The Rewards? I can’t say I’ve ever heard of that game…
Well, you’re right, it doesn’t exist as I’m not referring to a game you obtain achievements from but instead the actual rewards you get from putting in your time and effort.
There are three standards of rewards you can obtain from games that I would like to make clear.
1 – The Game Changers:
The first tier is non debatably the best as it includes rewards that actually give you proper items that make a difference and give back what you put in. They can be weapons, player skins, unlockable modes or even colour filters for the levels. Anything that makes playing your next game different and not just a copy of the previous run. Big or small, a difference is there.
2 – The Personal Gain
These are awards in essentially name only. Your Steam achievement list, your PlayStation trophies, your XBox score. All of these have a display of your adventures but nothing to show for it past a small icon and several details. They’re nice to look at and remember the fond or painful memories of obtaining but they have nothing more to offer than that and bragging rights. Personally I don’t mind these but they are best when tied to a proper in-game reward.
The real villain of this piece is the third entry which I feel I can safely say is the least popular and at times most annoying member of the rewards group.
3 – The Lazy Giveaway
These rewards are the ones that come in the form of offering something interesting and exciting but ultimately last very little time and are mostly disappointing and give very little. They include things like concept art, in-game cinematics, soundtrack selections and directors commentary.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that a lot of people who are very invested in the gaming industry or even just their favourite video games, and they would want to get as much information and education on it as they could. I myself have enjoyed listening to the directors commentary for Deus Ex: Human Revolution as I played or the podcast on the iPod in Metal Gear Solid 4 as I explore and understand why things are the way they are.
But for the most part whenever I see an achievement such as “Defeat this boss on hard mode” or maybe “Complete the game without losing any lives” there’s a certain expectation that it feels it should adhere to.
New outfits, new weapons, that sort of thing, a reward that fits the adventure.
To be met at the end of it with a congratulations and a still image isn’t exactly something that would fill me with much determination to go ahead and go for other achievements.
Resident Evil games allow you to unlock little figurines that you can spin around and hear a voice clip and those are just over the line of number three.
However, there was a time when going for these was a lot more exciting which is hard to believe but it’s true. Back when you had consoles like the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, you didn’t have online achievement lists or things like that to show off so everything you did was kept to yourself and whoever you told. I did enjoy going after offline in-game achievements because it extended the playtime, I tried new things and the reward of background concept art and still images of development was somewhat interesting.
Fast forward to say 2008 at the least and 2021 at the latest, these useless rewards are worth even less now. Not only because we’re used to getting better items and online rewards but because all the information is usually laid out ahead of you way before the games release. Games hyping up their release will usually have some developer interviews, behind the scenes teases or a trailer which shows the game being built up. To unlock that in game after putting in that little extra effort is pretty much the point of laziness where they couldn’t be bothered to put in something decent to go for.
If game creators or whoever decide to put in things already available online, that sucks. I’m not saying we as player deserve anything, after all it’s us who put in the effort in the first place, but if we’re to get anything for playing the game more then I think we deserve something worthwhile.
I’d say that these rewards are secondary to and even worse offender of the type. Those are the pre-order “bonuses” that are jpegs that they’re excited to tell you that you can use as a wardrobe like there aren’t already hundreds of better images of the same game you can use if you really want a wallpaper.
I’m looking at you Shin Megami Tensei III HD Remastered…
You may be saying that it’s a very trivial thing to be irritated about and you would be exactly right. These posts aren’t some hard hitting news pieces looking to expose the corporations like EA or Activision/Blizzard. They’re just to point out the minor gripes when it comes to the fun hobby of achievement hunting.
Do you enjoy behind the scenes images and art or do you feel like your time should be better rewarded?