What's your take on these? I'm interested.
I must admit I loved them when I first discovered them, but I now loathe them. Even the good ones.
The problem is -- as this excellent article
points out -- they change player behaviour.
But that's not a good thing, since the games we play are a bunch of rules, gameplay mechanics and systems designed to motivate us to, well, play the game within certain bounds.
Once you start introducing rules from outside the game, or achievements, it distorts those original bounds set for the game itself. For example, one trophy on Persona 4 Golden asks me to read every book in the game, but doing so is actually an irrational activity within the game's bounds -- you'll never have to read all the books, or never even *need to*, and time is scarce in that game (Each activity takes up half a day, so you'll want to allocate the best activities to your time).
So if I wanted to chase down that trophy (and many people will, and have), I'd be essentially doing something that would have been against my interests had the trophy not existed (and that would have been the case on PS2).
There are far worse examples of how trophies distort player behaviour, of course, like when I join a game of Team Fortress 2 only to find it's a bunch of people trying to unlock a trophy by pretending to kill each other in certain ways.
I can see trophies being less harmful if they weren't introduced from outside the game's bounds, and there are good examples of these, but then why not just put them in the game? It didn't harm GoldenEye to have a bunch of level-specific time trial challenges that would give you tangible rewards (paintball mode! Big heads!) rather than some sort of out-of-game badge to show off to the 2 people who will check through your achievements/trophies.
So why not avoid trophies entirely, you say?
The problem is -- again as the article I linked to points out -- trophies exploit the human instinct to gather. It's satisfying to 'collect' them, and Sony/Microsoft make sure each trophy/achievement is accompanied with some chime (Which does sound great), and thus it also likely makes collecting them something we actually want to do, even though we're actually harming the game experience to collect them. But even then, looking back at the trophies/achievements I ever bothered to collect, and weighed the benefits of doing so with the time and effort taken to pull them off (especially in the case of the bad ones), it wasn't worth it. Not at all. I still have memories of changing weapons for no good reason in Uncharted 2, just to rack up a certain number of kills with them and earn a trophy.
Of course, there are good achievements/trophies to be had, specifically the ones which feel like they weren't introduced from outside the game's rules, mechanics and systems, which don't alter player behaviour. The article I refer to calls those variants, and I'm all for those (but again, would rather they existed within the game as a challenge mode, or something).
There's more arguments both out of and in favour of them in the article here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/185436/an_alternative_to_achievements.php?print=1,
please do give it a read if you're interested.
I can see why Nintendo refuses to add a system-wide achievements system for these very reasons (one size does *not* fit all), and I find it very liberating to not have achievements in my games.
Still, I'd love to know your views on the subject.