Wii Achievements: Purity Vs. Popularity

I think everyone can agree that the Wii is a success. The literal millions of units sold each year attest to that. The interesting thing is that the Wii is still seen as a casual gaming rig. Hardcore gamers scoff at the mention of games going to the Wii. Why is that? Could it be the lack of mature titles, or possibly the sheer lack of almost any good titles period. Would achievements of some sort change the way the Wii is perceived.

Think about playing games from the original Xbox. How often do you go bargain hunting for old Xbox one games? Now think of how you might be more prone to doing so if they had achievements attached to them. As playful and whimsical as some Wii games are, (mostly the good ones) think of how much fun the achievements would be. This would also probably help to weed out some of the shovel ware problems as well. Developers couldn’t simply port over any old game they would have to improve it by adding achievements.

There is also the ease of creating a “Wii-Achieve” channel (which I will copyright asap) on the Wii’s dashboard. You could simply go here to track all of your friends achievements and compare them to your own. Now I am not saying that games on the Virtual Console should have achievements -this could possibly rip a whole in the space time continuum- just on the new releases and possibly on the Wii-Ware titles.

This does bring up the biggest issue with achievements however, that being the purity of the game. Sure people aren’t really playing the Wii for record amounts of time, but what time they spend with it (depending on the game) is just for the pure fun of it all. Adding in achievements would tarnish the purity of it all don’t you think? People would no longer play Mario Galaxies for the exploration of fun and fascinating new worlds, but possibly for the META game involved in collecting the eleventy billion stars.

There is no “boosting” in a Nintendo game. Playing New Super Mario Brothers Wii with friends is just fun. No need to have people clamoring for that achievement for making it through an entire stage in the bubble. Think of the achievements for Smash Brothers. Win 200 matches, collect all characters, all stickers… but think of the grinding it would take to do so.

However, should you add all that into a Nintendo branded product, you may actually attract more people to your system that wouldn’t normally give it a second look.  There is no denying that some games are popular simply because of the achievements linked to them. Thinking about a few for Xbox there is King Kong, TMNT, and the infamous Avatar: The Last Airbender-The Burning Earth. People have rented and/or bought these games simply to boost their gamer score. Gamers would most certainly buy a system, or at least play one more often, if there were rewards for doing so. We are a people that nine times out of ten do things, not for the satisfaction of doing them, but for the “what’s in it for me” factor.

It really boils down to a question of purity over popularity. Would you rather people play your games for the sake of playing and having fun. Or would you rather make money knowing that you are just selling candy to diabetic kids.

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