Effortless Achievement

So you started up that new game you've been itching to play, ready to kill some mooks and explore. You hit the start button after it loads and...an achievement (or trophy, etc) pops up? Just for starting? You go in to create your character, zooming through the customizing screens just trying to get to the in-game action and...another one? Finally, the game starts up and you walk your character to a door to trigger the first game event and...oh hell, another one! Thanks game!

Most video games in the modern era have an achievement system, a series in-game progression goals that show how much you've achieved in the game and usually cumulate into an overall gamerscore on whatever platform you play games on. These reflect points of progression through the main story and often difficult feats to pull off.

However, the programmers often also throw in what's called Effortless Achievements. These can range from getting an achievement for just starting the game or doing something in the game you would have done anyways that require nothing but being there. Sometimes these are just jokes put in by the programmers, or just a "thanks" for playing the game by giving you a little boost to your gamerscore without having to do a whole lot.

Achievements that fall under this are intentionally designed just to be gimmies to the player. Often early games with achievements made essentially ALL the achievements fairly easy to get just playing straight through the game (even on easy mode), because they were added last minute by mandate of the game platform after they had finished most of the game (this is especially prevalent in some early Xbox 360 games), and games aimed at younger children have many achievements that are fairly easy to get for older, experienced players. Players who play these kinds of games are often seen as achievement whores, merely looking to boost their gamerscore, giving developers another potential incentive to make their achievements easy.

Contrast to That One Achievement or Last Lousy Point. Also contrasts to Press Start To Game Over. A sub-trope of 100% Completion and Gotta Catch 'Em All.

Video Game Examples of this trope:

  • Creating your character/your band in Rock Band's case at the beginning of the game will pop an achievement.
    • Many games give you an achievement for character creation, even if you just button mash through the menu screens.
    • There's also an achievement for calibrating, which is pretty important to do.
  • Deadpool gives you not one, but TWO achievements for merely moving your character off the couch in the beginning (lampshaded by their names "The First One's Free" and "The Second One is Free Also"). It then precedes to provide you an in-game count towards the next achievement (playing with all of Deadpool's stuff in his apartment), AND pops an achievement for doing one of the actions (making pancakes). Essentially, you get four pretty easy achievements before you even start the game.
  • In a bit of a contrast to the rest of the game's achievements (which are notoriously hard to get for the most part), Grand Theft Auto IV gives you one gimmie for merely sitting through the opening cinematic.
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run is famous for giving you an achievement for merely starting the game, among others.
    • Whether parodying this game or the trope in general, The Simpsons Game has one too, literally named "Press Start".
  • An early Xbox 360 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game was notorious for being able to get all 1000 achievement points for merely playing through all the levels, even on easy mode, a fairly easy task for most gamers.
  • The Xbox360 game based on Avatar: The Last Airbender is best known for probably quickest 1000 achievement points in any game: there's only 5 achievements total, all of which involve performing sufficiently high combos, and you can get all of them in the first or second fight by spamming your ranged attack on the enemies without getting hit.
  • Subverted in Double Dragon Neon: while just starting the game gets you an achievement, it's only worth 1 GS, something which most people who collect gamerscore hate due to it making their score no longer divisible by 5: to even it out, you need to beat the game to get another achievement worth 19 GS. The game makes a point to make fun of this by naming the initial 1 GS achievement Skullmageddon's Curse with the description "Nyahahahaha! Now finish what you have started!".
    • Rock Band 3 similarly had two relatively effortless achievements merely for connecting the game to an online account at the game's website and to Facebook; however, you have to get BOTH to even out your gamerscore to be divisible by 5. This frustrated gamers who did one but didn't want to do the other and their OCD kicked in...
  • In the Idler/incrementer game Cookie Clicker, you get achievements for making 1 cookie; purchasing the first one of any building; popping 1 wrinkler; and clicking 1 golden cookie. Having one of each building also nets an achievement, but given the initial cost of the more powerful buildings, that one takes a while to get.
  • Dark Souls II gives you an achievement the first time you die. It's much harder to NOT get this Achievement.
  • 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand has one for dying on easy, called Not Bulletproof. It gives zero points.
    • The Xbox arcade port of the original TMNT arcade game similarly gives you a zero point achivement for falling into an open sewer hole a few times.
  • Dawn of War II gives you an achievement for customising an army using the army painter, which can be done in seconds.
  • The first few achievements of Achievement Unlocked are basically this. The player can have earned well over ten achievements in the first few seconds of gameplay!
  • The Sly Trilogy has one in its first game, which you unlock simply for loading up the game. You don't even have to do so much as press start.
  • There's a trophy in Kingdom of Loathing that requires neither time nor effort, called "Your Log Saw Something That Night." All you have to do is carve the name Laura Palmer into your quest log.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, there are achievements for: launching a satellite, building a laboratory, building a workshop, completing any research project, building any item, and shooting down a UFO. But the ultimate example is completing the tutorial, which basically does itself for you.
  • Parodied in the The Stanley Parable where one achivement reads "Click on door 430 five times". The narrator then berates the player for doing it for the achievement and then makes them jump through all kinds of hoops in order to make the player put some sort of effort into unlocking it.
    • There is also an achievement for closing and restarting the game, as well as for enabling a switch in the game options menu. (The latter is called simply "Achievement" and the switch is named "Enable achievements".)
  • World of Warcraft has many achievements that become this over time due to new content being released. Beating Icecrown Citadel on Heroic at the time it was released was impressive... now everyone can do it. Some achievements prevent this by being no longer obtainable later on though, but these generally also no longer give achievement points either.
  • The Neptunia games are generally easy on handing out trophies early on, though you will have to work for the later ones. The second game will give you three by the time you've passed the Hopeless Boss Fight at the start, while the third has one you get for starting a new file that wonders how many game reviewers will make it this far.
    • The spinoffs Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed and Hyperdevotion Noire take this to an extreme. In the former, literally half the trophy list is achievable in less than an hour if you are aware of the trophy requirements beforehand (and even if you don't, getting at least 10 trophies by accident shouldn't be difficult at all). In the latter, one can easily gain a whopping 10 trophies in 15-30 minutes, with the first two being gained for starting the game and watching the opening cutscenes, respectively.
    • Literally every game in the Neptunia series has a trophy for starting the game. It's practically series tradition at this point.
  • The Super Smash Bros. use a system where receiving one achievement will reveal what others are. To start you off and get some of those goals revealed quickly, a few achievements will always be things you're bound to do anyway. The system seems to be part of Masahiro Sakurai's Signature Style; Kid Icarus: Uprising does the same thing.
  • The Arcade Archives series of games released on the PS4 in Japan all have the same trophy list. 7 bronzes for poking around the menu and 2 golds for reaching the top score on the local leaderboard and then uploading that score online. While a few of the games are hard enough to make the two golds not so effortless, the 7 bronzes are always incredibly easy and achievable in less than a minute.
  • Many of CAVE's Xbox 360 ports will give you an achievement for starting a game.
  • BioShock even has this with some of the secret achievements, where they are unlocked by progressing with the story and therefore impossible to miss.
  • You literally get an achievement for being born in Assassin's Creed II. The point of the storyline where you see baby Ezio and get the "Birth of an Assassin" achievement is so soon after starting the game that it may as well be an achievement for starting the game.
  • Eat Lead The Return Of Matt Hazard, being fairly satirical in nature, has a few of these that are naturally lampshaded. There's a 5-point achievement for pausing the game, a 15-point achievement for starting a game for the first time, and then a 60-point achievement for watching the credits. For reference, beating the final boss is only a 50-point achievement.