Any centralized in-game listing of arbitrary, non-essential Video Game
objectives that records various milestones and feats the player may have accomplished during their overall play of a game; each achievement clearly describes what it was awarded for (and, quite often, when), and may provide clues for how to obtain other achievements still waiting.
A defining aspect of an achievement system is the general lack of tangible reward
for completing them; they exist for the purposes of bragging rights
. Another defining aspect is a standardized means (usually a popup notification) to inform the player the moment they've acquired a new one.
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 Twenty Bear Asses
for the 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 explained to the player ahead of time, due to the fact that the some objectives could spoil
certain Plot Twists
in store for the player; e.g. an objective like "defeat The Lancer
after his Face-Heel Turn
in chapter 16" is an obvious spoiler for those who haven't reached that part of the game yet. To combat this, some achievements may have their details censored (e.g. "defeat ??? during level ???") or hidden from the player entirely. It is worthwhile to note that some objectives can be Lost Forever
(relative to a single playthrough) if the player misses out on them the first time(s), such as performing a No Damage Run
against a specific boss (who is only fought once).
It is also natural that the game may include one achievement
for collecting all other achievements
, which serves as the official capstone of 100% Completion
. For a detailed list of most common achievement templates, see Analysis.Video Game Achievements
Achievements are a type of Cosmetic Award
(broadly speaking); however, an Achievement System is not so much about the tasks themselves but the system of recording them.
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 the no longer active and much-derided 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 PlayStation 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 AdVenture Capitalist, achievements are functional: they increase your businesses' profit multipliers.
Achievement Unlocked: Achievement System Described