Saturday, May 23, 2020

Will Nintendo Ever Have a Trophy/Achievement System?

Fake but this would
be so cool
It has been since 2005 since Microsoft introduced its achievement system in their Xbox 360 console and Sony soon followed suit with their trophies in 2008 on the PlayStation 3. It is rare to see any video game company not have an achievement/trophy system at least embedded within their games. Ubisoft has a pseudo-achievement/trophy system with its UbiPlay system. Even Apple's GameCenter has an achievement system. But the one major video game company that has not set any sort of system is Nintendo.

This hasn't stopped Nintendo from integrating achievements with other companies or allowing them to use their native achievement system. In 2018, Minecraft integrated Microsoft's achievements in gameplay and allowed you to unlock them in the Nintendo Switch edition. Basically, you can unlock Microsoft achievements while playing Minecraft on your Switch. Any future Xbox Game Studio game released on the Switch will follow suit. For example, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition has been released on the Switch and also features unlocking achievements. I would also love to see a Rare Replay featuring games from Rare's partnership with Nintendo in the 90's.

With the release of Nintendo's paid online service, Nintendo Switch Online, many people have proposed the idea of Nintendo introducing their own achievement system. They think it is time for Nintendo to get with the times and follow suit with Microsoft and Sony. They argue, this could be a way for Nintendo to rival both companies and reclaim its throne of the video game company kings. A friend of mine on Twitter even joked about it on April 1st. You can see the obvious joke there.

But in all honestly, it is actually quite a good idea. So the question now and for the last couple of years, is it time for Nintendo to introduce an achievement/trophy system? Why do you think Nintendo has not yet implemented a system yet? Let's get a different perspective in answering this question by figuring the pros and cons of an achievement/trophy system. This could shed some light on Nintendo's decision to not implement one.

Pros for an Achievement/Trophy System

The idea behind the achievement/trophy system was bragging rights. You have a tangible reward for beating the game on the hardest difficulty setting or defeating that insane optional boss. No one can question your gaming prowess. They could see that, yes, you did beat Ghouls n' Ghost twice. It also forces you to play games in ways in which you never thought you could or imagined. Many achievements/trophies are linked to outrageous ways to play and many different speedruns or multiplayer strategies have been created because of this. Levels in the Mario Maker franchise feature unique ways to accomplish levels that could hve been integrated into their original games long ago. Nothing boosts your confidence more than hearing that sweet achievement or trophy sound effect once you unlock it. That sudden rush of dopamine once you do finally hear it after beating that final boss is sure to make any bad day a whole lot better. I know I felt it when I finally defeated Sigrun in God of War (2018). Finally, that first time you broke 1,000,000 points in a game is a celebration worthy situation, but I also feel that same way when I go through my list of unlocked achievements/trophies. These happy memories always stay with me. 

Cons for an Achievement/Trophy System

One of the biggest complaints I have with an achievement/trophy system that directly irks the wannabe OCDness in me is how much they are honestly a waste of time. Yes, there are some you can unlock by simply progressing through the game but there are others that will take so much time, it is almost impossible. Take for example the "Destroy 1,000,000 Brick" achievement in Super Bomberman R. You got that right, you must destroy 1,000,000 bricks to get this achievements and while it is self-explanatory, the time needed to achieve this is crazy. The best answer I have seen is over 11,000 matches at about 238 hours overall. I don't know about you, but I have no time to do this. This would take me years to complete. There is also an associated hollow victory. The purpose of the system was to increase your bragging right about a game, but as my last statement, many of the feats are about the free time you have versus your actual skill. Using our last example, I could very well destroy 1,000,000 bricks or kill 10,000 enemies in a multiplayer game, but this is mostly a test of time than actual skill. While achievements/trophies are supposed to extend the mileage of a game, I feel most of the time they are just padding the actual experience of the game. The story is complete and it was a great game, but now I have only unlocked 30% of the associated achievements/trophies and now I have to waste more time in completing them. Yes, I know they are optional but I just can't let it stand there without seeing the platinum or 100% complete. What kind of gamer would I be? Finally, pacing of the story takes a huge hit with an achievement/trophy system. Like I said, it is all optional but I think if you are a completionist like me, the pacing of the story takes a hit and as a result distracts from your overall experience. 

Could we see something like this in the future from Nintendo?

This is my assessment of the situation. I assess Nitendo will not and never will have an achievement/trophy system. Nintendo is a trendsetter. They are the most innovative of the big three video game companies. They have brought us handheld and console integration; paved the way for 3D graphics; and propelled the motion-controlled era. Since the GameCube, they have been strictly family-based, releasing very little adult-orientated video games until just recently with the Switch. It is these reasons why I assess Nintendo has not introduced an achievement/trophy system and probably never will. Nintendo would not uphold the trendsetting philosophy they have if they not introduced the system. Nintendo has always promoted competition in their video games. This is evident in their World Championships, but achievements/trophies offer a limited time of play. Once you have 100%, what use is it to continue playing unless you really like the game? Nintendo likely sees this as an ender to the friendly high score gaming they championed in the past. The idea here is to let's play now and settle who the best player is instead of looking back at my past. I also think Nintendo also understands the many cons I mentioned previously and have moved away from such a system to avoid negative reactions from the gaming community. If there is one thing I praise Nintendo for, it is I feel they honestly do not pad their games with nonsense achievements/trophies and still provide a sense of accomplishment. When I play Nintendo games, and I mean first party Nintendo games, I never feel like I play just for the sake of playing to unlock everything and actually feel like I get somewhere in the story. On Xbox or PlayStation games, I can't tell you how many times I was stuck in one area, by choice mind you, just to make sure I wouldn't miss something in the game to unlock the achievement/trophy. I never feel like this way with Nintendo and because of that, the story never takes a hit. I mean, in the Breath of the Wild, you can beat the game in 30 minutes if you want.

This is only my opinion though. What do you think? Did I hit the nail on the head or got it completely wrong? Why do you like or not like achievements/trophies in video games? Do you think Nintendo will ever implement one? How would you do it if you had a say? Let me know what you think in the comments! As always, subscribe for more content and follow to get almost daily posts. Thank you!


  1. We need achievement on nintendo switch we are in 2020 and still no achievement on nintendo switch

  2. I have barely played Nintendo this year and went all-in with Xbox because its achievements. I like to try more challenges that are not stated in-game, and if that is not a good reason, I also like to check my profile and see which games I have played last year, month, etc., with many other statistics that Nintendo doesn't provide and others does.
    People say Nintendo doesn't need an achievement system is a shameful excuse, just because you don't want it doesn't mean others can't enjoy or want it. Another poor argument is that it break immersion, which is laughlable, did you know you can turn off notifications? Nintendo Switch currently provide the option to turn off notifications when your friends get online and I don't see anyone complainning because "my friend notifications brakes the immersion", this people is so full of excuses and is so selfish