Created By: Stratadrake on April 5, 2013 Last Edited By: Stratadrake on August 21, 2013
Troped

Achievement System

[Video Games] List of optional tasks the player may accomplish in-game

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Any centralized listing of arbitrary, non-essential Video Game objectives that the player has completed during their play of a game, with little to no reward beyond being a Self-Imposed Challenge on the road to 100% Completion.

While some of these are tasks that the player will accomplish automatically during typical game play (e.g. reach point X in the story or beat boss Y, perform action Z for the first time, defeat W number of enemies), the tasks themselves are not necessarily relevant to gameplay or story completion; some may be related to Side Quests (say, defeating the Bonus Boss), or even obscure things the player might not even think of (like falling for that Shmuck Bait). Others may impose restrictions, like achieving a No Damage Run; and some can be related to specific events within the game and could technically become Lost Forever (well, per playthrough) if the player doesn't know about it ahead of time.

Sometimes the details of an objective are directly available to the player, informing them what is required to earn it. Conversely, sometimes the details are filtered out (e.g. "defeat ??? on level ???") or hidden entirely, to avoid giving potential spoilers away to the player before they reach the relevant portion of the game.

Note that this isn't merely about the Cosmetic Awards themselves, but rather the means of tracking which ones the player has / has not acquired yet.


Platform-wide examples

  • Microsoft requires all Xbox 360 games to provide a list of "Achievements". Each achievement has a specific point value (generally related to its difficulty) and contribute to the player's overall (system-wide) "Gamerscore".
  • Games on Sony's Playstation3 include a "Trophy" list, with individual tasks graded from Bronze through Platinum depending on their relative difficulty. For some trophies, their details may be hidden until the player acquires it (or reaches a certain point in game play) to avoid leaking potential spoilers. The player's Trophy List is also accessible through their online profile.
  • Games distributed via Steam may include achievement systems; this is not required by Valve but it's common for multiplatform titles (ones that may also be released on the 360 or PS3, which do), and it shows up in some of Valve's own titles as well.


Individual game examples

(For sake of brevity, we'll limit this list to only games whose achievement system exceeds requirements imposed by the game platform.)

  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War (on the PlayStation 2) included a number of medals that could be earned by completing story missions and beating certain challenges across multiple playthroughs; the medals can be viewed from the main menu.
  • Bayonetta has its "Umbran Tears of Blood", which have their own backstory. Approximately half of them reflect standard Achievements/Trophies (the list of which is accessible in-game and out), while the other half are found by catching crows hidden in each of the game's levels.
  • Final Fantasy XII had the "Sky Pirate's Den", a screen that collects sprites commemorating such tasks as completing the main story, getting all characters to a certain experience level, or defeating Elite Marks. Each sprite's description states the task it was awarded for.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has an internal system for achievements that also acts as the mechanism for unlocking new ships and deck layouts as they are completed.
  • Indie game Galaxy Saver on the Nintendo DS / 3DS calls its list of achievements "Military Awards", many of which involve destroying X number of a given enemy type.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3, in addition to the platform's achievement/trophy system, has a list of "Titles" and "Icons" the player can assign to their in-game profile; these are unlocked primarily by beating the game with various characters.
  • Playstation All Stars Battle Royale (in addition to using the PS3's Trophy system) allows the player to select a variety of icons and backgrounds for their in-game profile and customize each character's intro/outro lines or Minion, which are unlocked primarily by accumulating enough points with specific characters (a few others are purchasable DLC).
  • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the player is given a "Medal Box" early and one medal to fill it with. As they progress through the game, an NPC named Mr. Medal may appear in a Pokemon Center to award more medals for completing various achievements, and provide hints about future medals. The medals themselves are color-coded into various categories (battling, trading, etc.) and there are a total of 255.
  • While the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the Skylanders games feature system-standard Trophies and Achievements, the Wii version includes them as a list of "Accolades". In addition, Skylanders: Giants adds "Quests" which are nine achievements specific to each individual figurine (three of them unique to each element, and one unique to that specific character); completing these unlocks metallic Top Hats (bronze, silver, gold) for that specific figure to wear. These Quests are saved with the actual figurine (even the ones not officially included in the Giants lineup).
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl includes a "Challenges" grid, each of which unlocks a cosmetic award such as trophies or music for the player's collection. The player may check details of any achievement that is horizontally adjacent to one they've already acquired, and they also have a limited number of 'hammer' items that can be used to unlock an award without having to complete the objective for it.
  • In Wii Sports Resort, every sporting event has a list of five "stamps" that the player may collect by performing certain tasks like fighting their opponent to a draw in Swordplay, or hitting hidden fruit targets in Archery.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has a variety of internal achievements that grant Non-Combat EXP when completed.
  • In World in Conflict multiplayer, you gain medals and badges for various scoring points or winning matches, among other things. Medals and badges are tiered bronze, silver, and gold; the screen that displays them also explains (via tooltips) the requirements for unlocking them.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • April 5, 2013
    StarSword
    Supertrope of That One Achievement.

    Oddball example (fits neither category): Steam includes an achievement system; however unlike the Xbox Live and PSN systems, participation is entirely voluntary on the developer's or publisher's end. Most multiplatform games in the catalog, particularly since The Seventh Generation, use it, though, as do all of Valve's own games starting with Half-Life 2.

    Individual Games:

    Also, this is Older Than The NES: One of the '80s consoles (I forget the details but it's on Cracked somewhere) had a system put in place by the publisher where you could mail in a photo of you pulling off an achievement-worthy action and they would mail you a corresponding patch.
  • April 6, 2013
    Koveras
    This is currently covered under Cosmetic Award. Plus, I have compiled and launched a list of common achievement templates under Analysis.Video Game Achievements.
  • April 6, 2013
    Stratadrake
    ... Interesting.

