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  • Results from the Game Design Challenge: Achievement

    - Manveer Heir and staff
  •  The most recent Game Design Challenge asked you to come up with an Xbox 360 Achievement for any existing game, focusing on something unique and different for that game.

    Playing for achievement points is a popular meta-game, because they hit many different player types, as identified by Richard Bartle: killers, achievers, socializers, and explorers. What this means is the reasons you enjoy a game may not be the reasons someone else enjoys a game, and achievements strive to hit all of these different types of players, dangling carrots in front of them.

    Achievements can be used to teach a player, promote exploration or socialization, and reinforce gameplay concepts such as collecting.

    The achievements you came up with almost all fit into these categories. The best achievements thought about ways to promote unique or different gameplay or styles of play, rather than reward players for things they would normally do.

    A trick to this challenge was choosing the right game. Some games, especially open-world games, lend themselves to more variety and vast options in achievement design, and the best entries came from these open-world games. This doesn't mean a linear FPS can't have new or unique achievement design, but it certainly is a more restricting set of rules and can be more difficult.

    There were some genuinely funny, unique, and even devilish achievement ideas among the submitted entries. Who knows? Maybe a game developer will steal some of these ideas and implement them in real games some day.

    Best Entries
    Will Armstrong IV, Play It Straight
    (see page 2)
    To unlock Will Armstrong's achievement, a player needs to complete missions of a very popular game without giving into vices. This kind of achievement asks the player to consider all the options she or he has in a game world, to think twice about the decisions she or he makes in the game. It allows for increased replayability of the game, and it makes for a much more interesting relationship between the player and the characters on screen. Kudos!

    Alfred Beyer, software engineer, Mend Your Ways (see page3)
    Similar to Will Armstrong's idea, Alfred Beyer suggests the player think about all the options she or he has in a game, but rather than "play them all straight," he asks the player to go from one extreme to the other. We liked how both of these submissions push the player to examine the range of ethical and possibilities unethical - and all the gray areas in between -- that designers put into a game.

    Michael Havis, ITT Technical Institute, Over-Achiever (see page 4)
    Michael Havis's achievement idea takes a crack at making sports games more interesting by having the player remember and attempt to recreate some of the greatest moments in sports history. We loved the re-emphasis on the real world of sports, which is often a selling point of sports franchise-branded games to begin with.

    Honorable Mentions (see page 5 for complete details)
    Luke Beckham, ITT-Technical Institute, So Close...

    Murray Chu, writer for and aspiring producer, Orpheus

    Phil Busuttil, and Stephen Prompery, design and QA, respectively, at Firefly Studios, Criterion Inoculation


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