I still can’t decide how I feel about the fact that Nintendo has no plans for an overarching achievement system on Wii U.
I don’t consider myself to be an achievement hunter. You won’t find me playing UNO or experiencing the latest Hannah Montana epic to boost my gamerscore or trophy count with low-hanging fruit – not that I have a problem with people who do this! But if I come across a title that I really enjoy, achievements are icing on the cake.
I was enthralled by Batman: Arkham Asylum, and the platinum trophy I earned is proof. When I finished that final challenge, I was able to step away from the game and reflect on the experience with pride.
Which is a nice way of saying that I dropped the controller, thrust my hands into the air and proclaimed, “I’m f*cking BATMAN”.
I was also completely in love with Super Mario Galaxy, but when I filled my pockets with every star in the game, I felt as though I had nothing to show for it. It didn’t diminish the fun I’d had throughout, yet the victory felt comparably hollow.
For better or worse, achievements and trophies have had an impact on the social aspects of gaming. Sure, they’re great for bragging rights (fig. 1-1), but it goes beyond that. Even in single-player games, their inclusion can make you feel as though you’re still connected because they show your friends what you’ve been playing and how far along you are.
In the past, Nintendo has caught a lot of flak for their unwillingness to incorporate the online flexibility that many consider to be a linchpin in modern gaming, but they’re beginning to come around. The 3DS is definitely much more progressive in that regard, and Reggie Fils-Aime has mentioned that Wii U’s mysterious Miiverse will bring new features to the table that PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 haven’t yet touched on.
I’m sure it’ll be charming, delightful and very uniquely Nintendo as always, but I can’t help but feel that as we move into the next generation of consoles, where the coming evolution of their competitors’ flagship consoles will only become more social and connected, Nintendo is dropping the ball by refusing to meet what could arguably be the standard gamers expect in an online suite.
But there’s still a lot we don’t know about Wii U, and I’m confident that Nintendo yet has some surprises up their collective sleeve.