Some time ago I realized I did not have a certain common video game fever. I didn't care about one of the most popular elements of modern video games: the Achievement.
Our last half-decade has seen Achievements swell in popularity, first on the Xbox 360, then on the PlayStation 3, the iPhone and beyond. Rivaling motion control, they have been video game's most popular 21st-century idea, growing from mere Microsoft-made bragging rights system to the life-improving badge scheme fueling the zeal for "gamifying" the world.
Achievements long ago left me cold, before I discovered a better fantasy of my own.
After experiencing a game that played sounds of applause for me when I did well, I decided that's a more gratifying way for a game to recognize me as a player than any Twitter-length alert of Achievement that drops a few points onto a virtual bragging board. But I never was into Achievements. Allow me, for a moment, to explain why I was ready for something new.
From the start, Achievements elevated the mundane to the celebratory, doling 10 or 20 points to an Xbox 360 player in 2005 merely for finishing a level of a video game. As the years went by, game developers got more creative, rewarding points in a shooting game if you survived for a minute without firing a shot or, as a joke, for pausing the game. Some Achievements were absurdly easy; others absurdly hard.