Why the 3DS Will Not Use an Achievement System
Posted by Zach Kaplan
Nintendo appeals to gamers' sense of discovery
Across the current generation of game systems, all but Nintendo's have one thing in common – some sort of Achievement scheme. This is a feature that tracks certain actions performed and points reached across titles, tallying it all into one cumulative score. Nintendo's Bill Trinen has said that even though they're "not opposed to Achievements," with their next console, the 3DS, they will continue not to employ a similar system, explaining that they feel that this would inhibit players' sense of exploration.
When they create their games, [Nintendo's designers] don't tell you how to play their game in order to achieve some kind of mythical reward... Basically, the way the games are designed is they're designed for you to explore the game yourself and have this sense of discovery. To that end, I think that when you look specifically at games from EAD [the group long led by Shigeru Miyamoto] and a lot of other games that Nintendo has developed as well, there are things you can do in the game that will result in some sort of reward or unexpected surprise. In my mind, that really encourages the sense of exploration rather than the sense of 'If I do that, I'm going to get some sort of artificial point or score that's going to make me feel better that I got this.' And that, to me, is I think more compelling.
While it's arguable that this could be avoided by designers simply not revealing how to gain Achievements, as is the case with many games, it looks as though Nintendo won't employ such a system for some time, if ever – though many current titles on Nintendo platforms employ a comparable, self-contained system.
Will you miss Achievements on the 3DS, or are you happy that Nintendo's bucking the trend?