I Like Arbitrary Numbers: Achievement Hunting Explained


There is nothing like playing through a video game and hearing that distinctive “Pop” when you unlock an achievement on the Xbox. The feeling of getting that last achievement to complete a game, or getting any achievement really, is still one of the reasons why I play.

Pop It and Unlock It

I remember the feeling when I finally popped “Mile High Club” from CoD 4. I had been trying for a couple hours, but I just couldn’t save the VIP. Finally putting that perfect run together felt amazing, and that achievement is definitely my favorite one that I have unlocked.

Before the 360 I owned a PS2. I am usually a day one adopter on the next generation of consoles and the reason I switched to the 360 without ever owning an Xbox was the release date. The 360 came out almost a full year before the PlayStation 3 and that delay sealed the deal for my switch to Xbox. When the Xbox One came out, I didn’t want to abandon my gamerscore, roughly 50k at that point.

Once You Pop …

I wasn’t always an achievement junkie. I used to just play games to play them. I had a lot of fun playing them and then moving on after I was done. I don’t remember what game it was exactly that got me into achievements, but I know Guitar Hero II definitely had something to do with it. The point goals on the songs, solo and cooperatively, the different note streaks, even the names of the achievements, all add up to a decent achievement list and one that I tried to get as many as I could.

After GH2 I started looking at other achievement lists to see what I could unlock. I began to load up games I hadn’t played in a while and reliving games I was previously done with. I started to see those games in a different way. I started to play games differently on multiple playthroughs. Shoot, I even played games I never would have touched if it wasn’t for achievements (I’m looking at you, ROBLOX) It is always fun funding an easter egg the devs put in, or playing a game in a style that is totally different than your normal play style. A good development team puts in the time and effort for a decent achievement list, but there are a multitude of bad achievement lists and types out there.

… You Can’t Stop

For every “Mile High Club” there is a “One With Combat”, the final achievement for Avatar: The Last Airbender, which takes less than five minutes to complete. Avatar is commonly joked about among achievement hunters for being the epitome of bad achievement lists. The list contains five achievements and literally takes less than fives minutes to complete, and that includes turning on the console to play the game. On the other hand, there are achievements that are way difficult to unlock or just too long of a grind. “Seriously …” and “Seriously 2.0” from the first two Gears of War games are two that come to mind. In those two achievements the player needs to kill 10,000 enemies in ranked play and 100,000 enemies in any mode, respectively. Trying to obtain just one of these will take more than twenty hours of gameplay. Talk about a grind. Too difficult/easy, mind numbing collectables, and overly grindy are just a few of the bad types of achievements out there. But that doesn’t necessarily stop me from going after them.

The Sky’s the Limit

I currently sit at a gamerscore of 166,665 and am making a push for 200,000 by the end of the year. I usually bounce back and forth between playing for fun and then playing for achievements. It is a balance that I need to force myself to keep, otherwise I’ll burnout on achievement hunting. I doubt I’ll break the 200K mark this year, but I will eventually, and isn’t that the point of scores? To make them as high as possible?



Nik Solheim

Nik is 38 years old, dad of two, husband to one, and gamer for life. He enjoys all types of games, but especially ones with a decent achievement list. Nik is also a fan of tabletop RPGs and card games (he recently got back into MTG). If you need help with an MP achievement, let him know. He's always willing to help out. GT: FreakyRO