    If I may, though, an "achievement" is not something that is solitary in nature - it's part of a broader set. Any game can have a Cosmetic Award without necessarily having an Achievement System at the same time.
  • April 6, 2013
    Elbruno
    • Minecraft has an achievement system, but you don't get anything for completing achievements. Also, the achievements can be done in any order, meaning you can actually do a bit of a sequence break.
  • April 6, 2013
    Elbruno
  • April 7, 2013
    Koveras
    Voluntary example, since the game was only on PC:

    • In World In Conflict multiplayer, you gain medals for scoring a lot of points or being among the top-ranked players in a multiplayer match (categorized by the type of match and the role you play); and badges for accumulating large amount of points across multiple matches under your account. Medals and badges are tiered bronze, silver, and gold (except the one you get for getting at least a bronze version of every other medal). Plus, each clan can earn a smaller selection of similarly themed medals in clan matches.
  • April 7, 2013
    DunDun
    Achievement Unlocked is a satire of Achievement Systems; the whole point of the game is to get the system to 100% Completion. Though, later games in the series tone down the satire as fans loved the achievements so much.
  • May 21, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Oh yes, Super Smash Bros Brawl has its "Challenges" grid, a wide grid of assorted objectives such as completing various events (story mode, Multi Mook Melee, etc.). Completing a given objective does give tangible rewards (usually just a trophy or BGM) but reveals the details of the objectives next to it; the player is also given a limited number of 'hammers' that can instantly unlock the reward for an objective without having to actually complete it.
  • May 21, 2013
    chicagomel
    Pokemon Black 2 And White 2 has the Medal Rally...the character gets medals for different things in the game...battle stuff,walking so far,hatching eggs,winning with various types in the Elite 4 part...
  • May 26, 2013
    Koveras
  • July 7, 2013
    TheHandle
    Hey how come this hasn't been launched yet? It's an essential and nowadays ubiquitous trope!
  • July 7, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ Probably because the OP neglected (or decided against) Rolling Updates and the write-up didn't get any hats as a result.
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ

    Also, the description could end with with "Achievement Unlocked: Achievement System Described".
  • July 7, 2013
    Stratadrake
    You're right, I haven't updated this one in awhile.

    ^ I've played MP3 (the achievements are also included in the Trilogy rerelease), but I would like some more information than just "it has them" (where? how?). IIRC the achievements also include points for unlocking bonus content...
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I haven't played it in a while, but I know it has them.
  • July 7, 2013
    Koveras
    ^^ You missed the World In Conflict example...

    • In addition to regular console achievements, Ace Combat Assault Horizon multiplayer mode has callsigns, which can be earned by fulfilling certain conditions in multiplayer (such as landing the last blow to the enemy base or being the top-scoring player of a match) and chosen for yourself at the beginning of a multiplayer game. Callsigns do not have any effect except slightly altering the Mission Control's dialogue.
  • August 20, 2013
    DAN004
    Does this count as achievements?
    • In Mega Man ZX Advent, there are bronze, silver and gold medals for killing each of the 8 Pseudoroid bosses in the game, in certain means. Collecting them all will give you access to Model a (note the lowercase).
  • August 20, 2013
    Stratadrake
    ^^ I'm not sure about that one, it's not quite enough to simply have the rewards, you kinda need a place in the game to list/view them.
  • August 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Are you referring to WiC or Assault Horizon? In the former, the central place to view all the medals is the user profile. In the latter, yeah, I guess it's not that obvious, because you can only view all your available callsigns when starting a multiplayer game.
  • August 20, 2013
    Stratadrake
    I hope I'm not retconning requirements onto the YKTTW, but my thinking is a system that links the achievement itself to the details for acquiring it, that's the part I want to be clear on.

    For example, in MVC 3 player profile icons and titles aren't much of an achievement, but they do allow you to see the requirements for unlocking them. And each sprite in the FF 12's Sky Pirate Den tells you specifically what it was awarded for (though you had no way of knowing that in advance).
  • August 20, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Part of the point of ykttw is to discuss and establish parameters for a trope.
  • August 20, 2013
    Koveras
    @Stratadrake: Well, in WiC case, the same screen that shows your medals shows the requirements for getting the ones you don't have yet in tooltips. In Assault Horizon, there is no such thing, I think, as you only see how you unlocked a callsign after doing so.
  • August 20, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Thanks for the explanation about the first one.
  • August 21, 2013
    Arivne
    Web Games
    • Armor Games' Indestructo- series of games has had medals for in-game achievements ever since Indestructotank 2.
      • IndestructoTank 2: Max Combo (20, 40, 60), Total Kills (250, 1,000, 2,000) and completing the Classic, Enhanced and Adventure Modes at Easy, Medium and Hard levels.
      • IndestructoTank A.E.: Solo Star (max out all enemies in a Standard game), Chain Champ (25, 50 and 75 Combo), Free Flyer (launch your tank more than 90 feet in the air), Ducking Dirk and Pimpin' Pacifist (last for 30 or 60 seconds in Quick Play without destroying any aircraft)
      • In3structoTank!: Completing Adventure and Standard modes, getting 5,000 points in the Pindestructotank pinball game, getting 33/66/99 Combos, getting 100/250/500 kills, and beating Whizzkid or General Betton in one minute or less.
      • IndestructoCopter: Great/Expert/Ace Gunner (beat Easy/Medium/Hard mode), last for 5 minutes or get 30 combos in Challenge mode, Hot Shot (get a perfect score in level 4 in Easy/Medium/Hard mode)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ol7jwc8t6o5lv4vh7i0uzsco&trope=AchievementSystem