification really disturbed my experience in metro 2033. I’m playing through the very most tense, scary, and possibly, difficult section of the game: the library. I meet my very first librarian, (the third or fourth time i met it of course (very tough)) and pissing it off, i kill it. Boom. Achievement: heavy reader (or something). At the same time though, it served as an excellent marker for when I finally escaped the library. Still, and I know i’m getting sidetracked, that section was just fantastic, (in case you haven’t played it) you have to make your way through a destroyed building (with lot’s of dead ends and pit-falls) armed with a noisy, and possibly near empty gas mask (radiation) and a weak, and possibly low ammo weapon. The best way to survive these encounters is to avoid fighting these monstrously badass monsters. If you face them and back away slowly they will eventually leave you alone, but at any moment you could fall down a hole, hit a wall, or come across another librarian. If any of these happen you have to fight off the games second most powerful enemy (and you usually don’t survive), using up precious ammo and time. The feeling is just so tense, it’s the kind of immersion that has only happened to me once or twice, where you forget that you are playing a badass gunslinger, and instead are a young russkie, in an ecosystem that lives off you. Heh sounds like a soviet joke.

  2. I have nothing against achievements, if used wisely, but I find that too often they’re used as a crutch, a hollow replacement for in-game rewards.

    My favourite achievement of all time was the one called “Idiot” in Risen, which I got for repeatedly falling off a cliff. That made me laugh out loud.

  3. I think the topic of achievements is very interesting. As you mentioned, you can’t really make generalities about achievements because of the wide variety of them and the different ways that they can be implemented.

    Something I have been thinking about for a while is that the biggest thing everyone should notice about achievements is that regardless of their implementation, they affect the way the game is played (especially when compared to their absence entirely). A player that is made aware that achievements are available will inevitably change the way they approach the game. Taking this into consideration, a developer could use achievements as a device to manipulate the player into certain actions. If an achievement is particularly disruptive to immersion at one point in the game, and the developer is aware of this, the developer could potentially lead the player to perform an action against his/her interests, missing the signs that they would have otherwise noticed had they not been focused on an action rewarded by achievements.

    Is this even the same thing? Is integrating achievements in this way too loosely interpreted from their original function? Does any of this even make sense?

    I’m tired!

  4. I’d rather achievements have an in-game effect, as well as a meta one, like the IndestructoTank series, which unlocks extra content based on the number of achievements, or Mud and Blood 2, which gives you ‘perks’ for medals, which are basically achievements.

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