A secret hobby of mine, when I’m not in the middle of playing yet another round of Tekken, is to unlock Steam achievements. I don’t know why; there’s not really many reasons for doing it, bar for bragging rights, but I just enjoy it. Perhaps it’s the application of gamification within, well, what you can do in a video game. It takes your game from hard to ludicrous, or from easy to challenging, depending on the severity of the achievement. My obsession started in the realm of MMOs and yes, I believe that achievements, including Steam achievements, becomes a game in itself.
So I’ll just talk about a game that I went back to, specifically because I wanted to 100% it. I recently got all of the achievements for The Stanley Parable Princple, after having left the game for so damn long for an achievement. But I digress – I’m talking about finding those achievements that you know is easy enough to do, so you immediately re-install a game just to have another stab at getting the achievement for it. This is what happened when I reinstalled Home Improvisation recently, when I sat down and built so much furniture just to I could unlock the achievements. The resulting images were, let’s just say, unique from a DIY point of view.
Home Improvisation, for those of you who can’t remember or haven’t seen it before, is basically a game of IKEA. In other words, it’s a game where you get flat-packed furniture and you simply do what you can to build said furniture. In the game, you complete rooms, which effectively act as progression, which, in turn, unlocks more rooms for you, more items to build and of course more game modes to complete as well.
Part of the joy of going through the achievements was actually seeing all of the content I missed last time, including what other tools you get in the red toolbox. A peg gun, a hole gun, a mallet and even a glue gun – Everything in this game was crafted to just be entertaining, simple in concept and difficult in practice. Considering I knew what I was getting myself into, I was ready to seriously cash in on these achievements. Probably no more than 2 hours later and I had completed all of the Steam Achievements.
So, when I was playing through, I was thinking so heavily about getting every achievement, that I wanted to blast through the game. In doing so, I found many a shortcut which meant that I wound up making some crazy weird contraptions in the process. The point I’m making here, is that achievements sometimes make you think outside of the box that the game puts you in – Afterall, a game is only a set of rules and an objective. Even then, the objective can be intentionally vague, such as in games like Minecraft. The most important part of games are the rules… And this is what you get when you bend the rules to your way.
So okay, there isn’t really too much more to say here; my addiction for achievements started back in World of Warcraft, when I got within tasting distance of The Insane title which you could unlock by doing some, shall we say questionable objectives within the game. Get Exalted with the Bloodsail Buccaneers? This meant you had to kill the Goblins of Booty Bay, etc. The Goblins were useful, the pirates were not… But they were still a faction you could get to Exalted, the highest reputation rank in the game. You had to think completely outside of the games normal boxes, especially if you weren’t a rogue, to get that achievement. One of the parts of it was to get Exalted with Ravenholdt which as any class other than Rogue, was beyond tedious – And people found ways.
My achievement hunting will never end; it’s entertaining, sometimes making me go back to games I might not have considered booting up again. Perhaps it’s time I go to replay I Am Bread, as I didn’t get to play it for all that long on my old machine. My new machine would do great… And at least those achievements are obtainable… Unlike that one achievement on Dungeons of Dredmor. I love achievements that should be impossible to get, if the developer will provide a way to get it. I will never get this one, but hey, doesn’t mean I can’t aim for all of the other achievements, right? But what do you think of achievements, both in general and indeed Steam ones? Let us know your thoughts below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.