Sunday, 26 May 2024

Admitting My Achievement Journey

I’ve always taken pride in my achievement score, even though it meant spending countless hours completing tedious tasks and playing not-so-great games just to boost it. From swinging around poles as Spider-Man in pursuit of the “Mega Web Swinger” achievement to playing through kids’ movie-based games like Monsters vs. Aliens or Ice Age, I’ve done it all. Even after joining Game Informer, I found myself diving into old sports titles and easily attainable achievements in games like TMNT or Night at the Museum II, investing way more time than necessary.

Despite the occasional embarrassment that came with these games, I always earned my achievements legitimately. I never resorted to any tricks or cheats to complete the necessary tasks. However, last week, I made a decision that tainted my otherwise perfect record, and now my score may carry an asterisk. Admittedly, it’s only a small fraction compared to my overall score, but those 1,500 points out of nearly 90,000 are now essentially falsified.

Recently, I discovered that I could download games on Steam and still earn achievement points from them, as long as they were labeled “Games for Windows Live.” As an achievement enthusiast, I couldn’t resist playing the PC versions of games like Bioshock 2 and Street Fighter IV. Despite not having a gaming computer, I managed to unlock a few achievements in these games.

Then, I stumbled upon Fallout 3 on the GFWL list. I absolutely adore that game and have spent over 80 hours playing through the Xbox 360 version and its expansion packs. Curiosity piqued, I decided to do a quick Google search to see if I could earn Live achievements in Fallout 3. To my surprise, I came across an intriguing forum thread. It claimed that by entering command lines in the game, one could unlock every achievement. Initially skeptical, I thought, “Surely this can’t still work.” But I gave it a try, and lo and behold, it did.

Now, I find myself with a blemish on my achievement score. I wish I could undo those 1,500 points to maintain 100% accuracy (as readers of a previous post of mine may recall, I have a thing for statistical precision), but it seems they are here to stay. I must clarify that I have never cheated in a multiplayer game or cheated for achievements before this Fallout 3 incident. Nevertheless, I cannot deny the fact that I didn’t truly earn those points.

Reflecting on my actions, I have decided to put an end to playing games solely for the sake of achievements. No more NCAA games from 2007 or subpar movie-based games for me. I am also relinquishing my quest to surpass Jeff Cork’s gamerscore by E3. Instead, I will follow the example set by Joe Juba and focus my extra time on games that I genuinely enjoy and wish to continue playing after completing them.

As a consequence of my misstep, my score won’t be increasing anytime soon. The “commission” here at Game Informer (which seems to consist solely of Reiner and Jeff Cork) has banned me from checking out games from the vault for 50 days. However, perhaps this mistake will lead to a positive outcome by detaching me from my achievement obsession. I will spend less time on mediocre games and more time on AAA titles and my personal favorites. So, if you ever catch me playing something like Jumper or Avatar on Xbox Live, don’t hesitate to call me out on my BS.


Q: Are achievement points still important to you?
A: While I used to place significant importance on my achievement score, this recent incident has made me reconsider their value. I am now prioritizing genuine enjoyment and meaningful gameplay experiences over accumulating points.

Q: Will you continue pursuing achievements in the games you genuinely enjoy?
A: Absolutely! I still find satisfaction in unlocking achievements in games that captivate and engage me. The key difference now is that I won’t waste time on games solely for the sake of achievements.

Q: How has this experience affected your perspective on gaming?
A: This experience has reminded me of the importance of playing games for the pure joy of it, rather than fixating on external rewards. I am now focusing on embracing high-quality titles and discovering new favorites.


Acknowledging my mistake in falsifying achievement points serves as a turning point in my gaming journey. I have learned the value of authenticity and the need to prioritize genuine enjoyment over arbitrary accomplishments. From now on, I will approach gaming with renewed enthusiasm and a commitment to meaningful experiences. So, farewell to mindless point-chasing, and hello to a more fulfilling gaming future.