Achievement System

Any centralized in-game listing of optional objectives that records various milestones and feats the player may have accomplished while playing a Video Game; this is not so much about the individual achievements by themselves, but the game's means for tracking and recording (and, sometimes, rewarding) them.

Many achievements are things that the player will inevitably accomplish during a typical playthrough (e.g. complete the story mode, defeat Y number of enemies, etc.), but the achievements themselves do not need to be relevant to game or story progression; some may involve Side Quests (e.g. trade in those Twenty Bear Asses for that Infinity+1 Sword), or obscure things that the player might not even think about (e.g. fall for that Shmuck Bait) or realize were even possible (or sane) to attempt in the first place (e.g. defeat the Bonus Boss with only the Joke Weapon).

Note that not all achievements are fully revealed to the player ahead of time, as some of them may invariably spoil certain Plot Twists or surprises if the player knows them going in; e.g. an objective like "defeat The Lancer after his Face-Heel Turn in chapter 16" is decidedly spoiler material; a censored hint like "defeat ??? during chapter ???", much less so. Some achievements may even be kept secret entirely (hopefully only until the player has reached the relevant section of the game, so they can come back for it later).

Note that some achievements may require multiple playthroughs to acquire, since it's entirely possible for developers to create achievements that are mutually exclusive from each other; similarly, some achievements can require multiple playthroughs due to becoming Lost Forever if the player missed their opportunity to obtain it (like performing a No Damage Run in a specific level or Boss Battle with no rematch). Many games may also include one achievement for collecting all other achievements — the game's official stamp of 100% Completion. For a detailed list of most common achievement templates, see Analysis.Video Game Achievements.

A Sub-Trope of Cosmetic Award (in the same way that a forest is related to an individual tree).

Examples of platforms requiring an achievement system:

  • Microsoft's is the Trope Codifier with its Xbox 360 game console and Xbox Live service, where all 360 games include a list of "Achievements"; each achievement has a specific point value (roughly indicative of its difficulty) which contributes to the player's overall (system-wide) "Gamerscore". In the case of achievements with spoilers (or just achievements the devs don't want anyone knowing about), the developers can hide their names, descriptions, and point values until the player acquires them. It has since expanded to cover PC games (initially via Games for Windows Live service and later via Xbox on Windows for Windows 8.x/RT), mobile games (via Xbox on Windows Phone), and Xbox One (which also has media achievementsnote ).
  • Games on Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Play Station Vita 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 them (or reaches a certain point in gameplay) to avoid leaking potential spoilers. The player's Trophy List is also accessible through their online profile.

Note that although it's not an official requirement, many games distributed via Valve's Steam often include achievement systems anyway, as the same games may also be ported to the 360 or PS3.


Individual game examples:

