Are Wii U Accomplishments needed?


It was within StreetPass Mii Plaza that Nintendo had first shown any indication of adopting an overarching accomplishment system.

Yet, despite Nintendo of America front man Reggie Fils-Aime’s confirmation of plans to incorporate such a system on Wii U, nothing has surfaced so far. In fact, it fell to Scribblenauts Unlimited developer 5th Cell, rather than Nintendo themselves, to later clarify that developers could only cater for in-game accomplishments, with no system-wide implementation being apparent.

Such clear indecision by Nintendo is confusing at best, not least to us as a fanatical consumer but also for the developers themselves. The benefits to social interaction, replay value, and even software sales are undeniable, so whilst essentially treading in the footsteps of competitors it’d make perfect sense for Nintendo to align itself with the broader industry.

Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam, and iOS each reward players for their time and effort, but what truly makes them so popular?

Microsoft initially got the ball rolling with their achievement system on Xbox 360, with players able to claw ‘Gamerscore’ through completing varying criteria on retail games. Tied to the player’s Gamertag, such superfluous gains are then able to be viewed by others – an existential record of your gaming prowess.

Whilst worthless for any other means, its effusively addictive nature captivated the attention of gamers – leading to sleepless nights across the globe as many sought to gain the full 1000G compliment.

It’s perhaps a distant memory now, but even the PlayStation 3’s trophy system wasn’t available at the console’s launch – Sony underestimating the demand for such a digitised treasure trove of achievements.

Introduced through a firmware update over a year after the console had launched, Sony’s brought their weight to bear as players gallivanted their way to Platinum trophy stardom. This later spread to PS Vita, granting the ability to trophy hunt on the go.

There are arguments for and against such systems. On the one hand, with limited available time to play through games it’s sometimes nice to move on straight away beyond completion, yet on the other I’ve always enjoyed comparing my own progression with friends and sharing anguish over frustratingly challenging objectives laid out by developers.

It’s also pushed me to discover new ways to play games with Dishonored being a recent example, tasking the player with both stealth and gung-ho tactics. Similarly, in seeking to increase personal achievement or trophy quantities, I’ve also ashamedly picked up games purely for boosting my scores. Sad from my perspective, but a subversive encouragement for steady software sales momentum.

Then again, whilst Miiverse has proved a wondrous experience, the only indication Wii U owners have of how far others have progressed is a small box with a tick – designating over one hour of playtime on individual games. I’d argue that we need more than this, and accomplishments could be an easy solution – I will continue to barely check my Friends List otherwise.

Nintendo will always stay the course, pursuing their own creative ideals regardless of criticism. Yet their openness in listening to their bustling Wii U community through Miiverse is becoming readily apparent.

With Miyamoto’s recent comments regarding how the Wii U will “be very much improved over how it’s performing currently” by summer, it is clear that Nintendo can work to adapt their latest console in response to community demand. Which therefore begs the question are Wii U accomplishments needed, and would you see them as a benefit?

Alex Seedhouse
After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.
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