Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

A New Obsession: Retro Gaming Achievements

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Please Note: All screenshots in this post are taken from retroachievements.org and were not created nor are they the property of Gaming History 101.  I only used them to demonstrate the wonderful project and site that has been created.  Please visit Retro Achievements to take advantage of the software and see for yourself the world described in this blog post. – Fred

retroachievements.org logo

retroachievements.org logo

I think the argument over the value of achievements/trophies/accomplishments/arbitrary rewards is all but required to occur at least once a week in video game enthusiast circles.  It’s one of the least interesting and most divided discussions happening.  At its core, however, it all boils down to one factor: do you or don’t you like achievements.  Just because you like them doesn’t mean you’re a so-called “achievement whore” and I’m not saying that those who ignore them completely are getting any less out of their games than others, but it’s always a hotbed topic.  I like achievements.  I would say I like achievements more than most, especially when it comes to retro games.  That’s like the one thing that few developers take the time to integrate into many ports – not remastered editions, but ports – most likely because the games weren’t built for those kind of triggers so retrofitting them must be a pain.  It’s for this reason that when I stumbled upon the site retroachievements.org and found a series of emulators that have achievements built into them that I instantly fell in love.  Retro gaming achievements just got “real”.

achievement_list

It works like this: you sign up and get a screen name, download an emulator, provide your own ROM, and begin unlocking achievements.  In short, it’s just like any other console that supports achievements and it can breathe new life into your old games.  I will admit there’s a bit of hesitation I had to overcome given that it’s emulation and frankly I will never believe that a PC controller can replace the original, but it’s the only way I’m going to be able to get achievements in old games outside of random re-releases, ports, and remastered editions that have business decisions associated with them.  You can browse the site’s game lists to see what games have achievements and you’ll immediately notice that not all games have an equal number, some of your favorites may be missing, and that you have the ability to create achievements on your own.  I don’t know how that last part works yet, but I do know that certain games like Road Rash and TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist stand no chance to be repackaged and resold so kudos to this option existing.  Furthermore, for games that have been re-released and do have achievements, this option has a better list.  For example, Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection only has a handful of achievements for the original Mortal Kombat and save for asking you to complete the game, there’s really nothing to do.  On the other hand, the retro achievements emulator asks that you beat the game with each fighter, see each level, try to score 10,000,000 points or more, and beat the game on the hardest difficulty.  Sure, they may be rudimentary achievements, but it’s sure better than “beat the game once”.   Also keep in mind that there may not be an easy way to detect when you fight Reptile, for example, and thus make that it an achievement (although I’m looking into that because it totally should be).  There are other games that have slightly more dynamic achievements, but any retro gamer will tell you that beating a game back then wasn’t the commonality it is today; it truly is an achievement.

achievement_creation

If you enjoy achievements like I do, this is a new reason to go back and play many games.  I need to get more involved in this group and actually play on a computer where I can get online (I used my MAME machine last night) and start unlocking ‘cheevos.  Since almost none of us have ways of proving we’ve accomplished certain things in older games, I think there’s a lot to be said about the value of this great, and free, project.  Well, the rest is up to you.  My username is “spydersvenom”, hopefully I’ll see a friend request from you soon.

Written by Fred Rojas

February 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Posted in Blog

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One Response

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  1. Achievements are nice. They give solid proof about your skill as a gamer, and a game lacking achievement goals is a game that does not have any luster whatsoever, especially if you are talking about arcade or fighting games like Mortal Combat, Street Fighter, etc. Even Plants vs. Zombies have their own Achievement Hall to test your mettle against varying game challenges.


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