Note that for the sake of brevity, we'll limit this list to only games whose achievement system is voluntarily implemented, i.e. 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Ocean Till The End Of Time is one of the earlier games to use this system in the form of Battle Trophies. From easier ones such as "Fight X number of battles" to harder ones like "Defeat X bosses within X minutes in hardest difficulty with single character". Star Ocean The Last Hope also has its own Battle Trophies but for each character instead of for everyone. Both games will reward the player once certain amount of trophies percentages have been reached.
  • 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.
  • Minecraft has its own system of achievements that are unlocked in a chain and kept per single player world or per player in a server and follows a prerequisite pattern (meaning an achievement for killing an enemy will require a prerequisite achievement of crafting a wooden sword).
  • 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.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has the Expert Challenges, which give you points for things like dodging a certain number of enemies, winning fights against each monster without getting hit and using special attacks successfully. This eventually unlocks some useful items.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3, in addition to the platform-standard achievement/trophy system, has a list of "Titles" and "Icons" the player can assign to their in-game profile; the player can see the requirements for unlocking individual titles (generally by beating the game's story mode with various characters).
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 has a large number of license plate designs that each require accomplishing certain tasks in multiplayer on top of the normal achievements/trophies for Origin/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3. Most Wanted U on the achievement system-agnostic Wii U has four exclusive license plate designs based on finding Easter Eggs.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (in addition to the PS3 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 initially fill it with. As they progress through the game, an NPC named Mr. Medal may appear in a Pokémon 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.), the decoration of which roughly reflects its difficulty, and there are a total of 255 throughout the game.
    • The medal system returns in Pokémon X and Y, but is only seen on the Global Link site.
  • 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. Quests are saved with the actual figurine, even the ones not officially part of the Giants lineup.
  • The Super Smash Bros. games starting with Brawl include "Challenges" grids, 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.
  • Wario Land Shake It has multiple challenges for each level and boss battle that can be optionally completed. Once all are completed for a level/boss battle, the music for said level/boss is added to the Sound Test.
  • In Wii Sports Resort, every sporting event has a list of five "stamps" awarded for such things like getting a perfect score, performing certain tasks like fighting their opponent to a draw in Swordplay, popping balloons while air touring the island, or hitting hidden fruit targets in Archery.
  • Xenoblade has a large variety of internal achievements that grant Non-Combat EXP when completed. They're split in 2 categories, Trials and Records, with the former largely relating to the various sidequests and latter being mostly combat based. Only the latter carry over to New Game+, possibly because the former are more tied to the overall story progress and the latter generally have further stretching goals.
  • 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. You can also view players' medals in their public online profiles on the Massgate service website.
  • Vagrant Story was one of the earliest examples of this. You actually had to go through several menus to find it in the "gazette" and many of the titles you got were extremely difficult to achieve. One was for getting through the game without saving, for example.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: The game has Sakurai's signature "achievement wall" called Treasure Hunt.
  • Bayonetta: Achievement/Trophy data is accessible from the in-game menu, where they are referred to as "Umbran Tears of Blood". Other Umbran Tears of Blood are items found in the possession of crows hidden throughout various levels.
  • In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Badges are handed out by Phineas the sea lion, who will visit your town whenever you qualify for a badge. They're awarded for things like completing a certain percentage of your bug/fish/diving encyclopedia, saving a lot of bells in your bank account, doing a lot of villager side-quests, or just playing the game for long enough, and each category has Badges available in bronze, silver, and gold versions.
  • 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)
  • Achievement Unlocked, of course.
  • While all the games in the Assassin's Creed series have featured Xbox Achievements, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is the first to have an internal set of achievements, called Abstergo Challenges.
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal has a total of 1225 Steam achievements. As of 2013-12-15 this is more achievements than Steam can handle properly, which results in Steam often forgetting what achievements the player has.
  • Borderlands has Challenges that can be completed for XP. Borderlands 2 has "Badass Ranks" that when completed can be traded in for a small but permanent upgrade bonus to stats that apply to all characters in your profile.
  • In Ad Venture Capitalist, achievements are functional: they increase your businesses' profit multipliers.
  • World of Warcraft gained its achievement system during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. In addition to the cosmetic "points" for achievement, players can also unlock in-game items or titles for performing certain achievements. Older achievements that have since been Lost Forever are relegated to the "Legacy" or "Feat of Strength" sections.
  • DROD 5: The Second Sky is the first title in the series with an achievement system. They are referred to in-game as "challenges", and a number are indeed awarded for completing individual puzzles under Self-Imposed Challenge conditions. Others are awarded for progression in the storyline or completing optional levels, so that maxing one's achievement list is the true sign of having completed everything in the game.
  • A rare Pinball example: Gottlieb's Shaq Attaq has five "Hidden Features", each of which is awarded after performing a certain feat in the game. An end-of-game bonus is given for the number of Hidden Features found; getting all five awards an extra one billion points.
  • PlanetSide 2 has Directives, achievements that are earned from completing various objectives, i.e kills with weapons, spotting enemies, and so on. Completing Directives grants account-wide but meaningless "Directive Score" and unlocks unique items, such as specially modified variants of standard-issue weapons, unique Tron Lines for vehicles, or camouflage. Additionally, the popular Recursion Stat-tracker Game Mod tracks kill and support achievements when the user is logged into Recursion, which run the gamut from simple double-kills to making players fall to their death to killstreaks of five hundred. Recursion achievements can be earned repeatedly, so you might get a dozen killstreak-related achievements in one session.
  • Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils feature them in its Game Record, split between Bunny and Chelsea, and features a slew of challenges for the player to perform. Some include clearing the game under an hour, completing the game with 100% completion, defeating bosses with a certain weapon, or not taking damage in certain boss battles. Unfortunately, the achievement requirements are hidden, so players are clueless on what the requirements are unless they stumble on across them by accident or looking it up online.
  • Fairy Bloom Freesia and Astebreed features an achievement system in their respective games that can be unlocked by performing feats. For Fairy Bloom Freesia, these include defeating a large number of enemies, dealing high amounts of damage in a single hit, to getting a very high combo count; in Astebreed, its achievements range from completing the tutorial stage, clearing the game without dying, to no damage running the game, and they are split between difficulties.
  • Freedom Planet features over fifty to unlock. They range from defeating a bosses with a certain attack, to speedrunning game that, to playing through the Adventure Mode without losing a life.
  • Interestingly, the Kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night features this. By spreading the word through doing things like following their YouTube channel, Liking their Facebook page, and gaining Twitter followers, the page will be updated with Backer Achievements. Unlocking these achievements will contribute toward additional non-stretch goals such as automatically unlocking certain stretch goals, adding in humorous cheat codes, an alternate Retraux soundtrack, or the chance to see Koji Igarashi cosplay.
  • Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae has over thirty in-game achievements to unlock, and they can be unlocked by performing feats such as clearing the game on a certain difficulty, defeating bosses, and using a technique a certain number of times.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has the game-wide Steam/360 achievements (required) and character-specific Challenges (not required), hence exceeding requirements imposed by the game platform.

Achievement Unlocked: Achievement System Described.

Alternative Title(s):

Achievements System